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Is Google Trying To Change It's Brand Image With Webmasters

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#1 clandestino

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:16 PM

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google is now sending notices to webmasters to tell them that unnatural links to their site are not being counted. --> http://www.seroundta...tion-15468.html
Here's the notice (after Google adjusted for webmaster complaints) --

We've detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We don't want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural. We recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links are outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole. If you are able to remove any of the links, please submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took. If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.

I think Google has taken a beating in The Court of Public Relations and they don't want Bing to use it to get a jump on them. What do you think?

Do you think this means that Google will withdraw the 4 month old unnatural link notices that they have done nothing about (no penalty, no response to Requests for Reconsideration)?

Edited by chuckfinley, 23 July 2012 - 05:28 PM.


#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:21 PM

I think it is absolutely, completely RIDICULOUS that Google doesn't just ignore links it doesn't like. That's all I have to say on the matter.

(and no, I have not ever gotten one of these notices on any of my sites, or any sites I've ever worked on, so I have no personal stake in the matter. i just have a strong opinion about it)

#3 clandestino

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 05:40 PM

i just have a strong opinion about it)

Here, here. So do I, have a strong opinion about it, that is; and we should should be mad.

I can't believe people won't stand up to Google. If many business owners, webmasters and SEO's made it a point to shift users to Bing, quit using Google products and broadcast that to the world (I envision a banner at the top of the website saying "Union 404 -- Google Mis-Treats Business Owners, Webmasters and SEO's. Use Bing for Search, Yahoo! for Content and buy an iPhone instead of an android (not capitalized for effect)" -- just kidding of course, LOL!) they would change.

Edited by chuckfinley, 23 July 2012 - 05:44 PM.


#4 jonbey

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:08 PM

That seems pretty clear .... 2 scenarios:
  • Get unnatural links message and ranking remains same - take no action
  • Get unnatural links messages and rankings drop - attempt to remove links and file reconsideration request.
Of course, if you get a message and rankings did not drop, and you hired an SEO in the past - take a look at those links and see if there is anything that might cause a penalty in the future. Be prepared!

#5 clandestino

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:52 PM

That seems pretty clear .... 2 scenarios:

  • Get unnatural links message and ranking remains same - take no action
  • Get unnatural links messages and rankings drop - attempt to remove links and file reconsideration request.
Of course, if you get a message and rankings did not drop, and you hired an SEO in the past - take a look at those links and see if there is anything that might cause a penalty in the future. Be prepared!

See how easy it is to work with Google -- and this is the "new improved/easier to work with" customer service plan, LOL!

And, of course, that implies that we really understand what they meant and they don't change their mind next week. This is bizarre, almost impossible to believe.

Edited by chuckfinley, 23 July 2012 - 06:52 PM.


#6 EGOL

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:22 PM

Google does not understand links. Google insists upon solving everything algorythmically. They refuse to stop banging their heads against the wall until they solve this problem. But they don't understand the root. "Don't strike at the root, we will solve this algorythmically!"

Even an oaf would know to find another route. But google can't admit failure. So they hammer on. They are fools. The sane ones run to Yahoo!

#7 clandestino

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:56 PM

"Don't strike at the root, we will solve this algorythmically!"

Even an oaf would know to find another route. But google can't admit failure. So they hammer on. They are fools. The sane ones run to Yahoo!

I think you're right and I also think there's an element of ego -- you don't make it easy for our algorithm and we'll (Google) make you pay.

You also bring up a good point -- Microsoft was the old evil empire.

My thinking is to even the playing field between Google, Bing and maybe a new player such as Blekko.

Keeps 'em honest and makes 'em want to serve you instead of themselves. I don't know of any other industry where a business can do what Google does.........Oh, yes I do -- Block Buster Video -- they're bankrupt. Took a long time, though. While they were in power, they sealed their fate. When competition arrived -- Netflix -- people coudn't leave Blockbuster fast enough. If Blockbuster gave their product away (and they tried) they couldn't have stopped it. It will happen just that way to Google too.

Let's not go out of business in the process, though. ;)

Edited by chuckfinley, 23 July 2012 - 09:00 PM.


#8 glyn

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 02:28 AM

I'm actually running a test because of something Michael said in another thread about sites that get unnatural links messages and because although I have my hunches I don't know for absolute whether or not there is a difference or not being played out, and if you stop testing you're dead!

One must surely ask the question however, what about all those agencies that do not plug their clients into Google Webmaster Tools and have therefore never seen or been aware of a warning. I have a few sites that have received such messages - yes, experimenting can be fun! - and so I've benchmarked literally every aspect of the current domain health, and have good comparative data going back over a number of years. It's going to be interesting to see if a site which is still ranking well, but has seen about a 12% drop in traffic will a) miraculously bounce back after the site is reconsidered, b) simply get a call from the Adwords team or c) see the existing pages that are ranking in the top 3 go out the window as well, as the site is reviewed.

Time will tell.

On a second point, I've been doing quite a lot of backlink auditing for clients and the such, and when you actually take the new guidelines to heart I don't think that you would end up with anything that would resemble a normal website, what with all the site-wide footers being interpreted as things to manipulate Page Rank. What is interesting is the impact that going through these guidelines is having on my understanding of how Google is ranking sites, and reflecting on how easy it would be for a competitor of mine to implement an "unnatural linking" strategy which cannot actually be undone by any action performed by the webmaster. This is one of the cases I am looking after at the moment.

In highly competitive niches I think one impact of all these changes is that Majestic or Ahrefs linking service is worth signing up for so that you can mark any negative spikes in traffic, but without a way to report these like Bing, you can't flag bad URLS and this leaves the door wide open for people to do nastyness and for innocent webmasters to fall foul of bad practice.

G.

#9 clandestino

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:52 PM

I'm actually running a test because of something Michael said in another thread about sites that get unnatural links messages and because although I have my hunches I don't know for absolute whether or not there is a difference or not being played out, and if you stop testing you're dead!

It will be interesting to hear about the results of your tests.

There is no doubt in my mind that Google has facilitated Negative SEO and it works against sites that aren't brands and don't have a strong link graph. The only way to protect yourself is look like a brand and have a strong link graph -- you'll probably need to find a way to get around 500,000 links with 5 - 10% in the high trust, authority group. Majestic SEO now provides a tool to track this.

500,000 links seem ominous, but anybody that knows how can do it. It'll take a while.......

Edited by chuckfinley, 24 July 2012 - 04:32 PM.


#10 clandestino

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:30 PM

If Google is going to start pointing out links that are unnatural, in their opinion, do you think that means that Google will withdraw the 4 month old unnatural link notices that they have done nothing about (no penalty, no response to Requests for Reconsideration, nothing)? Seems pretty inconsistent to point out the unnatural links in new notices while the other 700,000 webmasters are left to twist in the wind (not that that would surprise anyone). Don't you think?

Edited by chuckfinley, 24 July 2012 - 04:33 PM.


#11 iamlost

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:19 PM

I get the giggles every time I read about some disturbance in the force GWT.
A very small minority of sites are 'registered' there.
Most of those that are are focussed on GO (Google Optimisation), not to be confused with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
In other words it is a recurring drama within a disfunctional workplace.

The rest of us get on quite well.
We simply mind our own business, not Google's.
No notices from Google beyond an occasional AdSense or AdWords sales pitch.
We know that something is awry if Google traffic referral takes a dive.
Of course, not bothering with GO lowers the probability of transgressing a GG (Google Guideline) because they feed each other.

Ah well. Put on another pot of popcorn... Season 9 is coming... Gonna miss that MM though... may have to switch channels...

#12 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:33 PM

Well if you aren't registered with GWT then, no, you wouldn't get any notices. But of course, that doesn't mean you don't have a problem that WOULD get a notice if you were registered with GWT.

That's like not putting up a mailbox in front of your house, and then saying, I never get mail from the IRS that I owe them money.

Doesn't mean you don't owe them money.

#13 iamlost

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 06:16 PM

...that doesn't mean you don't have a problem that WOULD get a notice if you were registered with GWT.

As I said, if the traffic drops then you know.
So far, given the message examples I've read I'm not impressed. Of course I don't bother with the public games they get antsy about.
I just do not see the value - to me - in WMTs, either Google's or Bing's. For instance, I get a better idea of actual crawl and actual links via log files than they bother to 'share'. Much the same can be said for most of the services they proffer. Also, I like being quiet and my sites not being 'connected' by the SEs.

#14 clandestino

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 11:42 PM

As I said, if the traffic drops then you know.


Good point, but how do you respond and/or fiix it if your not on GWT?

Edited by chuckfinley, 24 July 2012 - 11:42 PM.


#15 glyn

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:29 AM

Good point, but how do you respond and/or fiix it if your not on GWT?


Thing is that Google has been applying penalties to sites pretty much since day one. It's just that people place (and rightfully with market share being what it is) a lot of importance on Google and people forget that a ban won't last for life, it can't do because otherwise I could just hit up a competitor with 10,0000,0000 links and they might find themselves out of the index but if they are not in WMT (and let's stop and reflect on the fact that Google went after SEO sites, so it therefore stands to reason that sites that did not have any SEO were playing by the rules and therefore being rewarded in terms of ranking) they would have no way of knowing.

So, any bans now as they have always been will be temporary. Micheal (that's the second time I've mentioned you in the same thread) indicated that a ban could be upwards of 5-6 years, which is not correct or unsubstantiated, and in the context of this problem, you might expect to see a 5 or 6 month ban.

Donna sums it up nicely in her post by basically saying "you have no idea".

Most of those that are are focussed on GO (Google Optimisation), not to be confused with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).


I don't know one single webmarketing agency that doens't put their sites into Webmaster Tools, so I think you're taking a little bit of a theological position, because the reality is different and they are doing SEO. The fact that a large proportion of those SEO agencies don't actually do SEO but simply do a modern day version of the ADDURL is a different story. :blushing:

Take what you will.

#16 jonbey

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:30 PM

Maybe the warnings are partly there to educate? Some people may hire SEOs and have no idea what they actually do and not be aware that some spammy actions can result in a manual penalty. By sending messages it is a way to say "you may want to ask your SEO people what they are doing". Of course, the really bad SEO companies manage the GWT account for their clients and fail to mention those little messages.

#17 clandestino

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:29 PM

So, any bans now as they have always been will be temporary.

Hey Glyn,

If I understand you correctly, you're saying -- penalties come and go just like a normal market fluctuation and you have no need to have Google tell you it's happening. They have their rules and timetable, we have ours ;) .

I hadn't ever looked at it that way, but it makes a lot of sense.

The problem I have is CEO's want certainty. There's way too much uncertainty in the world markets today for businesses to risk expansion. Calvin Coolidge (ever hear of the roaring 20's, Cal did that) used to say that calming the fears of business by creating certainty is the path to growth of the economy.

Google just adds to that uncertainty. Yes, I understand that businesses should diversify their risk by opening up many off-line and on-line channels. But the way it works in business, if one of those channels (even after diversification) stops producing, that may be the end of that CEO's job. Businesses put 100's of thousand of dollars into these websites and they can't afford a hiccup. They feel that way even though Google basically gives them protection through Google's significant bias towards brands.

Smaller companies don't get that same protection and can be successfully attacked by their competitors with a Negative SEO campaign (and Google decided to let that happen). They spend 10's of thousands of dollars on their websites and building their brands and they can't afford a hiccup -- that money comes straight out of their wallet and it may damage their brand and future earnings (post penalty). This is a level of uncertainty that can put them out of business.

Maybe they should have asked their SEO company what they were up to, but; what do you think the SEO company was going to say? To expect a business owner to supervise their SEO company is really saying they need to learn SEO themselves which is just not realistic -- they need to delegate to be successful.

Many of us started with SEO and built online businesses. Most business owners I run into built businesses first that take a lot of effort to run. Later the internet became a viable way to market it. The point is -- they didn't look for a business that was easy to run and the internet was their whole job. They have their hands full with the business and there is no time to learn SEO, which is no simple task.

I think that for online business owners that have created many online properties and aren't blown out of the water if one goes down, the long-term game is it and I agree -- disconnect from Google you're just giving Google a pipeline to all of the trade secrets related to your business. It's like putting a listening device in every office at your business.

For mid-level businesses that have put 10's of thousands of dollars into building a brand, it doesn't work so well. They stand to lose that investment with 6 months of down revenue (some businesses have lost 50%). They have to play Google's game. They would hope that Google would be fair about it, though.

That's that conundrum -- do I run my business Las Vegas style (by rolling the dice with Google) or have no business at all?

Actually there's a 3rd choice -- Do I do something about it?

Edited by chuckfinley, 26 July 2012 - 02:04 AM.


#18 clandestino

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:55 PM

Google could fix this. Links were their mistake and it didn't work -- where's Michael when you need him ;) . Call off the dogs and quit penalizing people for links.

Instead of a campaign of aggression, put the same effort into the next thing. It's Google's business, they created this mess and they should fix it.

Their resources will be better spent on research to solve this mess -- if they don't do it, the competition will. And when the competition does, Google won't have any friends left.

Edited by chuckfinley, 26 July 2012 - 02:00 AM.


#19 glyn

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:33 PM

Links worked at the start, and I don't claim anything just theorise

#20 clandestino

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:44 PM

Links worked at the start, and I don't claim anything just theorise

And good theories they are :wavey: .

I like links, it's the penalties I don't like, LOL!

Edited by chuckfinley, 25 July 2012 - 04:46 PM.




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