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This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58 ( [1] 2 > >     
Expiring penalties
Please avoid "hidden link" exchanges
GoogleGuy




msg:90002
 2:07 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey, recently we penalized some domains that participated in a certain link exchange program that used hidden links with keywords stuffed in those tiny little images. I won't call out the link exchange program by name, but it was pretty obviously spam that went way outside our quality guidelines.

I just wanted to let those site owners know that those penalties are set to expire, and most of those domains will be coming back. A note to site owners who were in this program: please don't use hidden text or hidden links on your pages. Ultimately, each webmaster or site owner is responsible for what's on your own domains. If you put hidden links/text on your pages, Google may have to remove you from our index, and we'd rather not do that. More info on our guidelines is here:
[google.com...]

Hope this helps,
GoogleGuy

 

jjdesigns4u




msg:90003
 2:13 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks!

Stefan




msg:90004
 2:25 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

There have been so many plaintive posts here from people who have participated in dodgy schemes, ended up penalized, then begged for forgiveness. They seem to have been given it.

Say what you like about Google, but it really is a class operation.

EquityMind




msg:90005
 2:44 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Way to start off the New Year clean eh GG?

Beachboy




msg:90006
 2:53 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Good advice, GG. Thanks to Google for taking down these penalties. Question: What about those cross-linking penalties that go back to late 2001? There have been a lot of reports of only partial recovery. Does Google plan to remove all of these penalties if the webmasters have corrected the problem? Thanks for any consideration on this.

GoogleGuy




msg:90007
 3:01 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey, one of my resolutions was better webmaster communication. :) Periodically we try to go back and re-instate websites that have fixed their sites, esp. innocent clients if someone was spamming on their pages without them realizing it. I'd like us to be more proactive with communication. It may take a while, but I wanted to let people know about this case. It's a good first step.

[edited by: GoogleGuy at 3:02 am (utc) on Dec. 31, 2002]

marek




msg:90008
 3:01 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the information. However this makes me curious, if Google recognizes legitimate reasons for hidden links.

When building a web site, I pay attention to accessibility issues and many of my pages begin with an invisible gif (inside a link) to skip the top navigation (or another larger header of the page) for blind people or users of the text-only browsers.

Another method I've been using quite often is hidding groups of links via CSS to create special visual versions of the same page for various output devices (screen, print, handhelds, etc.), or different screen resolutions (e.g. a menu on the top for narow windows vs. menu on the side for wider ones).

I wouldn't like to be penalized for those design methods :(

GoogleGuy




msg:90009
 3:08 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey marek, I think a tiny link to a hit counter or tracking script is perfectly reasonable, for example. We're worried about people that are trying to do deceptive stuff. That doesn't apply in your case, but I'd still wager that it might be better for users to have some visual indication of different accessibility options. Even if it's just a visible "Text version" link that can then lead to different parts of your site, that lets you give the benefit to users and still show the same content to Google.

Just my $0.02, :)
GoogleGuy

Beachboy




msg:90010
 3:14 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

<<I'd like us to be more proactive with communication.>>

You're right, it's a good move...and I'm sure well appreciated by all. :)

skirope




msg:90011
 3:26 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Are you soon going to press the red button? jk

Happy Holidays!

stevenha




msg:90012
 3:42 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

You know, a common question around here, is how long do penalties last. I don't think anyone expects a pronouncement on a fixed rule, or specific details about different types of penalities, but some general comments on average penalty durations would be a nice bonus. Or at least for this specific penalty that's expiring, how long was it in effect? ( If Googleguy declines to answer, perhaps when a forum member recognizes that their penalty expired, maybe they could estimate the duration they endured.)

dvduval




msg:90013
 3:50 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's reassuring to know that one can be forgiven. I remember when I first started building websites, I was clueless as to what is acceptable practice. I put a bunch of white text on white background. It seemed kind of deceptive, but someone told me that it worked for them. Shortly thereafter, I started asking questions and found that what i was doing was an extremely bad idea (before i got into trouble with Google).

Hopefully, this story illustrates how it is easy to try something without really knowing right from wrong. I admit that what I did was stupid, but I'm glad that i was able to move past that. I probably would have given up as a webmaster if my site had failed to get spidered.

I glad to see that one can learn from mistakes without getting a life sentence.

I have an idea!
Maybe this is stupid, but maybe not.
Would it be possible to make a Google validator similar to the html validator? Example: the bot examines your site and issues warnings such as:
1. You are linking to 27 PR 0 pages
2. There seems to be text that is the same color as the background
3. You are missing a robots.txt file
etc.

Could it be done?

sirlion




msg:90014
 3:50 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Happy New Year GoogleGuy. We all here welcome your input. Now another question about linking. While it is well known that certain cross linking and link farms can be detrimental to achieving a good ranking within Google. What about relevant reciprocal links? It has become common practice, as you well know, for webmasters to contact one another with the intent of providing links to one anothers sites. Is this practice acceptable if this type of linking is done without a linking program and is done with dedicated "links or partner, etc. pages". I realize that these types of links should be relevent to the content of the site.
The internet is (has been) built on the hyperlinks that allow a user to navigate the web. Without revealing any of Googles (secret sauce) would you please expand upon the topic of linking or reciprocal linking?

jamesyap




msg:90015
 4:04 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am a bit dumb on this, does this spam referring to image link that stuff a lot of keywords in the ALT of the IMG tag?

Do placing description in the TITLE part of an A tag (text links) count on this?

egomaniac




msg:90016
 4:45 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi sirlion,

Reciprocal linking is acceptable to Google. Follow the rule of ensuring that your links are visible to a human using a browser, and you'll be fine. Reciprocal linking has been discussed extensively here at WebmasterWorld. There's even a forum all about linking. Check out WebmasterWorld some more, and use the site search feature here.

egomaniac




msg:90017
 4:50 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi jamesyap,

The answer to both of your questions is no. To your second question, placing a description as a TITLE attribute to an <a> tag is fine. I consider that usability feature just like an alt tag on an image.

As for stuffing keywords into the alt tag of an image, you can do this too, but it won't help much. Its best to put a usable description with the keyword in it. That can help give you that little .01% extra boost for your page. As a general rule, Google gives little weight to things that few users can see or care about.
I am a bit dumb on this, does this spam referring to image link that stuff a lot of keywords in the ALT of the IMG tag?
Do placing description in the TITLE part of an A tag (text links) count on this?

sirlion




msg:90018
 5:02 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you Egomaniac,
I do appreciate your reply.

Happy New Year!

Helpmebe1




msg:90019
 5:09 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Googleguy,
Thanks, I second that resolution. Besides being informative, could we possibly get a monthly updated version, preferably in pdf format (if that is not asking to much) as to any algo changes and all the innerworkings of google.

Thanks in advance...

<edit> Ohh and perhaps the future business plans of google, that would also be nice. (i.e. going public, whats the deal with froogle in regards to future plans of that splitting commerce from google content, etc, etc.)

Thanks again!

Ohh and Happy New Year, to All!

ALurkingFriend




msg:90020
 5:14 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

dvduval (or anyone else),


Would it be possible to make a Google validator similar to the html validator?

That sounds great but I don't think G would do it for us. If someone else did one I'd use it but would it get it right?


3. You are missing a robots.txt file

Is this a problem? I want G to spider everything so I've never created robots.txt. Is this going to hurt me? Does G get confused?

jamesyap




msg:90021
 5:19 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

So what do GG means on "used hidden links with keywords stuffed in those tiny little images"?

I can't get it, someone please explain. Give an example too. Thank You.

Helpmebe1




msg:90022
 5:22 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

James,
GG means, dont put a hidden link and cram it with alt text and such. That is spam. An example, I cant as I dont know a site with this off hand, but you cant put a 1x1 pixel image and then cram keyworded alt tags to this.

chiyo




msg:90023
 5:28 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just on the topic of invisible gifs/hidden links Googleguy..

One of our sites uses a customer service system, much like Huamn Click or Live Helper where people can click on a button, it opens a small window and they can chat direct with one of our staff live.

The system involves an invisible link and a gif loaded from the services site, so we can see what pages people are on much like a tracker.

This means one hidden link and one gif delivered from another server on every page. (It changes from "we are online" to "we are offline" depending on whether one of our staff are connected to their system at the time.)

Ive noticed this site has dropped badly in Google referrals compared to our other sites which dont use the system. There may be other reasons for this but I would love to be able to discount the reason that having this customer service is not also making us less visible in Google Search.

Thanks very much and happy new year.

mayor




msg:90024
 7:52 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Googleguy >> Hey, one of my resolutions was better webmaster communication.

That's certainly welcome, Googleguy. With the uncertainties the Yahoo/Ink marriage is bringing into all of our worlds, I'd say now is a great time for Google and the webmasters to form stonger bonds.

No search engine has made serious efforts, at least not on a long term basis, to harness the energies of the tens of thousands webmasters that co-habitate cyberspace with them, in a constructive and mutually beneficial way. If Google is the first to do this, and good communications is a giant first leap, then I believe they can blow the doors off of the competition.

Xylem




msg:90025
 8:27 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Helpmebe1: I wish GG would give us that info, but somehow I dont think its a go.

I think more solid communication from google and us (the webmasters) would do nothing but benefit all parties involved.

I highly respect google, and a symbiotic relationship between them and us would just emphasize the goodness of googles ethics.

Can you imagine what google will be in 10 years from now?

2002 Google - Searching 3,083,324,652 web pages
will be
2002 Google - Searching 1,263,083,324,652 zillion pages

GoogleGuy - You frigen rock. Thanks for your effort. I appriciate it (as do many others).

-Xylem :)

2_much




msg:90026
 10:24 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this is an automatic penalty or based on human review?

(btw i only posted this to get to 1000 before 2003 ;)

Woz




msg:90027
 10:27 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yea 2_much!

Yidaki




msg:90028
 10:27 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

>btw i only posted this to get to 1000 before 2003

congrats, 2_much! ;)

HitProf




msg:90029
 10:33 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy,

Keep up the good work and thanks for communicating with us.

Happy New Year!

Marcia




msg:90030
 11:27 am on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy >> Periodically we try to go back and re-instate websites that have fixed their sites, esp. innocent clients if someone was spamming on their pages without them realizing it.

That's good to hear; it's quite a comfort, because it does happen. Two things I'd like to point out, though.

First, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Mom 'n Pop are spammers. They come up with slick things that can put their sites in jeopardy, and some become indignant when it's pointed out.

Second, it's not always SEOs, sometimes there's been no SEO involved. It can often be the web developer, and when an SEO becomes involved later on it can create a very uncomfortable situation with having to disclose that the developer created a site that's toxic for search engine placement, or did things that are out and out spam.

It's hard to tell the developer and even harder to tell the client, who trusted that company or individual in the first place and more than likely has established a relationship with them over time.

GoogleGuy >> I'd like us to be more proactive with communication.

Bingo, there's the answer. On a personal level, this can be such an uncomfortable situation to be in that it's going on my 2003 resolution and to-do lists.

Proactive, up-front disclosure, going in the gate, that search engine unfriendly design may be discovered, as well as certain things that can be considered to be spam by search engines and jeopardize the site, can't help but make it easier and soften the blow if and when the issues come up.

Unlike others in the past that have taken an adversarial stance, Google's efforts at communication can help SEOs be more effective intermediaries between clients and search engines.

EliteWeb




msg:90031
 4:59 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thats some kind wise words you share with the crew here GG, Thanks :D The fact you said that makes me smile. I was never penalized for anything like that but still.. happy new years to every0ne!

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