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This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >     
Google and position checking software
Google's strategy against rank checking software?

 9:22 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everybody there,

I am working on a site's search engine optimization. I have seen that on certain keywords my site is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd position on google. But when I ran web position gold report mission it shows that my site has not any ranking even on above mentioned keywords.

Is this google's tactics against web position gold?

Please someone help me out of this matter.



 9:34 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Webmaster World. Web Positon Gold, or any other automated querying system other than the Google Appliance, is very much a no no. If this is the reason for your problem then swear before GoogleGuy that you will never do it again, and then never do it again. I would also look into anywhere else I could send the same message to (i.e. help@google.com, , et al.)

It would be interesting to hear how you used the product because it seems Google can tell when its used for your own site or for someone elses.

Of course its possible, even very likely, that your drop in rankings and use of WPG is completely unrelated and coincidental.


 9:51 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks Powdork for your reply,

But actually I could not understand what you wanted to say.

Would you please be a bit more clear please.


 9:57 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

wpg for querying Google bad.
might not be the reason for your problem, though.


 9:59 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Its o.k.



 10:05 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Ecstacy, Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

The use of automated querying tools/programs is against Google's TOS (www.google.com/terms_of_service.html):

No Automated Querying
You may not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system without express permission in advance from Google. Note that "sending automated queries" includes, among other things:

  • using any software which sends queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage "ranks" on Google for various queries;
  • "meta-searching" Google; and
  • performing "offline" searches on Google.

    It is thought that Google may ban your IP or penalize your site. Not sure if anyone has had this happen or not. Maybe someone can clarify this.

    I'm not sure why you're not seeing the same results using WPG Reporter as when you manually search the index.

    Use the site search [searchengineworld.com] feature and search for webpositon gold and I'm sure that you'll find a few discussions regarding this.

  • Ecstacy

     10:32 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    But what if someone has used WPG innocently.

    Any way to escape the 'may be penalty; from google?


     11:02 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >But what if someone has used WPG innocently...

    I think you will find that ignorance of the law is no excuse in most places. Google's TOS is quite clear - don't do it. Just take comfort that you are not the only person to have fallen foul of this particular ruling. Many of us have learnt from our mistakes.

    >Not sure if anyone has had this happen or not..

    Many people have had this happen to them (both IP blocking or a total site ban) - including me!


     11:19 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Yep, I'll also put my hand up a few years ago I was using WPG and got a clients site banned. Fortunately the client set up another company and wanted to push that site more so I set up a new domain/site and he's ranking well now.

    Don't use any automated tool for checking rankings on google use it on AOL


     11:30 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    On the subject of Google TOS, I know of someone who was concerned they were missing out on links so used Googles link: feature to see who competitors had links from.

    Is this naughty? If so he is a very decent fellow and concerned not to break the rules and I'm sure would never do such a thing again.


     11:45 am on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    No problem with that edneil as long as you are doing it by hand. A good resource to find possible links.



     12:31 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    About two years ago Google banned one of my static IP address` for using WPG so I can verify that they do indeed do that.


     12:53 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Here's Google Google API [google.com]

    Related thread: and Brett's SOAP Version [webmasterworld.com]


     1:17 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    So you guys are telling me that I can just purchase WPG, then run it everyday on my competetors name and keywords and his site will get banned? Hummm... Does not seem like something Google would do!

    It would be hard for them to ban someone in an instance like this where people can slip in and make themselves look like one another.


     1:30 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I've agreed withe G's tob's but I have been playind devils advocat on this one, and there's some blanks I just can't fill in, and for that matter can't see how any SE would fill them in either.

    How does google know what site your searching for in order to impose some sort of arbitrary penalty? If I've run a 3 page scam on 100 different querries, thats a potential 3000 sites, I could have been looking for.

    How does it identify your IP if your logging onto a huge network via proxy server, in order to draw an association. Especialliy if your website server and access server are in no way connected.

    By this principle I could run this on competitors and get them banned, and that wouldn't make any sense, as everyone would be doing it in an attempt to get their clienst/their own competitors ousted. And then I can guarantee the use of Pos checking software would proliferate at an alalrming rate. It'd be abject chaos.

    They can ban my access to Google maybe....but how can they identify what sites I may be conneted with from a search engine perspective.

    I'd like to assure GG, that I wouldn't run automated querries. Even if I could, it doesn't mean I should...but seriously...Just too many blanks here.



     1:49 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    They have ban the IP from my host to access the google search url. But my site have not changed in any way. Same ranking, same keywords. I think that they only block the IP from the one who do the queries and block not the website. I thit not use WPG but a link popularity program. Maybe that makes a different.


     2:00 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Not to stir it up any further (I speak from someone who only does manual ranking checks and have never used WPG or anything like it) - but if you are on a dedicated IP address, to ensure that IP does not get banned - why not have an AOL dialup to complete your querying? This way you are on a different IP each time you query. I would love to see how they do safeguard against these obvious issues - especially the one where our competetor can intentionally try to get our site banned..


     2:05 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Dubya hit it on the head!

    Google is "NOT" banning sites for using Web Position at Google. With a minimum of 10 results per page, and bringing back an average of 30 results per keyword, how would Google know which of the 30 sites was running WP, checking their rankings.

    Mis-information is worse than "no" information! If you got your site banned by Google, don't try and blame the "Rank Reporting" side of WP. I think WP, built a "sleep" function into their reporting system, so it would not issue too many http requests to Google, as to cross over the "threshhold". But, I don't use WP, so don't quote me on that one. :)

    Now having a static IP banned by Google for pulling too many search results requests in too short a time period, does happen! Google will completely block the IP address, Yahoo only suspends it for a short time.


     2:06 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    >our competetor can intentionally try to get our site banned..

    This is an old, old red-herring. I got banned for using WPG on Google over 2 years ago and the same questions were asked then.

    I've never seen a competitor get someone elses site banned by running WPG reports on them - I've seen a lot of people getting banned by doing it themselves.

    Don't believe me? Try running WPG Google reports on your competitors sites to get them banned - I dare you :)

    >Google is "NOT" banning sites for using Web Position at Google.

    Oh yes they have done!

    I was one of them and they e-mailed me to state that that was the reason why.


     2:12 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    You guys have to understand the scope of the situation. If 50k users query 100 kw's a day - that's 5 million page views a day. From what I've heard, the real story is about 10 times that bad (query wise) - from a couple of rank checking programs.

    That's one whole lot of bandwidth and processor usage for just rogue bots.

    With that kind of service abuse, is it any wonder that all the se's have a healthy -- almost pathological -- hatered of these programs?

    They can't put up a rank checker or service themselves because it would just encourage algo reverse engineering.


     2:12 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


    How would they know it was you,running the WP?
    There are 30 results in 3 pages..

    And you may not even be in the top 30 for all of the keywords you are running in the report.

    I'd have to consult an Actuary, but I would say the probability is approaching (lottery odds), that Google could poinpoint any one web site, running the WP report. (Unless the report was running on the same box, that the domain was DNS'd on... LOL)


     2:14 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Redzone - see sticky mail :)

    There was a whole thread about how we thought they did the detection at the time, but I can't find it.


     2:21 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


    Interesting, but I still think the probability of Google knowing which domain is running WP is very small. There would have to be some other factor that is allowing Google to isolate which domain is the culprit.

    It just seems that Google would eat up a lot of processing time, to try and determine which of the possible (900) domains in a 30 keyword run, showing 30 results per keyword, is using WP? :)


     2:27 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    A) Detect bot
    B) check ip address
    C) check all queries from ip address.
    D) check referrals from ip address.
    E) if static ip - your toast.
    F) if not static - check cookie log.

    After that, it's a simple little detective work. The first, and most often searched for domain would probably be the one. If it is a static ip, you could know pretty close to certian who it is.

    *grin* God help em if they happen to have the toolbar installed - think about it.


     2:32 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    True, redzone. But the fact that Google have taken the time to do it even once in the past would deter me from ever using any ranking checker again on Google in the future for mine or any other site.


     2:39 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)


    I did forget one thing about WP (I don't use it)..
    Doesn't WPG not only run the search results for the keywords, but "ALSO", do a search in Google for the specific "domain"?

    If WP is running the search for the domain itself, that would possibly tip Google off, and give them the data to tie the keyword searches to the domain..


     2:41 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    I've never seen a competitor get someone elses site banned by running WPG reports on them - I've seen a lot of people getting banned by doing it themselves.

    If this is true then running WPG 10 times a day on a competitors site on your Dad's PC via his dial up AOL account is going to get the competition banned - right?


     3:29 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Interesting, but I still think the probability of Google knowing which domain is running WP is very small

    The chances of them catching you may be low (though others dispute that; and we we simply don't know how many PhDs Google have working the problem).

    But the cost to you if they do catch you is high.

    It's a business risk. You need to balance that against the costs of not having such frequent psoitioning reports.

    But,if you are going to take that risk, make sure it's documented in your business plans, and fully disclosed to any investor or other stakeholder.


     4:38 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    <edited by me - reason: not worth reading>


     5:42 pm on Jan 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

    They can't put up a rank checker or service themselves because it would just encourage algo reverse engineering.

    I've stated before, and still believe, that Google should provide some sort of rank checker or service. People want to know what their rank is on certain keywords (it's too important to businesses not to know), and whether they do it by hand or automated service, it's the same load overall on Google. If Google would provide a quick report, it would reduce the load on Google's servers.

    As far as using the rankings to reverse engineer the PageRank, if someone is trying to crack the PageRank algo, they will get their ranks one way or another. It is readily available. Obviously, there is no way Google can hide it. Where I think Google is making a mistake is in providing other information that is just as useful in trying to figure out the algo, but impossible to get without Google willingly providing it. They provide a page's PR, external links to a site, and pages in their database. This information is invaluable in trying to determine what affects a site's ranking but really is of no use for the vast majority of their users (everyday searchers).

    If I were Google, I would not provide any hint of what a page's PR is, I would not show which sites linked to another, and I probably would not provide the "inurl:" search (although this has more legitimate search uses). And I would provide a quick way to find a site's rank for a particular keyword. Doing these things would allow people to find out where they are in the rankings (info people want to know for good reason), but make it extremely hard to figure out how they got there (info people shouldn't know).

    This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >
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