A new countermeasure from Baidu to avoid black hat practices.
In February 2013, Baidu launch « Money Plant » and in May 2013, it’s « Pomegranate » that follow. Compare to Google and their animal name, Baidu decided to plant its Garden and started to work on their anti-spam algorithm. It was about time for the first Chinese search engine to catch up on this shortcoming. Indeed, the time of wait started to make people desperate and the Chinese webmasters started to feel ignored.
Baidu « Money Plant » update
Baidu « Money Plant » update is thus more about link spam and public link trading. In China link purchasing is very common and popular in the SEO world. As an exemple, it exists even trading platforms where webmasters can sell their links with the price and the website visible to anyone. The only thing to do is buy links and pick websites like if you were to buy new clothes or order food online. These websites are therefore mostly of poor quality. It was a good initiative of Baidu to end this.
It was about 150 websites from about 5 different industries that were purchasing links on those trading platforms. After the update of « Money Plant », most of them started to monitor their rankings. In any case, it is quite easy to have access to the list of buyers since the sellers are just listed accessible to every single person or spiders.
Massive loss of ranking for the guilty party
After many reports of indexation those websites, we could easily see that by the end of April, 17 buyers upon 150 lost all their rankings and we coulnd’t find them in the first 10 pages of Baidu. One third of the website had lost 30% of their ranking. On the seller side, most of them have just shut down after Baidu updated showing how professional they were supposed to be. A lot of the website found on those platform were probably also involve in other black hat practices.
The use of those platforms is not recommended. They are not serious if you want to increase your rank in Baidu search engine because they are too insecure whether it was before or after Baidu introduced « Money Plant ».
Baidu « Pomegranate » Update
Where the « Pomegranate » update still have to improve, it is on pirated websites that use pop-ups before downloading a file (and they are abundant !). So even if Baidu’s message is clear and warm those website who display annoying ads, it doesn’t seems to slow too much this custom. Moreover, website that uses welcoming messages of newsletter registration forms might be a victim of this update which will be unfair and unpleasant.
« Money Plant » also have been updated in July 15th 2013 and called 2.0 and is targeting paid article trading platforms and directories. Basically all the websites that charge people for posting marketing articles event the news portals and press release websites. It also includes a penalties which will make website lose rank in Baidu search engine and even get de-index.
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