'Dirty' City Decides It's Cheaper To Clean Up Google Rankings Than Clean Up

from the taxpayer-seo dept

Bas points us to the news that a city in Russia, Chelyabinsk, which is ranked in the "top 10" list of "dirtiest cities" by the government, has apparently decided that the best way to spend taxpayer money isn't necessarily to make the city any cleaner, but to clean up their Google and Yandex rankings. They've put out for bid a search engine optimization contract, in which they want the top 150 results on the city's name to show "positive or neutral opinions of the ecology of Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk region." At most only 20% should show "negative reports about the region's environment." Chelyabinsk was apparently near a nuclear waste facility explosion in 1957, which the Soviet government covered up for over 30 years. The city is also hoping that "search queries related to that incident," will have much cleaner results. I'm sure plenty of cities do some SEO activities these days, but there does still seem to be something quite questionable about focusing on cleaning up your search rankings, rather than cleaning up the actual city.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 5:54am

    This reminds of the whole censoring of "child pornography" websites issue. It's easier to block the sites instead of actually catching the people doing it, and thus stopping the site, too. This way they can just block all child porn sites, and they claim the world is free of pedophiles!

    Right. Of course their agenda is always another one, this why they push this issue because they know people will think it's make sense to block child porn sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    specialized (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:18am

    This initiative is similar in nature, but even less effective than a puerto rican shower.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:20am

    A really good documentary on the city, how it came to be what it is now, and the tragedy of the people living there:
    http://www.logtv.com/films/chelyabinsk/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:24am

    In soviet Russia, search engine cleans you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:26am

    All SEO is a scam

    I'm not talking about basic web site competence, such as ensuring that tags are used properly, that the pages comply with the relevant standards, that links work, etc. I'm talking about all attempts to manipulate search engine results: they are ALL scams.

    Which is why it's not surprising to find some of the same people involved in spam and spyware working in SEO. Filth attracts filth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:54am

    Re: All SEO is a scam

    As someone whose main job is SEO for my company, may I ask why you think SEO is a scam?

    Google is constantly updating its results by crawling the web and maintaining its algorithm, small changes to different parts of web pages affect those rankings. People selling you SERP manipulation are going to be the ones scamming you, but there are ways to improve your rankings as results change naturally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    Beat me to it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:06am

    This is what you get from people who lived decades under a regime that relied on propaganda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:22am

    "They've put out for bid a search engine optimization contract, in which they want the top 150 results on the city's name to show "positive or neutral opinions of the ecology of Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk region." At most only 20% should show "negative reports about the region's environment.""

    Interesting that fake reviews are now included in Search Engine Optimization contracts, or did I miss something here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    charlie potatoes (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Propaganda

    Let's see, THEIR missiles are dirty old Scuds... American missiles are PATRIOTS. Yeah, I'm glad the U.S. Govt. never uses propaganda. Nasty business, what?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: All SEO is a scam

    your job is a lie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: All SEO is a scam

    Don't you mean "your job is to lie" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: All SEO is a scam

    This is what I always tell people when they ask me about SEO:

    Google's goal is to direct people to useful, relevant content that matches what they are looking for. Thus your goal with a website is simple: be useful, be relevant, have content that people seek.

    That's the only real SEO (apart from, as you say, some simple developer best practices that ensure your content is easy to read and index)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    Interesting reading. Thanks for that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re:

    Interesting?

    Maybe.

    Surprising?

    Not at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    "They've put out for bid a search engine optimization contract, in which they want the top 150 results on the city's name to show "positive(protons) or neutral(neutrons) opinions of the ecology of Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk region." At most only 20% should show "negative reports about the region's environment.""

    80%...chelyabinsk is great....i love the local parks!! etc
    20%...hey this place is a radioactive hellhole and if you spend more than an hour here your testicles will grow tumors and fall off!!!!!!

    I wonder which % would be more effective

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: All SEO is a scam

    Yet I still get paid for it and I've helped grow sales 200% in 3 years. I'm asking an honest question here and your reply is less than helpful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Instead?

    Do you know that they are not also trying to clean the city up, or are you just assuming that?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Martin, Aug 25th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    I work at a Boston SEO company, and I think it's going to be pretty hard to take care of this issue. While I'm not familiar with the Yandex algorithm, Google treats informational searches very differently than transactional searches. It's one thing to say you want your company to appear above another, but much harder to change informational searches about cities, landmarks, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
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