Google Charts “Manual Actions” Against Spam In Search For First Time

spam-featured How often does Google take "manual action" against websites for spam, where a human being reviews a site and decides it deserves some type of penalty? For the first time, Google's released a chart showing this, going back nearly 10 years. The chart is part of Google's new "How Search Works" area, and it stretches back from August 2004 to today (click to enlarge the chart): "Legacy" indicates manual actions that Google took that weren't classified into a more specific category, Google told me. Until around the end of 2007, most everything was either over "unnatural links" or "legacy" -- I.E [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts On “Will Search Spam Go On Forever”

cutts-russell-spam-forever Google's head of search spam, answered some questions in the Power Searching with Google Hangout on Air #2 on October 2nd. In that video, he was asked by fellow Googler, Dan Russell a Search research scientist at Google, will search spam go on forever? This question was asked about 36 minutes into the video, where Matt basically said he's team has done a great job but search spam will go on forever. Here is the video and the transcript (I did my best transcribing): Dan: There is this constant Spy vs Spy kind of thing… Matt: Yes. Dan: And you're the good spies and then there [...]

Study: Malicious Search Results More Common In Bing & Image Search

bing-b-logo Almost two of every three malicious redirects in major search engines are found on Bing, according to a new report from the web security firm Sophos. Looking at data "from the last couple of weeks," Sophos found that 65 percent of malicious search results that its web appliance blocked were from Bing. Google was responsible for 30 percent of the blocked redirects. Image search is particularly vulnerable to this kind of attack. In a separate chart, Sophos says that 92 percent of the malicious redirects that it found were in image search results. Sophos is using its own technol [...]

New UK Conservative Party Co-Chair Grant Shapps Founded Google Spamming Business

From TrafficPaymaster, content gathered by the software The UK's Conservative Party has a new co-chair, The Right Honourable Grant Shapps, Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield. Honorable except with Google, which considers the business he apparently founded to be pushing a tool designed to spam its search engine and fill its listings with rubbish. According to The Guardian, Shapps founded HowToCorp in 2005, a site that, among other products, pitches the TrafficPaymaster software. The software apparently "scrapes" or copies content from all over the web, from RSS feeds to even sets of search results, to automatically generate pages that proba [...]

Patent: How Google May Trick Search Spammers

uspto-logo The SEO community has been buzzing about a newly discovered Google Patent document named Ranking documents. The patent describes how Google may detect certain "rank modifying" techniques and then adjust the ranking of those documents using those techniques in a manner that will confuse the webmaster into thinking that technique did not work. The purpose is to observe how the webmaster (or spammer) reacts to the change and then make more observations based off the next set of changes the webmaster applies. Here is the specific clause that addresses this in the patent document: When a [...]

Intent, Content & Spamming – Is There A Difference?

The difference between intent and content is what Google is missing. [caption id="attachment_128943" align="alignright" width="240" caption="My White Hat Feels Dirty"][/caption] Keywords at their most basic level are what we use to communicate, and if you think back to those COM 101 days, you’ll remember that the way it works is our thoughts are encoded in our brains into words, those words are spoken or written, and then decoded by the brains on the other end. This is why when you say something, it may not come out (or be received) the way you meant it to be. If we think of our [...]

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 [...]

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