Doing A Fake Story For Linkbait? Disclose — Or Face The Wrath Of Google from last week is still a hot topic of discussion in the industry. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts posted a more detailed explanation of why a fake story without disclosure is something, in some cases, Google cares about.
Matt says, “if a site says that they completely made up a story to get links, Google doesn’t have to trust the links to that site as much.” But is that about intent of the author? Does the intent have to be about influencing your search results for Google to trust you less or is it something larger?
I think Matt’s post explains that it isn’t Google’s job to police the internet. But at the same time Matt does offer generic advice. He said, “don’t burn your credibility by using fake stories. It’s a short-term tactic and makes people trust you less in the future.”
I am struggling trying to write the next few sentences. On one hand, fake stories have their place, when disclosed properly. There are many humor sites out there that obtain great traffic and rankings in Google. But to create fake stories to influence your Google rankings and not disclose that those stories are fake, can be an issue in terms of a site’s credibility.
We all know that Google has various metrics to determine a site or page’s credibility or quality. Part of that has to do with links, on page content, user actions on the page and more. Should truth be one of those factors? I am not sure. If users trust a site less and less over time, users may link to that site less and less over time.
Does Google need to downgrade the value of a site’s links based on it posting fake stories without disclosure? That is the question that is being debated in the industry. Some believe Google has the right to do so, when it is done to influence the Google search results – while some feel otherwise.
Aaron Wall’s Google to Police ‘The Truth’ talks about the topic as well.