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It's now official - Google manually changes results

     
8:44 am on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For years, Google told the world that its search engine was completely objective, and only now is the company beginning to freely explain that this is not the case.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/18/google_on_manual_search_penalties/

They used to always deny this but it seems that they are now happy to admit it.
3:41 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This seems to be a sensationalist story to me. We've known for YEARS that penalties can be manually applied. In fact, they used to be predominantly manual. This looks like lawyers twisting things to support Foundem's lawsuit - which has been fought more in the press than the courtroom.
3:41 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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""If you do a reconsideration request, at least right now, we're checking against whether you have penalty in place manually," Cutts said."

I don't think that is always the case. If you mess up a server move and get de-listed as a result, which I'm pretty sure is an automated de-listing, and then make a reconsideration request via WMTs they will re-list you.

Cheers

Sid
3:45 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Here's a link here to our thread about the Matt Cutts video: When are Penalties Lifted? [webmasterworld.com]
3:51 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The video arrived two days after a New York Times story detailing a campaign by American retailer JC Penney or at least the search engine consulting firm hired by the retailer to artificially boost the company's Google search-ranking by purchasing links to other sites across the web.

I made it through the first three paragraphs before something jumped out at me in the paragraph above about the knowledge level of the author and the quality of the article. It seems to reinforce what tedster said ... Let me add some emphasis below:

...to artificially boost the company's Google search-ranking by purchasing links to other sites across the web.

Uh, yeah, they purchased links to other sites ... That's exactly what they did ... To rank better, they purchased links to other sites ... I wish they would have purchased some to a few of mine ... I'd even help 'em with the text ... Slow news day is my guess ... lol
4:06 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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JC Penny said they had no knowledge of the purchases and fired the SEO firm. How many times have we seen this happen to a company. It should be an easy fix on getting the penality lifted.

Now did JC really not know probably. This is why JC hired an outside firm to be over the SEO. Truth be known I highly doubt any manger there has any idea what SEO stands for let alone set up and buy links.

This has been kind of blown out of the water IMO and JC should file a request and be done with this issue.
4:32 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We've seen more specific instances of manual manipulation. In a thread from 2008 [webmasterworld.com] there was discussion of different results being displayed based on capitalization. I pointed out that a search for "Google" (compared to GOOGLE or google) displayed a Wikipedia article about the company. I remember it being number 2 or 3 and that it wasn't particularly friendly to Google at that time. I posted that comment at 8:37am and by 12:37pm the Wiki article was gone from the index. There are many other examples of manual manipulation but this one immediately came to mind. I'm glad to see some "mainstream" attention to this because it's always just been us nerds talking about it in the past. :)
4:52 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm glad to see some "mainstream" attention to this because it's always just been us nerds talking about it in the past. :)

I've known for some time that my site is manually manipulated by -100. I also think I know why but to state it here is pointless because it's my word against Google's. I've long suspected that when a site or group of sites break out of the cozy controlling algorithm, rather than allow those sites to break their concept of how sites should rank they just stick you in jail. I get enough inquiries from long-tail traffic and word of mouth.

I do know that is luxury that many other sites cannot afford when that get tagged by manual manipulation. I'm fortunate.