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Today even in the UK we have seen the news about the American First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the scandal over Google searches throwing out a racist image.

Let's leave aside the revulsion over this - it's a daft schoolkid prank and should be treated with that sort of contempt. Google had a decision to make about removing it or not and opted to support freedom even when it offends - we have similar stuff happening in the UK, check the recent media coverage of the British National Party over here. No link deliberately, otherwise they might get clicks.

I'm not here to write about censorship issues, though. What concerns me more is the nature of SEO and how someone has manipulated a search so that their stupid cartoon gets to the top of a major search engine. It's clearly been done with so much sophistication, so much skill in the underlying code, that it actually gets listed above the stuff the real Michelle Obama is doing, or maybe her husband, like running the biggest country in the world during a massive economic crisis.

Annoyed? Yes I am. Regretful that the Obama family has been dragged into something like this? Yes, but I accept racism exists. Hopeful that Google, Microsoft and the others will move some goalposts so this sort of trash stays in the trashcan where it belongs rather than at the top of the search lists? You bet.

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Last Post by canadafred
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Onpage SEO can only ever influence around 10% of the ranking factors google take into account. So its nothing to do with underlying code.

This is massive linkbuilding pure and simple. Surely you have heard of Google bombing? And yes you can (evidently) still do it.

However I do agree that racism is horrendous and ignorant, but then half the people in this world still believe in all sorts of mumbo-jumbo as fact, so the chances of ignorance disappearing soon are small.

Edited by thefandango: n/a

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Onpage SEO can only ever influence around 10% of the ranking factors google take into account. So its nothing to do with underlying code.

Just to clarify this, in some keyphrase races this percentage can appear to be accurate, but for the vast majority of competitive keyphrase arenas, when onsite optimization is effectively deployed, the web pages can compete with even the most manipulated contenders of the niche. Check the SERPs carefully, don't underestimate the power of well-optimized content. The effects of things like PR values and backlinks are extremely variable, not dependable and frequently completely negligible; in the face of high quality optimized content and skillful onpage SEO.

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