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70 plus websites all almost all gone
crosslinking got me banned
macneil




msg:43490
 4:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I designed 70 plus websites all for outdoors related industry. All had their own separate domain names and hosting. All linked to each other. All were doing EXTREMELY well in Google. Last month all but 2 were went to the bottom. It so happens that the 2 that did not get punished did not link correctly because I had done the links wrong on them and they just had a bunch of links that did not work.
Observation: It is interesting that Google would rather have a website with 50 plus DEAD links than one that linked to pages they thought violated their cross link rules.
Question: I wonder if they sites will ever be able to move up again or will they be bottom dwellers for life. About the only they show up now is if a person does an "exact Phrase" search or is extremely specific. These websites are still listed but just way way down.
I have redone 12 of these websites and will monitor but would be interested in hearing from someone with similar experience to find out if sites that get moved to the bottom (all are 0pr but not greyed out) can be revived or any other ideas or input.
Just for further info I am a website designer and I designed these series of websites to sell ads on (<snip> could buy ads that linked to their own websites) and as incentives for <snip> to use my web design services. In other words if you let me design your <industry> website I'll give you free ads on some of these other websites.

 

Powdork




msg:43550
 9:40 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chicago,
It sound to me as if you're saying that Google is rewarding those that are smarter and work harder. How would you rather have it?

BigDave




msg:43551
 9:57 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chicago,

I have a fairly decent idea of where the lines are. I don't try and walk that line. I avoid the line by walking the other way.

Google tells you what to do to get good rankings:

1. Quality, origninal content that people want to read and link to.
2. Get quality links from other people, which you should not have that much trouble with, if you have the quality content.
3. Set up your navigation to aid the user, not the search engine.
4. Don't do anything just to get better ranking in the search engines.

You can bend these a little, but do so at your own risk.

Chicago




msg:43552
 10:00 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

POWDORK AND FATHOM-

The gap between those in the know and those NOT in the know is where we make our living and I am happy and comfortable.

I wouldn't have it anyother way right now, because this is where my firm is making money.

The issue is the 99% of the people/sites out there that ARE NOT US. They get hurt by this everyday. Just because we are in the know, doesn't for a second mean that the sites we represent are MORE RELEVANT, hence higher rank. It only means that we know what we are doing, better.

I am comfortable enough with my knowledge to admit this too the hundreds of people that are looking to us for answers. THEY ARE CONFUSED and I don't blame them. They need to know why it is difficult to succeed against us and why answers are not readily obtainable.

I don't want to argue this with you guys. We are the same. I just feel for some of these people who are down and we kick them only because they don't have the money or time, and allusive knowledge that we do.

[edited by: Chicago at 10:37 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

europeforvisitors




msg:43553
 10:21 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

In my view Web sites should rise or fall based on their own merits not on links from other sites, many of which have questionable value themselves.

That statement makes no sense even on a fundamental level, because the Web is all about linking. (Indeed, that's why it's called a "Web.") Without links from other sites, there wouldn't be a Web.

Perhaps what you really mean is that search engines shouldn't use link popularity or PageRank in their algorithms. You're certainly entitled to feel that way, but the folks at Google are equally entitled to feel that PageRank is a useful tool in gauging a site's legitimacy and relevance. It's their search engine, and Webmasters who'd rather let Google's algorithm make judgments about their pages can exclude their sites from Google with a robots.txt file or a "noindex,nosearch,nofollow" meta statement.

fathom




msg:43554
 10:34 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I need a home built I usually hire a professional contractor. I could buy one already built from an owner or purchase one at a foreclosure auction.

I also could on the other hand get all the license fees and do it myself -- learning as I go rather developing the skill-sets and know-how in advance.

Needless to say -- if the latter was the route I took (and the roof fell off) I don't believe anyone but myself is responsible for fixing my mess.

Likely though this scenerio would never happen -- you & I know we do not have the skills to do it ourselves and would never attempt it.

As before - every web site owner can learn, if they don't have the time, they can pay a consultant or PPC, if they can't afford to pay, back to number #1. If you/they chose not to learn comprehensively that is your/their choice.

As for Google -- Google lets us run our businesses the way we see fit - good/bad/indifference -- If however, we chose to benefit off of Google's successes it's completely up to us to ensure WE align to Google not the other way around.

Chicago




msg:43555
 10:41 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

FATHOM,

Your points are reasonable and agreeable. Our ideas, however, are not mutually exclusive. Thank you for taking the time to generously share your knowledge over the years.

nyehouse




msg:43556
 10:46 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


We also got a couple of sites banned due to a competitor signing a ton of guestbooks and listing these few sites with them to eventually get us eliminated from their index

My understanding is that there is no tactics that someone else can do to get a competitor banned. I suspect there is more to this post. I have seen as many comments saying that guestbooks do NOT get you banned as I have seen one that say you do, while others say the links are simply ignored.

I am at SEW in Boston and will ask Google point blank if it is possible for links in to a site to cause it to get banned. I seem to recall that GG says that only outgoing links can get you banned.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

kyr01




msg:43557
 10:49 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google tells you what to do to get good rankings:

1. Quality, origninal content that people want to read and link to.
2. Get quality links from other people, which you should not have that much trouble with, if you have the quality content.
3. Set up your navigation to aid the user, not the search engine.
4. Don't do anything just to get better ranking in the search engines.


Well, given these points, why we are all concentrating our efforts on getting more links? Is this the easier part of the algo to play with, the easier way to cheat or what?
As a rule, we should try to make better sites. I personally hate the link part of Google's algo, since I feel it is somehow changing the nature of the web. Since we are all scared of losing PR, nobody is going to give away a link which is not reciprocated.
I understand. Google is Google because of the value of their original idea: measuring sites popularity by incoming links. This idea changed the SE world, but closed down the exchanges between sites. Maybe it is time for a change (even if I don't know how).
P.S.
MacNeil, thanks for sharing. I would be scared to crosslink two sites, but it is interesting to see people testing the limits....

BigDave




msg:43558
 10:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Getting people to link to you has always been a priority on the web.

There are a lot of people on this board that to not get very involved in the reciprocal linking game, and I do not play it myself. If I like your site, and have a reason to link to it, I will. I expect the same thing from you. I gain dozens of good links a month using this difficult technique.

Quality content makes it MUCH easier for someone to be willing to link to you. Put up a site that has some content that professors would be interested in and you will soon have more PR than you would ever need. Giving away a useful software tool is the quickest way to a PR9+.

I really don't have a problem with reciprocol linking, as long as it is done on theme, and is only a part of your linking strategy. Though I would recommend that you try and limit your links to sites that you actually feel you could recommend.

ghostMonkey




msg:43559
 11:01 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

...but the folks at Google are equally entitled to feel that PageRank is a useful tool in gauging a site's legitimacy and relevance. It's their search engine...

To an extent, but you really think this is the way big business should behave? "We won't tell you the rules, which change every month anyway, but if you accidently break them you're f**ed"? To thumb noses at clients and say "it's our search engine, we'll do what we want"? Would anyone stand for this attitude from a "real world" business? Of course not, so why should the web be any different?

The valid exclusion of spam sites isn't necessarily the issue here, it's the "we don't give a damn about you" attitude that I'm feeling more and more from Google. If I wanted I could ban a competitor's site from Google in 1 month flat (I think there's even something in this thread about this). And why? Because Google's algorithm is basic, inflexible and purposely unforgiving, and the only human intervention is to slap penalties all over the place rather than try to help people out. If a site of my own was banned I might be able to correct the "problem", but would I get my PR back? Would I heck. Again, simple vindictiveness and arrogance at work. The people who tolerate it (and indeed, applaud it) are simply the people it hasn't happened to yet.

In many ways Google behaves like a big electronic spoiled kid, except it's people's livelihoods being chucked out of the cot, not toys. I predict that very soon - in the next couple of years - there's going to be a big shake-up over this. Forget Microsoft monopolies, someone's going to put their foot down and tell Google to be nice or else...

troels nybo nielsen




msg:43560
 11:02 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

One more "Google supporter" here. Been that for years. Been it rather openly on WW for months.

I am not accusing macneil of anything, but even when I was much more ignorant about website building than I am now, I would NEVER have had anything to do with a construction like macneil's. And that would have had nothing to do with fear of search engines, but would have been exclusively because of my own opinions about how www should be.

And may I add: Google is a private company. They decide how their search engine works. It's none of my business. And none of your's. If for some reason a website does not please them, they are allowed to throw it out of their index, just as I am allowed to remove an outbound link from one of my pages.

And they are there to find good websites for the surfers, not to please webmasters like you or me.

jbauder




msg:43561
 11:04 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

excellent content ...

macneil

I had a site banned (greyed out not PR0) for what I believe to be excessive crosslinking, which is actually what led me to these boards, I received similar advice to what you are getting, though I was told to try removing all of the links, and just waiting ... sure enough 6 months later my site is back ;-)

I'd like to explore crosslinking and mirror content with another topic which is a shared IP address ...

I've read mixed opinions on shared IP addresses, are they a bad thing all by themselves or do they become only become bad when similar content or crosslinking is introduced?

It seems (similar to paynt's comment) obvious that using a shared IP address and crosslinking OR having duplicate content would be like filing a spam complaint against yourself ...

BUT if the sites are not linked together in anyway and have separate content it seems like a share IP address shouldn't be a problem ... Is it still a bad thing?

Powdork




msg:43562
 11:08 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't want to argue this with you guys. We are the same. I just feel for some of these people who are down and we kick them only because they don't have the money or time, and allusive knowledge that we do.

You're right, arguing doesn't make any sense.
We all had to start somewhere. Less than a year ago I was at the same stage. I didn't do what macneil did because I didn't know how to register a domain, let alone 70. I also didn't know backlinks were important. Now, my sites (many I registered myself:)) rank very highly because of what I've learned through hard work and WW. Whats important is that most, but not all, of the things I've learned have made my sites more usable, more cross browser compatible, or more easily found for relevant searches. I'm not referring to our rankings there, but to referrals that are on target and provide what the user was looking for. I feel for those going through the learning process as well and I think I stayed out of the bashing this time.:)

The Google guidelines are there to help make your content findable for relevant searches, not just as a spam policy. When we do well we try not to look at it as being rewarded, we just used what we learned to make it easier to find.

buckworks




msg:43563
 11:15 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<except it's people's livelihoods being chucked out of the cot>>

Ask yourself occasionally, if Google did not exist, how would I draw traffic to my site? Then make sure you are doing some of that now, and have a plan of action in place if something goes wrong with your Google traffic.

Been there, done that, didn't like the T-shirt.

Powdork




msg:43564
 11:16 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

To thumb noses at clients and say "it's our search engine, we'll do what we want"?

What client relationship are you referring to here.

If I wanted I could ban a competitor's site from Google in 1 month flat (I think there's even something in this thread about this).

Can I sticky you a domain? Just for the purposes of the experiment, of course. ;)

roundabout




msg:43565
 11:27 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> Google is a private company. They decide how their search engine works. It's none of my business. And none of yours ...

Not so sure about that. A monopoly owned by a private company is still a monopoly.

As evidence of Google's influence, ask yourself this: who would you rather have angry at you: Microsoft or Google?

fathom




msg:43566
 11:37 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

hmmm... don't know to much about that monopoly stuff... Last I heard Google provides results for free...

Google market is search engine users, isn't it?

Where's the problem?

In addition... I've been trying for years to figure out KFC chicken recipe... you know that finger linkin' good stuff, is this a monopoly too?

[edited by: fathom at 11:41 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

ghostMonkey




msg:43567
 11:37 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

What client relationship are you referring to here.

I was meaning the free listings. And I know they're free, but a service is a service. Free services are subject to the same rules as paid ones.

Can I sticky you a domain? Just for the purposes of the experiment, of course. ;)

:) - but I don't know any amazing method (although I'm certain they exist). I was just referring to setting up a site with content very relevant to your competitor, then exchaning links and spamming the domain. And the guy gets banned for what..? Not doing an in-depth investigation into his link partners every week.

troels nybo nielsen




msg:43568
 11:37 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

> As evidence of Google's influence, ask yourself this: who would you rather have angry at you: Microsoft or Google?

I'm in the habit of asking myself very much tougher questions than that. If Microsoft or Google were angry at me I wouldn't give a d**n. But if GoogleGuy personally were angry at me I would be sorry.

ghostMonkey




msg:43569
 11:46 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

In addition... I've been trying for years to figure out KFC chicken recipe... you know that finger linkin' good stuff, is this a monopoly too?

No, but it's expensive, comes in a box and too much of it gives you a heart attack. Adwords anyone?

Chicago




msg:43570
 11:50 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Enough with the NEGATIVISM. The weather in Chicago is NEGATIVE enough today.

Google has many people running scared and one must learn how best to deal with this.

Can we bring this board back to the place where one comes to learn?

GrinninGordon




msg:43571
 2:11 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

You were unlucky

Although Google say they do not like cross linking (link farms), they do not have an algo to detect it currently. I know, because one area I am in has the first 3 pages of search returns dominated by such sites. And no matter how much, and by what method I report these guys to Google (they also have cloaks and repeat / mirrored text), nothing happens.

It is clear that Google are currently penalizing sites by human operators. The trouble is, it seems hit and miss how to get these guys to look at a site. Is there a magic e-mail address anyone has (please, do not tell me google@google.com). I am sure this goes to a blackhole.

I am against link farms. But it is clearly worth the risk building some, as long as they do not link strongly to your real site(s) ;-)

Ps. The problem maybe if you have repeated text in your "About us" and "Disclosures" pages. This is where they snoop first.

Marval




msg:43572
 2:49 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess my only question has to be...why in the world does anyone believe that Google is required to give anyone a link...and to rank them accordingly...this is a free service (unless you're paying for AdWords) and they can link to whoever or whatever they feel like. If you work hard and do some research there is a chance that you might get a good listing in their SERPs. And even make some money at it...but if you base a business on something that someone else controls you will eventually fall.
Unfortunately, there are alot of people that "expect" to be listed in results, and when they dont get their way...blame it on somebody else. this is not intended to be pointed at the originator of this thread...just an overall observation of alot of threads.

europeforvisitors




msg:43573
 2:54 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, given these points, why we are all concentrating our efforts on getting more links?

Not all of us are. I probably should be, but I hate asking strangers for favors. :-)

As a rule, we should try to make better sites. I personally hate the link part of Google's algo, since I feel it is somehow changing the nature of the web.

PageRank is just one of 100 or more factors in Google's algorithm. It's more of a tiebreaker than anything else. If you have content-rich pages with easily digestible "spider food" (i.e., descriptive anchor text, titles, and headlines), your pages will often rank high on Google's SERPs regardless of their PageRank--except, of course, for extremely competitive terms.

Since we are all scared of losing PR, nobody is going to give away a link which is not reciprocated.

I've given away thousands of links that haven't been reciprocated, and--to judge from my backlinks--there are quite a few other sites that have done the same thing. Some of us really do believe that the reader comes first--and that if you try to build the best possible site, you'll ultimately be rewarded with links, traffic, and income.

People who are in the SEO business obviously have good reason to concentrate on search-engine optimization. Those of us who are in the content business should focus on what we do best while trusting in God and Google. :-)

GrinninGordon




msg:43574
 4:00 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Marval
"why in the world does anyone believe that Google is required to give anyone a link"

Because, if you say you are impartial, you have to be impartial. Like politics. Google have a legal duty to represent every one of their constituants equally. Even if they voted for someone else. They may not like it (nor honor it behind lock doors), but that is their legal responsibility.

Sure, they can and have commerical sections like Adwords. But when you say you are a people's search engine, you have to behave like one ;-)

chiyo




msg:43575
 4:13 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>have to be impartial

Google has never said that. They discriminate massively - against pages that are duplicates, non-informational, spam and so on. They also disrimnate against pages that get PR only because of internal domain networks. They may be imperfect but no way they are impartial.

Impartiality is impossible. Just like individuals "objectivity" is affected by their culture and inculturated values, so are companies and organizations.

I think Google is making a strong statement that they prefer informative pages in their index, that are ranked to some extent by the pure natural citations they get from other sites in the form of links.

That's a value judgement, so of course they are immediately not impartial. I also believe they ban some policial sites (like Nazi sites) and several products (at least in Adwords like knives and alchohol)

Their business model clearly is that if you are a comemrcial site which will not on its own, on the basis of external linking in, well ranked in the main index due it its informational non-commercially influenced content you have an option to PAY for exposure on the same page. That is absolutely sensible not only for their business model and for subsidising their core product and only follows the normal newspaper/mag/TV model where a clear delineation is made between editorial content and advertising, and people buy the mag for the content, but also get relevant ads on the side.

And that also, is a value and makes Google not impartial.

So i think this impartial bit is a red herring.

>>that is their legal responsibility.

huh?

*******************************

If a product starts to get major market share because of the quality of their product, why should they suddenly become legally responsible for the failings of the other small part of the market share, and change their product so it becomes less useful?

Google is a great example of uncompromising attention to the quality of their killer core product - their core spidered database and its relevance based alogorithims. Just because of that they have forced others to emulate much of their groundbreaking work. Now, thats a good thing. Compromising would not have caused this overall increase relevance in major search engines now.

Now what would have happened to McDonalds if someone had said to them you have too big a marketshare and people have become dependent on your hamburgers. Therefore you must start reducing your quality control because a few ingredients are complaining they are not included because of imperfections in your quality control which has only become obvious because it is more comprehensive and intelligent than the others. Then your hamburgers will be more like the others. And then everything is fair right?

1milehgh80210




msg:43576
 5:30 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

google provides FREE searches for searchers
google provides FREE exposure for websites (serps)
as far as I know, no contracts are signed between google & either.

for those who design a business based on what google may or may not due well.....

Marval




msg:43577
 12:17 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

GrinninGordon...Im sorry to put it this way, but Google has no responsibility to anyone but themselves....there is no legal, moral or ethical reason for them to be impartial or for that matter indiscriminate (I guarantee that if you sell anything related to tobacco you will not get listed in AdWords)
This was a project that started as part of web linking and is just there because somebody put it on the web and started indexing other sites. The fact that they do it for free takes away any responsibility to anyone.

You or I can start a SE tomorrow, that if we were successful, could go to paid listings with specific agreements with our submitters and users. And there are many out there that do that with all of the required legal bells and whistles.

The net did not happen to give people the opportunity to do business...it started as merely a text based link system for a bunch of us burnt out BBS operators and educators/hobbyists. The fact that you can make some money on the web is just an added bennie...and should not be treated like the typical brick and mortar business..unfortunately too many have and they have failed all too often.

Sorry to rant but I have a real problem with anyone that thinks the net owes them something...if you can make something of it, more power to you...if not oh well...go somewhere else (this part is not aimed at any one person)

jomaxx




msg:43578
 1:39 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good point about Google offering a service that is free to users and to websites. They clearly have little reason to skew the results except to improve the user experience as they see it (not counting the mutually exclusive theories that an AdWords listing either hurts or helps your ranking in Google).

The other huge point that somehow isn't often acknowledged is that of the thousands or millions of pages matching a given seach, only ten can be on that first page. You have to have SOME criteria for selecting those ten, and good luck explaining to the 99.9% of webmasters that didn't make the first page why your algorithm is "fair".

nutsandbolts




msg:43579
 2:33 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

You've got to take in on the chin when this happens to you. It's way over a year ago now and I'm only just getting back to some sort of normal level after I lost many, many sites from cross-linking.

I still see plenty of sites that cross-link 30-40 domains on the index page of every site, but they WILL get caught eventually. Just because someone is getting away with it, doesn't mean you should try it too. ;)

onlineleben




msg:43580
 3:15 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

This thread is moving so fast, I hope I do not "duplicate" too much that may have already been said while composing this post.

It is a fact that Macneil has been banned or whatever from G and has 2 'undamaged' domains left.
What should he do next?

My suggestions:
aa) de-link these domains from your banned domains
bb) expand topical content for these domains
bbb) delete those pages that were duplicate content in your network (I asume that it was your travel-tips part) and link to the respective pages on your travel-tips site
cc) for the deleted pages, establish a permanent redirect, so visitors from SEs other than G still find the content and SE robots get the chance to update their index
dd) For the banned part of your network, you should only keep the main pages with location specific content and start rebuilding them using steps aa) to cc)

Hope this helps a little ...

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