A Flaw With Google Search? Casting Votes From The Internet Graveyard

do old unattended websites break down Google

Do Old Unattended Sites Break Down Google?

We have noticed in recent years that there is a bit of a flaw with Google search results (and maybe most search engines for that matter). It has to do with the fact the internet is starting to age. There are quite a bit of websites out on the web, that are rotting, wasting energy and inhibiting better search results.

Quick Introduction To Link Building

One of the biggest drivers that positions a webpage at the top of the Google search results is how many quality and relevant links point to it. One of the jobs of a SEO specialist is to find relevant websites and try to get them to link to your website. This task requires the SEO specialist to dig through thousands of webpages across the web. It becomes a very eye opening experience as to why certain highly ranked websites are in the first position on the search engines.


The Flaw We See As We Link Build

The one thing we keep seeing is that in certain spaces, there are thousands of old websites that are providing backlinks to top ranking webpages. In a lot of cases, these old websites are no longer being administered or updated. Effectively, there are thousands of old, outdated websites on the internet propping up top search engine results. As we contact these old websites, many times the emails will bounce, or it’s obvious the site hasn’t been updated in years.

Do “old votes” really point to the best, most current content on the internet? Probably not. I’m shocked at how many times I use Google to look for important information and find that the first result is ancient and no longer relevant!

Google in particular prides itself on providing the most relevant and quality results for it users. We agree that is the best model for the search engines. Unfortunately there are plenty of newer sites with better content but don’t have thousands of backlinks from the “Good Old Days”. This makes it tough battle for them to climb the ranks.


What We Think Happened

When the internet was relatively new, a bunch of webmasters got excited and went around linking to other related websites. Over time, the webmasters of these old websites stopped being webmasters (they changed jobs, died, forgot about the site etc.). However, the old sites are still up and pointing backlinks to other sites. This is our guess as to why these sites are still up and pointing backlinks:

  1. The owners of the site have it on reoccurring billing on a hosting/domain name package, but have totally forgotten about the site.
  2. The owners of the site don’t want to let the site go, continue to keep it running, and refuse to update.
  3. The owners of the site do update the site, but don’t update their external links.
  4. The owners of the site have no one to administer their site, but they still find value of it being online. (This happens a lot when your “friend’s brother” builds a website.)
  5. Someone bought an expired domain and kept it pointed to the original server and the content is still live.
  6. Who knows!

Conclusion

All these old, stagnant sites are still “casting votes” to certain websites that may not be as relevant or helpful anymore. These sites with votes from the “graveyard” are propping up some of the top search engine results. It’s kind of like if every time we had a Presidential election, we let the dead vote based on their favorite party when they were alive :)

About the author

Sean Work Sean Work is the President of O.C. Search Consulting, Inc. as well as the blog editor of blog.kissmetrics.com. You can follow him on Twitter @seanvwork, connect with him on Linkedin, or "encircle" him on .

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