Nothing but fluff
FLUFF is often described as something with little substance or importance. In the World of search engines it can mean a page returned in a search that has little to do with the intended search word or phrase. These are the links that you click on after a search that go to a page that looks like a match but upon closer scrutiny you realize it’s just a click farm. The page's design partially describes your search term or even presents what seems a good source of information and as you begin to read and click into the information all you discover is a bunch of FLUFF. You end up with a trail of clicks that lined someone's pocket with AD click revenue. Additionally, another search FLUFF page is a returned search result that takes you to a brief synopsis of your search term and then degrades into a sales pitch for a product or service not related to your search.
Presenting facts about a search term only to promote clicks on links that forwards you to an AD or creates a click count is a common practice for some internet entrepreneurs.
There is a fine line between having AD placement and actually creating content designed to get you to click on a revenue link and it seems the search engines are always one step behind when it comes to eliminating this type click coercion. I can remember when the trickery was accomplished with CSS so you would arrive at a page that had invisible words or the content that the search engines hit on were placed off the viewable screen. As search engines became smarter so did the folks trying to get you click.
There are several ways that a page's design can get visitors to unknowingly click on a revenue link that has nothing to do with the user's intended search criteria. The one that seems more prevalent is the FLUFF page. Using a variety of methods, a page is created with information on a subject and inputting certain key facts or blurbs about that subject can attract the search engines on keywords used in that content. Simply adding links inside the content that indicates better or more information on the search term will entice visitors to click those links. Some of these pages are overt in their approach while others are a little trickier in their efforts to get you to click. In any case, the initial facts on the search term are just a facade to lure you into a click journey that will not produce any useful information on what you are looking for.
Having used search engines for several years I have learned that if you’re looking for information on something then you need to skip the first few returns in your search. Alternately, if you are looking to buy something then clicking on the first few returns and AD column links might be beneficial. You can normally tell in the search return teaser if it is an AD or not but when landing on a FLUFF page you can't always recognize what is information and what is just a link to forward you to an AD or revenue link. At first these pages seem to have information but eventually you discover, after clicking a few links, that you are the victim of a click scam.
I'm not against ADS and I acknowledge they have a place in the evolution of the internet but I do have issues with sites whose only contribution is the addition of AD campaigns with little or no real substance. The sites that lure you in with some smokescreen of facts and information to get you to click on links that add nothing to your search experience. Not all site owners are going to make it obvious that the link is an AD revenue link. Some will use enticing tricks and deception to get you to click that link.
There are sites that have good useful content that also offer up ADS but in a non-deceiving and open manner and thankfully they far out-number the other sites. If you frequent a site that you like that offers good and informative content an also has AD placements then you should click on an AD or two that interests you. On the other hand, we should be able to traverse the internet without getting mislead into time wasting loops and click traps that contributes nothing to your quest. Most search engines do an adequate job at sorting out some of these FLUFF sites but they still somehow show up in search results. Maybe what we need in the search engine tools arsenal is a FLUFF filter.
Jim Atkins 'thedosmann'