When you search for something technical on the internet, quite often you'll see a search listing with Experts-Exchange, they tend to be pretty good. In the past you could click the search results and view the page, you would see the question someone has answered, and their respective answer, or in most cases 'answers'. Anyway, recently they have introduced a 'View Solution' button, and in order for you to see the answer, you have to register and pay them.
Well, I was thinking to myself - If Experts-Exchange remove content to make it a 'pay-for-answers site' they will lose a lot of rankings, as a lot of the valuable content is in the Answers.
Just as I thought, when Google spiders the site they see all the Q&A's, but when we look at the site, we just see the initial question.
Need to prove it? Just do a search for "windows xp hang error event log experts exchange". Click the first item in the Search Results and scroll down to the bottom. See the answer? Probably not. Click the back button, and then when you're back on the Google results page, click the 'Cached' button under the first listing. Voila! Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will see all the Q&A's.
This brings me to the next topic, Google's Quality Guidelines say "...[don't] present different content to search engines than you display to users...." - Clearly, this is the complete opposite to what Experts-Exchange is doing - HOWEVER, Experts-Exchange content is of extremely high-quality, and what they are doing isn't really that 'sneaky' or 'bad'. What would Google's stance on this be? At the end of the day, Experts-Exchange are displaying different content to the search engines to get better rankings - similar to what BMW did, but they aren't using sneaky spam to achieve the rankings.

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Im having the same kind of feeling with the whole webmaster world site, extremly annoying when you see a google serp listing and it's webmaster world, cause the title and preview match perfectly what i want to know.... The search bot can clearly see the information but we cant untill we pay. Funny thing is i read an entire webmaster world thread once via the preview google gives;) kept searching for the last word combo in the search description in combination with site;) Just for kicks. They disable google cache!

Experts-Exchange uses cookies to allow first-time visitors to get hooked on their content, and then forced to pay to register on a second visit back. Because Googlebot doesn't store any cookies, it's always their first visit.

As for WebmasterWorld ... they are a regular free forum but they have a Subscribers forum (just as DaniWeb has Area 51 for member sponsors). However, what they do is often move their best threads into their subscribers forum on a regular basis. For this reason, a lot of their best threads get indexed by Google and then moved into the subscribers forum, which is why Google has a cache of them.

I thought webmasterworld forums were totally closed?
O well i just think it's a nasty way to do things. Why does google not remove those 'best threads' ?

WebmasterWorld is the largest webmaster-oriented forum on the Internet. I can't even begin to fathom how many new threads they get per day. Therefore, it's really not feasable for googlebot to keep returning to the same thread over and over again, as it's bad enough they have to crawl every new thread than worry about the older ones. So what will happen is they'll crawl a thread once and then it will get moved and they just won't realize it.

I’ve been participating at EE for some 6 years as an expert and I’m (have been?) the #1 MS Access expert from 2002 till 2007 answering some 7,000 Access questions and posting over 40,000 comments. I was also active as a moderator (modulo and GranMod) for 4 years and posted in that capacity over 100,000 comments.

When you think that such a track record does give you some credit you’re however at the wrong place at EE. I got called names by another member and no action was taken. When I guarded the site from the sometimes crappy comments of this member I got suspended and all links (some 40) in my comments pointing to my page holding previously Access samples and now stating my suspension were removed. () Finally asking the site owners for an explanation for this suspension gave no response at all.

The new owners have found a way to use innocent volunteers to generate a real cashcow that allows them to run an office with some 15 people and to pay the experts with worthless points that won’t even buy them a cup of Starbucks coffee.

The new interface will have costed a lot of money, but besides the better looks it doesn’t load faster, doesn’t show the questioner anymore and is another example of the foolish American idea that it’s only the outside that counts. The traffic reach at www.alexa.com for the last months however show a steady decline...

Finally the crappy answered questions (without a real answer and/or with broken links) aren’t getting any attention. The closure of questions to give the experts their points has the first priority as that’s what makes them coming back and keep them hooked up.

I’ve found another site that’s really for free and that does value experts. It’s growing fast and I meet a lot of old EE collegues there.

But ofcourse, when you want to pay for the lookup service of the EE expert, be my guest :-)


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