How A Single Guest Post May Have Gotten An Entire Site Penalized By Google

google-penalty-600 Google made it clear earlier this year that those doing guest posts "for SEO purposes" might be subject to penalties. But the latest chapter in its war on guest posts feels a bit crazy: an entire site put into Google's penalty box because of a single guest post that Google didn't like. Your Entire Site Has Been Penalized By Google The situation involves DocSheldon.com, run by Doc Sheldon, a long-time SEO. Sheldon recently discovered that he'd been issued a penalty against his entire site, as he shared in an open letter to Google: As you can see from the penalty report above, Google decide [...]


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 [...]


Someone Outranking You With Your Own Content? Use The New Google Scraper Report

google scraper One of the most frustrating experiences for any publisher is discovering that someone not only has copied your content but outranks you on Google for searches related to that content. Now, Google seems to have heard the complaints and has launched a tool to help. Called the Google Scraper Report, it was announced by the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts on Twitter: If you see a scraper URL outranking the original source of content in Google, please tell us about it: http://t.co/WohXQmI45X — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 27, 2014 The Google Scraper Report form doesn't pro [...]


When The Best SEO Move Is To Kill The Site

computer-destroy-smash-600 The contents of the following column are based on real circumstances. Certain elements have been changed to respect the privacy of each site. Imagine there are two websites. Here are their basic profiles: Site One is an e-commerce company and website launched in 2013 that sells nutritional supplements, based in Atlanta, Georgia. They sell to anyone in the US and are heavily dependent on PPC and organic search traffic for their revenue. Due to their insanely high monthly PPC spend, they have also been link building since the day the site launched. They hired a local SEO firm to d [...]


Open Letter: Why Search Engine Land Will & Won’t Cover Someone Being Penalized By Google

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 It's been big news recently about major brands and Google penalties, and the floodgates feel open on people spotting even more brands possibly hit out there. Some new crackdown by Google? No. It's the rise of hyperactive attention in this area, and that's turning into a problem. Hence this open letter, on how we're planning to address "public penalty reports" here at Search Engine Land. In Summary: Penalties Aren't Always Newsworthy The TL;DR is this. We're not going to be writing about every brand that is suspected to be hit by a Google penalty. Unless there's some exceptional news value, t [...]


5 Times Google Penalized Itself For Breaking Its Own SEO Rules

google-jail-600 Make no mistake. Plenty of sites -- big brands included -- willingly do things in an attempt to rank better on Google that go past SEO tactics that Google itself considers acceptable. However, there's also no better poster child for how complicated and confusing Google's rules can be than the fact that Google has had to punish itself with penalties over and over again. Below, a look back on times when Google took action against itself. FYI, this is a companion piece to our related story on Marketing Land today: 10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google. Be sure to also check that out [...]


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 [...]


How SEO Greed Can Ruin A Perfectly Good Linking Strategy

rapgenius-logo By now, you are likely aware of the Rap Genius "Tweet In Exchange For Anchor Text" link scheme, hencefore to be known as TieFating. Barry Schwartz reported last week on John Marbach's exposé of the popular music site, Rap Genius, which had started an "affiliate" program in order to get links pointing to their website. After it was exposed, Matt Cutts, head of Google's Webspam team, said, "we’re aware and looking into it." The site was then officially penalized for link schemes. [caption id="attachment_180758" align="alignright" width="300"] Links can do many things, but don't get [...]


Google Has Officially Penalized Rap Genius For Link Schemes

google-cop-busted-featured Google has penalized Rap Genius for link schemes this morning. If you go to Google and search for [rap genius], rapgenius.com will not be found on the first page. Instead you will find links to their Twitter account, Facebook page, Wikipedia profile and stories like this about them being penalized by Google. But you won't find rapgenius.com on the first page. Here is a picture: As we covered the other day, Rap Genius was using link schemes to manipulate Google's rankings. It was brought to Google's attention, where the head of search spam, Matt Cutts, said we’re aware and looking i [...]


Google Is Looking Into Rap Genius Linking Scheme Masked As Affiliate Program

google-cop-police-featured Yesterday, John Marbach exposed the popular music side, Rap Genuis, for starting an "affiliate" program in order to get unnatural links pointing to their web site. After it was exposed, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, said, "we're aware and looking into it." Here is the Facebook post, which is still live, on their Facebook page: When John Marbach emailed them, they asked that he link to their site with keyword rich anchor text. In exchange for the links, Rap Genius will tweet out a link to their post and that will result in him getting "massive traffic." Here is a copy of t [...]


Matt Cutts Implies Google Is Aware Of SEOs Bribing Bloggers

matt-cutts-links On Friday night, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts tweeted a link to a Gawker story named Shady Marketing Firms Are Still Quietly Bribing Bloggers. Matt said, "we're taking action on hundreds of buyers, dozens of sites, & dozens of spammy writers," in reference to that story. It is hard to say if Google has taken action or is looking to take action in the near future against sites using this technique but it is clear, Google knows about it. The technique is not about going to the site owner and selling links through the owner of the site. Instead, it is going directly to the repo [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts On Search Spammers: “We Want To Break Their Spirits”

matt-cutts-featured In episode number 227 of This Week in Google on the TWiT network, Google's head of search spam Matt Cutts answered some questions from the hosts Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis. In one question, Matt explained that Google aims to "break the spirits" of spammers in order to encourage them to change their course of action. The question was posed to Matt from Jeff Jarvis, a well-known journalist and professor, asking him what he learned about the psychology behind spam and spammers. Matt responded that to reduce spam, it is not just about denying the primary goal of earning money but frustrating t [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: When Commenting On Blog Posts, Try To Use Your Real Name

Matt Cutts Video Screen capture In a recent video published by Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts talks about are blog comments with links spam? In short, most of the time, commenting and leaving links to your site or resources is not directly spam but like anything, it can be abused. Matt offers some tips on how to make sure your comments are not considered spam by Google or the site you are leaving it on: (1) Use your real name when commenting. When you use a company name or anchor text you want to rank for, it makes it look like you are leaving the comment for commercial marketing purposes and thus may look [...]


How To Leave Anonymous Business Reviews In Google+

CreateaPage For a long time, I've had some doctor friends complaining to me that once Google Places changed over to the new Google+ format, all their patients lost the ability to leave anonymous reviews (thus hurting their business and their rankings). They asked me what to do; and I, in turn, asked my fellow SEO friends what to do. No one really had a good answer, except to start leaving reviews on doctor-specific sites like healthgrades.com and vitals.com. That never seemed like a good answer to me, so I kept searching. Even answers from Google staff (in Google Groups) don't shed much light on th [...]


The Structured Data Brouhaha At SMX East: Clarifying Contentious Issues

schema-logo If you attended the Structured Data Superstars session at SMX East earlier this month, you probably witnessed a very brief interchange between myself and Googler Pierre Far at the end of the session. Pierre woke everyone up by stating that some of the semantic markup recommendations I'd presented would be considered "spam" by Google. It was quite a gut-clencher for me, particularly because it was so completely unexpected -- and because I've long considered myself a fairly conservative, white-hat sort of search marketer. Not the reception I was aiming for by a long shot! I asked for spec [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: User Redirection Based On Location Is Not Spam

Matt Cutts Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a video yesterday clearly stating the geo-location or redirecting users based on their location is not spam. Google will not consider a site that uses geo-location techniques as spam. What Google does consider spam is when you redirect GoogleBot to a web page of content that users cannot see. That is considered spam and a form of cloaking, according to Google's guidelines. Google expects you treat GoogleBot as a user accessing your web site from the United States. Here is the video from Matt: Related Stories: Google Says No Co [...]


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 [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: Spammers Rarely Spam Using Multiple ccTLDs

google-web-spam In a recent video answer by Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, Google said that spammers rarely use multiple or mass number of ccTLDs in an effort to spam. This comment came from Matt Cutts when he answered a question on if it is duplicate content to have the same content on an IPv4 and IPv6 web sites. Matt said this is not a spam or duplicate content issue. Matt said it is like to having similar content on multiple country domain names and thus this is okay. Google's head of search spam then added that even spammers aren't likely to use multiple country domain names in an [...]


Google’s Cutts: Auto-Generated Content & Search Results In Our Index Violate Our Guidelines

google-search-quality-guidelines In a recent video from Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, Matt discussed a pretty obvious spam tactic that Google will take action on. The question was Does Google take action on automatically generated pages that provide no added value? The answer is, yes. Of course, Google is not perfect and if you see examples of auto-generated content that is found in the search results that do not add value, such as search results pages or scrapped content, Google wants you to submit a spam report. In fact, Google has a document specifically about this webmaster guidelines violation named [...]


Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]


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