Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

road-to-recovery-featured Checklists of how to get out of a Google penalty abound. Five things you should do, five things you shouldn't do, etc. But the number one thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. I want to tell you the story of a two-year long penalty, the steps we took and how something we never thought would work… finally did. No Impact On Organic Traffic The client was a purveyor of a highly competitive retail product -- one of the top in the world, with over 10 million visits per month. Back in July 2012, the client received the first notice that there were "unnatural links pointing to the site." But the c [...]


Google Penalizes Italian & Spanish Link Networks

google-cop-busted-featured As promised, Google has taken manual action to penalize link networks in Italy and Spain. It was just four days ago that Google warned webmasters in those two countries about its rules on paid links and willingness to take action against websites that violate those rules. The penalties were announced separately on Friday by Google employees outside the U.S., and later retweeted by Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team. First up was Giacomo Gnecchi, a member of Google's search quality team based in Dublin, who tweeted the news (in Italian) about the Italian link network penalty [...]


Google Penalizes Two German Link Networks; One Being efamous

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced on Twitter today that they have penalized and taken action on two additional German link networks. He mentioned one by name: efamous. efamous looks like a typical ad network, but I guess they passed PageRank through their link network, which is against Google's guidelines. Cutts also said they went after another "German agency network," but did not disclose which one that was. Here is Matt's tweet: Today we're taking action on a German link network (efamous) and a German agency network that violate our guidelines. — Matt Cutts (@m [...]


Google Now Targeting Italian & Spanish Link Spammers

google-links-featured Less than a month after Google targeted Polish link spammers and German link spammers, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts announced that the company is targeting more countries. Cutts announced warnings to Spanish and Italian webmasters and SEOs not to use unnatural links to promote their sites. He posted both announcements on Twitter and the localized Google Webmaster Blogs. Here is the Spanish warning on Twitter and it links to the Spanish webmaster blog at Google. A reminder (in Spanish) about unnatural/paid links and that we're willing to take action on them: http://t.co/uTBdJ [...]


Matt Cutts Video: How Google Determines What’s A Paid Link

google-war-links-featured Google head of search spam Matt Cutts released a pretty detailed video discussing the Google webspam team's criteria for determining whether a link is considered a paid link or not. There are five basic criteria Google uses in this determination. The first is the most obvious, is the link an explicit link for sale; then, the others are less obvious. The others include: how close is the value to money, is it a gift or a loan, what is the intent of the audience and is it a surprise or not. Explicit Link Sales Links that are explicitly sold for money are the most obvious. A webmaster sells a [...]


Hiding From That Google Penalty? It May Find You At Your New Home

hiding-afraid-scared-600 Did you know that even if you try to run away from your Google penalty, it might end up finding you anyway? In a recent Google Webmaster Hangout, hosted by Google's John Mueller, John said that even if you move your penalized site to a new domain name and don't redirect the penalized site, Google may still find it and pass along the bad signals. In the video, 23 minutes in, John answers my question about penalties following sites. He said that if the site is extremely similar and you simply move the site from domain A to domain B, that Google may pick up on the site move without you even gi [...]


Movie Sites Ranking Better In Google, Now That “Transient Issue” Fixed

slashfilm A couple days ago, we reported that Google was investigating an issue where several movie blogs lost their rankings in Google. The head of search spam Matt Cutts himself said, "I hope to dig into this soon." Well, he did and he restored the rankings for those movie blogs calling the ranking problem a "transient issue." Matt Cutts of Google told us: This was a transient issue that affected a small number of sites, and the issue is now fixed. It is indeed fixed. When I asked the owner of /Film, Peter Sciretta, if his traffic is back, he told me "yes, most of it but not all." Google told Pet [...]


Google Targets Two Polish Link Networks While Continuing To Target German Link Networks

google-poland-600 Google lead of search spam Matt Cutts posted on Twitter that Google has taken action on two link networks operated in Poland this week. Matt wrote that Google is "not done with Germany yet, but we just took action on two Polish link networks." The Google Poland Webmaster Blog posted a reminder today about unnatural links and how to submit a reconsideration request. Matt Cutts didn't drop a hint on which Polish link networks were specifically targeted, like he has done in the past. But he did specifically say Google did take action on two link networks within Poland. Here is Matt's twe [...]


Google To Look Into Movie Blogs Losing Traffic

the-internship-movie About eight different movie blog sites, including Slashfilm.com, have apparently lost traffic in Google — and the issue is big enough that Google is looking into it. The owner and editor of /Film called out to Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, about this issue on Saturday: @mattcutts any ideas why so many movie blogs are losing more than half their google traffic this past month? Very troubling. — Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) February 21, 2014 Cutts replied: @slashfilm I hope to dig into this soon. Sorry it's been a few days. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 22, 201 [...]


Suspected Paid-Link Penalty Hasn’t Hit Expedia Bottom Line — Yet

expedia-featured Yesterday online travel giant Expedia announced Q4 2013 and full year results. The company "beat the street," reporting strong room night and revenue growth across all geographies. So far a suspected penalty from Google hasn't hurt the company's bottom line. See our earlier stories: Expedia Lost 25% Of Their Search Visibility In Google Possibly Over Unnatural Links Expedia & Google: No Comment From Both About Possible Expedia Penalty Last month the site took what appears to be a major traffic hit, losing as much as 25 percent of its organic search traffic. Many believe this wa [...]


Google Penalized A Germany Agency & Their Clients For Link Schemes, Says Matt Cutts

google-war-links-featured Soon after Google has warned Germany SEOs about paid links and link schemes, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted on Twitter that they took action on a German agency and their clients for link schemes. Matt Cutts wrote, "this week we took action on a German agency's link network/clients." He added that Google will be going after more Germany link schemes in the near future. This was not unexpected, the other week, Matt Cutts also announced on Twitter that they targeted a French link network, that shut down shortly after the announcement. This time, Matt Cutts did not spec [...]


Google’s Latest Manual Action Penalty: Spammy Structured Markup

google-web-spam Google recently began sending a new manual action spam notification to webmasters for "spammy structured markup" also known as rich snippet spam. This comes after Google dropped 15% of the rich snippets, setting the bar higher for what sites are able to display rich snippets in the search results. The new manual action message from Google reads as follows: Spammy structured markup Markup on some pages on this site appears to use techniques such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violat [...]


Google Warns German Webmasters That Paid Links Violate Google’s Guidelines

links-danger-risk-featured Google head of search spam Matt Cutts posted on Twitter this morning another stern warning to German webmasters about a link penalty looming for them. Matt Cutts tweeted: A reminder (in German) that paid links that pass PageRank violate our guidelines: http://t.co/u1MpvL7kh4 — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 3, 2014   The blog post is written in German on the German Webmaster blog, which basically says Google reserves the right to issue penalties for unnatural links. It then goes through the process of explaining the types of unnatural links and how to submit a reconsiderati [...]


Google Is Not Broken

google logo - basic 570x270 In spite of what many think, Google is not broken. But wait, naysayers will say, Look at this search result, it stinks! This spammer is succeeding in ranking high, they emerged from nowhere and are now in the top three results! It's true -- there are many such examples that you can point to. Making sense of this landscape can be quite confusing, but that's what I will attempt to do in today's post. Firstly, there are two basic reasons why Google can be quite slow to address some of the problems you might find. 1. They Can Afford To Be Thoughtful And Patient Why, you ask? They have domi [...]


Google Takes Down Another Link Network, France’s Buzzea

google-cop-busted-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced on Twitter earlier this morning that Google has taken action on another "link network" named Buzzea. His tweet read, "Today we're taking action on a French link network that violates our quality guidelines (Buzzea)." In addition, Matt added that they are working on a German based link network, "today France; Germany soon," Matt added. This is the latest in a long number of link networks Google has been going after over the course of the past few years. Here are some of the more recent stories we have on Google going after link netwo [...]


Expedia & Google: No Comment From Both About Possible Expedia Penalty

Expedia appears to have been hit by a Google penalty related to unnatural links. So what do Google and Expedia have to say about the situation? No comment. As covered yesterday, the visibility of Expedia listings in Google appears to have recently plunged, according to measurements by Searchmetrics: This comes after accusations last month, which sparked discussion, that Expedia was obtaining links in a way that go against Google's guidelines. So, did Google punish Expedia and if so, for exactly what? Google told us: We typically don’t comment on specific companies regarding sea [...]


Rap Genius Back In Google After 10 Day Penalty, Ranks For Its Name But What About Lyrics?

road-to-recovery-featured Lyrics site Rap Genius says that it is no longer penalized within Google after taking action to correct "unnatural links" that it helped create. The site was hit with a penalty for 10 days, which meant people seeking it by name couldn't find it. That's been fixed, though it's unclear how much traffic the site will regain for generic lyrics searches. Rap Genius Back By Name In Google After the penalty, people couldn't find Rap Genius when searching for it on Google by name. Now, searches for "rap genius" show the site back at the top of Google's web search listings (though news headlines [...]


Google May Have Penalized Another Major Link Network: Ghost Rank 2.0

google-bomb-fuse-featured Google has significantly penalized another underground link network over the weekend and we believe that one of the link networks targeted by Google is named Ghost Rank 2.0. A few weeks ago, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, tweeted "Thinking of ghost-related puns for a spam network. "They try to look super natural, but using them will dampen your spirits." Then I noticed a nice number of webmasters complaining about a weekend Google update. From there, I received an anonymous tip from an SEO I trust in the industry that told me at least two link networks were significantly targe [...]


“Text Link Ads” Was Latest Hit By Google’s Actions Against Link Sellers

tla-logo On May 15th, we reported that Google targeted yet another link selling network that resulted in several thousand penalties. Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has revealed which link network was the target via Twitter last week. The target was one of the oldest, and arguably the most prominent, link selling brokers on the Internet, Text Link Ads. Matt said, "you might have noticed a big drop in PageRank on thousands of TLA linkselling sites a couple weeks ago." Matt added that this specifically targeted "capital TLA." The Text Link Ads web site currently has a PageRank of 6 but ac [...]


Google Zaps Another Link Network, ‘Several Thousand’ Link Sellers Hit

google-link-networks-featured What a week it's been where Google and SEO are concerned. The company, via Matt Cutts, has issued several warnings about things to come -- and, late Tuesday night, also revealed that it's just acted against another link network. In a pair of tweets, Cutts -- the head of Google's webspam team -- said that Google has taken action against "several thousand" link sellers that were part of a link network that bought and sold links that pass PageRank. In addition to mattcutts.com/blog/what-to-e… it's safe to assume webspam will continue to tackle link networks that violate our guidelines as we [...]


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