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

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.

About the author

Marty is author of "Killer Facebook Ads" (Wiley/Sybex 2011) and CEO of aimClear, an online marketing agency that has managed Facebook ad campaigns generating over 10 billion impressions internationally. Client credits include MarthaStewart.com, Siemens, Second Life, Budget Direct, and other global brands.

He’s written extensively for respected Internet marketing trade publications and been quoted in many others. aimClear Blog has been cited as among the Technorati Top 10 Small Business Blogs, Cison Top Ten Social Media Blogs, PRWeb’s 25 Essential Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Reading, and listed in the AdAge Power150.

A fixture on the international conference circuit, Marty speaks regularly at Search Engine Strategies (SES). Marty founded and produces the aimClear Full Day Facebook Marketing Intensive Workshop.

He has been described as “not your typical agency type.” A “social media maverick” and “more innovator than follower.” aimClear has become internationally recognized for its work in demographic research, especially as pertains to search, Facebook, and LInkedIn.

Marty and his aimClear team specialize in paid and organic search and social online marketing. aimClear’s services include blended search and social demographic research; search engine optimization (SEO) technical and semantic audits, analytics monitoring, and consulting; pay-per-click (PPC) audits, setup, testing, and ongoing management; online reputation management (ORM) dashboard configuration and ongoing monitoring; social media marketing consulting and data-driven community management; public relations; and copywriting.