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General Search Ranking Penalties

There is not much clarity regarding penalties and, as I have mentioned before, the very term itself is applied loosely and inaccurately time and time again. I have taken a few moments to put together a list of common search penalties and their diagnosis / prognosis / and treatments. Time estimates in the prognosis are based on our previous efforts – each penalty removal is different. Sitewide Ban: Diagnosis: Sitewide bans are the easiest to diagnose. You were in the index, now you aren’t. To determine this ban, check site:[yourdomain].com in G/Y/. If your site normally shows up for this query but no longer does, you have suffered a sitewide ban. Please make sure to determine the following though: 1, you are not employing a robots.txt or meta robots...

Google Penalty Myths

One of the issues I discuss regularly with clients are elusive Google “penalties”. More often than not, good-willed webmasters and small business owners undertake SEO techniques that are not only frowned upon by Google, but easily detectable and and even easier to counteract. However, these techniques do not usually bring about “penalties”. Penalty: a punishment levied by a search engine, normally in response to techniques which violate the ToS, which leaves the punished site ranking below the point at which it would rank were those techniques simply countered and ignored. Is your site suffering a penalty? It is far too easy to attribute your site’s poor rankings to a penalty when, more often than not, another more straight-forward...

Poor Attempt at Cloaking: Exhibit #1

Generally speaking, if you are going to try to do geo-targeting via IP address, you might want to make sure something like this happens… Now this prime ranking position in Google is not only drawing the attention of Google’s spam team, but it is also keeping would-be subscribers from clicking on what appears to be a page specifically for Mountain View, California, home of “the Google”. Who knows, maybe it is a ploy to get Matt Cutts to buy DirecTV? No tags for this post.

Gmail 302 Hijacked…

Thanks to Jake Bohall, our Director of Sales, for noticing this due to a nasty Firefox 3.0 bug, requires that he type URLs into the Google Search App because the location bar no longer works. It was years ago that the 302 hijack became a popularly abused method to steal rankings but, due to some apparant algo improvements and what I believe to be a well orchestrated misinformation campaign by either people who wanted to still abuse it or Google who didn’t have a good fix, the method seemed to disappear by-and-large. However, the bug reared its ugly head again today, as Gmail.com itself was hijacked in Google. As you can see, Gmail.com, or mail.google.com, are not ranking for the keyword gmail.com in Google. Instead, the ranking is replaced by a spam blog on...

A Cross-Browser, Bookmarklet Speed Reader

Yesterday, via both Digg and Reddit, I came upon Spreeder, a wonderful speed reading app. However, it has a major drawback. To use the application, you actually have to perform the speed reading on spreeder.com, taking you away from the page you need. You can either cut-and-paste content into their application, or use their bookmarklet that redirects you to their site after highlighting the text you want to read. So, I took a few minutes to cobble together this app, which I think is a lot easier to use and far more simple. It is also cross-browser compliant for FireFox, Opera and Safari, no luck in IE as of yet. Just simply drag the link below to your browser’s bookmark bar. Then, when you want to speed read your favorite blog or magazine article, just...

Hold Your Ground, Rand.

Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz has made a call to his readership to determine the future of black and gray-hat content on their blog. Being a staunch advocate of information openness in the Search Engine industry, I have decided to chime into a handful of the issues/questions which Rand poses to his audience. I have quoted liberally, but you ought to read his post in its entirity. We’ve received some harsh criticism from those who engage in black/gray hat practices and been asked to STFU about these topics. Spam, obviously, succeeds more when less is known about it, so its natural for those with a potential interest to keep it close to the vest. If SEOMoz knows about these techniques, then the search engines already knows about these techniques. No effective or...

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