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Google Position 6 Smack-Down: Filter, Penalty, or Bunk?

Marty Weintraub
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google1.jpg Since late December, best-of-breed search marketers have been chattering about a supposed and creepy “Position 6” Google SERPs punishment pattern where pages which, by all indications, should dominate the organic SERPs somehow place at lowly #6. Google's Matt Cutts has previously dismissed the notion that Position 6 is real.

Yesterday the debate amongst search marketers flared to full blown public jamming in major SEM blogs and virulent comment threads. Aaron Wall, venerable blogger-purveyor of SEOBOOK, restarted the conversation with his post, “How I Got My Google Ranking #6 Filter Removed.” The post was bookmarked in Sphinn and SEO scientists argued about Position 6 throughout the day, resulting in passionate posts (and even arguments) in trade publications.

Is Position 6 real?

Respected SEM technician Sebastian reflected the position of many SEM pros and noted a lack of studies that that provide ”proof instead of weird assumptions based on claims of webmasters jumping on today's popular band wagon that aren't plausible nor verifiable...such beasts don't exist.”

Danny Sullivan joined the fracas with an SEL post and his impression that Position 6 is real. “Well, I've personally seen this weirdness. Pages that I absolutely thought ‘what on earth is that doing at six' rather than at the top of the page. Not four, not seven -- six. It was freaking weird for several different searches. Nothing competitive, either.”

Is Position 6 an actual Google penalty or fodder for SEMs who are imagining patterns where none exist? Have you experienced Position 6? Real or imagined, it's certainly generating a lot of attention and links amongst search marketers and webmasters. Stay tuned and watch your Google organic SERPs.


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