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Lawyers Sue SEO Firm For Violating Google Guidelines

lawsuit-600 A law firm in Michigan, Seikaly & Stewart, is suing its former SEO provider -- but not for a lack of ranking success. Rather, the firm is getting sued for allegedly using "spammy" techniques violating Google's guidelines. That comes via Eric Goldman. The defendant Rainmaker Institute, which specializes in online marketing services for the legal profession, is accused knowingly violating Google SEO guidelines by building "link farms" on behalf of the plaintiff's several legal domains. It's not clear from the complaint (also embedded below) whether the plaintiff law firm suffered a [...]


Google Hits eBay With Manual Penalty In Search Results

ebay-600 What really happened to eBay dropping in Google’s search results this week? A source familiar with the situation tells Search Engine Land that Google hit eBay with a manual penalty this week. A manual penalty is when a human being at Google reviews a site and decides that it deserves some type of slap. Previously, it was assumed eBay was hit by the Panda 4.0 Update that rolled out this week, where a wide-range of sites were with with automatic penalties. That might also be the case — eBay might have been hit by Panda in addition to a manual penalty, which was reported earlier by [...]


On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer

Google Cop Big MetaFilter is a news and discussion site dating back to the early years of the web. Founded in 1999, it's attracting attention this week after coming forward about how a Google penalty has severely harmed its business, to the degree of having to let staff go. It serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years. Google Hits Sites Large & Small If you just can't wait to get to the specifics of what happened to MetaFilter, scroll further down in this story now. But I'd encourage you to go through the background e [...]


Negative SEO From Links — What Can You Do If You’re Hit?

Negative SEO In this post, we cover the basics of negative search engine optimization (SEO) and look at what you can do to fight negative SEO link spam. This being a hot topic in the industry, I encourage readers to comment at the end of the article. What Is Negative SEO? First, let's take a moment to define negative SEO. Negative SEO is the act of performing some type of action that damages competitors' organic search rankings. There are many ways negative SEO can be done. Someone could hack a website and riddle the code with HTML hyperlinks or inject malware. Even making multiple duplicate copie [...]


Coupons, Coupon Codes, Promo Codes…When Content Is NOT King

coupons-discounts-600 A few years ago, I did some work for a comparison shopping/coupon website. Curious about how well the site was doing in regard to their SEO, I did a few search queries for some of the terms I remembered being big traffic drivers. I didn't see my former client on page one for the first few queries, so I kept going. Eventually, I noticed the following: Clicking the above result brought me to the page below (you can click for a larger version): [caption id="attachment_189607" align="aligncenter" width="600"] (Click to enlarge.)[/caption] I was taken aback by the fact that a site [...]


Google Provides More Clarity Around Sneaky Redirects Against Their Guidelines

google-search-quality-guidelines Google announced on their Webmaster blog that they have updated two of their guideline documents to improve the clarity around what sneaky redirects are against Google Webmaster Guidelines. Google has expanded their guidelines to ensure webmasters are aware that using sneaky redirects through mobile site detection and redirection, is not allowed if the content is not the same. An excerpt from Google's revised guidelines indicate a situation where "desktop users receive a normal page, while mobile users are redirected to a completely different spam domain," as not in accordance with Google's [...]


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 [...]


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