Google's John Mueller confirmed yesterday in a Google Hangout on Google+ that Google took action on major travel sites for showing product pricing rich snippets for airline prices. John said that these sites were using the product rich snippets for multiple products on the same page, as opposed to its intended use of one price per page.The question came in at around the 47 second mark where John responded about why rich snippets for pricing travel sites were removed in the past week or so. John said:I double checked about this just before the hangout actually. We didn’t actually change anything. What we did notice was a bunch of sites were using this as a way to kind of markup a variety of products instead of just one product. So we hope that the price markup on a page is specific to one product and you are talking about a page like flights to berlin, then that is like tons of different products essentially. Like different flights from different locations going to Berlin, so … [Read more...] about Google Penalizes Flight Industry Web Sites By Removing Their Rich Snippets
Matt Cutts twittered that Google.co.jp was penalized for paying for blogger reviews. If you look at the FriendFeed details, you will see Matt first said, “Google.co.jp PageRank is now ~5 instead of ~9. I expect that to remain for a while.” And then when he was questioned if this was a paid link penalty, he said “yes.” Google Blogoscoped has more details about the why with their story named Google Japan Reportedly Bought Blog Posts in Promotion Campaign, Now Issued Apology. Akky Akimoto at the Asiajin blog recently reported that Google Japan was paying bloggers to review a new Google widget. Using pay-per-post service CyberBuzz, blog posts like the following popped up, strangely resembling each other, as Asiajin reports. The Google Japan blog’s apology translated into: Google Japan is running several promotional activities to let people know more about our products. It turns out that using blogs on the part of the promotional activities violates … [Read more...] about Google Penalizes Google Japan For Buying Links
A day after warning publishers against advertorials, will Google’s search team now have to penalize parts of its own company for running advertorials? Perhaps, and if so, it wouldn’t be the first time. It’s also another absurd chapter in Google’s war on paid links. Google Says: Advertorials, Beware! After news came out yesterday that Google had apparently penalized Interflora for running advertorials — and also reduced the PageRank values of many UK newspapers that carried these — Google finally blogged a general warning against such practices. From its post: Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations But as Aaron Wall at SEO Book covers today, examples of Google running advertorials could put … [Read more...] about Will Google Penalize Chromebooks, Google Analytics, AdWords & Google+ For Using Advertorials?
Make no mistake. Plenty of sites — big brands included — willingly do things in an attempt to rank better on Google that go past SEO tactics that Google itself considers acceptable. However, there’s also no better poster child for how complicated and confusing Google’s rules can be than the fact that Google has had to punish itself with penalties over and over again. Below, a look back on times when Google took action against itself. FYI, this is a companion piece to our related story on Marketing Land today: 10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google. Be sure to also check that out. And now the list, counting backwards chronologically…. 5. Chrome & Paid Links One of Google’s big sins is when people buy links in hopes they’ll generate better Google rankings. However, Google found itself buying links as part of a campaign to promote its Chrome browser. The links were obtained as part of a video campaign that was run involving two different … [Read more...] about 5 Times Google Penalized Itself For Breaking Its Own SEO Rules
Courts in the US have consistently held that search engines have almost total discretion over the content on their pages and ranking algorithms under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This is a legal defense against companies bringing claims about the economic impact of ranking changes or Google’s SEO-related policies. However, a court in Florida has now allowed a case against Google to proceed, in which the search engine manually removed links it categorized as “pure spam” and in violation of quality guidelines. According to legal tech writer Eric Goldman, the Florida court disregarded “virtually all of Google’s arguments” to allow the lawsuit to go forward. The case is called e-ventures Worldwide, LLC vs. Google. According to the facts laid out in court documents, in 2014 “e-ventures was notified by Google that 231 websites owned by e-ventures were being manually removed by Google from all of Google’s search results because … [Read more...] about Florida court allows Google to be sued by publisher delisted as “pure spam”
When the long-awaited DisavowTool from Google was announced finally at the PubCon Las Vegas, search professionals around the globe breathed a sigh of relief. There is a way now with which they can deal with the penalties laid on them by the Penguin Update due to ‘un-natural links’. They can now ‘disavow’ these links and get their site back in Google’s good books. If you want to use this tool, you will have to identify your bad links first and then work on pruning them. Once you submit the list of links you have to disavow, you will be given a choice of comments or links or domains to block. Of these options you must choose accordingly. But remember that you must use the tool only on the links which you haven’t been able to remove manually. Google itself has stressed that the tool is a last resort after you have exhausted all manual efforts to get bad links removed. Because once Google disavows them, you may even lose the good links and eventually … [Read more...] about A How to Guide on Identifying Bad Links and Pruning Them Using Google’s Disavow Tool
Recently, I had a client come to me with a very interesting Google penalty. They had made a few changes to their site, nothing major, mostly tweaks to usability and layout. After these changes, their site dropped in rank. Curious, I went through each of their changes, a short list. Moving a button? Not an issue. Condensing a couple pages, properly redirected? All fine. The only possible issue I could see was, as it turned out, their contact page. This client of mine had decided to be a little fancy with their contact page and put the information in a modal window. As you know, a modal window is hidden most of the time, and contact information contains links and keywords like their business name. The client thought, logically enough, that the presence of links and keywords in otherwise hidden content might earn them a penalty. To avoid that penalty, the client added a noindex entry for the page in their robots.txt. This, as it turns out, earned them a penalty anyway. It cleared up when … [Read more...] about Is Google Penalizing Websites With Disallowed Pages?
Almost every business in the world wants to rank on the first page of Google, but very few ever get there. With the best SEO will in the world, top-result status is a mountain many marketers struggle to climb. It’s not for want of trying. With Google’s algorithm changing constantly, it can be hard to keep up with best practices. Unfortunately, as with any supply and demand situation, there are also a number of unscrupulous “specialists” offering to help unsuspecting businesses raise their ranking. The blind leading the blind, often enough. Should you give up on SEO? Categorically not. Your search engine ranking can have a major impact on your business, driving traffic to your site and helping you secure more customers. As the saying goes, everything worth having is worth working hard for. I have put together this guide to help you out, highlighting nine roadblocks that could be holding your website back from ranking success. The Overarching Principle The most … [Read more...] about 9 Roadblocks to Google Ranking Success
Google conspiracy theories aren’t new. Everyone likes to believe their rankings have tanked thanks to something other than poor-quality content or bad linking practices. In reality, a lot of people are guilty of less-than-great SEO. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the fact that some businesses, no matter how “white hat” their methods, can never seem to gain traction in the SERPs. If you’re having trouble getting the traffic you want, it might just be conspiracy fact. A Small Business Problem: The Adwords Platform Isn’t Very Friendly One of the first nuggets of marketing advice you’re given, as a small business owner, is to market online using Google Adwords. It’s supposed to be a relatively predictable, and affordable, method for generating new leads. But, that train left the station years ago. Google Adwords is expensive, and it’s mostly where large corporations (or super-savvy and experienced marketers) play around with ad … [Read more...] about Does Google Discriminate Against Some Businesses?
When Google’s Matt Cutts first announced the search engine would be penalizing a large guest blogging network, many people in the SEO industry instantly thought that it could possibly be MyBlogGuest, run by Ann Smarty, brand manager of Internet Marketing Ninjas. At the time, Smarty was pretty confident that MyGuestBlog wouldn’t be hit, primarily because it wasn’t a “network” and it wasn’t selling links. Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging: http://t.co/rc9O82fjfn — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 19, 2014 However, Cutts announced today via Twitter that Google has taken down a guest blogging network, and sure enough, MyBlogGuest was the one hit. It no longer ranks on Google for branded terms. Smarty confirmed the penalty on Twitter. [Official] Even though #myblogguest has been against paying for links (unlike other platforms), @mattcutts team decided to penalize us… — … [Read more...] about Google Penalizes MyBlogGuest, a Guest Blog Network