Google has been taking Squidoo pages out of its index today – and it looks like a house cleaning, not a case of taking out a few bad apples. Is it a case of the good being taken down with the bad or is the site’s problem that widespread?
According to news and industry reports – the problem is really that Big. Squidoo has beenÂ notorious for some time as a place for spammers and Black Hat SEO practitioners to thrive. It’s been discussed openly for over a year and a half in SEO/SEM forums. It was a known issue, but it just wasn’t deal with until now. This is another problem with the User-Created Content that has made Web 2.0 the Big Deal ofÂ the past 2 or 3 years.
Sites like MySpace have made stars of people who normally would have flown under the radar. In some cases, it’s made stars of people who should have remained under the reader and out of my sight, like Dane Cook. The problem is that the free reign can be manipulated fairly easily if you have the time and motivation. And Black Hat SEOs have both.
What does this mean for Community/User-Created Content sites from now on? Does it mean closer policing by Google or by the site’s overseers? I’m betting on inside policing. After all, with Squidoo’s pages being banned now, traffic to their pages has dropped like a stone. And that only took a few days to happen.
Basically, without the Google traffic, Squidoo can’t offer its members much. After all, that’s the whole point ofÂ the pages – attention. At least for most people who actively use them. Cut off the source that provides the audience and you’re left with not much to sing about. Sure, you have a page you can send your friends to, but you can do that anywhere on the Net.
The lesson is that Squidoo, and sites like it, need to do a better job of keeping an eye on their store. Sure, it’s difficult, but would they rather be doing that or enjoy life outside of the Google index, which is where they are now? Just because it’s User-Created, doesn’t mean the User can’t take you down with them. Catering to Black Hat SEOs is not good for long-term business. Just ask Squidoo.
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