They are only notifying sites that have otherwise good content but have screwed up their code in one area.
For fake directories, scrapers, and other blatent spam attempts, don't expect to hear from Google. At all.
If its the site I think it is JJdesigns4u, I'd start by taking out the content in the H1 tags positioned below the footers on numerous pages I could find (sometimes just above the footer).
It might not be 'hidden' - but its a darn sight more 'obvious' when you turn the CSS off......
Heading tag abuse can be easily spotted by running a page through [validator.w3.org ] and first ticking the box for "show outline".
On the results page, scroll down to the bullet-point list marked "Outline". If that list does not look like summary of your document, then you are abusing the heading tags.
Only one problem with that his pages cause the w3c validator to stop and cough up a Googleball.
Invalid characters in the page source.
|A hidden link is easy to make. Delete the link text and accidentally leave the clickable action code in the file. |
Good point. Those are easy to accidentally create if you use Dreamweaver.
|Know one thing that I'd do with a site that size, just in case it might by some chance catch something? I'd print out the CSS/stylesheet and examine all the colors used very carefully. That would be one way to do somewhat of a global check. |
What I'm wondering is if Google is picking up situations where the background color is one color and the background of say a box is a contrasting color with text the pages background color. In this case if a person looks at the box the text shows up well but the spider might see it as the text being the same color as the pages background.
Would this be possible?
Feel free to opt-out of google's notifications and ask them not to list your site in the serps at all. I am sure they will be more than happy to oblige you.
I think this has been suggested, but I would turn the style sheet off and see what u get. Look for hidden text / links this way. Also use the sim spider to see what the bot will see.
If it is an ecommerce system, check that the add to cart system doesn't work on hidden input fields... Im not sure if the bot will see these as hidden text but its worth a try.
|Feel free to opt-out of google's notifications and ask them not to list your site in the serps at all. I am sure they will be more than happy to oblige you. |
I shouldn't have to opt-out. The spam rules were written so that people would have to opt-in to get them.
|I would disagree. By definition, unsolicited mail is spam. |
By whose definition? I think most of us would agree with the definition at Spamhaus.org, a.k.a. The Spamhaus Project:
That is not true. We can use header tags for many different things. I have a site where I use h4 tags for captions and the images come up at all different places in the code. In most cases the images will also be inside the h4 tag and it might be a link . Am I abusing the heading tags, the alt text, an the href all at once because my outline is messed up. The whole idea of an outline format is uncomfortable and stifles creativity IMO.
|If that list does not look like summary of your document, then you are abusing the heading tags. |
I have other pages like this
<p>I am fairly sure this is sloppy code and may even be abuse of the h1 tag. I'm not sure how Google sees this. Don't care though. When i designed it that was the only way I knew to get the parargraph style without having 2 lines of whitespace underneath the heading.</p></h1>
I don't worry because I am not trying to game google or any se. If I had all important keywords surrounded by <h1> tags that looked exactly like the <p> tag, then I might have a problem sleeping.
Back to the spam thing. One thing we must consider is that if Google were to spider a site, find a problem and send an email, all automated, then that would be spam. If they hand review a site, research ownership, etc and then personally send an email, that would not qualify as spam. So it must be a hand review. IIRC a Google hand review should include looking at the site with a lynx browser or something similar.
The other thing that comes to mind would be cloaking. Anything funky or incorrectly coded in your .htaccess?
The goal of Google Search Quality Team (GSQT) is to alert whitehat sites owners/ whitehat webmasters of problem(s) which might cause their sites to be removed from the index.. permanently!
Its a chance to get things corrected and return back to the index after filing a reinclusion request.
As such all whitehat publishers should welcome such efforts. And lets say a BIG THANK YOU to Matt Cutts & Co.
Now.. to the spam thing...
Let me ask those fellow members which sites are dropped out of the index during the last 6 months or so:
Wouldn't you be happy if you receive a kind and polite email from GSQT alerting you of things on your sites which aren't in accordance with Google Webmaster Guidelines and which you should find and correct if you wish to see your site again on the index?
Do you really consider such email which is written in good faith to help you as a spam?
Shouldn't all whitehat publishers/webmasters support, welcome and encourage such steps taken by Matt & Co.
The only question to be solved in this connection, IMO, is to make it clear to the recipients that the alert email they receive is originated from GSQT, and there should be no doubt about that.
This might be done by adding a validation link to the alert email. For example: Click here to validate that this email is sent by GSQT, which lead you to a page on Google with text to that effect.
|Wouldn't you be happy if you receive a kind and polite email from GSQT alerting you of things on your sites which aren't in accordance with Google Webmaster Guidelines and which you should find and correct if you wish to see your site again on the index? |
The answer is, probably, YES.
HOWEVER, your question is wrong. It would appear that such emails do not alert you as to the problems on your website, they simply alert you that problems have been found. For many webmasters, this sort of alert is next-to-useless.
Suppose you had a link checker that simply reported "there are some broken links on your site" without telling you how many, on what pages and what locations. Would you be happy with that link checker? - I think not.
>>HOWEVER, your question is wrong. It would appear that such emails do not alert you as to the problems on your website, they simply alert you that problems have been found. For many webmasters, this sort of alert is next-to-useless.<<
Do you call alerting a webmaster or a Mom or a Pop that "problems have been found" on their sites and giving them a chance to correct the problems, file a reinclusion request and accordingly save their revenues as "next-to-useless"?
As far as I can see The Google Search Quality Team is also very clear and fair in their emails.
(Source: Matt Cutts Blog)
Dear site owner or webmaster of [site.com.au...]
While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your
pages were using techniques that were outside our quality guidelines,
which can be found here: [google.com...]
In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, we have
temporarily removed some webpages from our search results. Currently
pages from [site.com.au...] are scheduled to be removed for at least 30 days.
Specifically, we detected the following practices on your webpages:
On [site.com.au...] we noticed the following hidden text: “Chef Revival Chef Uniforms - A range of stylish, comfortable and durable chef uniforms designed to withstand the pressures of today’s kitchens, Chef apron Chef Jackets Chef Pant Chef trouser Chef headwear Chef Apron Chef Shirt Chef Neckties, Chef aprons Chef Jackets Chef Pants Chef trousers Chef headwears Chef Aprons Chef Shirts Chef Neckties, traditional check chefwear clothes”
We would prefer to have your pages in Google’s index. If you wish to be
reincluded, please correct or remove all pages that are outside our
quality guidelines. When you are ready, please submit a reinclusion
request at [google.com...]
You can select “I’m a webmaster inquiring about my website” and
then “Why my site disappeared from the search results or dropped in
ranking,” click Continue, and then make sure to type “Reinclusion
Request” in the Subject: line of the resulting form.
Google Search Quality Team
Suppose you had a link checker that simply reported "there are some broken links on your site" without telling you how many, on what pages and what locations. Would you be happy with that link checker? - I think not.<<
I see your point. But this isn´t the same as the case of "Alerting site owners to problems".
Matt Cutts & Co. can´t and should not explain in details something like: we found that keywords density on your page [site.com.au...] exceeding 6% which is much higher than the 3% which is allowed.
Or: we found that your inbound link growth is 30 links per day which is much higher than the 10 links/day which we allow ;-)
|Suppose you had a link checker that simply reported "there are some broken links on your site" without telling you how many, on what pages and what locations. Would you be happy with that link checker? - I think not. |
Would you rather be completely without link checking, then?
Meaning: their algorithm failed, time for human intervention.
Spam is desperation.
Google is a dead man walking.
|Matt Cutts & Co. can´t and should not explain in details something like: we found that keywords density on your page [site.com.au...] exceeding 6% which is much higher than the 3% which is allowed. |
Or: we found that your inbound link growth is 30 links per day which is much higher than the 10 links/day which we allow ;-)
I don't recall suggesting that Google should part with this information. However, if Google algos are so primitive that they use step-changes (e.g. excluding pages if keywords exceed given density) rather than smooth curves then they could improve SERPS by ditching such crappy algos. If they don't use step-changes then all that remains is to simply ignore hidden text, etc.
Consider this. Many code examples on msdn are contained in hidden divs that require a link to be clicked to make the code visible. If Google were to ban all these pages, would this improve the index? Answer NO.
Well that site is no longer in Google's index according to my version of Google.
|Meaning: their algorithm failed, time for human intervention. |
The algorithm obviously worked just fine. (If it hadn't, the offending but otherwise worthwhile sites wouldn't have been caught and given the opportunity to clean up their acts.)
europeforvisitors, you're rowing against the flow of the facts....
human intervention in a world of trillions of pages is desperation... and nothing else.
spam is winning.
i don't say this personally, specially since i know you get so much free traffic from google and we all know how steadfastly you defend google in any situation.
i'm just a technician and i happen to know what i'm talking about.
human intervention(spam) is that last famous sound before the next altavista....
well last night it happened.
my site is now completely removed from Google.
If we all remember the email said we had hidden links on our site.
It did not say what page or where.
So we searched our site day and night the only thing we found was on the home page.
We had an Anchor link on the home page that had an extra > this character was in black and the background was black
the rest of the link was visible but this character was not we fixed that the day we found it
I guess at this point I would like to know what you guys think about getting me back in
|By whose definition? I think most of us would agree with the definition at Spamhaus.org, a.k.a. The Spamhaus Project: |
I was going by these definitions:
It's just a difference in opinion I guess. With your definition though, my casino site could send out e-mails stating their site doesn't meet the guidelines of my links page because they don't link to me. Somehow though, I think you'd be upset if every casino in the world decided to e-mail you something like that.
Linkjack, the human intervention in this case isn't a replacement for the algorithm, it's merely a form of communication with Webmasters who have run afoul of that algorithm. It's the equivalent of a cop seeing a person misjudge the timing of a traffic signal, pulling him over, and giving him a warning instead of a ticket for running the red light. It's an act of kindness, and Google deserves credit, not abuse, for giving borderline offenders a second chance.
As for your comment that I "steadfastly defend Google in any situation," that's simply untrue. You're seeing what you want to see and filtering the rest. And in any case, attacking the messenger doesn't invalidate the message--it merely suggests that the attacker can't think of anything better to say.
|It's the equivalent of a cop seeing a person misjudge the timing of a traffic signal, pulling him over, and giving him a warning instead of a ticket for running the red light. |
When did Google become the law? I thought they were a commercial Internet property that makes money from advertisers on their search engine.
europeforvisitors, if you took it as an attack then you're the one seeing what you want to see. i did not attack you, i stated a fact. when facts sound like attacks then you're probably on the wrong side of things.
about your steadfast defense of google i need not argue, anyone can look up your posting history. i think everyone here knows how to use google by now ;)
as to your comparison(the cop and the law) i must say it's incorrect.
first because there is no law involved here. i recall a few years ago reading a discussion in which you were a part of (must be a coincidence you were defending google on that one), and you were arguing the same case : that seo's were breaking the law and google was kind enough to provide free traffic and help people follow some law(which funny enough is not on my Constitution).
there's no law, there's only google's financial bottom line and your own bottom line.
google's algorithm failed, and if you understand anything at all about algorithms(because i do) you should know why it failed.
the algo only works for cases 1, 2 and 3. when you try case 4 the algo breaks. when case 4 happens they email you "hey please stick to 1, 2 and 3 please".
the web and people's imaginations provide near infinite "cases" for the algo. an intelligent heuristic would catch most and fail rarely. google fails a lot more than "rarely".
so they decided to ask people to stick to cases 1, 2 and 3 and so forth. which is a lost war, google failed organizing the world's information and they're doing evil, which breaks their 2 principles.
google wants the web to adapt to it, when IT should adapt to the web. i'm not overstating when i say google is dead and living from innerce from older days of glory. soon enough people will come to realise this. i will stick around to see what you have to say then.
because i was once an europeforvisitors when altavista was my own personal idea of truth, peace and happiness in this world.
jj does your home page survive the w3c validator yet?
It would be wise to get your html errors cleaned up. Because containers in incorrect states may be the same as tossing gasoline on a fire to an automated system.
Then I'd ask for recinclusion and explain to the folks at Google what you found, what you did, thank them for letting you know and that it is difficult to locate such things without more information such as at least the pages affected.
Just my 2 cents for what it is worth.
|When did Google become the law? |
Let me say this real slowly:
I was using an a-n-a-l-o-g-y.
If you don't like the analogy, that's your privilege.
As for linkjack's comments, I remember AltaVista well (and the search engines that preceded it). I don't see Google becoming another AltaVista, in part because Google isn't an offshoot of a dying computer company (DEC) the way AltaVista was. But in any case, this thread isn't about the future of search companies; last time I checked, it was about Google's test of "heads up" e-mails to Webmasters who've run afoul of their guidelines. Many of us think the e-mails are a good idea; if you believe or hope that they're proof of Google's impending disintegration, nothing that I or other members say is likely to change your mind.
|I was using an a-n-a-l-o-g-y. |
I know you were, and I was stating it was a bad one. Seeing as how they are a commercial entity with no powers over Internet law, I felt comparing them to a legal authority was not a good analogy.
I'm not trying to bash your point of view, but simply state you can't have it both ways. If Google is allowed to send out unsolicited mail in an effort to better their commercial product, you have to allow every casino, viagra, and debt consolidation site to do the same. We can't blindly allow companies with savvy PR departments the ability to bend the rules. I'm all for Google setting up a signup form for webmasters to be updated on their site being banned/penalized/etc. I just don't think you should randomly generate unsolicited e-mails and send them off to an e-mail address you don't know exists.
As for linkjack's comments, I'd have to disagree partly as well. I don't think this is a flaw they are trying to fix, but merely a notice to webmasters of sites that have good content that it would be in their best interest to fix. I'm going to go out on a limb and suspect they aren't sending to spammy sites. It wouldn't make sense if they were. It would be like putting out a forest fire with a cup of water. I think these e-mails are going out to established sites with good content that just so happen to be breaking a rule.
I had rather google spammed me but email@example.com is not a valid email address. So is firstname.lastname@example.org etc.
How do they find out what is the email address to contact you? The generic addresses are already spammed to death so emails sent to it would either be blackholed or rejected.
And is there no way to contact them once you clean up your site? Will the site comes back after one month whether or not it is cleaned up?
By your logic any webmaster who sends a request for a link to be placed on another page is spamming.
That is simply not the case... Nor is what Google doing spamming. They are sending an inquiry directly regarding the website, while it may be unsolicited, it is not unwarranted nor untaragetted.
Claiming that someone sending a viagra ad should have the same right to send an e-mail without any cause means you are just trying to play games.
You know this is not spamming by google, but you continue to be obstinate.
it is impossible to discuss anything seriously with europeforvisitors
he has an agenda to accomplish and, in his agenda, telling the truth about google is not included.
i confess : i'd do the same if my site was nickname.com (TOS anyone?)
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