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This 167 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 167 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6]     
Sitemaps Renamed -- now it's Google Webmaster Central
tedster




msg:3035464
 4:47 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

In a key piece of "rebranding" Google has renamed their Sitemaps program. It's now Google Webmaster Tools at Google Webmaster Central.

Just go to the old uri and see the change:

[google.com...]

or go to:

[google.com...]

 

twebdonny




msg:3045662
 3:01 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

We have tried everything to include reinclusion requests, url removals, robots.txt entries, 301s, you name it, we have tried it and yet our site still remains penalized.

This is what really frustrates webmasters.

jay5r




msg:3045663
 3:01 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why not "sandbox" the display of violation information based on the history and characteristics of the site and track record of the webmaster?

Webmasters who have been with Webmaster Central for less than 6 months get no feedback in relation to violations.

Webmasters who have been with Webmaster Central for 6-12 months and have a clean track record get violation information on domains that have been listed for at least 3 months. If the site is doing serious spamming and they don't clean up the site they lose their clean track record and don't get the violation information.

Webmasters who have been with Webmaster Central for over a year and have a clean track record with multiple domains of some significance (not just throw-away or parked domains) can get violation information on domains immediately upon listing the domain provided the violations on the domain aren't blatent spamming. If the site has been tagged for blatent spamming the webmaster is given a generic message saying there are problems with the site and s/he has a grace period of say a month to clean up the site or remove the listing from their Webmaster Central account.

In other words, you earn the right to get violation information. Spammers will almost never get access to the information because they won't have the track record needed to get access to the information.

randle




msg:3045686
 3:12 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't it be nice to drop them a note

On the issue of communicating with site owners relative to whether or not their sites have incurred a penalty you have to think in relative terms. No system is perfect, nor will it satisfy everyone. Itís certainly possible that devious individuals could gain beneficial insight thus prolonging their scheme and its also entirely possible innocent webmasters may not get all the insight they should.

But, I for one want to go out on a limb here and applaud Google for the comprehensive effort they are making. No SE devotes as much time, effort and resources to this issue. Again, itís relative. Anyone who has ever dealt with Yahoo on this issue knows what its like to encounter a group that has no inclination to openly communicate with webmasters regarding penalties. Their approach is a harsh and vindictive model where the incurrence of a penalty, deliberate or not, results in the automatic removal of your site with no warning and minimal opportunity to ever gain re-inclusion.

I understand some posters concerns over the model, but you have to admit there is a sincere effort under way here to help people with this issue. It will evolve and get better; just the fact they are posting here and asking for feedback tells you that.

trinorthlighting




msg:3045837
 4:50 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

twebdonny,

How do you know that your site is penalized?

AustrianOak




msg:3045922
 5:48 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

twebdonny, you are NOT alone - I am in a similar situation since late April and still no signs of why I have been penalized/targetted.

steveb




msg:3046082
 8:05 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

"but you have to admit there is a sincere effort under way here to help people with this issue."

No, you have to admit they make a sincere effort to help spammers, not "people" in general. Of course spammers love the reinclusion request because they can take a free shot with say 100 domains to spam, have 30 get caught, and have 15 get reincluded or whatever.

Google has nothing in place to help "people". They only have a spammer friendly policy which hurts non-spammers. It's backwards and is significantly responsible for the extreme degrading of their index we see, since genuine sites can get no help while garbage peddlers can much more freely throw crap after crap against the wall, knowing they will get a second shot with a lot of it.

Google needs to accept that their results are getting poorer in part because quite a lot of legitimate sites are hit with ranking losses due strictly to Google's own errors. The need to make a sincere effort... in fact ANY effort... to improve this, instead of focusing on helping spammers.

colin_h




msg:3046102
 8:24 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMHO Google have nothing in place to catch spammers, prevent spammers or even to punish spammers with. When the only response in the book is to ban someone who probably has several thousand alternative web addresses, you are fighting a loosing battle. The most important thing not to do, is to let the shareholders know that you do not even have a plan to see off these cheats.

I've been on both sides of the tracks and I know I was more confident in my future when I was spamming for a living.

All the Best to anyone left standing

Col :-))

reseller




msg:3046120
 8:41 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good evening Folks

How about posting solid suggestions to be included within the reinclusion request form, aiming at helping "innocent" webmasters?

IMO, we are not going to improve anything if we keep posting the same again and again; Google is helping spammers.

Lets have specific suggestion(s) to improve the current "reinclusion" situation.

Thanks!

Oliver Henniges




msg:3046186
 9:35 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

> improve the current "reinclusion" situation.

The most effective improvement would be if no such reinclusion situation for white-hats would occur at all. Google is primarily interested in feedback on scalable issues, so I hope you don't mind if I add a small footnote on that 404 thing.

Today I received a mail from a friend who registered a new domain a few weeks ago. Having ftped the first pages he did a site:mynewdomain command and was quite surprised to find 150 websites indexed, which he never had written.

This domain-name had been registered by someone else before.

The cached pages were still active and via two or three redirects led to an obscure forum/news site, where most links end on a google ads page. I did non investigate it any further but the whole technique seems to stink. I told him to be careful before interlinking that site with his other projects.

Is there anything he could/should do in his sitemaps account to make sure he won't get into any sort of bad-neigbourhood-filter with that domain?

hvacdirect




msg:3046209
 9:46 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

My problem with the reinclusion request is too much like putting a note in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. You never know if anyone has seen it, read it, did anything with it etc. It would be nice to know if at least the note made it somewhere.

AustrianOak




msg:3046247
 10:28 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

That is a great suggestion hvacdirect, perhaps a "re-inclusion read" notification would be a start.

netmeg




msg:3046328
 12:14 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

How about posting solid suggestions to be included within the reinclusion request form, aiming at helping "innocent" webmasters?

I have a client whose website I host, and who generates a very large amount of traffic. Earlier this year I noticed that they had no Google traffic whatsoever; going back over the log files, I saw they'd had no Google traffic for almost two years. Everything was coming from Yahoo and MSN. A site: command showed no pages whatsoever.

I asked them if they knew why they had no Google traffic; they said they'd hired an overseas SEO a couple of years ago, and that suddenly all the Google traffic dried up - they assumed that the SEO company had done something to get them penalized, but they had no idea what.

I contacted Google through the normal contact form (which is buried so that you can barely find it) and within a week I got confirmation that the site was indeed banned, but they wouldn't tell me exactly what the problem was.

I went through the site looking for problems. What I found was that this company had somehow hooked my client up to a link farm, and there were pages with scads of links to sites that were completely irrelevant to my client's sites. Searching further in Google, I found lots of links FROM these irrelevant sites back to my client's site, even though they themselves had no pages in the index.

I couldn't do anything about the sites linking to us, but I removed ALL the bad links from our own pages, fixed up a couple of HTML and PHP errors that I noticed, and submitted my first reinclusion request. In it I told them the history of the site, how I believed the site came to be banned (the SEO company and the link farm) and what I'd done to fix it, and that there was nothing I could do about the inbound links. I went out of my way to strip out any attitude on my part; just focused on the facts and the situation as I saw it, and made sure that it was clear that I understood what the problem was and why.

I ended up sending this reinclusion letter twice, but after about four weeks, I noticed a very thin trickle of Google traffic - just people who were searching on the company name (also the domain name). Within six weeks after I first started, we were fully indexed with about 7000 pages, most of which were supplemental and didn't rank. But we were there.

After that, we went to work on page titles and descriptions and text. Now, about 3 months later, we are in the top 10 for our two most important two word phrases, and in the top 20 for a third. We have about 3900 current good non-supplemental pages in the index, and almost no filtered results (except for the cached versions that Google keeps around for no apparently reason) Traffic is up so much that I've had to readjust their bandwidth quota.

YMMV.

AustrianOak




msg:3046427
 2:23 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

netmeg, great story. Now take it a step further. Imagine in a few weeks that suddenly your site that is doing so well in google suddenly moves from pages 1 to pages 3,4,5 and beyond. You have done nothing that you can possibly find that would cause you to be penalized, yet there is no way of you finding out what is wrong and how to fix things (if indeed there is anything you can do).

That is what many of us face.

trinorthlighting




msg:3046444
 2:44 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Australian Oak,

If you are on page 3,4 or 5 that is not bad. Especially if there are a thousand plus results for the keyword queried. Still means your in the top 1% so keep that in mind and good job for getting in the top 1%!

That does not mean your neccessarily penalized, what that means is that other sites are doing better in the current algo.

Look at your targeted keywords, study your legit competition and look at their content. Do not worry about the spam, spam comes in the index and goes over time.

Sounds like you just need a tad bit more relevant content to boost you to the top.

netmeg




msg:3046447
 2:45 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think we're talking apples and oranges.

I was talking about recovering a site that was actually banned and completely tossed out by Google - no pages in the index. There were definite violations, and we recovered from them.

I think you're talking about dropping rankings, which is a different matter. That happens to me all the time; I have well over a hundred client sites I have to look after and try to maintain at least *some* kind of an SE presence on, and some of them being in highly competitive markets, they're always bouncing around for some search term or another. If I find I get a sudden drop, then I just have to start tweaking and rearranging things, until I start climbing back up again. It can sometimes take months. Occasionally I will rebuild a site from the ground up, if nothing else works - just now I'm converting a couple of problematic sites to all-css-no-tables type layouts so that I can position the content relative to its importance; I re-did only the home pages last week, and saw remarkable jumps in the SERPS over the weekend. So now I'm going to work on converting the rest of the pages on the sites, since it looks like it's having a positive effect. It's just something that always has to be worked on.

That's not to say that I don't think Google could be giving us more input and assistance, not to mention tools to work with.

gcc_llc




msg:3046452
 2:51 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

" netmeg, great story. Now take it a step further. Imagine in a few weeks that suddenly your site that is doing so well in google suddenly moves from pages 1 to pages 3,4,5 and beyond. You have done nothing that you can possibly find that would cause you to be penalized, yet there is no way of you finding out what is wrong and how to fix things (if indeed there is anything you can do).

That is what many of us face. "

Oak,

I hear you. Its a pattern that is followed by many since June 27th even though many other people will give you the "SERPS fluctuate" and "clean your site" arguement. Its tough to clean a site that is already clean and get almost zero explanation why you drop 4-5 pages for no reason when you've ranked in the top 10 for months on end. Its tough to take when over 50 keywords suddenly drop in teh same xact pattern across the board. Google will tell you its not a pently but we all know otherwise. They still haven't given any explanation for the "bad data push" or any of the problem numerous sites have experienced on June 27th or July 27th. Instead they tell you your supps will be refrshed, then pull it back, then say they are actually doing a better job of comminucation.

A 100 lbs of **** is still **** :)

tedster




msg:3046483
 3:23 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

This thread is wandering far from "Sitemaps Renamed". Thanks for all the lively contributions -- time to close it down.

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