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Notifying Webmasters of Penalties
Googles -30 Serp Penalty
jwc2349




msg:3142436
 5:18 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

According to Adam Lasnik in a post on October 20 at [groups.google.com...]

"...We really do our best to be as detailed as possible in our guidelines and our overall help docs. We also notify a huge number of Webmasters with regards to existing or upcoming penalties..."

I wonder:

1) how many out there active in these newsgroups have been notified by Google of: a) existing penalties and b) upcoming penalties

2) Since the hottest topic today appears to be the -30 serp penalty (which I have been a victim of for almost 11 months), how many out there have been notified of the reason for this specific penalty?

3) What reason did Google give you for this -30 serp penalty?

4) How many of you have actually recovered from this -30 serp penalty?

 

Ma2T




msg:3142720
 8:56 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wish google had let me know :/

I bounced back for one month, but have been down for two months now.

Interesting that you can file a reinclusion request for a penalty (even when still included in the index).

Tempted to try that, or wait...

Piet59




msg:3142903
 11:39 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Our main site has had a -180 penalty for a month. Without a warning and without responding to a reinclusion request (and the questions we asked in that request).

However, after that month we got a warning we would be kicked out of the index because they had found some "hidden text". They also copy-pasted an example: seems they consider alternate text in noframes as hidden text...

Nothing extreme: a general description of our site and a site map, just good practise as is advised everywhere for noframes.

Half a day after the warning we were kicked out of the index. Still no answer to the first reinclusion request and neither for the second...

It made us decide to withdraw 1k from our adwords budget and allocate that to other (non-Google) campains for every day we are unfindable. Meter is still running. Allready over 50k now.

Lorel




msg:3142997
 1:31 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know of a site that is suffering from +1000 penalty for all major keywords and no apparent reasonand not only no warning from Google also no response to a reinclusion request sent about 3 months ago and multiple queries elsewhere.

AustrianOak




msg:3143007
 1:58 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

jwc2349, wow 11 months. I am in month 8.. now I am even more depressed.

It's very very very strange that not Matt, GoogleGuy or Andy will comment on this..

Atleast, why do innocent -30 penalty victims not get a message in the webmaster console?

Lorel




msg:3143013
 2:06 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Adam Lansick said in the link above:


Some good questions Webmasters in this situation or similar situations
can ask themselves:
- Is my site providing unique and compelling content?
- Would most consumers find my site to be more useful than others in
this space?
- Am I abiding by all of Google's Webmaster Guidelines?
If the answer to all of those questions is yes, then it's wise to
doublecheck, then be patient / continue to develop your site. And
optionally file a reinclusion request, if you've fixed issues
associated with previous guideline violations.

The problem is if you (and other SEOs) don't know what the problem was then how can you "fix issues associated with previous quideline violations"?

tedster




msg:3143016
 2:17 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

we got a warning we would be kicked out of the index because they had found some "hidden text". They also copy-pasted an example

IMO, you were given a gift, and I'll bet there are people reading this thread who are envious. Very few penalized webmasters have had such an advantage, especially not with a specific example provided. Your site is your business and obviously you can do as you please -- but if I got such a message from Google, I promise you that noframes text would have been gone as fast as I could do it. How many of today's web users don't support frames, after all?

Getting a warning message, from what I can gather, is a sign that Google considers you rather kindly. They do not send warnings those who they feel are the hard case spammers.

nippi




msg:3143025
 2:29 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

- Would most consumers find my site to be more useful than others in
this space?

This statement appears especially henious. Seems to mean you need to have the BEST website for the search result to be reincluded?

If this was a guideline, google would only allow one site to show for every search result!?

AustrianOak




msg:3143026
 2:29 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Tedster.. interesting.

Google might not send notices to those that they feel are harsh spammers.. however what about us that have been ranking well.. with clean sites for 2..3..4.. or like me 5+ years. Then one day out of the blue I am penalized.. while doing nothign different. Suddenly I am a harsh spammer?

Just shows how the entire system is flawed.

There needs to be a system put into place that gives those that have no idea why they have been penalized a chance.. but then again it seems in Googles Law.. "we are all GUILTY.. until proven innocent."

:)

dataguy




msg:3143134
 4:11 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know that I have begged and pleaded with Adam for a month just for some clues as to why my 5 year old site suddenly tanked and the best he would do is refer me to the webmaster guidelines and he told me to make sure I was not buying or selling links to manipulate page rank. I've never bought or sold links to manipulate pagerank.... never needed to... I guess that's more clues than what most people get, but it only added to my frustration since I can't stop doing what I have never done in the first place...

tedster




msg:3143144
 4:22 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the Google webmaster warning system is pretty much an "alpha" and not yet given the resources it would need to keep more people happy. I'm guessing that they are measuring how much good it does -- that is, do a good percentage of those receiving warnings actually clean up the issues, or is it overall a waste of resources. Before they really plow a lot into this, they'd need to know there was a decent return.

Still, Google is trying something here, even at a low level, that I have never seen from any other search engine. In our wish for the big G to be all things for all people, I think maintaining perspective is essential.

Google has a much fuller set of published webmaster guidelines than other SEs, they give us free feedback via Webmaster Tools and Analytics, they have staff who post openly to help people through blogs, forums and their own Google Groups (Matt, Adam, Vanessa, GG, AWA, ASA and more).

I think Google deserves major props for all that -- and a rousing encouragement to do even more. We like it, we like it a lot. We just want perfection (and a roadmap for top ten listings on all our major keywords.)

tedster




msg:3143148
 4:25 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

dataguy - interesting comments there. It seems to imply that purchased links may not only be ignored, they might even be penalized. Or perhaps the power of links you once benefited from is now removed through some false positive for purchased links?

AustrianOak




msg:3143160
 4:42 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

dataguy, excellent points.. couldn't agree more.

Whitey




msg:3143238
 6:41 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it's important for good website's to be communicated with.

The specific issues on why filters are being applied is probably a very important one, but a secondary issue to the policy of improving the technical communication.

The note above, also, regarding the 180 exclusion period - I share the pain in this. We were hacked into and suffered the same. There has to be a better way to get critical issues back to Google and get site's working.

This shouldn't be a game IMO . It should be a professional method of producing content that co exists and is complimentary with PPC as an alternative marketing channel and function.

Personally, i think a paid service to cover the costs of this enormous task would be fair, something like Microsoft does in support of it's products.

My thoughts are that for advanced webmaster questions, $50 an email for a positive answer that helps, and a refund if they don't answer the question, paid through Webmaster's G console. Then an escalation process could take place.

This whole process, probably strengthens the authentication process for controlling quality processes mutually.

But i bet G's thought of this and has a much bigger consideration in mind.

moftary




msg:3143246
 6:58 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am very thrilled that there is a google webmasters newsgroup talking about banning and penalizing issues!

Tami




msg:3143274
 7:39 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

"best he would do is refer me to the webmaster guidelines and he told me to make sure I was not buying or selling links to manipulate page rank. I've never bought or sold links to manipulate pagerank.... never needed to"

DataGuy,
I was told the same exact thing when I filed for reinclusion. Implied that I had paid for links, which I never have! My site is 7 years old. I had/have a lot of natural links back to my site from related hobby sites. I also have tons of sites that have links to my site from spam sites, scrapers and so forth. I suspect a lot of sites may be penalized wrongly for this issue.

Tami

Piet59




msg:3143287
 7:56 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster wrote:

IMO, you were given a gift, and I'll bet there are people reading this thread who are envious. Very few penalized webmasters have had such an advantage, especially not with a specific example provided. Your site is your business and obviously you can do as you please -- but if I got such a message from Google, I promise you that noframes text would have been gone as fast as I could do it. How many of today's web users don't support frames, after all?

To start with: the warning came after a month (there's no real difference between -180 and not being in the index at all).

And we were kicked out of the index half a day later, though we changed the page and filed a reinclusion request within hours.

Googles Webmaster Help Center says:
please read "Search Engines and Frames" at [searchenginewatch.com...] This document describes the use of the "NoFrames" tag to provide alternate content.

According to their own information Google doesn't see alternate text as hidden text. So we guessed we had to read the warning as: we don't like the concept of noframes as a general site description plus sitemap and changed it into an exact copy of our default page.

But it's still guess work and kicking you out of the index and making you guess what the exact reason is, is far less than we expect from a business partner. And yes, as we spend 150 k a year on adwords we consider Google a business partner. And we expect another level of communications from our business partners.

nippi




msg:3143593
 1:29 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

um... has google recently removed the reinclusion request option from its contact form?

Appears its only avilable to webmasters using sitemaps, and only then when the site is 100% banned, not just +30 penlalised..

Anyone?

asusplay




msg:3143602
 1:42 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I dont understand...so if I can see the Reinclusion request link on the tools section of sitemaps then the site is banned?

I can see the Reinclusion request, but the sites are in the index. I do believe there are penalties at play though because they rank in the hundreds for their target keywords or not at all.

I had duplicate content issues and have cleaned them up. Should I submit a reinclusion request then?

night707




msg:3143624
 2:19 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

.. "I bounced back for one month, but have been down for two months now" ...

Can`t just someone examine, how many sites and what kind of sites had been hit this way.

What type of sites have received some notice?

How about regular polls on certain issues?

jwc2349




msg:3143625
 2:20 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Nippi:

The reinclusion request is still available to me and I am most definitely the victim of the 30 serp penalty. 11 months now. I also have sitemaps.

Sadly, I have used the reinclusion request several times before--all to no avail. So it had might as well be unavailable.

eefje234




msg:3143670
 3:07 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

We too received an email two days ago (in Dutch) that our site was to be removed from the google index for at least 30 days. Half a day later we were gone from the index.

Reason was hidden text. There were a few pages that had a layer that was placed outside the regular screensizes (it was done years ago). For most of the pages this was removed long ago but some pages were forgotten.

In the email was also a link to the form with the reinclusion request, also in Dutch. To be able to fill in the form you had to validate your site (have a sitemap or put some code in your index page).

theBear




msg:3143684
 3:17 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

jwc2349,

I've been seeing movement on your domain.

eefje234,

Yes, that was what I remembered from last year when another WebmasterWorld member got one of the first batch of notices and couldn't see the error. His browser version (and many that I used to look at it) was showing the text that Google was saying was hidden.

You get the notice but your site is already heading out the door. Good luck.

dataguy




msg:3143866
 5:56 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

dataguy - interesting comments there. It seems to imply that purchased links may not only be ignored, they might even be penalized. Or perhaps the power of links you once benefited from is now removed through some false positive for purchased links?

Yeah, and what is particularly stinging is the fact that right after it was inferred that I was 'buying or selling links to manipulate PageRank' Matt Cutts comes out and brags about how good they have gotten at determining bought links. Yippee for them, they might be pretty good at it but they obviously aren't right 100% of the time.

For the record, this site tanked during the Sept. 15th data push, so whatever data they use to flag bad links can be found in those data pushes. It doesn't seem like they notify webmasters of penalties from those data pushes, but rather when there is a manual penalty webmasters are more likely to be notified.

Adam_Lasnik




msg:3145502
 11:11 pm on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey there,

Tackling some of the questions in this thread...
- Yes, you need to be logged into your Webmaster Tools account to be able to file a reinclusion request.
- No, just because you see the link (under Tools) to file a reinclusion request does not mean that your site has been penalized. We show this link to everyone.

I know we can do better in identifying spam and not-spam in our index, and I'm also confident we'll be notifying more Webmasters about guidelines issues and such over time.

We generally don't comment on specific penalties, though my colleagues and I do try to provide other helpful information here and in other forums (including, of course, our own).

JWC (and others), I do think, by the way, that you're likely to see a rather biased sample in this and similar threads. Webmasters who *have* received notices from us generally take care of the issues we've notified them about and go along their merry way... and are, perhaps unsurprisingly, less likely to post in threads like this.

Lastly, our team here is working hard to improve our FAQs over time so that there are fewer ambiguities.

AustrianOak




msg:3145654
 3:59 am on Nov 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Adam, thanks for stopping by.

Can you possibly let us know if those of us that are under the "-30" penalty can be free of it automatically or is this something that can only be removed manually after a successful re-inclusion request?

[edited by: tedster at 4:56 am (utc) on Nov. 4, 2006]

nippi




msg:3145726
 6:09 am on Nov 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

ah.., shouldn't work too late i see on trying to fix site... link to re- add url is there after all.

Adam, most people are claiming that they have unwiitingly broken googles rules, and would gladly fix the problem, except they don't know what the problem is, or that if they fix it, whether it will do any good, as the penalty may last for years.

Long +30 penalties seems to be the case for some.

caran1




msg:3146297
 2:25 am on Nov 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is it possible for a competitor to get websites removed? I have many websites, static HTML, unique content, more than 1 year old. But for only 2 websites when I login into Google Webmaster Tools, I get the message
"No pages from your site are currently included in Google's index. Indexing can take time. You may find it helpful to review our information for webmasters and webmaster guidelines."
Earlier I was getting a lot of traffic from Google , now it has just disappeared from the index. I have not received any notification regarding penalty. I had also submitted a sitemap which was accepted without any error.
How do I find what the problem is?

jetteroheller




msg:3146442
 9:29 am on Nov 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

How can I receive my webmaster notification?

After all the June 27th to September 30th horror, I am since November 3rd again in the filter.

After watching here 3 month every discussion what could be the cause, I have absolut no clue why this happens again.

Reno




msg:3146530
 1:50 pm on Nov 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

From eefje234... "Reason was hidden text. There were a few pages that had a layer that was placed outside the regular screensizes (it was done years ago). For most of the pages this was removed long ago but some pages were forgotten."

I believe this is a very common situation. After all, many of us have reached the 10 year anniversary of being on the web, so inevitably there are going to be old pages that have not been modified in a long time because the info is still useful. And yes it is conceded that someone may have done something incorrect to those pages at some point along the way. For those of us who remember the late 90's, many theories of getting fully indexed were floating around.

What I do not understand is why Google feels it is necessary to penalize an entire site -- why not simply remove all the offending pages, and leave the rest alone?

It is like throwing an entire team out of a game because one of the individual players purposely bumps the umpire. The officials throw that player out and then the game continues.

Given how important Google is to the economic success of a small business -- and thus the livelihood of their employees -- such a brutal punishment is downright cruel. That is not the "good energy Google philosophy" that they've spent so much time cultivating via their PR department.

The public sees one Google but the webmasters too often these days see another, and that's too bad because it's unnecessary.

................................

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