Thursday, February 16, 2006

Search engines still have a lot to learn

I found out today an interesting little fact, Google (and other search engines I presume) are not omnipotent. There is a very simple way to trick it into rating pages higher than they should be. Just put some text in a noscript tag and Google will use the content in their indexing, but it isn't visible to browsers that have enabled Javascript which, let's face it, is most of them. So a dodgy website can use this technique to include references to a competitor and be in the listings when a web user does a search on their competitor's name. I can't say more than that since the specific example I'm aware of is currently in the hands of lawyers, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out. BMW in Germany were banned for a few days before Google re-included them in their index, so I'd like to see how a much smaller company (probably not paying Google any advertising fees) is treated. To see an example of this in action, take a look at, a page with an image and content in a noscript tag. Now do a search for Google noscript and see that the page has a pretty damn good ranking.

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