turbocharged - 11:52 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)
A website I am working on had previously suffered in the SERPS for its homepage. Duplicate content, created externally, resulted in hundreds of copies of their homepage and internal pages. Most of the copies reside on Google owned properties (Google Apps and Blogspot). To combat the problem, we did a complete homepage re-write. New images, lots of next text and functionality were added to combat the problem. We also modified the htaccess to prevent this from happening again (or so we thought).
A single character in the htaccess file left only the homepage open to Appspot. Within two days, four Appspot URLs were indexed and our client's homepage was in the "omitted results."
I am here to say that Google's preference for their own brands is harming the internet in more ways than just limiting consumer choice. Webmasters and SEO professionals, like me (webmaster) are spending countless hours defending themselves against Google's products. I discovered this when I did a search and found many complaints from others that have been proxy hijacked by Appspot.
Since I am not an htaccess pro, or SEO pro by any means, we submitted a request for additional funding from our client to bring a SEO pro on for a limited consulting basis. Other proxies that have cached content, not owned by Google, appear to be placed in the omitted results appropriately. But we develop webpages mostly, and have no idea how many other Google products/techniques are being used as a negative SEO weapon.
Yesterday I sent out 4 DMCA notices to Google on behalf of our client. Today I will work on assembling the rest of the list, which reaches well beyond one hundred different domains, and hand them off to another in my department to File DMCA notices. Once I get client approval for the SEO pro, he/she will get the list to for review.
A good portion of the wasted time/money could be saved if Google used noindex on Appspot proxy pages. Does anyone have any idea why they would legitimately not do so? At the present time, I estimate this problem is going to cost our client $1,500. In addition to submitting the DMCA notices, we will have to rewrite some pages that probably won't meet Google's threshold for removal. Multiply this by thousands or tens of thousands of small businesses, and you have a lot of financial damage occurring. What a nightmare!