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Google Spam Reporting

Looking back, did anyone see any results?

8:03 am on Jan 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Looking back to Jagger and it's aftermath, there was some unpleasantness when webmaster was pitched against webmaster in Google's great spam report quest.

My question is a simple one ... did anyone see any results from reporting and if not what do you think Google is/will be doing with the information that was sent?

All the Best

Col :-)

12:48 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The site I reported has thousands of doorway pages, hidden links to a network of sites (all same owner) that all link back to this main site (and these sites all have doorways), and hidden keyword stuffing in the <noscript> tag on every page.

This site I reported had been banned at one point in the past, for about a year (grey PR bar, no pages indexed). The owner of the site spent $50K over that year of being banned on adwords (info I gained from an inside employee who worked for the guy who runs the site). After that year of paying for adwords, and with no clean-up of the site, it was unbanned, and it now enjoys excellent SERPs again.

I figured out their password and got into their stats, and 95% of their traffic comes from these doorway pages, mostly from Google. The sad thing is that this site is for a company that designs web sites, and they employ the same tactics on all of their customers sites (most likely unknown to the customer).

Makes me think of the phrase, "Oh what a tangled web we weave". Maybe they should switch their tag line.

I know G has more to worry about than one particular offender, but this case is bad. I notified Yahoo and MSN about this site, and it was removed from their index within 24 hours, and I even got a personal thank you email (not a form letter) from a staff member at Yahoo.

1:53 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I posted 5 urls that use dodgy techniques - funny enough, just as i predicted they are still there, actually a bit higher than before.

No surprise there then!
No surprise that they run adsense too!

One thing ive learnt, is not to waste time reporting sites anymore and just concentrate on trying to rank my own sites using white hat techniques.

2:18 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What do you think about reporting your own site for keeping/improving it's rank?
2:23 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is probably worth a try - just make sure your site is superclean ;)
3:03 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I reported two sites that I do not compete with for their use of hidden text and cloaking. One was was out of the index within 24 hours, and the other disappeared 3 weeks later. The webmasters removed the hidden text and stopped cloaking the day after they were dropped from the index. 30 days after fixing the problems, they were both back in the index. The one that had used the hidden text regained his previous #2 position in the serps, while the cloaker has not done as well sans the cloaking for certain keywords.

What this exercise illustrated was that Google will make an example of a site when they want to, but more importantly, just because they used a stupid spam technique doesnt mean they dont deserve to be where they are in the SERPS, all other algo factors considered. It is more likely that the spam you see and report has already been discounted. The spam reports were more likely just a tool for Google to do a hand check and verify the effectiveness of their algo.

Would I do it again? Sure. It is a great way to test the algo. Cloaking works if you dont get caught, but hidden text is a bush league tactic regardless.

3:09 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If any of you remember, back at the start of Jagger, many of us were discussing the spam in the Jagger thread. I had blown off some steam and really gone off on Google.
In no uncertain terms, I made sure every one understood what a giant waste of time it was to use the Google spam report. I had used it several times to no avail.
Well, GoogleGuy himself came into the thread and addressed me personally. That is when he said he wanted us to report the spam with our ww id and Jagger in the subject line. I promised I would.
I reported two different spam sites. One was using js redirects and phony site maps and cloaking. It basically made a 10mpage site look like a 600 page site with all those urls a keyword. Lots of other little things. I showed how that seo company used this technique on several sites.
The other was #1 in several keyword sectors I compete in. They used hidden text and hid all their outgoing links. Their content (other than their product pages) was all scraped from a canadian gov't site.
Well GG came back to the thread and addressed me again saying it was a "textbook" report. He personally saw to it that these sites were banned saying that since I had provided two examples about the seo company that it would be a long time till they got back in Google. They are still gone.

Well, the other site with the blackhat stuff that was #1 in my sectors was back in just a few weeks. No changes, and enjoying the #1 spot with it's old page rank. Still using the scraper content. The difference is this site has been in the dmoz forever and has several hundred backlinks from the dmoz clones. I believe that is what "floats" it back in. LOL! It overrides GoogleGuy!
All in all, results rated 50%. That is a failing grade anywhere.

3:20 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've had five stickies now asking for the URL.

DO you think these are:

a) Google
b) SEOs worrying that THEIR site has been found
c) People worrying in case they've done the same thing
d) People looking for a neat idea they might get away with
e) Genuine interest


4:14 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Phil,

a) Google [Probably Not]
b) SEOs worrying that THEIR site has been found [Maybe]
c) People worrying in case they've done the same thing [Nah]
d) People looking for a neat idea they might get away with [OOOOOOOOhh Yeah]
e) Genuine interest [Maybe]

Many thanks Phil ... Good Post

All the Best

Col :-)

7:08 pm on Jan 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Man, I'm usually not a hardcore Googlite but I felt both they and Reseller should be defended here. I have used the spam report with success so against the tide of "it doesn't work" complaints I feel I should put my two cents in.

Why should we be supporting Google and Matt Cutts? Google are a large commercial company, hell bent on controlling the worlds information.

And also a large contributing factor to our sites' success...

It's their job, not ours. We have already gone to the trouble of reporting after all.

A bit presumptious to think you know exactly what their job description is and whether it should benefit you at all...

More importantly the casual references to Google as if they were some kind of benevolent student experiment ran by really nice guys is equally naive.

Actually I've been to the Googleplex during the San Jose SES conference and I found the Googlers to be really cool, fun people who are just like you and me. To generalize an entire company's employee roster based on their economic goals is a bit prejudiced to me...

Since they have a "report spam" type page I fully expect it to be dealt with.

I find it somewhat ironic that you talk so much about the naivety of other people when you make a statement like this...

I genuinely think they don't care.

Then stop complaining and go use Ask...

I think the majority of problems is due to people submitting a spam report, seeing nothing done, and then sending another one that says something like "Hey, I submitted this and you still haven't looked at it (whine whine, rant rant)" Personally I wouldn't have a job working on SEO if it wasn't for Google, so I say Thanks Google.

8:00 am on Jan 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed something else about the spammer site which is pointing to the phone sex site.

It has an honored place in the most badly maintained section of the ODP.

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40

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