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e.g. do they identify networks of sites if they have the same adsense publisher ID?
e.g. if you have 100 sites in a WMT account will cross-linking those sites be penalised?
It's probably unreasonable to ask that the "I've been dropped in natural ranking to force me to buy Adwords" brigade to focus on data usage rather than evil Google --- but I'm curious if there has been any admission or hinting at Google using data entered into such webmaster features to effect Google rankings?
My sense would be that WMT would be an obvious way to check a range of websites, should the webmaster register a range of websites under the same account, and prove to play against the Google Guidelines consistently.
Analytics might be a way of gathering generic user behaviour on various types of sites. As long as that data was only used to set policy or analyse trends, and not as actual ranking criteria, I think its a golden data source.
Anaytics and Adwords/Adsense data does not affect organic ranking
Not being pedantic ... but you didn't mention WMT. Has there been no denial of their usage? Could their be such a denial as the input into WMT is meant to affect results. So if an SEO puts his 100+ clients in to WMT --- could they be condemning them to being identified as a "ring" or "network" if they are similar types of site?
If you run a network of sites then you should realise that Google would probably like to stop you being successful in that. Doesn't matter what domain reg / personal IP / WMT & Analytics accounts / C class IP block etc etc setup you have - that's all just how careful you are.
Your intention determines your actions. If you have to disguise your intention then be prepared.
I think we get quite a bit. Sure there's spin and FUD, but before Google began opening communication lines with webmasters, there was almost no communication at all from any search engine.
The field of search-engines-plus-webmasters is a competitive-cooperative game. That's the reality of the situation. No search engine can afford to hand out a "build your own #1 rankings" kit.
When it comes to Google accessing Whois information, it was never a secret when Google formally became a registrar. It was never a secret when they partnered with Domain Tools for bulk registration data, either.
Here's my rule of thumb. To the degree a business model is focused on rankings and traffic, rather than products, service and customers, that business risks pushing the envelope far enough to get penalized or banned. It's what any search engine must do - it's the nature of the beast.
Once you've done something wrong, is that now part of your permanent history with Google because you've got your name/ID to your sites and account?
That's my concern. The set of websites I actually use WMT for (11 sites) all seemed to be penalised at the same time. I have no idea what for - such a penalty would suggest interlinking but none do.
The set of websites I actually use WMT for (11 sites) all seemed to be penalised at the same time. I have no idea what for - such a penalty would suggest interlinking but none do.
Once you eliminate interlinking, my next thought would be coordinated inbound linking patterns common to all of the sites, coupled with other indicators.