SevenCubed - 11:07 pm on Nov 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
Yes I did mean unfiltered but as you said the additional benefit is that it is also non-personalized because Startpage acts as a firewall between us and google.
I use the term unfiltered for what most would refer to as a penalty. I see it as there are 3 ways to SERPs as far as google is concerned.
1) Your regular placement in SERPs irregardless of your site quality or level of optimization (or lack of it). For this you would probably be on same results page on both Startpage and google.
2) Your placement in SERPs when you are over-optimized. It's not really a penalty because the algorithm can still handle it through filters and whack it down -50 -100 -500 or whatever...-950. A characteristic of this instance would be a discrepancy between the two SERPs such as the one I mentioned above -150 vs -400. For this example I think you can climb back up by just getting rid of the over-optimization characteristics the algo is filtering you through. Startpage isn't entitled to use of the filter because it is probably google proprietary technology that's why we see different results.
3) A manual penalty when a site owner got really creative to elude the algorithm and violate guidelines. But, then somehow got caught by someone reporting it or whatever. So the plex people manually intervene to punish them.
So I believe a penalty requires a manual review of your site by someone at the plex. Whereas a -100, or whatever level you are at, you can climb out of yourself by cleaning up your site in so many ways and you eventually become unfiltered. No manual action required and therefore quite correct for the google people to say you have "no penalty" which would leave you scratching your head.
Theories, theories, everyone has them, meeeee too. When we share them out loud sometimes others can see traits that make them go hmmmmmmmmm.
On more than a few times I have seen people post pieces of the puzzle that I was missing that lead me to a more complete understanding of the beast.