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My July 2009 Google Penalty - on 100 sites. Help anyone?

 11:18 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

My first post here! For some reason I'm nervous...

I'm here for one reason. Sheer desperation. My situation is this. Imagine have 100 websites. You wake up and look at your Google webmaster tools and discover that every site has received a penalty. Yes, that's where I'm at.

I don't spam. I've resubmitted many times, testing the waters. I'm still getting rejected. My penalty spans across unrelated domains/keywords. I'm not a dishonest webmaster. I was using a template, which had a lot of content via scripts that I really think are great. I have an rss parser. I think they may have led to a duplicate content issue, but seems like something way more serious is at work here. Most of my sites were single pages, simply as a first step of launching, and not for some sneaky reason. Some are selling things via amazon affiliates, some are not. Yes they are for the most part lean of content.

I've been slowly removing my head content, increasing original content and then resubmitting to Google. I'm at the point, now my last attempt is to remove every last piece of head content (all my scripts) leaving me with a bare page. Of course I shudder at the thought of being rejected, because beyond this, I can't see anything else that I can do.

I'm completely desperate here. I'm not a newb. I am simply hammered by an apparent Google god. I will save my rant for a later date. Surely to god I can have an ugly, one page website and still be allowed on the damn internet.



 10:27 pm on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks. I'm currently sorting through these sites and making some strategic decisions on how to move forward. I will update as soon as possible and offer any experience that may help anyone else dealing with the hammer of Google. So far this has been very painful.


 12:11 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Kind of funny that you said you are not a spammer then proceeded to describe how you spam. I have read Matt Cutts and spoke to him and some people on his team many times. Their idea of spam is very broad. If they see 100 websites attached to one person it is pretty much an automatic removal. In that case you are guilty until proven innocent. That is not quality content in their minds. If you going to do that don't put them all in one webmaster tools account and don't register them all to the same person and don't have them all on the same class c. And donít interlink them.


 1:29 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would suggest the term "spam" is used loosely in most instances. I'm simply stupid. I would say "was stupid", but that might be a stretch. Simply said, my mistake was thinking that targeting different keywords via websites was fair game. It didn't enter my mind that this would cross boundaries into being labeled a spammer. When I saw 1000 people searching shoe, and 300 searching shoes, I thought targeting each of these keywords were seperate. I wasn't thinking a search engine will call them the same thing. Take it one step further, I didn't assume that "buy cheap widgets" was the same as "buy red widgets". I've learned that they are, by Google, to be of the same block. Trying to launch websites in similar fashion was ignorant, stupid, you pick the word.

If what you says is true about "tricking" Google by using different this and that and hiding my identity is simply beyond comprehension. Google would have you burn in hell for those tactics because they are dishonorable. They go against their guidelines! I say this partially tongue in cheek. I always thought people who want to run a business are always trying to outdo their competition. There aren't a lot of ground rules are they for corporations? It's the money and that's it. Honor? I didn't see that in the business manual. Naturally people will push the limit. It's the way competition and business works. You spend $1000 on marketing, I need to spend $2000. I spend $2000, you need to spend $3000. See where I'm going with this? Obviously Google can interject this process and they have. The internet marketplace is a better place because of how they conduct their business and rankings. Google is fair, and the online marketplace has Google to thank. If you are making money, you need to thank Google for it.

For anybody to sit on the outside and say what is or isn't quality content is absurd. Beauty to you or useful to you doesn't mean useful to me. People who search "buy shoes" aren't searching "shoe reviews" or "shoe history". I know we need deep content to be considered legit to some people, but I feel a bit different about that if you can't tell.

Interesting the take on spam. The 100,000 affiliate sites or Amazon Estores aren't spam? Hmm. Interesting that one. Are we entering a gray area regarding spam?

Okay, let me go back to unwrapping my rats nest...


 2:05 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

The 100,000 affiliate sites or Amazon Estores aren't spam?

They are.
Google started cracking down on so-called "thin affiliates" a couple of years ago.
The thing that bothers me is this:
If they see 100 websites attached to one person it is pretty much an automatic removal.

I don't have 100 websites, i've got 7, but I own a stack of domains that I daydream of one day turning into sites, if I ever find the time. Would that make me a spammer?


 2:46 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I should for the record state, because I don't want to be misleading, I did obviously step over the line. In some instances, I had duplicate names, so, buyshoes.com and buy-shoes.com. There really is no excuse for me trying that. I know we are all too young to have experienced "gold fever", but in my instance, it would best describe my mentality at the time. My first step into ecommerce has been a big learning experience. That may be the biggest understatement ever.

I still though keep coming back to what is reasonable and what isn't reasonable in terms of sites/domains/subject. It still baffles me, and perhaps I'm years away from understanding this fully. People are quick to be judgmental in this regard. You don't know when you view search results who owns the sites. If there are 5 shoe stores on page 1, and they all look different, but carry 90% of the same product line, isn't that what you want as a person searching "shoe store"? When you type in "shoe store", you are asking Google to SPAM the search result with shoe stores. If you get sites not related to "shoe store" then I see the point of spam in the index. #*$! is spam in the index exactly? A blog that has 2 paragraphs and 10 adsense ads plus Amazon affiliate banners? A blog that is about "shoe reviews" showing up in search results for "shoe store" to me IS SPAM. A site saying it's a "shoe store" when it isn't is SPAM to me because I want only "shoe store" sites. So, when you say the search results are showing spam, TO YOU what is it? A one page site? Somebody trying to make money from an affiliate program? A site with more adsense than content? Should we be reporting all this to Google to flush everyone out of the system so we are left with Amazon as the #1 search result?

I need to get off this, but it is baffling, and I respect everyone here. You guys are top notch web experts, I am not. I'm naive if you haven't noticed.

*goes back to sorting out rats nest of domains*


 2:47 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

For anybody to sit on the outside and say what is or isn't quality content is absurd.

Not necessarily. A search engine has to satisfy the perceived needs of its target audience while fulfilling its defined mission. A price-comparison engine might have one definition of "quality content" (prices), while an academic search engine might have another.


 6:31 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Were you using Adsense?


 6:48 am on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

No adsense, no cross domain linking. Amazon feeds yes. I thought having Amazon feeds were appropriate since many sites were related to "buy shoes", but I realize that is frowned upon. It made sense to me that if my site is "shoe store", that I should have some form of shoe products for sale. I guess being an affiliate doesn't really count. I see the issues with my tactics after the fact. The sites were a lot more bun than beef. Poor planning, but the Amazon products and feeds were temporary until I could get my company up and running. Now I have to provide "more indication of good faith" or prove to Google my site improvements because I was involved in affiliate programs. Go figure. Amazon should have a claimer, enter this program at your own risk. I was penalized based on being one of those damn affiliate site spammers... at least I think that's largely whats happened.

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