Thought Experiment: Google exposed a vulnerability in Bing's search ranking feature, could it be exploited?
Everyone in the tech world has heard about the latest spat between Google and Bing (Microsoft).
Matt Cutts has talked a lot about it.
The core issue is Bing is using clickstream data from either IE (Suggested Sites) and/or their
Bing Toolbar. They clearly are OK copying Google's results if users click them.
If I throw on my blackhat thinking cap, we can begin the thought experiment.
- How does clickstream work: is it only looking at URLs or analyzing actual content?
- Does it only work for Google searches?
How does clickstream work: is it only looking at URLs or analyzing actual content?
This is an important distinction if we are looking to manipulate results for our benefit.
If Bing only looks at the stream of URLs, in theory, you might be able to inject any URL into there.
It may not have to show up on that Google search result at all. If that worked on long-tail, it
may also help with more competitive keywords, fooling Bing into thinking it was getting more clicks
on Google and sending a positive ranking signal.
If they are double checking content, this type of manipulation may not work when it tries to 'steal'
the information from the Google search result. Someone would have to test this to find out.
Does it only work for Google searches?
Clearly, they've decided Google is a valid source, but what else is? Could artificially creating
traffic patterns from important and/or relevant sites increase search rankings? This still depends
on how they gather data, whether it's only looking at the clickstream or actually analyzing content.
If I were doing some SEO for a super competitive niche, I might be exploring how could this type of
signal be adjusted for my own benefit. Google could manipulate it, why couldn't you?