Google Lifts Ban On iAcquire; Company Blogs Of Being Reformed

iacquire-logo iAcquire, banned by Google in late May after allegations of buying links for clients, has now has been restored to the Google index after two months. The company has blogged about the news and changes to its business model. iAcquire never says itself that it was banned over buying links for clients. Instead, it uses the "financial compensation" euphemism it has used before. From the post: Google’s war on paid links came close to home when we were accused of buying links for clients, which subsequently led to Google’s big hand swinging hard on the back of our head. We admitted that f [...]

Google’s New Stance On Negative SEO: “Works Hard To Prevent” It

Google’s admitted the possibility of "negative SEO" for years. But in the wake of the Penguin Update, some have claimed it’s now easier than ever. Does a new change by Google in its help pages acknowledge this? Google’s admitted the possibility of negative SEO since at least 2007. On its help page, it previously had said this about "negative SEO," a term used to describe a way a competitor might harm another site: There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you're concerned about another site linking to yours, we su [...]

Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO

google-penguin-featured It's been about two weeks since Google launched its Penguin Update. Google's happy the new spam-fighting algorithm is improving things as intended. But some hurt by it are still wondering how to recover, and there remain concerns about "negative SEO" as a threat. I caught up with Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam team, on these and some related questions. Penguin: "A Success" The goal of any algorithm update is to improve search results. So how's Penguin been for Google? "It's been a success from our standpoint," Cutts said. What About Those Weird Results? Of course, soon after [...]

Google Launches “Penguin Update” Targeting Webspam In Search Results

google-penguin-featured Google has announced that it is releasing a new search algorithm that it hopes will better catch people who spam its search results or purposely do things to rank better that are against Google's publishers guidelines. Going live today, Google says the "Penguin Update" will impact about 3% of search queries. From the company's posts on the Inside Search and Google Webmaster Central blogs: In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This alg [...]

Faking A Breadcrumb Trail To Stand Out On Google

google-report-rich-snippet-spam-1327585548 Google Rich Snippets are an outstanding way for webmasters to get more exposure for their pages in the Google search results. Using them, you can add add images, review stars and more to your listings. But for some webmasters, that is not enough. Back in November I noticed HTML entities working in Google's breadcrumb rich snippets, and I am a bit shocked to see they still work. A reader anonymously sent us another example, showing the breadcrumb rich snippets with stars. It reads SEO ★★★★★ Rated! Here is a screen shot, I tried to hide the offending site the best I could: [...]

Google Sending Warnings About “Artificial” Or “Unnatural” Links

links-danger-risk-featured Have you recently gotten a warning from Google about having "artificial" or "unnatural" links pointing at your site? Google says this isn’t a fresh crackdown on link networks but rather a change from bad links being "silently distrusted" to being more vocal about this type of penalty. Warnings Issued Many people have reported getting messages from Google regarding link violations. If you scan the Google Webmaster Help forums, for instance, you will see many examples of these being posted. Here is how one reads: Dear site owner or webmaster of .... We've detected that some of your s [...]

Google Eliminates Another Link Network, – Just One Of Several?

google-link-networks-featured The battle between Google and those trying to artificially manipulate its search results is an ongoing battle. Google on March 19th took down one of those blog/link networks named confirmed Google has deindexed an "overwhelming majority" of their network as of March 19, 2012. The management of has decided to immediately shut down their service and provide refunds to customers. thought that Google would allow their network since they felt they provided "better quality service," which was a "bit different from other networks. [...]

Too Much SEO? Google’s Working On An “Over-Optimization” Penalty For That

cutts-over-optimization Google's Matt Cutts announced that Google is working on a search ranking penalty for sites that are "over-optimized" or "overly SEO'ed." Matt announced this during a panel Search Engine Land's Editor-In-Chief, Danny Sullivan and Microsoft's Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing at SXSW named Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!. The audio for the session has been published where I learned that Google has been working on a new penalty that targets site's that overly optimize for search engines for the past few months. Matt Cutts said the new over optimization penalty will be i [...]

Google Chrome’s Paid Link Penalty Now Lifted

google-chrome-penalty-free Google has lifted the 60-day paid link penalty Google Chrome was given the first week of January. Now if you search for [chrome], [browser] or similar searches, the Google Chrome landing page will once again show up on the first page of the search results. Here is a picture showing the page ranking in position number for on Google: As you may remember, right after the New Years, Google was caught running a sponsored post campaign for Chrome. After a day or so, Google's Matt Cutts applied a link penalty to the Google Chrome landing page for 60 days. Now, about days later, Googl [...]

Chrome’s Market Share Drops In January; Was It Due To Google’s Penalty?

google-chrome-shock-featured After 17 straight months of gains in market share, Google's Chrome web browser dropped 0.17 percent in January, and the company that tracks browser market share suggests that it's because Google penalized Chrome after a botched sponsored blog post campaign. The figures come from Net Applications, which says it tracks about 160 million unique visits per month to a worldwide network of more than 40,000 sites. According to Net Applications, Firefox and Safari also saw market share losses in January. While they were declining, Microsoft's Internet Explorer gained 1.09%, its biggest monthly g [...]

Google’s Chrome Page No Longer Ranks For “Browser” After Sponsored Post Penalty

google-chrome-penalty-featured Searches for "browser" no longer bring up the Google Chrome home page after Google applied a penalty against the page because of Google's own sponsored post campaign. Google said even though it felt there were no "remaining violations" of its guidelines, the search engine's spam fighting team was going to reduce the PageRank value of the Google Chrome home page, which in turn lead to today's ranking decrease. From the statement Google sent us: We've investigated and are taking manual action to demote and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 day [...]

Google: Yes, Sponsored Post Campaign Was Ours But Not What We Signed-Up For

google-g-logo-96x100 It's been about a day since we covered Google's sponsored post campaign to promote its Chrome browser, a campaign that produced posts that violate Google's guidelines against "thin" content and potentially those against buying links. Yes, it was a Google campaign, but not what the company says it signed-up for. One agency is falling on its sword; another is saying no paid links were purchased. Let's piece through what we've got. Google: We Only Meant To Buy Online Ads Google has sent me this statement: Google never agreed to anything more than online ads. We have consistently avoided paid [...]

Google’s Jaw-Dropping Sponsored Post Campaign For Chrome

google-chrome-shock-featured Google, the company that has been fighting against paid links and "thin" content, seems to be behind a campaign that's generating both on behalf of its Chrome browser. File this under "what were they thinking." "This Post Sponsored By Google" Aaron Wall wrote about the campaign today at SEO Book, spotting how a search for "This post is sponsored by Google" brings back over 400 pages written apparently as part of a Google marketing campaign: We're checking with Google for confirmation that the company is behind the campaign, but expect a response to be delayed, as Google's PR department [...]

Welcome Back CO.CC To Google

welcome-home Six months ago, Google delisted all sites on a domain name. Today, they seem to have all returned. A search for [] currently returns 105,000,000 results. Google originally delisted the subdomains because Google saw a "very large fraction of sites" on that subdomain to be "spammy or low-quality" and felt it was warranted, in this case, to simply block the whole subdomain from showing up in Google's results. I am not sure if this change was intentional or a bug where after we write about it Google will delist the subdomains again. Here is what the resu [...]

Google: Parked Domains, Scraper Sites Targeted Among New Search Changes

google-g-logo-96x100 In what's now to be a monthly update on search changes, a new Google "Inside Search" blog post today tells us that life is getting tougher for those with parked domains, life may get better for those plagued by scraper sites and those hoping to "push down" negative listings may have a tougher challenge. New Monthly Search Update The news comes from a post to the Google Inside Search blog, itemizing ten search-related changes that have been made. Google did a similar post like this last month, and now it confirms this will be a monthly update on what it considers to be noteworthy changes b [...]

The Meta Keywords Tag Lives At Bing & Why Only Spammers Should Use It

keywords-meta-tags-featured I was happy. I was joyful. I thought the meta keywords tag had finally died last year. But Bing recently said that it does use it. After some back-and-forth, I can confirm further that it does, but as a signal for finding spammers, not for improving rank. Meta Keywords Tag 101 If you want the history of the meta keywords tag, how it emerged, how it declined, how to use it if you stupidly decide you still want to, see my detailed post from the past, Meta Keywords Tag 101: How To "Legally" Hide Words On Your Pages For Search Engines. Surprise! Bing Says Meta Keywords Is A Signal But really, [...]

Google Signals Upcoming Algorithm Change, Asks For Help With Scraper Sites

google-duplicate-scraping-featured Google is calling for help in identifying a long-running problem: scraper sites in its search results -- and particularly scraper sites that are ranking higher than the original page. Matt Cutts, the head of Google's spam fighting group, put out the call for help on Twitter this morning: Scrapers getting you down? Tell us about blog scrapers you see: We need datapoints for testing. The link leads to a Google Doc form that asks for the exact query where there's a "scraping problem," along with the exact URLs of the original and scraper pages. The form explains that [...]

Google’s Spam Report Page Gets “Biggest Refresh” In Years

spam-computer Google has completely redone the spam report form inside of Google Webmaster Tools, and in announcing it on Twitter tonight, Matt Cutts called it "the biggest refresh of our spam report form in, oh, say 10 years." If you're logged in to Webmaster Tools, the new spam report page is accessible at And calling it a "page" is something of a misnomer because Google has turned what used to be one simple form into a mini-site with eight links for more information about various types of problems. Rather than a single spam report form, there ar [...]

Google Disables URL Removals After Bug Allows Anyone To Remove Any Site

Google Webmaster This morning, James Breckenridge discovered a loophole within Google's Webmaster Tools that allowed anyone to remove any site from Google. Both James and I sent this information to Google as soon as we heard of it. After several hours, Google has told us, "we're still investigating this report, and to be cautious we disabled all URL removals earlier this morning." So now, if you even own a site, you won't be able to remove the site or pages from the site using Google's URL removal tool. How did this loophole work? Pretty simple as James described. You use the following URL when logged [...]

Google’s Locksmith Spam Problem Hits The New York Times

google-maps-seattle-featured The New York Times' interest in the underbelly of SEO continues today with an article that details Google's struggle to fight locksmith spam in Google Places. While not as deep as the Times' recent articles on J.C. Penney's SEO tactics and floral industry SEO, it nevertheless casts Google -- again -- as unable to keep up with the tide of SEO spam. Today's article covers locksmith spam in Seattle -- more specifically, the search query "emergency locksmith Seattle." The image above shows what that search looks like now, but when the article was written, the Times says that seven local lis [...]

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