Q and A: Why am I getting traffic from porn sites?

QuestionHi Kalena

I run a website about SEO. I use Google Analytics to check some parameters in particular traffic sources.

Once I noticed that a big part of traffic came from a porno website. Does it mean it’s some kind of “black hat” technology and someone try to discredit my website? And what is your advice about how to avoid it?

Thank you

Hi Valentine

In my experience, huge amounts of traffic from dodgy or unrelated sites is generally related to AdSense, fraudulent clicks and/or site scraping.

Do you run AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing pay per click campaigns for your site? If you do and if you’ve opted into their Content Networks, your ads may appear on websites that participate in AdSense or the Yahoo Publisher Network. Those networks are designed to show your ads on pages that contain content that is relevant (contextual advertising), but some dodgy publishers can switch their content once their participation is approved, resulting in a temporary display of ads on pages containing adult content, (which is generally banned in the AdSense program), or other unsuitable content.

Clicks you receive on your ads on such sites are rarely authentic. They are more likely fraudulent clicks by the site owner or persons employed by the site owner to falsely inflate their AdSense traffic and earnings. The best ways to avoid PPC traffic from such sites include:

1) Making sure your target PPC terms are laser focused to your product/service.

2) Opting out of Content Networks to avoid your ads being shown on sites you don’t approve of.

3) Using negative keywords such as “-free”, “-best” etc. to ensure your ads aren’t shown for unrelated or inappropriate searches.

4) Monitor your traffic and add any dodgy domains to your PPC campaign’s URL Exclusion list to ensure your ads are no longer shown on those sites.

Another common reason for an influx of traffic from dodgy sites is site scraping. This is where site owners deploy software that trawls the web and scrapes legitimate content from other websites as a way of creating lazy content for their own sites. Usually this content is combined in a haphazard, unreadable way that is designed to fool search engine robots but not appealing to users at all.

Domainers often employ this tactic as a fast way to populate hundreds of domains with fake content so they can throw AdSense code up and try to earn money via PPC clicks. Or they might simply use it to try to gain fast rankings for competitive keywords and populate the fake pages with links to products where they earn an affiliate commission per sale.

Often you’ll find your site content has been scraped, complete with internal links to your pages, which is why you’ll see referrals from the site in your analytics. I’ve ranted about site scrapers before and even managed to get my own back on occasion, but short of sending site scrapers a *cease and desist* email, there’s not much you can do about them.

So while the techniques used to link to you may well be black hat, it’s doubtful any of them were employed to deliberately discredit your web site.


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Facebook Implements Their Version of Twitter Retweet

You can now share your Facebook friend’s posts in a similar manner to the way you retweet a post in Twitter.

According to Mashable, Facebook rolled out the new feature called “Via” yesterday. It lets you repost a friend’s shared items with attribution. The Mashable post explains how it works:

“To try it, just go to a friend’s posted item in your news feed, click “share” and you’ll see a “via [your friend’s name]” (with an option to remove it). Once shared, the item will appear on your profile, with a via link that points to your friend’s profile. Your friends will also see the item in their News Feeds, creating the viral loop that is the Twitter (Twitter) retweet.”

The feature is only active for posted links and not other items such as status updates or photos. Also, you’ll only see the *share* link on newsfeed items that are posted for public view (i.e. based on the privacy settings set by the Facebook friend who you are quoting).

The new feature is now live for all Facebook users.

How Google Helped Haiti

No doubt you’ve heard by now of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti this week.

If you’ve visited Google.com since then you’ll see they’ve given up some home page real estate to highlight the tragic event. The home page now features the following sentence:

“Information, resources, and ways you can help survivors of the Haiti earthquake.”

The sentence links to an information page about how the public can help disaster relief in Haiti, complete with donate buttons for UNICEF and CARE, processed by Google checkout.

As well as using their popularity to spread the word, Google has announced they will be donating $1 million to the relief fund.

Not to be outdone, Yahoo and Bing also feature Haiti on their home pages. Yahoo highlights an article about texting to support Haiti as their lead story and also includes a small link for donation options. Bing features two small links labeled “How you can help Haiti” and “Get the latest earthquake news” below the fold, at the very bottom of the page.

If you want to donate to Haiti disaster relief, you can visit the Google link above or contact one of the many charitable organizations in the region directly.

Forget Yahoo and Bing, Google Now Targeting Apple

Google’s worst-kept secret phone finally launched last week.

Despite the fact that details about the phone have been leaked all over the web for months, the Nexus One was officially revealed at a good old fashioned press conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Referred to by Google staff as a *Super Phone*, the Nexus One is already being touted as an iPhone killer and has been designed specifically for Google’s Open Source Android operating system.

At first glance, the Nexus One does look very much like an iPhone. The major difference between the two is the trackball in the Nexus – reminiscent of the IBM ThinkPad. At 11.5mm, it also features a thinner profile than the iPhone, a 5 megapixel camera, 2 microphones (one for noise cancellation), a 3.7″ OLED touch-screen display and it weighs in at a tiny 130 grams.

Comparisons to the HTC Droid Eris phone leaked last month are no coincidence – Taiwanese firm HTC manufactured the Nexus One. Another gloat-worthy, geek-pleasing feature that the Nexus has over the iPhone is the voice-activated keyboard, which I noticed a few launch attendees testing yesterday on Twitter, with amusing results.

Read Danny Sullivan’s live coverage of the launch for more details.

Clearly, Google are throwing a LOT of money at the Nexus project and are very keen to show it off, even installing the world’s largest Nexus One in their foyer. So proud of their new hardware are they that every Google employee was given one of the phones for Xmas, resulting in early buzz via social media.

But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about the phone. If you read the official Google blog post, you’ll realize that it’s the launch of Google’s consumer web store that’s the real story. The launch of an online mobile store to sell Nexus One means Google has crossed the threshold from search company to consumer electronics retailer.

Why would they do that? If you look at the global smart phone market, currently Nokia and Research in Motion (makers of the Blackberry) have the dominant share, followed by Apple with the iPhone. In comparison, handsets using Android have a tiny share of the market (source = Gartner) and Google wants to boost that. What better way to achieve this than to launch their own smart phone?

The other big incentive for Google to launch its own hardware is to protect its online advertising business in the mobile computing arena. As more and more people surf the web using their handsets, Google wants to ensure they are the default search engine in those handsets.

However, rumors that Google might offer a pricing structure for their handset partly subsidized by AdWords revenue proved unfounded, disappointing some expectant launch attendees.

In an interview with BBC News following the event, editor of Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan commented:

“It would have been nice to see them roll out something a bit more unique. Google has speculated in the past that there one day might be phones that are entirely ad-supported and because Google is this huge ad behemoth, this was a natural opportunity to roll out a phone like that.”

US consumers are now able to buy the Nexus One directly from Google’s web store for US$179 with a two-year contract with T-Mobile USA or the unlocked handset for $529, allowing people to use a carrier of their choice. Only available in the US right now, the Nexus One will soon be sold in Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong via Vodafone.

When asked during the launch if the Nexus One was an iPhone killer, Google’s Andy Rubin replied “Choice is a good thing”.

Forget Yahoo and Bing, Google is now targeting Apple.

Q and A: Does a longer domain registration period affect ranking?

QuestionHi Kalena

I was just wondering, does a longer URL registration period have a positive effect on a site’s search engine ranking?



Hi Louisa

Google has confirmed in the past that both domain age and ownership history may impact the way a site is handled by the algorithm, albeit slightly. But what you’re asking is whether registering a domain for a longer period of time makes a difference to the site’s ranking?

I haven’t researched this for other search engines, but I recall that a couple of people have asked this question in the Google Webmaster forum in the past.

Google staff member John Mu responded that the length of a domain’s registration period does NOT impact how Google ranks the site. As he states, many registrars don’t publish expiration details and so if Google can’t adequately determine when a site expires, they can’t compare it to other sites so they don’t include that as a ranking factor. Besides which, a registration period for a domain doesn’t reveal much about a site.

The content on the domain is much more important from a search engine perspective than how many years it has been registered for.


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