NovaXyon Affiliate Marketing Google Seek Has a Profound Junk mail Downside — And AI Is Making It Worse

Google Seek Has a Profound Junk mail Downside — And AI Is Making It Worse



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Have Google searches seemed less useful lately? That’s most definitely the case, and it’s a problem exacerbated by the rise of artificial intelligence, according to new research

When a team of German researchers recently examined search results for 7,392 terms connected to products and reviews, they found that Google and other search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo returned a higher than expected amount of pages cluttered with “signs of lower text quality” combined with affiliate marketing, where a site offers a review and a link to a product and collects a small percentage of sales generated by that link.   

More and more often these days, online hucksters have gotten skilled at quickly developing spam sites that rank highly in search results and house these links, bogging down the web. As the researchers conclude: “search engines seem to lose the cat-and-mouse game that is SEO spam.”

While “only a small portion of product reviews on the web uses affiliate marketing,” the team said, “the majority of all search results do.”

Reputable sites use affiliate links too, but the problem is the advent of sites with affiliate links but no or little original editorial content alongside them. Artificial intelligence is making the problem considerably worse, as services like ChatGPT are able to generate text that is passable enough to a search engine within minutes. Researchers are seeing “a trend towards simplified, repetitive, and potentially AI-generated content.”

These sites can harm more helpful reviews by upending them in results. While the researchers say spam sites are “short-lived and de-indexed or penalized quickly,” they also clarify that these sites are able to be rebuilt quickly, especially with the use of AI.

As an example, over the 2023 holidays, the website Search Engine Land found that spam sites created within the 24 to 48 hours prior to its investigation had flooded Google, rendering the engine’s search results nearly unusable as shoppers finished up last minute gift buying. These spam sites were quickly struck down, but their ability to manipulate keywords and the general leeway that Google tends to give to newer sites means the underlying problem is far from being solved.

A silver lining: spam isn’t necessarily hard for a trained eye to spot, with the study pointing out that highly ranking spam sites often have keyword loaded names like findthisbest.com and bestreviews.guide. However, having to filter through them to get to your results can slow down the search process, as well as discourage competitors aiming for the same rankings from putting more effort into their own content.

To put it bluntly, in the current search landscape, “significant amounts” of top-ranking search results are “outright SEO product review spam,” the researchers say.

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