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Warning from Google about black hat SEO

Is this real?

     
1:20 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I received a warning email from Google saying that I was about tor receive a 30 exclusion from teh SERPs due to some dodgy SEO practice id been in volved with.

Yes I plead guilty and shouldnt have done it, but does Google warn people? Or this a 'joke' email?

6:17 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Did you check the email headers? Google is warning folks these days was that seo technique by any chance hidden text or link related?

If so kiss your site bye bye until you fix it and ask for reinclusion.

6:18 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You need to be able to examine the mail headers. Most all can be easily faked, except the IP address of the server that passed the message to your mail server (we're assuming your mail server is trustworthy). Examine that IP address and use it to (e.g. www.arin.net) see if it is an address that belongs to Google.
6:26 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, Im preying it was a prank email.

the Irony was that I didnt even need to do this....

Im gonna sue myself!

6:31 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts mentioned this new notification program late last year. Since it is public knowledge, it certainly is possible that some other person is having a lark at your expense. But since the email named something you really were doing, I'd guess it's more likely to be geniuine. As others have said, check the full headers on the email to be certain.

And if it is genuine, you are one lucky dog -- not lucky to be caught, but lucky to know exactly what changes you need to make. No guessing, you know?

6:31 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They have done this to hundreds of sites, starting in late 2005.

There are plenty of references on Matt Cutts blog about this.

6:31 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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check headers, and yes, I've been a number of threads in the past about google warning webmasters.
6:39 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Obviously you should fix your site today, whether the email is from Google or not.
6:45 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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" Thanks, Im preying it was a prank email."

Why pray when you can just fix it and not worry about it ever again.

6:48 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Tell us all what you did so we all know what not to do at least. There needs to be a "what got you banned from google" thread so we can figure out what not to do.

Google wants us to follow their rules but not tell us what they are in detail. So the least we can do is figure out what not to do and make a list.

6:53 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> Google wants us to follow their rules but not tell us what they are in detail. <<

Err, Matt Cutts includes marked-up screen shots of the offences, right there on his blog.

There must be at least 10 examples posted there over the last few months.

How much more information do you need?

7:08 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Information about the other hundreds of potential offenses would be nice.
7:20 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Errr, how about a change of perception?

Why don't you "do the right thing" rather than trying to "spam, but not quite badly enough to trip a filter"?

That's what it sounds like from here.

9:20 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Essex Boy,

One of my friends received a similar email for hidden text in no script.
Sure enough his site was removed from the serps for 30 days, it took 60 days for him to come back in, now he is no1 for most searches.

Beck.

9:35 pm on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Errr, how about a change of perception?

Why don't you "do the right thing" rather than trying to "spam, but not quite badly enough to trip a filter"?

That's what it sounds like from here.

g1smd, LOL... that advice will fall on many deaf ears here I'm sorry to say. But it's still good advice, I started doing that more and more last year, and am I ever happy I did. New traffic record this week for me...

But for many sites they do in fact need a lot of dodgy seo work done on them, for fairly obvious reasons [like why would anyone ever link to them in the first place?], so for those people, yes, you want to start paying more attention to matt cutts examples, they are very clear. And pull back a bit on the extreme stuff, gray and black hat stuff is always a game, those who play it well manage to keep their stuff below the trigger levels, and if they fail, they always have new sites to start pushing.

But if you need to be told what to do or not do, it's probably not a good idea for that person to try to play this game. Google will almost certainly catch you and your sites.

But nice posting g1, that's my new motto too, that's what I'm sticking to, all my clients who don't do it will fail I'm increasingly convinced, I've warned them so it's their problem if they want to keep playing that game.

12:16 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Please post the link to the examples matt cutts provided or send them to me via private message.
1:35 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sure enough his site was removed from the serps for 30 days, it took 60 days for him to come back in, now he is no1 for most searches.

And that is one of the glaring examples of the differences between Google and Yahoo; there was communication, and there was a true opportunity at getting it resolved. I think these messages regarding stepping over the line should be given tremendous credit. They don't have to do it, but I'm sure it meant the world to the guy who got his positions back. No other SE does anything remotely like this (and frankly I donít think their cultures would ever allow for it)

2:39 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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<< Please post the link to the examples matt cutts provided or send them to me via private message. >>

hermosa, this isn't rocket science, but if you're doing stuff and you don't know where the limits are, I would give some pretty serious thought to learning what those limits are before you get hit, not after.

this is really basic stuff, all the normal seo garbage you see all the time, doesn't matter if you call it black or gray hat, it's all just tricks that are getting easier for google to spot all the time because they're so simple.

If you are using obvious tricks on your site this means you.

There's nothing earth shattering in his blogs, they are just funny examples of totally transparent techniques that are almost laughable. Same old stuff. As g1smd says, search for it, it's not hard to find. Or just go to any black hat seo forum and then avoid doing everything they tell you to do. That's even easier. Check out the screen shots of the bmw stuff for example. What on earth was bmw thinking hiring such a ridiculous seo in the first place? Are they that stupid? That technique is so bad it's something I'd expect to see from vhiaygraa.com or something, not a major car manufactorer. Hopefully both the seo and the bmw person who decided to hire them are both looking for new jobs right about now.

5:28 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Any idea which mail id Google chooses to send the mail to? Is it the mail id listed with whois records or harvested from the site?
5:55 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It would be counterproductive if Google spelled out exactly how to avoid tripping their spam filters. That's like installing a high-level security system in a bank, then posting a diagram at the door explaining how to avoid tripping the security alarm.
6:30 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Randal I found it. Very obvious stuff such as white text on white background, hiddent text and re-directs.
8:59 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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OK its was hidden text at the bottom of a page, just about readable but keyword stuffing all teh same.

I guess they sent out an email in teh hope that it would reach me via a catch all as it was addressed to webmaster@blahblahdotcom.

9:27 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how many site owners would even receive emails addressed to "webmaster@"?
9:42 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I find it highly unlikely that Google is sending out such warnings. Otherwise we would've heard from more than just Essex_boy in this thread.
9:54 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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" I find it highly unlikely that Google is sending out such warnings. Otherwise we would've heard from more than just Essex_boy in this thread. "

From what I understand from what Matt Cutts has stated that these warnings are still being tested and that there have been quite a few that have been sent out.

10:06 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe so. I read that Matt had posted that a few months back but I haven't seen anything about it since.
10:18 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe they are still testing. Who knows anymore!
10:54 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Previous thread about a warning email from Google: [webmasterworld.com...]
11:32 pm on Mar 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> I find it highly unlikely that Google is sending out such warnings. Otherwise we would've heard from more than just Essex_boy in this thread. <<

They have sent out at least 5 or 6 batches of mail, and each time it was to a few hundred sites or so; judging from comments made in various forums and blogs. Matt Cutts has written about it several times already. Each batch of mails targetted a different and particular type of fault each time.

7:03 pm on Mar 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Its now been a week and nothing has happened to the site.... me wonders.
This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37