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Google New Year's wish #1
better communication with webmasters when they've run into problems

 11:08 pm on Dec 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Imagine telling your employees that they are laid off on Christmas Eve due to being blocked by Google.

We are not yet out of money and if we get unblocked this week or next we would not do the lay off.

However... there is no communication with Google on this type of issue (almost none, the Google team did send us a reply informing us that we have been blocked due to inadequate quality to determine Page Rank.)

We have increased our quality but now what?

My #1 wish is the same as Google Guy's.



 9:59 am on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ignorance is no excuse

yes, you are right, but mistakes (also by over ambition) are human.


 10:46 am on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

If Google is that important, use AdWords while they sort the problem out. Stop it when the problem is sorted out.

As stated above, you can't rely on Google for all your income.

Imagine this sStrange scenario:

1) Yahoo buys Inktomi (?)
2) Yahoo buys Google (Very realistic possibility, assuming they have the funds)
3) Yahoo mixes algorithms together, the result is more like Ink than GG
4) Engines that used either Ink or GG are fed the new algo, including GG itself

This could all happen within weeks of now. You wont just be sacking your emplyees - but yourself as well.


 11:22 am on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Being Google is THE source of meaningful traffic, I know it must be a blow to you. Yet, there really is no other way. How much did Google charge you to have that site or sites listed? It costs money to "communicate". Not only that, but realistically if everything was completely "spelled out" for everyone and held by the hand and nursed when in failure, think of what a madhouse this would create? SEO would be an afterthought, as what it takes to get decent ranking would be static and it would then just boil down to what major Corporation or Syndicate has the most money to implement a clear command in any given segment or the entire virtual economy. No thanks!

It seems to me to be pretty common knowledge how to get listed nicely without breaking the rules. Still, the rules change all the time and it all boils down to how close you are willing to dance on the right side of that line that wiggles from side to side. Google has canned a number of my listings, many times. Yet in truth, I don't blame them as I understand their position. I strongly believe that I am allowed to exist by Google. Perhaps they reckon I have done more work than any of the others I am up against. Not that I do anything willfully to break any rules. I don't. Yet, there is a grey area. I do my best to stay on the right side but I snafu from time to time and pay the price. I chalk it up as a painful lesson, and get back to work. Google does not owe me anything and regardless of how many times I do get banned or penalized; I find them unbiased and fair when all is considered. Would I say this after having sites banned? Yes, as I have many times.

Read their do's and don'ts. Read them carefully. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, they have a job to do too.


 1:55 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

One thing I must ask 10k_Guy: are you guilty of any of the things that Google listed in that reply letter? Basically, that letter is saying your site has been given the Google Death Penalty. If so, as someone else posted if you do the crime then expect to do the time. What I'm wondering is if perhaps you are innocent, and got caught in a flaky filter at Google?


 6:10 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Imagine telling your employees that they are laid off on Christmas Eve due to being blocked by Google.

If I were an employee who was laid off because the company's site had been blocked by Google, I might wonder why management had irresponsible enough to use sleazy SEO tactics that resulted in a Google penalty.


 6:18 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well google landed a new .au and the christmas logos etc are cute as per usual... but I thought I asked for no force?
why do we not land on google.com if that is what we want?
why do search engines so insist on forcing us to do what they want.. are they trying to take too much control?

if I want google.com.au I expect I will ASK
if I want google.com I expect to get there.?


 7:40 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

>if I want google.com.au I expect I will ASK
>if I want google.com I expect to get there.?

excell, there's a link Google.com [google.com] that is on all country specific (TLD) google index pages. The link allways brings you to the "original" Google.com index.

Don't you think, that's a nice user friendly thing to get transported to your country's google database? However, you can ovveride it and save your personal preferences (cookie). I'd say, that is cool!


 7:44 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)


Excellent positive suggestion.


Communication is key in any relationship. You seem to be suggesting that Google is merely suffering us. It's my contention that this is symbiotic relationship and Google needs us as much as we need Google. Without our content people have nothing to search for on Google. Without an organized way of searching our content is not of much use. With that in mind why can't we work to understand each other better? Why not ask for the infromation we feel we need? I believe GoogleGuy is doing just that when he lurks here and asks for OUR feedback.

I believe that those who break the rules should suffer the penalty. However, I also believe that if you suffer a penalty and are innocent the mistake should be rectified as quickly as the punsihment was dealt.

I don't believe that more detailed explanation of what a site has done to get banned would break Google as an expense. I also don't believe that Google would be giving away any secrets.


Goof point


You've been pretty silent here. So, I have to ask and please be honest.

Are you guilty of what you are accused of?


 9:25 pm on Dec 25, 2002 (gmt 0)


I see your point, but there still HAS to be a grey area in order for any search engine such as Google. I've learned a great deal of great info by reading GoogleGuy's posts. He has made myself aware of several unwritten rules, not disclosed on the Google site, that I have broke. I correct myself and move on. With time, the sites do eventually return. Google does not have to tell myself or anyone else why they have decided to can any of my sites. I paid them nothing, and it is their engine. For someone to suggest that they should get a "walkthru" when running into difficulty is absurd in my opinion. Think of all the resources that would take...and this coming from an engine that does not do Pay-Per-Inclusion. The greatness in Google is in their current stance. I do not think it is broken, so a "fix" in this realm is a pretty mute point.

This board discusses many methods of achieving decent page ranking. Folks call it SEO while others cry afoul and proclaim, "SPAM". If the rules were static and in black and white this would only help to create a blueprint for anyone to make "SPAM" or "SEOed Sites". In all I think they are the same. When you break it all down, the only folks who are innocent are perhaps a few "newbies" who make up a very small percentage of the actual sites in Google with decent pagerank. If Google were to go thru the engine and start canning all sites that showed any trace of "SEO" or "SPAM", I think the top pages would be from what is now on the 4th or 5th page. Would this be fair? SEO or not, generally speaking the folks who are at the top of the results right now are the ones who put the most work into their business. The folks further down in the results cry and complain but someone has to be at the top. What is really jaded is that 95% of the Webmasters who complain use the same exact "tactics" that those at the top use but to a lesser extent.

I know I'm going to have problems in the future. I have sites that have instances included in them with the added result of increasing my page ranking. I have not seen this particular aspect covered yet and proclaimed as a no no, but I suspect that this is possible in the near future. I'll adjust when it becomes necessary. Many instances of what are now considered bad practices were once accepted and pretty common. It's all a grey area to me, but I do know in order to achieve results, I must remain in this unknown. It's a very nerve wrecking game, but I know that Google has no responsibility to answer to me. I have to answer to them, period. If it ever came down to some sort of mamby pamby, hand holding garbage, then "favoritism" would be the new subject of interest. Yes, we provide content for their engine, but if we did not, others would. I see that point as being mute as well.

There is plenty of information on Google, this board and a few others. I consider the meaningful and utilize while keeping my fingers crossed. All in all, and after a few years, I have found it effective when all is said and done. Google owes us nothing. They do not have to explain themselves or their position. It is simply more fair this way and I can't think of anyway to make it better without charging us money, and lots of it, to include.


 3:45 am on Dec 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

thks Yidaki ;)


 5:57 am on Dec 26, 2002 (gmt 0)


I see that you take a fairly hard line and don't believe in any kind of mutual benefit that exists between searching and content.

I do agree with some of your points. Nothing is better than experience when it comes to this game.


 6:51 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google has a lot of responsibility on it's shoulders. With 80% of searches going through them, they can make or break a website. Further, you cannot blame webmasters for aggresively tweaking for Google, when they are 80% of the market. That no. itself makes people do carzy things.

Search is the information tool of today. It is not email, not banners, not print, not TV; and not Radio. I don't agree with many of the comments that Google is not the "ONLY" way to sell. Yes, theoratically, it is not; theoritcally, I can raise millions of $ from a VC and go spend on advertising. My competitor does that, he has a million more customers than I do, but his stock price is dead. I on the contrary am a profitable company. Further, I offer a better price product because I don't spend on ads. Search is the only way today and with Google dominating search currently, it is the only way.

My suggestion to Google is that they should never ban a site. Banning is capital punsihment. Drop it's PR, but don't ban it. Also, come back and do a quick review in 15-30 days of that site to see if it has fixed itself.

Webmasters, be careful with how you handle this double edged sword.


 7:04 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Namaste, for the moment, for many business sectors I have to agree on:

Search is the information tool of today. It is not email, not banners, not print, not TV; and not Radio

In my business sector, Google serps are money lying on the street waiting to be picked up. They are the best ROI - by far - for any type of new business.

You can say, hey, not all your eggs in one basket, but what to do, leave the business for others? In fact after a while, that one basket sucks in all the eggs by itself - no special action needed.

In my world I say, enjoy the free ride, take the business, use it to establish relations with new clients and dealers, differentiate into multiple sites (cover any Google ban/glitch risk).


 7:13 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

There are two types of sites in Google, well actually a few but im gonna focus on two. The ones which are using cloaked and other methods of obtaining rank and those which have had SEO work done but without cheats.

The ones who decide to cheat don't last long. They know and understand they wont last long. Its a quick buck they make and have to constantly keep moving sites and changing locations - if your a small business with a status of location to a domain name don't do it - you will get screwed and it will ruin your business if you can't handle it.

The ones who are SEO ranked and placed and follow rules will stand stall in the end :D


 7:24 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

This board discusses many methods of achieving decent page ranking. Folks call it SEO while others cry afoul and proclaim, "SPAM".

I don't think anyone here would describe all SEO as being "spam." SEO is like accounting: There are people who follow the rules scrupulously, and there are others who'll do anything they think they can get away with. Let's not tar all SEOs with the same brush--and let's not assume that people who wield brushes are tarring everyone who wears the SEO label. :-)


 7:45 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

SEO work is like walking into Spamwood Forest, but only taking a few steps to make sure that you can find the way back home. However, how many steps does it take to get lost?

Europeforvisitors, I can't agree: in search engine optimizing, even the first innocent keyword you ever put on your front page just to impress Google brought you closer to breaking the rules, ditto the first guy who seduced you to return the link to your site. It's really just a matter how far you go before you meet the wolves. This is different than accounting (at least I think it is, I am no accountant ;)).


 11:40 pm on Dec 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors said, "I don't think anyone here would describe all SEO as being "spam." SEO is like accounting: There are people who follow the rules scrupulously, and there are others who'll do anything they think they can get away with. Let's not tar all SEOs with the same brush--and let's not assume that people who wield brushes are tarring everyone who wears the SEO label. :-)"

I stand corrected. I did not mean it to come out as literal and blunt as I put it, still I do think many use the term "SEO" as a way to candy coat practices that many others label "Spam".


 3:27 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Spamwood Forest

I think that is near Nottingham.


 3:59 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Spamwood Forest -- I think that is near Nottingham.

Ok, ya... Little John use to own that whole lot, then Harry's former cousin bought him out and it was never the same again! ;)


 4:17 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I stand by my orginal point of that we should take responsibility for our actions, and as employers we are responsible for safeguarding of employees jobs.

But some of the other comments here have made me think - perhaps Google is also crossing a line by changing the unwritten rules with no notice?

Whether businesses rely only on Google or not, its accepted that sites get a lot of traffic from the big G. Therefore they also hold a responsibility for their actions as well.

Personally I get my back up if I feel hard done by and tend to rant and rave a lot. Im pretty sure if any company, not just Google, turned around to me and said...by the way...we've changed the rules that we didnt tell you about...now your penalised - I think I would be more than a little annoyed.

Fair enough, SEOs tend to waver on the proverbial line, but surely it must be easy enough for Google to send out an auto mail to a webmaster to say, "we've updated our algo...your site infringes xyz part of it, which may result in you being banned if you dont change it"? At least give us all a warning.

I dont think its right that a commercial organisation can issue penalties like this when the stakes are high. Yes, you do the crime then you the time.

If you are intentionally out to trick Google, then "byebye"...ban away Mr Google....but there are a lot of webmasters that get innocently caught by Googles unannounced changes.

Just my 2c! :)



 4:21 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

10K_Guy >> Imagine telling your employees that they are laid off on Christmas Eve due to being blocked by Google.

Maybe you should turn the business/management over to one of your employees and hand yourself the pink slip.


 6:30 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

In 10K's defense, he may have not done anything violating Google's current guidelines to have been banned...

My company has had the same issues with Google since we launched a revised version of our site in September. Our site is a straightforward educational site - no multiple domains, no cloaking or hidden links, etc. We have over 19,000 pages indexed by FAST. We *had* several hundred pages indexed by Google in the years before the relaunch - but the site was banned at some point in September and all mention of our domain was purged.

Since learning of this 'ban' we have attended an SEO conference, posted to various SEO forums, emailed Google, and have talked in person with a Google software engineer. Our site's code was recently critiqued by a crowd of SEO experts as part of the recent SES Dallas conference with no conclusive reason for the ban. No one has definitively found what caused our ban (we are an educational site) and have concluded that we did not violate any of Google's written guidelines.

Our communication with Google has been minimal - 2 canned messages since 10/4/02 telling us we do not meet their quality standards (yet we are in DMOZ, Yahoo! and many other S.E.'s and have several hundred inbound links). There is no method, evidently, for resolving a ban. So we continute to guess what we did wrong as our traffic has dropped by 50% (and yes, we use PPC, print, PR, and other methods of reaching customers - but Google and its relationship with AOL has generated much traffic for us over the last few years). A unexpected drop in anyone's business will lead to lower revenues and fewer jobs if unresolved - we are working daily to try and fix this problem with Google.

To suggest that the only reason a company has been banned is a mismanaged relationship with Google, as suggested here, is overly simplistic. 10K may be completely innocent of the items expressed by Google for a ban. (Reminds me of when I hear people state that a person must be in jail because he/she did something 'terribly wrong' - this judgement precludes the fact that most judicial systems are not perfect and innocent people are imprisoned on a regular basis, that's the reason for multiple appeals, habeas corpus, etc..)

Guess the message is don't judge 10K (or others) too rashly - he may have done everything 'right' according to Google's short list of things that will get you banned, and still gets purged.

Given the current market position that Google enjoys, it needs to rapidly improve its communications with webmasters and others that are affected by its operations.


 7:05 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

So much for Google requesting people build content-rich sites, where's Google's OWN content?

Even "Google news" are taken from 3rd parties....

DMOZ, newsgroups....

Google seems like one huge affiliate site to me, Froogle further proves this.....their news is freely taken from other news sources, discussions are 3rd party, their content is our sites, their cache is my content and I'VE GOT TO FOLLOW THEIR EVERY RULE OR BE BANNED.

Yeah right...gimme a break, we need competition here ASAP.


 9:30 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes, more competition would help.

However, it appears that you can still get banned even while abiding by the list of 'prohibited' items on the webmaster guidelines page (maybe Google has a bad filter, slow DNS updates, etc. - we'll never know without better communication).


Total Paranoia

 9:58 pm on Dec 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Everybody seems to talk about better communication with webmasters. Somebody even said they are willing to pay google if they could just tell them where they have gone wrong with their site to get it banned.

OK - this may be useful, but it would be open to abuse.

Make a site - spam google - get away with breaking the "rules" for a few months or even years - get rich - then just pay your way out of it when google finally catches up with you.

Thousands of webmasters would choose that road.

I think the way to go is for google to make it clearer on exactly what the "rules" are, but never make it easier to get a ban lifted.

I have never been a that position and I pray that I never am, but I think the engines have got to be cruel to be kind.


 12:26 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes, I agree with you that a good first step for Google would be to have a better explanation of the 'rules' that will completely exclude a site from its index.

I also think that if Google should continue to 'ban' sites for whatever reason, that some type of process to appeal such a 'ban' would be beneficial to everyone involved.


 1:20 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

None of this is going to get the guy unbanned.


 4:20 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you base a business model purely on Google, then you're playing a high risk game. Part of that game is *accepting* the risk, as well as any upside you might have gained. You know how Google works. They aren't going to address all issues specifically, their business model doesn't allow it. If you can't stand the heat...

Branch out, or accept the downside. Your choice.

However, I agree that some editorial support is in order, especially for sites that fall well within published guidelines. Does this happen already? What say Googleguy?


 4:43 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

feeder >> Part of that game is *accepting* the risk

Anyone running a business that depends on search engines should know this and develop a risk-based business model.

Diversification is the name of the game, and that can mean passing up a short term gains fat plum in order to build a survival-enhanced diversified infrastructure.


 7:52 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I thought this thread was about Google New Year's wish #1? This seems to have been derailed.

My #1 wish is for google to actually remove spam from its database. I come across just garbage all the time but stop reporting them to Google cause it was just a waste of time.

I'm no rat if you want to bend the rules I don't care but if you have a whole page of hidden text and I report it to goole I would like to think they would be removed. Chances are they will stay put though, I've never had success reporting spammers with google.


 9:19 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

No more penalties - my utopian dream - just neglect any ranking benefit effect by spam automatically [webmasterworld.com].

This 62 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 62 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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