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Cross posting this from a reply I left in Google Webmaster Support Group:

Posted in: General by Richard Hearne on April 26, 2013
Internet Marketing Ireland

"[...] here's the nub that many people are missing: Penguin overnight created NSEO.  I'm working with a few clients trying to fix Penguin (which Google are not refreshing).  In nearly all cases the damage was done by third party agencies.

What's stopping me hiring these same agencies to "promote" my competitor?  It will take time to accomplish (Penguin definitely looks for long term abuse), but there's ZERO [difference] between me doing to my own site and me doing it to yours.  *Google's algo cannot distinguish the "who", ergo NSEO will be entirely possible if they continue with Penguin*."

The reason Penguin struck the bullseye last time was that people weren't busy promoting their competitors.  That's all changed now, and Google will have to come up with some alternative to algorithmic penalties based on link profiles if NSEO isn't to become a huge problem.

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  1. Yes, I've never been convinced that Google could reasonably determine the intent in these instances. The argument might have been that the vast majority of past cases were instigated by webmasters or agencies on their behalves and who intended to manipulate the rankings in their favour. But now, someone could attempt to manipulate the rankings to the detriment of a competitor.

    Comment by Masatake Wasa — April 26, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  2. You have way more patience than me, Richard.

    Comment by Jim Munro — April 26, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

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