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 [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts On Hidden Text Using Expandable Sections: “You’ll Be In Good Shape”

Image via  under license In the latest video answer from Google's head of search spam Matt Cutts, he answers a question about "hiding" text in JavaScript/AJAX-like expandable menus. Matt said that generally this practice is acceptable within Google's webmaster guidelines, if and only if, it is being done in a non-spammy way. Use of expandable content sections is very popular across the Web and used by large e-commerce sites and content sites to make the content on the page less threatening and more welcoming. Matt said there are very good reasons to implement expandable content sections, but if you are doing it [...]

Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links Like A Techie

An Unnatural Link Warning from Google Webmaster Tools You've been in business for many years. You may have done it all on your own, or you may have enlisted the aid of unscrupulous SEO "services" to built links for you. Either way, you may be wondering whether you need to conduct a link clean up. This column contains a five-step process outlining how to determine if you have a problem, how to analyze it, and then how to clean it up. But first: Unnatural Links Warning = Problem If you get this message, you have a problem. Skip to step two. [caption id="attachment_166889" align="aligncenter" width="505"] An Unnatural Link Warning from Googl [...]

Google To Take Action Against Fake Search Results Injected Into Browser History

google-penalty-square Google made a clear stance late Friday on the Google Webmaster blog that they will not tolerate webmasters pushing deceptive search results to searchers through the use of browser history spamming techniques. The technique uses a method of detecting a click on the browser's back button. When clicked, a user is not sent back to the page they came from, i.e. the search results, but rather a page that looks like search results. Google explained, a "users click the "back" button on their browser, they land on a new page that they've never visited before." This only happens when the user is " [...]

Google: That Mozilla Penalty Only Impacted One Page Out Of 22 Million

mozilla We reported yesterday that Google penalized Mozilla over user generated content. Today, we learn that it was a really, really small penalty that only impacted a single page out of Mozilla's ~22 million webpages. Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, added more to the Google thread explaining that this manual penalty was applied in a very granular way. In fact, it only impacted a single page on Mozilla's domain name, Matt Cutts wrote: In this particular case, it was the url that we took action on, and that w [...]

Bing: Our Search Results Do Not Infect Users, “Malware Study Was Wrong”

bing-search-featured Bing has responded to the malware study conducted by AV-TEST earlier this week, claiming that Bing search results led to five times more malware than Google. To that Bing said, "the conclusions many have drawn from the study are wrong." Why is the study wrong according to Bing? While Bing may show potentially infected search results, Bing clearly labels results that may be infected and this study did not consider that. Bing said the study's methodology used the Bing Search API, which does not contain a malware label, like the core search results screen does. Bing said, "AV-TEST di [...]

Yandex Takes Exception To Search Malware Study

yandex-logo-200px Yandex has taken exception to a recent study that reported it has more malware in its search results than other major search engines like Google and Bing. The company shared its concerns with Search Engine Land via email, saying that it also sent the same response to AV-TEST, the German IT security firm that published the findings from an 18-month search/malware study. We reported on the study yesterday after PC Mag was first to report on it. The AV-TEST study examined more than 13 million Yandex search results and found malware in about .024 percent -- twice the percentage of malware it [...]

Google Beats Bing, Yandex & Blekko At Keeping Malware Out Of Search Results [Study]

computer-hacking-malware-feature About three years ago, Google was labeled in one study as the "King of Malware." Things have apparently changed a lot since then. A new study reports that Google is beating its primary search competitors pretty significantly when it comes to keeping malware out of search results. The 18-month study (PDF), done by a German IT security group called AV-TEST, reviewed more than 40 million web pages -- the vast majority (about 38 million) coming from Google, Bing, Yandex and Blekko. The results: About .0025 percent of Google's search results were links to malicious websites. Blekko was [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Be The Sucker That Buys The Spammy Domain

cutts-domain-spammed Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted a video answer to the question "Can I buy a domain that used to have spam on it and still rank?" Matt explains that there can be two penalties here, one on the manual side and one on the algorithmic side. If this was a manual penalty, you can fix the spam and submit a reconsideration request. Manual spam also has a time out, where the penalty will auto-expire if the spam is cleaned up. If it was an algorithmic penalty, then you need to wait until the algorithm picks up on the changes. Plus, if the spam was very aggressive, it would be much [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts Awarded Patent On Detecting Hidden Text & Hidden Links

matt-cutts-smx-2-featured A new Google patent was awarded today named Systems and methods for detecting hidden text and hidden links. The patent was filed on August 25, 2009 by Google's Matt Cutts and Fritz Schneider. It was awarded today after being in pending status for over 3 years. The abstract reads: A system detects hidden elements in a document that includes a group of elements. The system may identify each of the elements in the document and create a structural representation of the document. The structural representation may provide an interconnection of the group of elements in the document. The syste [...]

Web Spam Archive Tool Saves Google’s Live Spam For More Than Just Recent Results

Full-Tool One of the more interesting aspects of Google's recently released "How Search Works" interactive infographic were the live examples of spam that were recently removed. The features allows users to see live spam that was recently removed (once they clicked through the disclaimer that offensive material may be included.) Just 4 days later our own RustyBrick (the company of our very own Barry Schwartz) has released a Web Spam Archive Replay tool that aggregates and saves the spam examples. Google appears to only provide 48 examples at a time, but this  tool allows users to flip through m [...]

Interflora Is Back: What Did They Fix & How Did They Come Back So Fast?

flowers-featured Interflora got penalized only 2 weeks ago, right after Valentine’s day with a huge coverage in the media and also a some-what indirect statement from Google’s Matt Cutts himself about Advertorials also counting as paid links if they pass Page Rank (i.e. do not have NOFOLLOW tags on them). Now, just this past Sunday, a week before Mother’s day in UK, they are already back for most of their rankings. Many wonder how that recovery was possible so quick and we’ll look at what was changed and what was cleaned up. More Than Advertorials As we could see in the Interflora Deep Dive Analy [...]

Google’s Cutts: We Don’t Ban Sites Critical Of Google, But Here Is Why We Do Penalize Sites…

google-penalty-square In the latest video from Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, he addresses Google's standards for manually removing spam from the Google index. Matt Cutts first said and repeated it a couple times within the video that Google will not penalize or ban a site that is being critical of Google. Matt said: "One thing that we don't do it is just say or someone has been critical of Google, therefore take action. We're big believers in the Voltaire saying of I might not agree with what you say but I'll defend to death your ability to say it. So just because you're critical of Google that's no [...]

Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty

interflora-featured Interflora, the major UK flower delivery service, is showing up again in Google's search results -- just 11 days after it was penalized. According to some tweets and posts on Google+, Chris Gilchrist was first to spot Interflora's resurrection today. As you can see in the screenshot above, Interflora is ranking again on searches for its company name, and its Google+ brand box is appearing again on the right side of the search results. (As Dan Barker pointed out on Google+, that wasn't showing during the penalty.) Based on my searches here in the US, Interflora is also ra [...]

WATCH: Google Now Shows Live Examples Of Spam Removed From Its Search Results

google-web-spam In Google's new How Search Works, Google is showing real live examples of spam that was recently removed from their search index. Most of these examples are of pure spam, as Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan explained in his write up, Google Charts “Manual Actions” Against Spam In Search For First Time. Most of the examples are spam removed from the index within the past hour or so. You can see them live over here, but note some of the examples given can be offensive. Google warns users, "these screenshots are generated automatically and are not manually filtered. Wh [...]

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