Google Attacked Over Webmaster Relations

May 9, 2007 • 9:13 am | comments (26) by twitter | Filed Under Other Google Topics
 

There's an extremely interesting debate at WebmasterWorld about Google's relationship with webmasters.

The original forum poster, The Shower Scene, brings up a lot of great points:

  • Google's Guidelines do not define Ethical SEO: It's time webmasters corrected their lazy habit of referring to ethics and Google's Guidelines as if they were one and the same.
  • Google has gone beyond user mindshare: Google literally has webmasters brainwashed into thinking that their guidelines defines ethics.
  • The Google Webmaster Spell: Today's webmasters have become so under the Google spell that all their energy is focused on Google.
  • Google Defines Webmaster Dialogue and Thinking: Today's webmaster so intellectually lazy they actually believe that the best information is going to come from a heavily moderated Google Groups forum. Today's webmaster confuses helpful information with what is essentially Kool-Aid that is being posted on Matt Cutts blog.
  • Thank you for smoking, have some more kool aid. Todays webmaster is so compliant, complacent, and utterly sheep-like they are willingly surrendering highly personal data to Google without understanding how it ultimately benefits Google far more than it benefits them.
  • Google is taking over and moderating the webmaster discussion: Google endeavours to control the discussion of Google by limiting it to their own network of blogs and discussion forums. How else to explain the absence of AdSense advisor, GoogleGuy, Adam Lasnik, and AdWords Advisor? ASA didn't even bother to announce the last AdSense weekend update. GoogleGuy is absent on Webmaster Forums except to defend Google at TW or promoting their snitch programs.
  • Google is the Internet: Am I the only one who feels it's extraordinary how Google is becoming the arbiter of web ethics, coding practices, and the webmaster dialogue? Do webmasters really want an Internet that is defined and dicated according to what is good for Google?

A lot of discussion ensued, with quotes saying that "Google is the Internet," Google has 80-90% of search traffic and thus should not be ignored, and that Google is "creeping up to market dominance status."

Adam Lasnik responded with some other thoughts to ponder:

  • Google's Webmaster Guidelines are designed to help Webmasters and users
  • Google doesn't censor its Webmaster forum for content ... unless you consider "Make Viagra Fast!1" or "$&@# you and your #$&!$% Mom!" to be content.
  • We Googlers try to post where we can do the most good.
  • Completely depending on Google (or ANY limited set of sources) for your traffic is a recipe for unhappiness
  • We don't comment publicly on specific penalties.
  • If you can't see the current and future value of Webmaster Central, you aren't paying attention.

Barry's thoughts: "Google has come a long way in terms of their communication with Webmasters and SEOs. In the past we have praised Google time and time again. Although some of the points in this thread are interesting, I find it hard to believe that many of them were Google's intentions. I just find it funny that SEOs and Webmasters would spin around and take all that we have received in feedback and communication from Google and throw it back at them as a negative."

I, too, think similarly: Google gives us a lot of great tools, and I even blogged about the usefulness of Google's Webmaster Central last week. As the dominant search engine, I think we should be thankful that we have these resources available to us.

The discussion is pretty heated and continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Matt Cutts

05/10/2007 04:04 am

Adam's already doing a great job on that thread, but it is frustrating that I don't have a chance to do everything I'd like to do. If I've only got limited time, I could spend that discussing something or a forum, or try to write on a new topic (malware, Stephen Colbert, robots.txt crawl-delay and why we don't support it). annej, regarding the -950 thing, I'd watch this video I made: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4814548594071648913#1m42s Starting around 1:42 into the video is where I talk about this.

Carsten Cumbrowski

05/10/2007 04:41 pm

My problem is the lack of definition when they throw "warnings" out to the public. WHAT is a paid link? Anybody? Leaving those things undefined plus add to comments elsewhere that imply what could be meant or not does nothing else than heating up the debate and people have to assume the worst. This is most of the time not what comes out of it, but sometimes it does.

Halfdeck

05/10/2007 08:42 pm

The original poster got a few facts wrong. First, "On Matt Cutts blog and the official Google forums you are not. Google controls the dialogue and the outcomes of the discussions. " Google Groups Webmaster Help is a zoo. One frequent poster is an outright racist for crying out loud and another poster bashes Google every chance he gets. But guess what? Neither of them are banned and most of their posts are left untouched. "When was the last time GoogleGuy or the other representatives did something on the webmaster forums to help or answer questions?" Matt Cutts is GoogleGuy. A well-written, emotionally charged rant, but a rant built on sand. 90% of all websites I looked at where the owner claims Google is the problem I find things that prove otherwise. For example, owner of resist inc posted in GGWH: "We have reviewed the webmaster guidelines and cannot think of how we might have vioated any of them." When I went to the site, I found they've been hacked, with hidden links to stuff like “brewster ny honda”, “drawn horse”, “yahoo game back door,” “hip hop cartel”, and “bronx bankruptcy lawyer” (for more info, just google resistinc) Moral of the story: Webmasters need to take responsibility for their own sites and stop wasting energy on things that are beyond their control.

Mark

05/11/2007 05:35 pm

Hi Matt, Wimbledon is coming up in a few weeks and as an owner of fan site http://www.murraysworld.com this is the time of year I get all my new members. In the last month I have suffered a sudden drop into 40-50 results, I'm so upset and if this remains through Wimbledon I'm going to be so depressed :( I keep sending re-inclusion requests as I did notice and remove excessive H1 usage, the use of display:none and paid links but I still haven't be unpenalised. None of this was intentionally deceptive, I'm an honest author. Even when I search my domain on Google it isn't on the front page, this is so depressing. And it means absolute nothing that Yahoo, Ask, Altavista have me as no1 as I survive off Google. I beg you to please allow me to enjoy my favourite time of the year for my website! :(

Matt Cutts

05/11/2007 07:59 pm

Mark, I wish I had time to chat with each webmaster and give personalized advice, but I really don't. That's part of the idea of the webmaster help group -- to let peers give suggestions. That peer group can be really helpful. For example, suppose that in April you had a bunch of links at the bottom of your page that looked like "Online Loan | Santa Cruz Hotels | Xbox Mod Chip | Home Loan | Mobile Phones " or "Bad Credit Mortgages | Afvallen | Problem Remortgage | Mortgage | Myspace Layouts". Linking to bad neighborhoods or spammy sites can affect your site's reputation. So the webmaster help group might look at your site and say "Hey, why not remove that link co-op stuff and then do a reinclusion request that says 'In case this was a factor, I'm no longer participating in this co-op link exchange and linking sites like this from my root page.' That might do it." It's a helpful group, and you can often get actionable advice from it.

Li Evans

05/11/2007 08:24 pm

Mark, You don't need to do re-inclusion requests for your domain, it's already in the index. Type in site:http://www.murraysworld.com into Google's search box and you'll see your pages are there. Reinclusion requests don't have a thing to do with where your rank in Google. Where you show up on the results depends on how you optimize your website. As Matt pointed out - that's what the groups are good at helping you with. ~Li

maxd

05/11/2007 08:36 pm

Heh, I was following Marks site at google groups. I think Mr Cutts is saying in a round about way that he should have said about the dp co script. Mark you were not so truthful but to be honest most sites in the co op still rock, so if that is the case it is not fair picking on a few. Should take them all out.

Richard Hearne

05/11/2007 08:42 pm

Hey Li Matt might come back on this, but to the best of my knowledge Google has said that the re-inclusion request can be used in any circumstance where a site has breached the guidelines and suffered a penalty for same. Not just for an outright ban. Oops, I just noticed that Matt implicitly mentioned this is his last comment here :)

JLH

05/11/2007 09:39 pm

As a regular reader of Google Webmaster Help Group, I have to say a TON of great people are there and help out daily. The real value lies in the fact that actual sites and URLs are not discouraged but almost required to get opinions. Many, many site owners have been helped there. Of course, full disclosure of what was being done prior to coming in for help is key, as we don't have those wonderful tools that Matt Cutts does.

Mark

05/11/2007 09:39 pm

Hi Matt, Thank you so much for replying to me. At the time I signed up with those guys, I honestly did not realise it was some sinister scheme that Google would have a problem with. They simply posed as company wanting to advertise on my site. However after being penalised back a month ago, those paid links were removed and I mentioned in the re-inclusion request (which is entirely appropriate in this situation Li Evans) that I had paid links that did not have rel="nofollow". Maybe now with this discovery, I should put a re-inclusion request in saying I was in some horrible co-op scheme. Thanks a lot!

JLH

05/11/2007 09:53 pm

Regarding the reinclussion requests for penalized as well as banned sites. Adam Lasnik addressed that officially on the GWHG on 11/29/06. We've documented it on the groups collaborative effort to do just that sort of thing: http://webmastershelp.iblogget.com/2007/03/09/reinclussion-requests/

Mark

05/11/2007 10:28 pm

I just sent in a new re-inclusion request thanks to Matt's advice. If all goes well, I will be unpenalised in time for Wimbledon :) "Dear Google, In my ignorance I accepted a request from the Marketing Manager of ztmc.com wanting to do some DigitalPoint co-op link exchange scheme on my website but at the time fooled me into thinking it was a legitimate way of their company just advertising on my site. Under their advisement and to the best of my memory, I uploaded files ad_network_274.php, ad_network_ads_272.txt and display.php to the root of my website and forum. I then placed <? include ("display.php"); ?> in every page of my entire site so that the ads would display. If this form of advertising was a factor in me getting penalised then you should know I no longer participate in this co-op link exchange and no longer have their ads on any of my pages including the root page. I have learnt my lesson and as an honest author I will never participate in such schemes again and will never sell links that can affect SERPS. Sincere apologies for breaching the Google guidelines. Kind Regards, Mark S."

Matt Cutts

05/12/2007 02:25 am

Mark, thanks for the update. I'll ask someone to check into the status of your reinclusion request.

Mark

05/12/2007 11:12 am

Wow, I'm shocked. Thank you a million!

Mark

05/12/2007 11:24 am

My site has been unpenalised! Thank you so much Matt. I'm just too lucky with this. First time some random end user has been fast tracked maybe? :)

Samuel Moroni Lucas

05/12/2007 03:37 pm

Hi Matt, I am new to this business to i need a little help. Being a young lad i think i made some school boy errors and now my site has been give a penalty. I think this was due to a common mispellings section i placed on the site. Now i have removed it along with any links from my site and any link pages as i have been reading that could be bad. I really dont know what to do as i have filed for reinclusion but im going into my 3 weeks without any income. Can you help!!!

Samuel Moroni Lucas

05/12/2007 03:39 pm

PS my email address is info@lucasint.co.uk and the URL http://www.thephonenetwork.co.uk

Samuel Moroni Lucas

05/12/2007 04:09 pm

I would also like to say the only reason why the common mispelling section was on there was due to a stomperNet Video i watched. Now i have dropped out of site on Google and business is almost gone along with my wast line. HELP! http://www.thephonenetwork.co.uk

JohnMu

05/12/2007 06:43 pm

Samuel, I suggest you start a thread at http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-Indexing/

Samuel Moroni Lucas

05/12/2007 09:44 pm

I have started a thred and have filed a reinclusion requestion but there seem to be many people with their own agendas who seem to contradict each other that i need someone that can really help me. This is my bread and butter and what i live off. If Matt or someone could help i would be most thankful but if not i understand and sorry for taking up your blog space

graywolf

05/13/2007 12:26 am

>I'm just too lucky with this. First time some random end user has been fast tracked maybe Mark, actually every Google person I've ever dealt with one on one has gone above and beyond to do the right thing especially Matt. While I disagree with many of the decisions the company as whole makes and the direction they are moving in, you do have to give them credit for getting involved and not sitting in the googleplex tower. yes it's really me, and no I haven't been drinking.

Brian

05/13/2007 11:36 am

why doesn't google consider bizrate.com and shopzilla.com in the duplicate content domain?

Sam I Am

05/14/2007 04:06 am

Man, I could really use some advice like that Matt... and that's a pretty darn fast re-inclusion Mark!

Daniel

05/19/2007 06:58 am

Grats on the re-inclusion Mark. A couple of my websites are severly penalised to the point where they don't rank on the SERP for their domain names, same as yours :(

David

12/24/2008 04:50 am

Google could work on that.... I got my adsense account canceled without reason before... they also have some issues working with firefox now... that's why they made google chrome? not really sure why! David, http://davidbeking.com

Helmet Veshdon

02/17/2011 06:05 pm

Yes, David, that is exactly why they made Google chrome. I know Google can work on that though, however, when is Google not being attacked, accused or sued? www.utvcabenclosures.com/polaris-ranger-utv-cab-enclosures

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