Use Google Custom Search To Validate A Google Penalty?

Apr 5, 2011 • 8:07 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google CSEA WebmasterWorld thread asks a very nice question... Can you detect if you have a penalty by using Google's custom search engine feature.

Basically, you create a new search engine with it and then compare the results on with your own new Google CSE. If your site comes up high in the Google CSE and low in the Google web results, then maybe you have a penalty that does not impact the Google CSEs?

The thread has some people saying they rank perfectly fine in the Google CSEs but not well at all in the main search results.

Tedster said, "it seems clear that some ranking ranking changes are applied to the "raw" data at the very last instant." He added, "It's very interesting to me that sites seemed to be ranked without certain filters or without certain penalties on a CSE. It could be a good diagnostic tool."

Have you tried this? Does this work on sites with penalties?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Andrew Davis

04/05/2011 03:32 pm

I had thought that your personal browser and past searches were recorded by Google and used to enhance future searches. So if you search on Google for your website often it will show up higher than other results, whereas if you perform the same search using an Incognito browser in Google Chrome you will receive "untarnished" search results. Is this accurate?

Donna D. Fontenot

04/05/2011 10:13 pm

Andrew, I'd say that's accurate, but different than the scenario described, as your version of how that works would be true regardless of whether or not penalties are involved. But if your site has a penalty applied against it, you can verify that it does in fact have one, by seeing it rank in a CSE, but not in a normal serps (even in incognito). Or at least that's the premise being discussed, and yes, it appears to be true for the things I've checked.

Michael Martinez

04/05/2011 11:40 pm

According to some Googler comments I have read, I have the impression that the CSEs use an older algorithm than Google Web search. However, given that a CSE uses a much smaller index than Google Web search, I would consider a CSE to be a very poor indicator of whether a site has a penalty.

Andrew Davis

04/06/2011 02:57 pm

I see, thanks Donna! Michael's response seems to put a twist on the story.

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