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As both a useful and fun exercise, I thought it might be helpful for us to post a worse fears and then hopefully learn from others who have more experience (and logic) how our fears should be dimissed as nothing more than a scary SEO campfire tales.
To keep this somewhat intelligent, please post your Google fear and also venture to explain Google's reasoning.
--- I'll go first ---
Adsense Login Paranoia
I'm paranoid that G logs my IP address from Adsense login and matches that IP address against searches I do in Google to discover what my keyword interests are. It then examines my site's content with my submitted keywords from search to see if there is a match between my site's content and logged keyword searches. Then, if it finds something about my site content it doesn't like, G applies filter penalties that are more severe than none Adsense sites.
Why I'm Paranoid:
I have this paranoia because I worry that somehow Google believes that both having AdSense account and searching in G for your site's keywords is somehow an indication of heavy SEO activity. In my mind, I imagine that G's ideal adsense publisher is a site owner who places the ad and goes on with their business without concerns of how well their content does in SERPs.
Hey.. I said I was paranoid.
Okay.. anyone else here with paranoia. Please share and perhpas we can learn from those among us with better experience and sounder thinking on search engine matters.
I can't even begin to the list all the paranoia I have about the Google Toolbar! I have read accounts of how it is believed by some the Google will visit sites that are unsubmitted for indexing and it's guessed that G learns of the site through visits from toolbar installed browsers.
I have just bought banners that link to my site on 1.5 million pages and had to use a landing page with a nofollow tag... not for humans... but for google so they don't think that I am gaming them. I am hoping the nofollow tag keep them to just banning one page and not the whole site...(again)
In a world without google I would simply link to my main page without worries, with google I need a different page altogether to avoid them frowning on my attempt to gain visitors the old fashion way... so much for their saying of building pages for humans and not se's
First, massive spam onslaughts cause Google to accept huge amounts of collateral damage for legitimate sites.
THEN, Google's market share insulates them from the needs of the web community and makes them immune to criticism.
THEN, Google fails in their CLEAR OBLIGATION as a MARKET LEADER to provide basic and thorough support for sites they have delisted or downranked.
THEN, People accept all this and fail to rant against it because people are sheep, sucking up to Google and thinking stupidly that search rather than content is what the web is all about.
THEN, even otherwise intelligent people often argue, in dumbfounded stupor and ignorance of historical precedent, that Google has no obligation to the community to work hard to identify the damage it has caused and to effectively deal with the problems it's dominance has created.
Wait - this is not a nightmare - it's happening RIGHT NOW!
Yes, they do have a new program to communicate with damaged sites but it's weak and small. Support system does not provide access to problem solvers, rather to canned info
I afraid to buy text links to bring in additional traffic because Google might view these as an attempt to buy PR.
I'm also afraid to sell text links for the same reason.
It's ridiculous to think that we need to be afraid of advertising for ourselves or others. Personally, I could care less about PR, it's traffic that counts.
I've also taken off the Google toolbar because I'm afraid that Google is tracking my keyword interest.
Even though I spent like nearly $1,000 on the website, I still beat myself up.
Now what do I do?On each page put a different Google Holiday logo to link to Google. Underneath each logo write an homage to something googly, like the spider, or the algorythm, or the mission statement. They'd have to be ok with that, wouldn't you think?
Oops, I guess not [google.com]
I also wish the world could sing in perfect harmony, and we could all Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow-white turtle doves.
Hang on I need my medication ;-)
My fear is that buying advertising(not just link buying) on other related websites will hurt me unless the site owner is enough of an SEO God to use the "rel=nofollow" command.
Like wise, I fear that if at somepoint I should decide to sell advertising on my site, that I will also be penalized by Google for selling links especially if I don't use the "rel=nofollow" standard.
My greatest fear is that Google is creating a very real need that all webmasters must have advanced education in SEO and a minor in Google SEO do's and don'ts in order to have a chance.
Not that I'm particularly paranoid, but I've done work on user tracking stuff, and if there is someone particularly desperate to get hold of my browsing habits, they're going to have to put some work into it.