Google Will Look At Your Other Sites When You Get A Manual Action

Mar 10, 2014 • 8:25 am | comments (49) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google spam barrelsGoogle does indeed look at the other sites a webmaster or business owner operates when one of their sites gets a manual action - at least, some of the times they do.

It seems like Marie Haynes is dealing with one spammy client and when she posted on Twitter asking for Google's Matt Cutts to help, he did chime in. He talked to her about all the spam this site did on the site in question and on other properties.

He points out how Google may have noticed they have multiple spammy sites:

He goes on to imply Google is aware of "several."

This all builds a bad feeling in the Google webmaster analyst who is reviewing the site:

So while Google may not always take the time to review other sites this webmaster may operate, when they do, it can lead to a mess - if you've done sketchy things across those properties. And it seems this specific business owner dug himself deep into a hole.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Previous story: Competition Commission Of India May Fine Google $5 Billion


Stuart David

03/10/2014 12:39 pm

Bit of info for spammers there sadly, they'll look at changing out such things now


03/10/2014 12:43 pm

this doesn't indicate that google looks at other sites in any way.. it just indicates that matt cutts did in reply to a question !!!

David Iwanow

03/10/2014 12:57 pm

yep appears to be several also doesn't seem to imply they check based on your GWT or GA account... but I assume Google search team could easily do this at scale without any GWT verifications just based on Adsense code or WHOIS data

David Iwanow

03/10/2014 12:58 pm

Often harder to hide such details with some ccTLDs but there is several ways I've seen spammers/scammers use in AU space

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 01:03 pm

What did we learn? Not to engage Cutts or any other Google nut on any specifics, especially your client's specifics (unless u want them destroyed) because they seem to take it personally and the word EVIL is in Google's DNA When will the FTC clamp down hard on Google for illegal trade practices? Just for the hang of it, compare the search results for "ftc google" in google vs bing Google doesn't even feature on pg1 the massive data has collected on them. Not even on pg2 or 3 or 4 of Google. You can't make this stuff up! Read this: - "Google says it's just showing consumers the most relevant results" And therein lies the problem - Google doesn't

Josh Zehtabchi

03/10/2014 01:14 pm

This has been a long-term theory with many webmasters. Glad it's finally confirmed. Good job, Marie.

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 01:16 pm

What? The theory not to engage Google on the specifics of your client or did I miss something?

Josh Zehtabchi

03/10/2014 01:18 pm

No. That Google uses data from one site to assume/review the health or intent or other sites a site owner or GWT/GA account holds.

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 01:20 pm

Ah, yes, same as a redirect after a rebuild. Its very unfair that Google will destroy a new site with no SPAM history. U should agree, right? Its also grossly unfair to destroy a site, when the site has proven to comply to the many vague Google LAWS . U should agree, right? Google 'Sand-boxing' used to be a week long event, maybe a month, but not for eternity. Thats EVIL


03/10/2014 01:25 pm

This makes a lot of sense. It also (sort of) ties in with the entity-based nature of Hummingbird. What is your brand? Who are you - in entity terms? Building additional sites and resources will add to the authority of your owned search-entity, however; negative actions may also taint your brand online. Domains are no longer a safety air-lock which you can detach from the rest of the space-station in order to save it (terrible analogy I know). More than ever Google want to know who you are and learn your behavioral patterns. It's only right that this data influences penalties which must often be subjective impositions.

Josh Zehtabchi

03/10/2014 01:27 pm

I'm not disagreeing with you. What actually upsets me more is how high profile sites recover in days, not moths or years like others. But it's Monday, I'd figure I'd keep my rants to a minimum.


03/10/2014 01:28 pm

This makes perfect sense. If you have multiple spam sites and link them all together, then why wouldn't they? Spammy Link networks are against their guidelines.

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 01:29 pm

Message to Google: "People in Glass houses should not throw stones" Meaning: When you try investigate the 'character' of the people behind the domain, what evil intentions they may have, look closely at your own evil intentions


03/10/2014 01:33 pm

Caught out !

Ahsan Parwez

03/10/2014 01:40 pm

Better not manage multiple domains from a single GWT account then and better not interlink those websites, having multiple domains is hurtful anyway, better to invest time and money on a single domain.

Adam Heaton

03/10/2014 01:47 pm

What stops me from creating a lot of micro-sites for a competitor now? :)

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 02:24 pm

And when Google permanently sandboxes that? What to do then? Suicide! To suggest anyone to have just 1 site in post 2012 lunacy. Instead of Google reducing SPAM its created SPAM out of its paranoia and illegal trade practices

Ahsan Parwez

03/10/2014 02:39 pm

We need to rethink our strategies, the main reason our websites get penalized are the unnatural and low quality backlinks, there is a better way to work rather than build backlinks yourself. Social networking sites and writing about stuff that really matters can help alot.


03/10/2014 02:59 pm

Google's a registrar. even with private registration info, or fake WHOIS - they know who actually owns the domain.


03/10/2014 03:01 pm

This pretty much proves that Google Webmaster Tools is used in such a way to identify and dish out penalties to all the offending websites in the account. The same could be said for Adsense and Analytics as well. Because Google is a domain name registrar, they probably have access to all the registrant info even if it is whois protected. If we want to protect ourselves from link bomb incidents, we had best take precautions to protect all of our websites by breaking any associations they may have with other websites.

Michael Martinez

03/10/2014 03:09 pm

Piffle -- Matt publicly said as much to other people (at SEO conferences) years ago before Webmaster Tools was released. This is nothing new; just a good, fresh reminder for folks who have forgotten or who are too new to the business to remember those old conference sessions.

Andy Kuiper - SEO Analyst

03/10/2014 03:52 pm

LOL ;-)

Rae Hoffman

03/10/2014 04:13 pm

This begs the question - do we as SEOs need to be careful of what we have access to in GA and GWT. As a "user" I have no ability to delete myself from client accounts I have access to, even years after the fact. So someone I worked with in 2007 could become a giant spammer in 2011. You'd think they're only looking to connect accounts via reg info, but still makes you go hmmm.

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 04:13 pm

Yes, and the new message is to remember NOT to use ANY of Google services. Google Webmaster Tools is a joke anyway. Instead of using Google's email try juno (remember them?). And don't buy any home device that is 'smart' and connected to Google


03/10/2014 04:15 pm

My theory is that Google won't take action against other sites you own, unless you've linked them together with the spammy sites - in which case they become part of the spam.

Yo Mamma

03/10/2014 04:16 pm

Do you know what those large buildings are that Google is building? DATA BANKS. Yes, they believe in linking all data together and making a BIG profile of you. was hit so hard after 60minutes, it shut them down. People care about their identities so Google should come clean on what data they keep.


03/10/2014 04:26 pm

How about just one site without using Black-hat tactics? Oh and for the millionth time. The sandbox doesn't exist. Its a myth.

Rae Hoffman

03/10/2014 04:34 pm

Actually, scratch that - it appears we DO now have the ability to delete ourselves as a user on GA accounts.


03/10/2014 05:55 pm

Why should this be a surprise? If I was on the spam team and looking at a manual penalty due to lots and lots of spam...I would go and look for other sites registered to the same site owner. It would be foolish to not do so; if there is a history of spam on one of their domains, there is almost certainly spam on the others. Just seems like the manual spam guys are doing their job thoroughly. It is nice to see a confirmation of this straight from Matt, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone working in SEO.

Dave Fogel

03/10/2014 06:35 pm

Wow. That is not good at all.


03/10/2014 07:07 pm

If organic ( Free traffic ) is your only source of traffic and revenue, then one must think of his/her business model as well. If you have a good brand , you would get a handsome amount of Direct, referal and social traffic and will not wait for Matt Tweets day and night. Getting your site/business dependent on Google free traffic is a foolish approach.

Mark Aselstine

03/10/2014 09:05 pm

I always love this line of suggestion(s)'s classic and I'd bet, comes from someone who has only ever worked, as consultant, agency etc and never, ever at a startup. Building a brand takes time and needs revenue

Sean Murray

03/11/2014 04:29 am

that's why you should have startup funds to allocate towards paid marketing.


03/11/2014 09:47 am

it mean what webmasters need to boycott google services like gwt/analytics.


03/11/2014 10:08 am

Google seems imagined that the owner of the Internet. His behavior looks like a fascist dictatorship.


03/11/2014 11:43 am

Stop be Google patient. Disable your tracking and google ads.


03/11/2014 01:22 pm

Google does not equal the internet. Google is the owner of its own search platform. This in no way looks like a fascist dictatorship as companies aren't required or expected to take action by global committee.


03/11/2014 01:25 pm

Why? If you aren't spamming, then the services are helpful. If you are spamming, then you're the problem and will be caught up in one of the spam algorithms eventually, regardless of those Google services (unless you choose to not allow Google to index/show your which case you will last a little longer on Bing/Yahoo/Yandex/Baidu until one of their ever-increasing spam algorithms catch you...

Roman M

03/11/2014 02:25 pm

If your SEO strategy consists of throwing your toys out of the pram...what can I say?!!!


03/11/2014 05:21 pm

you just need to be smart and understand risks of using these services. but here is also lot of different solutions (for analytics), etc.


03/11/2014 05:22 pm

google algorithm not have brain, it just a program. for that algorithm it not important who spamming your website. And gogle antispam team is mostly indians who not care about your site/sites.


03/11/2014 05:25 pm

exactly. they tracking you everywhere (using hardware id), sell this data and using this data to make money.


03/11/2014 05:49 pm

Thanks for posting this discussion. It provides further evidence Google is aggregating data across multiple webssites that are really the same company for penalty purposes. So when evaluating client penalties, we also need to beware of all the sites that may exist in a company's web empire, or else.

Adam Heaton

03/12/2014 08:52 am

How can they know who someone is if all the information is fake? That makes no sense.

Luana @ n0tSEO

03/14/2014 10:58 am

I actually agree with both of you, qpes and ethalon. The real problem lies in the 'cult' that was created around Google (which certainly Google won't fight, as it turns out remunerative and useful to them, but not to webmasters). Let's keep business... well, business. ;) No cults.

Luana @ n0tSEO

03/14/2014 11:01 am

Just a few words about this matter-- The fact that Google claims something to be spam, doesn't make it spam. We don't have to think with Google's brain in our heads. The are a lot of advertising and linking practices that have existed for decades and are not spammy, even though Google says otherwise. Honestly, I don't care what Google thinks, just as much as I don't care what Bing or Yahoo! think. I am my own person and the Internet is a place for everybody to stay and exist.

Gracious Store

03/16/2014 11:37 pm

So the penalty is not just on a site but literally on the owner of the site that is why if Google imposes a manual action on a site, he will start looking at your other sites with a "high powerful microscope" to check for none conformity with rules

Nevin Thompson

03/25/2014 02:25 am

I think Matt Cutt's comments provide a great opportunity for content and inbound marketers to ask ourselves, "Am I really providing a service that is helpful and relevant? Am I engaged in trustworthy and ethical business practices?" Working with spammers (as in the example above) is neither providing value, nor is it engaging in truly ethical professional behaviour.


06/09/2014 12:22 pm

Google bans all sites from GWT or using GA, don't sign up in google webmaster tools for now and will be happy...

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