Tagging “ethics” and the effect of Google labels

Steve is making a call to bloggers to provide disclosure when they’re getting paid to speak on behalf of a company. A commenter is questioning the motive of the post, which is coming on the heels of the Vista debacle disclosure debate.

But what is this, really? I’m going to call it for what it is – a hybrid SEO/PR campaign to try and own keywords like “Ethics” to cover up the mess. A top ranked blog + tagging specific keywords = “Let’s leverage our current assets to hide any errors”.

I’ve been discussing with a co-worker about the effect of Google’s labeling function and how my search engine traffic has increased more than the 40% noted yesterday by John Battelle thanks to the separate label pages created by Blogger. Has the algorithm changed to help weight Blogger pages over other sites? I’d argue that yes, it did.

For example – based on my Sitemeter stats, the terms “true ads”, “about.com sucks” and “BCS and Oklahoma” were driving traffic to my site long after the posts were created — so much so that my page rank for each was in the top 4 results. Checking them today, I’ve been bumped down as many as ten places.