Google Tells Webmaster: You'll Have To Earn Our Trust Again

Nov 29, 2013 • 8:38 am | comments (20) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Trust GoogleA Google Webmaster Help thread has a story of a site that is trying to disavow and remove all the bad links pointing to his site.

The interesting part is that even when he does, will it help with his site's rankings?

The goal of this webmaster is simply to remove the manual action, but Google's John Mueller tells him he also has algorithmic trust issues.

John said:

looking at your site's history, it looks like you've done quite a bit for quite some time, and it looks like our algorithms have picked up on that too. So while resolving the manual action is a good way to start, you need to keep in mind that it can possibly take quite some time for our algorithms to regain trust in your site even after that.

I see this happening a lot, webmasters aim to remove the manual action and do but then the rankings don't improve. The reason is likely do to algorithmic actions taken on the site.

That being said, it is interesting to see how Google words it.

The algorithms seem to have lost trust over time. The manual action is a "good way to start" but the algorithms need to "regain trust" in the site for there to be an improvement - which may take some time.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Marie Haynes

11/29/2013 02:00 pm

It's possible that John is just saying that the site had a Penguin issue on top of a manual action. Now that the manual action is lifted, they will have to wait till Penguin refreshes to see changes. However, it is interesting that he said "looking at your site's history, it looks like you've done quite a bit for quite some time". He has mentioned before that one of the ways that they discount negative SEO attacks is by just discounting sudden bursts of bad links. So, it sounds like Penguin takes into account whether or not you have been building bad links for a long time.

Spook SEO

11/29/2013 07:24 pm

Trust will always be something that is so hard to get back especially when you know that there are a bunch of others who could do better. However, it does not work that way in SEO. You just have to find a good number of friends to clean your name for you. Support is what you need especially from those who are the prominent ones.


11/29/2013 07:54 pm

Things improve more rapidly when, at the same time someone is fixing issues of the past, they also get on board with Hummingbird and engage people with good content and social.

James R. Halloran

11/29/2013 10:25 pm

Interesting. I guess Google wants this to sting a little bit? Trust is hard to gain back, especially if for years you were found doing black hat SEO by Google's algorithms. It's going to be interesting to see how fast one can regain favor in Google's eyes.

Negative SEO

11/30/2013 12:41 am

Really interesting find, thanks. The debate among a lot of people is whether disavowing is would seem the best course of action is to disavow, and build a new site while you're waiting to regain trust.

Michael Martinez

11/30/2013 02:38 pm

"It's possible that John is just saying that the site had a Penguin issue on top of a manual action." I am pretty sure that is NOT what he is saying.

Dave Fogel

11/30/2013 02:57 pm

How do you regain trust of an algorithm? I understand regaining trust of people but how does a robot decide now it is going to trust your site? Is googlebot now becoming self aware like sky net???

Marie Haynes

11/30/2013 03:15 pm

Fair enough...what do you think he is saying then?

Guy E

12/01/2013 01:44 am

I agree with Marie; it sounds like Penguin could take the history of the link profile into account. But this discussion is completely hypothetical, so Michael's comment is pretty much void.

Michael Martinez

12/01/2013 01:05 pm

Does nobody pay attention to the history of the SEO industry any more? This kind of "history" thing has come up before. "Google has a long memory" isn't just a trite saying. It's a fact.


12/01/2013 04:17 pm

Look Marie is talking crap again.


12/02/2013 04:10 am

It is really this horrible to have a manual action from Google. This is a very hard lesson for anyone to learn


12/02/2013 08:59 am

Whilst not a very nice experience and you would hope that Google showed heart and allowed disavow actions to feed into its algorithm, this does resound with early recommendations for disavow: just don't use it. Do other things like move your page to a new URL engage in link reconfiguration for as many of the 'good' links as you can (the websites whose links are 'good' links, are usually more receptive and contactable than those with the really spammy links). IMO changing URLs and not 301ing from the old URL to the new URL (starting afresh) whilst trying to repoint some of those good links is the best tactic if your link profile is pretty bad.


12/02/2013 09:02 am

Algorithms are incredible things. Numbers can lie; so it follows that other groups of numbers are going to learn to 'trust' (or distrust). I think this is a common sense post for most people, but very interesting nonetheless.


12/03/2013 12:49 am

I think it google need to earn our trust again. But they not care, so they will stay alone with money in the socks and with matt cutts in costume of penguine :)


12/03/2013 12:55 am

yes, they monitor with unique hardware id, all forums you visit. So if you visit blackhatworld forum, google algorithms lost any trust to your sites. But if you will visit matt cutts blog very day, it help you to gain trust in google. So put only quality anchors and play google game (how to broke world biggest search engine in 2-3 years) :)

Manoj Soni

12/03/2013 12:10 pm

Hey XoXo, Your comment not only made me think, but shocked me, I wonder any company running full time SEO Dept will live long or not because definitely they will not be on niche sites. Algorithms always find them (SEO Staff) surfing tools and sites that may (or may not) help them to improve their rankings and algorithms definitely don't want to see it..

Ritu Singh

12/05/2013 09:19 am

Great post. Google only want to improve their user experience . If you have quality, unique & theme based contents with relevant links then you will automatically gain Google trust.

Guy E

12/08/2013 08:00 pm

Sure, nearly everyone knows that Google takes historical data into account; but not specific timeframes in terms of "you have done this for 'xyz' amount of time, so we can hold this against you". What if it was an old domain, and has since changed hands within a company? Or the domain has been tied to a business which was sold? Should that company have to deal with the repercussions in the future? I don't think Google should be using the historical data in that manner.

Michael Martinez

12/09/2013 10:15 pm

"...but not specific timeframes in terms of 'you have done this for 'xyz' amount of time, so we can hold this against you'." So, as I published on SEO Theory last week, that knowledge has been in the public arena for YEARS.

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