Google SERPS – An Absolute Disgrace, Just Ask GHD!

All my regular readers will no doubt be aware of my current issues with Google and the results they are bringing up at the moment.

In my opinion the results have rarely been as polluted as they are right now, across the board keyword stuffing, automated links, comment spam and black hat redirects have taken over the landscape, topping results in some of the most competitive industries.

Google have come forward and admitted they have ‘taken their eye off the ball‘ but when a spam result begins to dominate a brand term then you know something is seriously wrong.

Just this morning Patrick highlighted a result for ‘GHD’:

ghd spam

Thats right not the brand website but a keyword stuffed, link spammed fake! On page tactics from 10 years ago and a link profile even worse, yet it is still dominating a brand term.

Over the last 1 – 2 months I have become extremely worried about the SERP’s, Google has always sufferred with spam but has generally been on the ball part from the odd slip.

Christmas time is a competitive season and consumers are looking to find the most relevant sites and make genuine purchases, Google are doing nothing to help them here.

How long will this go on for?


is the CEO of Branded3 a Search Marketing Agency in the UK. Tim has over a decade of experience in Search and regularly speaks at key events and conferences.

12 thoughts on “Google SERPS – An Absolute Disgrace, Just Ask GHD!

  1. “keyword stuffing, automated links, comment spam and black hat redirects have taken over the landscape”

    Cmon, this is just search engine optimisation. Whether its labeled as black or white, the goal is the just same – manipulating search results for your own benefit.

    The term Search Engine Optimisation is seriously misleading, they should change it to Search Engine Manipulation as that is exactly what it is. I mean there is optimisation involved with the onpage factors, but that accounts for what, 10%? The remaining 90% offpage factors is all about links. And if you can’t get natural links, what do you do? You manually create links with the intention of trying to fool Google that your site is more popular than it is. It’s all the same.

  2. Hi Henry,

    I take your point on board but don’t agree. I think setting up a genuine site that speaks to users with search engines in mind, guest posting, doing some online PR and maybe a little article submission is different to auto generating your content with keywords and configuring a spam bot to drop comments and profiles anywhere it can find on the net.

    Ultimately Google’s job is to serve the best result not the one that looks like its been put together by a kid.

    At the end of the day I don’t really take issue with the site involved, their doing what they do for a little short term gain, my issue is Google preach a code of ethics but obviously have no control over it at the minute, from a user perspective and a business perspective I would prefer to see the best results at the top, as it stands Google are really struggling at the minute and my issue is with them.

  3. the SERP’s have been crap for years.
    They were initially crap by computer geeks who understood the landscape quicker than the average Joe, so they manipulated them to their advantage.
    Several years down the line, most of these same spammers (computer geeks) of yesteryear now call themselves ‘SEO experts’ and preach about morals.
    Get over yourselves guys, it’s all about manipulation for your own personal (selfish?) gain.
    Every SEO site I have ever seen has a sideline or mainline money making endeavour and all they do is whine and gripe about the guy who cuts through the ‘create a site and brand’ BS and just goes straight for the affiliate commission. Does that make him any more or less immoral than yourselves?
    It’s very easy nowadays to take ANY site, do some research and check all their backlinks and how and when they were created, and then expose all these pure as the driven snow lily white-hat seo experts as nothing more than sour-graped hypocrites.

  4. Hi Jamil,

    You obviously feel very passionate about this, however I think you have misunderstood what I am trying to say in this post.

    Just to clear things up, the site ranking at the top is poor quality and in my opinion ‘untrustworthy’, however this is not my gripe. My gripe is simple, someone has worked hard to create a brand, copyright it and add value to any association with it, then Google come along and rank a ‘spam site’ higher in the SERPS at one of the most profitable times of the year. The gripe is with Google not the dodgy site.

    SEO is a valid form of marketing and yes you can spam your way to the top but there are also genuine ways to make SEO work, just like any other marketing channel. You could say TV advertising is manipulation or radio advertising, the fact is you want people to find your products and Google have one of the best mechanisms for making this happen.

    I don’t get you last statement ‘sour-graped hypocrites’ , no one has sour grapes, we want to work with Google, we listen to the advice they have to offer, then we see things like this. No matter your argument you cannot deny that ranking a site like this above the main brand is ridiculous.

    Are you a Web Dev Jamil?? I just find a lot of anti SEO comments like this come from developers.

  5. LOL @ comments. There’s some good arguments going on here! Personally, from an SEO consultants point of view, it is very disheartening when something like this happens. For the past 6 months or so, the SERPs seem to have been fluctuating quite a bit. Google seem to be making an awful lot of changes – consistently more so than I’ve ever noticed before. Couple this with the local search algorithm changes going on as well and it’s pretty difficult to get any consistency at the moment.

  6. One of the possible measures Google fails to take is to devaluate certain backlinks, like profile links.
    Can imagine it’s hard to put a negative value on these kind of links (would make it very easy to kill a competitor with an Xrumer blast), but at least they could stop counting/valuating these, and perhaps when a link profile exists for more than x (let’s say 60%) of profile links a flag could be raised for a closer look.
    A lot of (ignorant) Forum owners would be very happy too, saves them a lot of fake forum users on the long run as well.

  7. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Google is going crazy at the minute I just wished they’d sort out some of the worse sites I have seen in the SERP’s for over a year now. I think my major gripe is that I thought things were genuinely getting a little better and then around October last year it just went down hill, here’s to hoping anyway 🙂

  8. I think the main issue here is the links work really well, thats why people flock to add their profiles.

    I’m not sure there is much Google can do about it to be honest, as any automated solution would devalue a lot of links. If I was a forum owner I would just auto nofollow all links.

  9. But why not? Sure it will give some serious changes in SERPS here and there, but it shoud probably. Google can start devaluating these links every month just a little more, so changes will not be too abrupt.
    I’m pretty sure links builders will become more creative again then. Nowasays you need to build 100k profiles before you can rank, even just to get close to ranking.
    Nofollow is one measure, but you expect something from the site owner, and I wouldn’t want to wait for that. Besides that, it is a myth that nofollow does nothing. It just does nothing for PR juice, the rest is still counted in your link qty, and I think the anchor text is also taken into account.
    I can probably see this comment link in WMT pretty soon, and thus will be counted.

  10. Hi Stuart,

    We have noticed a few terms bouncing around, however it depends what keywords, some competitive industries look to be a lot cleaner, however some other less competitive terms are spammed to death. One that always confuses me is the ‘SEO’ term, 5/6 out of ten sites on the first page of Google are using paid spam sites no better than JC Penney, you would have thought Google would be more protective of this keyword given it’s nature, very confusing.

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