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Breaking Google Quality Guidelines with only 2 pages
serenoo




msg:4373997
 2:08 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

In the past my website has been penalizated from Google(and then restored) cause an hacker attack.
I asked to reconsider it about two or three times.
Every time I removed some pages, because every time google said my pages
do not respect the quality guidelines. So after removing pages to understand
the thin or bad pages, I am arrived now to have only 2 pages in Google index:
the home page and the link page and Google says
I still do not follow the quality guidelines. My website is a chat so it
cannot contain many pages, only a few pages to login, register and chat.
I started from 12 pages, and now I have 2 pages in the index with these features:
1) html validated except for facebook tag
2) no grammar mistakes
3) no hidden links
4) no cloaking, orphan, doorway pages
5) no duplicate content
6) the server is fast enough as showed from my Google webmaster tool account
7) I have have some other similar websites with almost same template with orphan pages
and duplicate content, but they are not penalizated.

Does anyone have some idea what kind of rule am I breaking?

 

serenoo




msg:4374010
 2:45 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Link exchange pages are against guidelines

This sentence has been said by Ashley in a google webmaster central thread.
Is that true?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:18 pm (utc) on Oct 13, 2011]

Robert Charlton




msg:4374152
 8:34 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

serenoo - I'm assuming that your link exchange page question is relating to the situation of your original post about guidelines, and I'm putting the two posts together.

I don't know the context of the Google answer, nor do I know if Ashley is an official Google rep or just another webmaster posting his theories.

I'd think, though, that if the outbound links on your site are predominantly to sites that have linked to you, or to other sites that you control, or to spam sites in bad neighborhoods... or to some combination of these... then Google might feel that you're breaking this particular Quality Guideline... [google.com...]

Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

serenoo




msg:4374169
 8:59 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ashley should not be about google employe. She is here [google.com...]

Of course I do not partecipate to link schemes. I do not link to my other websites. I do not link to bad neighborhoods.

But tell me, is it true that Link exchange pages are against guidelines ?

bwnbwn




msg:4374180
 9:28 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

No link exchange pages are not against guidlines.

walkman




msg:4374181
 9:30 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe they think you'll add the pages right after the positive review?

serenoo




msg:4374188
 9:46 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Those pages I removed are:
1) email page converted in a jpg
2) forgot password --> robots.txt
3) latest registered members --> 404
4) disclaimer that is a duplicate content because I have it for all my chat websites (robots.txt)
....

They are all pages I needed except someone.
IF they think I will add again such horrible pages they can always ban me forever.
Having only 2 pages that do not respect the guidelines is a big pain.

AlyssaS




msg:4374191
 9:53 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Have you seen this article from seo book:

[seobook.com...]

He has a screen shot of a twitter conversation between Matt Cutts and some webmaster, where the webmaster deleted all the pages on the site and G refused the reconsideration request!

Either because G felt a site with no pages was against their guidelines, or they felt that someone doing something that drastic was trying to pull the wool over their eyes and would put back the pages that G didn't like once the were reincluded.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4374195
 10:06 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

God forbid you actually exchange links in your link building efforts. Links bring visitors, link exchanges do too, but the exchanges make Google's job harder so they don't like it? Whatever... build for people, not for Google, and let Google decide how much great content they want to ignore.

Robert Charlton




msg:4374210
 11:19 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

No link exchange pages are not against guidelines.

I agree.

I do feel, though, that the degree of link exchanging does matter, particularly with regard to the inbound and outbound link profiles of the site as a whole.

The quality of those links matters a lot as well.

Reno




msg:4374226
 12:52 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

God forbid you actually exchange links in your link building efforts.
........
link exchange pages are not against guidelines

Trading / exchanging links was one of the foundation stones of the WWW from about 1994 until about 2003/2004. It was great to trade links with other interesting & relevant sites. But then the energy was sucked out of that balloon. Why? One word: Google. They set out to kill it, and they did. It may not be technically against their guidelines, but their purposefully cruel FUD philosophy (which has ruined SO many online efforts and has literally destroyed lives) has given the impression that link exchanges could be used against you, so to err on the side of caution, a great many serious professional or quasi-professional webmasters simply stay away from it.

Google is to clever to just come out and say why link exchanges had to be wiped out, but we all know the underlying reason: "You want people clicking your link for traffic? Hey, it's easy ~ just buy it! How? Oh, it's a little program we have called AdWords"...

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

Robert Charlton




msg:4374230
 1:16 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is to clever to just come out and say why link exchanges had to be wiped out...

It's not clear that they have been. I think that "moderation" is a good word to keep in mind, both in the number (and percentage) of exchanges you have, and in the amount of highly focused anchor text you get. I'd look at the number of duplicate anchors and site descriptions going in both directions as well... and at how natural or unnatural these links appear to be.

This thread addresses some of the questions being discussed, and though it's 4 years old, I assume it pretty much still applies....

Matt Cutts on Reciprocal Linking
http://www.webmasterworld.com/link_development/3530468.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Matt: Use your gut. Trading links is natural and it's natural to have reciprocal links. At some level, natural reciprocal links happen, but if you do it way too often, it looks artificial. My advice is to go with your gut and if you're worried, you can use nofollow.

walkman




msg:4374233
 1:26 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

@serenoo
you may need to face the fact that they 'new and improved' Google does not want your site in the SERPs. Why /how come and stuff don't matter.

Reno




msg:4374254
 2:49 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Robert, here is what I would have liked for Google to have come out and say, clearly and unambiguously, all those years ago:

"Our algorithm is in large part based on PageRank, and PR is in large part based on the links that point to you. Because that is fundamental, we take link exchanges very seriously. Therefore any link exchange that you undertake that we determine to be contrived will not receive any PR benefit whatsoever, NOR WILL IT BE USED AGAINST YOU."

Something to that effect would have allowed the long practiced tradition of link exchanging to stay vibrant, and simultaneously, it put everyone on notice that there was every likelihood that it would not move you so much as one position higher in the SERPs.

Clarity of course is not their strong suit ~ FUD is ~ so as I said, people err on the side of caution and do nothing... all because of fear of what might happen.

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

tedster




msg:4374262
 3:25 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's another Google quote on the topic:

The reciprocal url often looks like a resource page. The links on the reciprocal url must be based on quality and subject relavency and not page rank basis alone.

[youtube.com...]

As far as I have seen, it is webmasters who have created the FUD around this topic by reading too much into various Google comments over the years. In fact, the webmaster community creates a lot of SEO FUD by the time some original comment gets passed on in a second or third hand. We even see some of this distortion on this forum from time to time.

Anyone who has used reciprocal links in the way described above knows from their own experience that they do help and they don't cause penalties. When you get off-topic and off-quality reciprocals, they tend just to have no effect, in my experience.

Reno




msg:4374325
 6:35 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here again is what Google says about this (the emphasis is mine):

"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or 'bad neighborhoods' on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."

Source: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#3

That is a clear threat ~ it's not even veiled ~ and it clearly says that if you link to something called a "bad neighborhood", we may hurt you. That makes my point, and it's from Google's own guidelines. Here's the problem:

[1] Most people do not have the luxury to read every Google blog or view every Google YouTube video or read every interview that Matt or some other engineer may have given to some source somewhere, in order to make sense of it all. Most of us ~ those who do it at all ~ go to the Guidelines, and thus it's not asking too much for them to be crystal clear in that one central location;

[2] The web is an ever-changing place, and a website could start out legit but over the course of a couple years may stray off into "bad neighborhood" status, at which point the axe "may" fall and you see yourself drop like a stone, and wonder why;

[3] And finally, to the best of my knowledge, there is no universal understanding that is written on stone tablets as to exactly what defines a "bad neighborhood". It's kinda' like music ~ I think rap is short for crap, whereas someone else thinks it's deeply relevant poetry. So Google is threatening to hurt a site's ranking for something that is subjective, and THEY are the ones who will decide where the line is crossed.

Sorry but that's too much risk for most people, and thus, while the webmaster community may create its own share of FUD, the fact is that the once highly-valued practice of link exchanging was mostly killed off by the uncertainty created by the Masters of FUD, and in my opinion, the murder was premeditated.

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

serenoo




msg:4374328
 7:18 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

walkman
I have 5 copies of my website and they are still in the index and rank good, so why not
include this one? For copies I mean same template and the same service in
another city with same features and of course different text. So this is not the case.

serenoo




msg:4374339
 7:33 am on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

AlyssaS thank you for your tip. I had 12 pages (not hundred of pages) and I removed 10 pages. Most of them are very thin pages like the contact page, the forgot password, the last registered members,...
If I keep those pages I am out of Google, if I remove them I am out of Google. :(
What is the road to enter inside Google?

tedster




msg:4374472
 2:34 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

serenoo, you don't need to remove pages like "contact". First, even the Panda understands that there won't be a lot of content on those pages. And second, you are discussing a confirmed guidelines violation, not a Panda demotion.

From my experience with a site that has thousands of reciprocal link exchanges (topically relevant and organized in Resources category pages) it takes more than a couple bad neighborhood links to make a problem. We have an intern review these links about twice a year and we always find a couple that have turned into bad neighborhoods.

There has never been a penalty against this site. It's a significant pattern of outbound links pointing to bad neighborhoods that causes trouble, not a few apples that turn bad in time.

Link exchange "schemes" were clearly dead in the water as a ranking tool even before Google became king of the hill. It wasn't Google alone who did the deed. But reciprocal linking done in service of the site's visitors has never been a problem.

martinacastro




msg:4374628
 8:15 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

nice post tedster

can you or someone else define "bad neighborhoods"?

When I check a site that I link, what characteristics I must look to know if the site is bad or not?

Reno




msg:4374634
 8:27 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

can you or someone else define "bad neighborhoods"?


Precisely my point re 4374325 # [3]. Only Google knows definitively what that is, and if they modify that definition after you've linked to various sites which had previously been OK, and those sites suddenly fit the new definition of a so-called "bad neighborhoods", then YOU are at risk. Sorry, that's not right. So I say once again: Give these kind of links zero juice, and let it go at that. NO penalty based on a concept which is not universally understood because it is never properly defined in existing Google guidelines.

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

tedster




msg:4374635
 8:27 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Essentially, bad neighborhoods are groups of sites (often pyramids or rings) that are used to artificially inflate backlink scores. The end goal may be webspam or something more malicious like malware distribution.

The sites in these bad neighborhoods often use the same template or theme. The bigger ones may use several different ones. The content is pretty useless and it exists only as a vehicle to put the links online, so you frequently see scraping and spinning to create the text that fills up the pages. The text from public domain sources is another tactic.

There are slightly mellower bad neighborhoods (also problematic) that are ways of sharing links with other sites who buy-in to the promise of increasing backlinks.

So it a site is "trading links" with others just because they seem to have good PR, then they are most often wading into a bad neighborhood.

Reno




msg:4374664
 9:26 pm on Oct 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bad neighborhoods are groups of sites (often pyramids or rings) that are used to artificially inflate backlink scores. The end goal may be webspam or something more malicious like malware distribution.

The sites in these bad neighborhoods often use the same template or theme. The bigger ones may use several different ones. The content is pretty useless and it exists only as a vehicle to put the links online, so you frequently see scraping and spinning to create the text that fills up the pages. The text from public domain sources is another tactic.

That definition is so concise and clear it would be perfect for Google to co-opt and utilize as a popup box at the Guidelines page. If they would do that sort of thing ~ not just for "bad neighborhoods" but for other subjective terms as well, such as "quality" ~ then people like me would stop criticizing them for their current lack of clarity. I'm not saying that they don't say a LOT, they do (almost too much), they simply seem incapable of saying it as well as you did in your posting.

With clarity comes understanding and with understanding comes improvement ~ for the life of me I cannot grasp why Google misses this fundamental point.

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

martinacastro




msg:4375240
 10:11 pm on Oct 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks tedster

can also include as a bad neighborhood site, a penalized website?

tedster




msg:4375255
 11:34 pm on Oct 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes - many of the characteristics I listed would be cause for a penalty. But I wouldn't just say it that way - "don't link to a penalized website" - because what people are calling "a penalty" is often not something Google thinks of as a penalty.

<added>
One key word here is "neighborhood". That's usually more than a single website - but you might link to just one site that is using "black hat" methods to promote itself, so it might be in a bad neighborhood once Google identifies its methods.

Still, you're not going to get into trouble by linking to just a couple sites that turn bad.

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