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What the SEO Industry Can Do to Fight Manipulation

If you’re reading this, I don’t particularly have to convince you of the importance of search engines. You know this.

Your paychecks are the manifestation of research and analysis.

We as humans want answers.

With schools, libraries, and sources of record all closed or operating by appointment only, we’re doing the best we can: we’re asking Google.

Here’s the thing: Why do you trust search engine results?

As SEO professionals, we tend to have a bit more discerning eyes.

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We can spots the more subtle (than dinosaur gender black) elements don’t seem quite right.

It’s what our clients pay us to do.

It’s more important than ever for clients to know and curate how they are represented in search results.

Silly things happen.

What do we do when misrepresentations contort from silly to intentional deception?

What do we do when the fundamental structure of a political system is under threat of disinformation?

What Is Disinformation?

Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately to deceive.

The information spread is false with the intent to harm a person, social group, organization, or country.

It has a sister, mal-information.

Mal-information uses information-based in reality in a context intended to inflict harm.

Google publicly addressed the grandeur of government-backed phishing.

Smaller but equally as threatening are attempts to alter maps so people can’t find their polling station.

The SERPs themselves are a battlefront.

Search Engine Manipulation & Disinformation

SEO-savvy propagandists can spread disinformation – and even muddy up the search results in many ways.

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  • Introducing ambiguation: Think flooding the web with the wrong address or phone number for a competitor’s business location.)
  • Google Bombing: Think the effort lead by Savage Love author/host Dan Savage against…

 

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