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Google-targeted SEO is not allowed

Terms of Service

     
6:54 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



By using Google's search engine or other Google services ("Google Services"), you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the "Terms of Service"). As used in this agreement, "Google Services" does not include the Adwords or Adsense programs.
...
The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales.

Doesn't this mean that, according to Google's own Terms of Service, that we are not allowed to use the "Google Services" (which includes the search engine itself) to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons?

That pretty much nullifies targeting Google ranking :)

Not that Google is likely to enforce it, but technically SEO is violating their TOS.
Or, perhaps they just need to update their TOS ;)

8:11 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Um, no.
8:15 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I am well aware that they may not mean it. But it's in their TOS in plain text :)
8:21 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



No. You are being highly imaginative.

You can't cut and paste google search results onto a page of yours. You can't make a site that uses Google search results with your own ads. You can't make mysearchenginething.com and pirate the Google search results.

8:26 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Then, what does this sentence mean:
You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons
8:29 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I see it as applying to SEO. However, I could believe that SEO may not have been their original intention for that sentence.

It's clumsily, or maybe intentionally loosely worded:

...to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales.

Does that mean you can cut and paste the serps into your own website, or cloak the first ten positions in the serps, as long as you're doing it for non-commercial reasons?
:o

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:39 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2006]

8:38 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Agreed that it is clumsy wording. Especially considering the more specific wording in the next sentence:
You may not take the results from a Google search and reformat and display them, or mirror the Google home page or results pages on your Web site
8:46 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I also find the heading interesting -- Personal Use Only -- and how they state that the "non-commercial use" applies to the search itself, with AdWords and AdSense being the services for commercial use.

Can we say "hint hint -- use AdWords and AdSense if you want to draw traffic to your site, but do not employ SEO methods, as these give us no money" :)

Feels like ulterior motive. ;)

[edited by: DrDoc at 8:48 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2006]

8:46 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Yeah the context of it changes the meaning. But I still think that "thou shalt not exploit us" applies to SEO when it comes to anything beyond making your site spiderable etc., if not explicitly in that paragraph.
8:49 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Agreed. But that one sentence alone gives Google the right to drop/ban your site if it becomes too successful using SEO alone.
9:25 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The wording and context is clear, especially in separating out adsense which you can use. If you are serious, you shouldn't be. It's just silly to pretend it is about seo stuff.
9:30 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



What kind of commercial non-SEO use might one employ which falls under "increase traffic to your Web site" through the SERPs? :)

I think martinibuster said it well:

I see it as applying to SEO. However, I could believe that SEO may not have been their original intention for that sentence.

They certainly do not want to be exploited or targeted through SEO. They want their own nifty index to figure out which sites are most authoritative for any given topic. It's a given that Google is against SEO itself (beyond making a site spiderable), since it will skew the index. It's like doping in sports.

9:38 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



"What kind of commercial non-SEO use might one employ which falls under "increase traffic to your Web site" through the SERPs? :)"

Copying results. Framing a serps page. C'mon, its obvious.

9:52 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Recently we discovered scammers are framing some of my sites and putting their Adsense unit at the top of my index page to in effect steal my income.

Hope that is what they are referring to by referring to using Google SEO to get traffic and making money from it! It's very serious and needs to be stopped, since its basically fraud and theft of my potential traffic and adsense income.

We are heavily using G's inanchor: or inurl:domainnamedotcom search to find the scammers and reporting them all to G, Adsense-Abuse, their domain registars and ISP's as fast as possible. We all need to do that.

[edited by: trader at 9:57 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2006]

9:55 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Copying results and framing the SERPs lead people away from your site ;-)
Besides, they mention that next anyway ...

If nothing else, the sentence forbids you to use Froogle for selling products :-P

11:31 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



A creative lawyer might say that Adwords is also a google service. :)
11:55 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



As used in this agreement, "Google Services" does not include the Adwords or Adsense programs.

Better be mighty creative then ;)

6:52 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



One has to define SEO to say that this applies to SEO.

What some would call SEO, I call proper use of attributes, elements, page structure, navigation and overall site architecture. I can justify everything under W3C recommendations, peer to peer networking and marketing.

Take away search engines and these things dont change much.

7:52 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Ummm .. so froogle and sitemaps are google services then?
7:56 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Could they be referring to things like selling rank checkers, pagerank predictor tools, and pagerank display tools?
9:50 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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...or is this more to do with Google's recent win over the cache issue, setting a precedence that its quite okay to cache anyones site. (As referenced by Bretts bot blog.)
11:48 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Interesting would be to know, if this wording DrDre is referring to, is rather new. Anybody knows, when it apeard first?
10:12 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The exclusion of AdSense and AdWords is a recent change. The other stuff has been around since the beginning of time.
10:24 pm on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I work on SEO for a large corporation and our lawyers have cautioned us about violating the Google TOS, even accidentally.

Especially because, interpreted loosely, even checking the rank of our corporate site could be considered a violation of the part about "personal, non-commercial use only." Even more so if I use my free non-commercial API key.

Not sure what the answer is. I just say as little as possible when interacting with the corporate lawyers. And I continue to check our site's rank.

 

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