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Google now manually cleaning their index?

European SEO has been banned from Google

     
10:38 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The follwing article was recently brought to my attention:
[journaldunet.com...]

For all who don't speak french: Netbooster is a rather well known european seo agency who also offer keyword advertising and paid inclusion. Now they have been sanctioned by Google, accused to have been using spamming techniques to improve their position on the serps. Without a warning all pages of Netbooster and the pages they put online for their clients have been removed from Google.

Of course Netbooster says they haven't done anything wrong and Google wouldn't even explain to them what kind of spamming technique they base the exclusion on.

I think more important than the question if was spamming or not, is the question if Google now has changed the policy in their fight against spamming. As far as I know the policy has been not to manually exclude specific websites from the index. All exclusions due to spamming were based on the Google algorithm. So this isn't the case anymore? What also makes me wonder is the fact that the established SEOs have been using the same techniques for a long time, without being sanctioned. Why the sudden change of mood? What is the motivation behind it? If Google now starts to manually remove specific pages / companies from their index.... what's next? Cleaning result pages for competitive keywords, so you have no choice but to book Google adwords?

11:47 am on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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oh about Les frans(schi)sser(french)...They think they can spam the net...no sir....good job Google a 100.000 K spam site is out of the index.
12:09 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<sarcasm>When in doubt, blame the Americans.</sarcasm>

IMHO, Google could save their reputation by having MORE spam police remove websites. Humans, not an automated method.

I once suggested to GG that Google could also issue warnings to webmasters by email. If I got a warning, you better believe that I would fix whatever they thought was spam. GoogleGuy liked the idea and offered me a G coffee cup, but I had to go to Mountain View to get it.

Needless to say, the idea apparently didn't get very far in the Googleplex as they are not issuing warnings.

12:16 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I know of a UK seo company that can not be found in the Google index.

But as people have said already, this happens a lot with the algo picking up sites that play against the rules and are then removed.

12:22 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am a little against hand edits just because of dmoz. I am sure they have meta editors who work for or own large commerical type sites and make sure competition doesnt get in. I trust a bot much much more than any human.I agree with edits on obvious spam / hidden text etc, but with Dmoz their idea of spam / duplicate / useful content is crazy.

I basically dont trust a human to be totally unbiased.

12:50 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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most French SEO is very dodgy ...most French site owners know even less than most American site owners about SEO...Most french people think "everything" is the fault of the USA ..All French media tells them this is so ..

You can't fight an entire country's perception of "self"..

as regards the decision by google ....good ..shame they can't do it more often and cast the net wider ...( just as long as I can still slip though the holes ;)

12:58 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Of course Netbooster says they haven't done anything wrong and Google wouldn't even explain to them what kind of spamming technique they base the exclusion on.

I am afraid this was an accident waiting to happen. I still see them in the SERPS so it looks like they are not totally banned. Not good news for an International Hotel Chain.

2:57 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I basically dont trust a human to be totally unbiased.

That may be true for a bunch of loosely organized volunteers, who (at least for some of them anyways) have other motives for volunteering their time. Increasing the number of hand edits from the Google is different because they would be Google employees and a good system of auditing would be in place. Look, even some accountants and bank managers embezzle from time to time (and on occasion get away with it). But we still trust them to handle our financial dealings. The important thing is too set up some checks and balances to diminish this kind of abuse.

3:19 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How can we be sure that Google won't editorialize?
3:20 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>this has been the first time Google admitted to the press

Guess you weren't around for SearchKing [google.com]

They were bad, they were spanked, they sued, they lost.

>>Google would have saved themselves a lot of trouble with a simple phone call.

Now that would probably be a first.

3:34 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The only way you can protect yourself is have a site that is real populer outside of G. Only major companies and sites with type in traffic are safe from G removal. The only way a an unknown company can do very well is to spam the system by G's def. You are to not do anything to get backlinks you are to just have such a good site that you get them naturaly. A lot of people who think they are white hat are not as far as Google is concerened. They always are saying that you should not do anything to your site for the purpose of doing better in G. You should just make a good site and they will find it. So the best way to do well in G and be safe is make a site that people want to go to and is very usefull. G has been a great playground but they are growning up. It is an awsome marketing platform. Right now it is easy to game and get to the top. It will not always be that way. I can't go put a huge flashing ad on Times Square for free. I might get a poster up for a short time but it will be taken down.
3:39 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If I find a bad spamming site in my niche, where do I report them? Is there a Google URL somewhere?
3:40 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Playing the "big, bad American" card is as low as using the race card in any discussion which does not involve race nor nationality. This is strictly business!

I couldn't agree more. I've been waiting a long time for a european-based engine to give any of the US engines some serious competition.

How would all the whiners feel if google started only showing US-based businesses to Us-based searchers?

We ship all over the world, and derive a goodly portion of our international busines from search engines, but losing access to our international searchers would hardly be a blip on our radar. I highly doubt most (non-US) webmasters using google as a marketing channel could afford to lose access to the US market.

Perhaos instead they should count their blessings, and pay closer attnetion to the guidelines?

3:55 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> I've been waiting a long time for a european-based engine to give any of the US engines some serious competition.

That's strange isn't it? Maybe the "Big, wealthy american companies" are too intimidating :)

4:20 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google have sold out.

They are, as us Brits would say "tossers."

That's about it really.

4:35 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google have sold out.

So I guess all your site have a "googlebot/noindex" tag, right ;-)

5:24 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Interesting how this turns out to be a France/Europe vs. America discussion. Seems like there are still some hurt feelings and prejudices? This could be a nice discussion in the Foo section [webmasterworld.com] (seriously)

Originally I wanted to raise the question, if manual editing of the search results is a good idea, because I see a lot of problems going along with it:
- need to justify
- conflicts of interest (does it help to spend lager amounts of money on Google adwords?)
- lack of transparency
- maybe even bribary (?)
- negative effects on Google's image
...

5:51 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Actually, I don't understand why any american internet company would open an office in france, giving them a legal presence there, after the yahoo rulings.

There are just so many differences in our laws that it would be extremely difficult to be able to follow the laws of both countries at the same time.

As far the reference to the bad feelings between the countries, you were the one bringing up how it is the french that are playing that card in this case. So what if we americans feel no more pity for a spamming french company than for a spammer from nebraska. Are we supposed to give you more pity than we would our own spammers?

I suspect that there might be some cultural differences where certain types of behavior might be considered "fair" in france, but not necessarily in the US. But the Google rules were made up by people using the US version of fair, so if you want to play with that US search engine, you need to play by their rules.

As for your list of possible problems with manual removals, do you really think any of those might lead to more problems than the current spam issues? I don't.

Anyway, it is their index, and they can do with it whatever they want.

6:22 pm on Sept 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Actually, I don't understand why any american internet company would open an office in france

I'd say to better sell Google adwords. The wire transfer to the US used to be a pain in.... well, just very annoying.

Are we supposed to give you more pity than we would our own spammers?

Of course not and I never said that. By mentioning some reactions (and I wasn't referring to "the french" in general) I wanted to point out, that Google could be facing an image problem, if they don't react to the concerns people have. And image problems can become as dangerous as spam problems for a company that needs to look at its stock price now.

So actualy I have been looking at this more from a shareholder point of view. If you want to make money in another country (and this applies to every country), you will have to adapt to the local perception of "fair" to some extend. Google doesn't distribute its search all over the world because they are selfless samaritans. They have an economical interest. And for this economical interest's sake, they shouldn't have a "take it or leave it" mentality and I don't believe they do.

By the way... I'm not french :-)

10:21 pm on Sept 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems like there are still some hurt feelings and prejudices?

Not sure to what you are referring ... but not from this corner! I am a Canadian of Parisienne (yes French) decent living in the British Virgin Islands.

I just happen to feel that your concerns in regards to Google's image are completely and utterly unfounded. Once again, there are guidelines. If an SEO company chooses not to follow the guidelines they run the risk of getting booted.

If they weren't aware of or didn't understand the guidelines fully, then they have no business calling themselves an SEO company. Full stop!

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