I am always amazed at the business opportunities that people create on the internet. But when it comes to certain types of businesses and services that people offer, I get really ticked off when I see someone or another business offers a service that isn’t right. By now I am sure you have heard about the Google AdSense program. It’s been going on for about 10 years now. If you have a legitimate website with unique content and your website meets or exceeds Google’s Acceptable Guidelines for webmasters, then most likely you will be able to run Google Ads on your website and share a portion of the revenue with Google. Each click or impression of an ad on your site could make you money. [Read more...]
In the past 24 hours, Google appears to have added a new page as a part of their quality guidelines: a page that explains how to report spam, paid links, malware, and other problems. Previously this page was not a part of their quality guidelines located here.
You can see the new page listed below, which has also been added to the sidebar navigation of the Link Schemes and other pages that are a part of the quality guidelines:
Since Google does not allow caching or archive.org of its Webmaster Guidelines and Quality Guidelines pages, I am unable to go back and see the previous changes to the quality guidelines. However, a tool that I use to track such changes indicates that this is a new page, or at least it was just added to the Quality Guidelines.
The Report Spam, Paid Links, Malware, and Other page has several sections:
I am particularly interested in the “paid links” section, where they mention reporting any link that is bought or sold that passes PageRank:
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank can dilute the quality of search results. If you believe a site is engaged in buying or selling links that pass PageRank, please tell us about it. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.
Certainly, this is nothing new, and there have been ways previously to report spam, paid links, and malware, and copyright issues (DMCA request). In the “other” section of this page, though, I am kind of surprised that Google recommends that you contact the webmaster of the site and request that they take down the content you want removed. And then, of course, when the content is removed, Google will update their search results:
“If none of these reasons apply, and you feel that the content should be removed, contact the webmaster of the site with your request. Once the webmaster removes the page or changes its content, our search results will automatically reflect this change after we next crawl and reindex the page.”
What is interesting, though, is that the page already has 50 or so Google +1s, so the URL is probably not new. The page has been there before. So, I updated the title of this post to add the ‘navigation’ part, as they recently added this to the navigation of the Quality Guidelines. I suspect that this page has the 50 or so Google +1s already because it’s not new… although that could be because others are reporting this already. As a comparison, though, the Google doorway pages page has only 33 +1s while the link schemes page has over 1000.
The page was last cached on the 9th of April, so it’s not new–it was just added to the Quality Guidelines navigation/sidebar in the past 24 hours.
Oh, the irony. Google is hosting the very articles that contain links that Google is telling us that they want removed. Wait. What?!? That’s right, in what can only be a unique twist of irony, Google is playing web host to thousands of low quality spammy articles, the exact same type of articles that Google wants us to remove. And the links that they’re penalizing websites for having.
Let’s first take a look at this ‘article directory’ website:
If you look at the screen shot, you’ll see that it’s an “article directory” that’s similar to the what Matt Cutts talked recently talked bout. In fact, he said not to build links using article directory websites. Let’s take a look at the video that Mr. Cutts posted about article directories: [Read more...]
Here’s a first. Well, actually I’m not surprised when it comes to Google, but this is the first time I have seen a website disallow the search engines from indexing their website. But the website still ranks number one in Google for their primary keyword phrase. [Read more...]
At this point, I have become pretty used to Google encrypting all search queries at Google.com. At least for their organic search results. You just won’t get to see what someone searched for at Google (what keyword they used) when hitting your site. But, apparently Google is not encrypting all search queries. [Read more...]
Well, if you were one of the lucky ones who got Google Glass, you had better take really good care of your Glass. If you are unfortunate enough to break it, then Google apparently is not going to be any help. Deb Lentz, a Google Glass Explorer, slipped outside on slick pavement, they came off, and hit the ground. When she contacted Google about a fix or replacement, they apparently told her she was on her own.
As you know, I have helped numerous businesses and site owners respond to Google’s manual link penalties. And get those manual link penalties removed or revoked by Google. Every site is unique, every website has different links pointing to them, and some have more bad links than others. And not all sites have received manual link penalty messages from Google. [Read more...]
A merchant who participates in Google Shopping has received a warning from Google that the images they are using in their Google Shopping feed violate their guidelines because watermarks are included. According to the message from Google, the merchant has 14 days to comply with Google’s request to remove watermarks in their images–or be suspended from participating in Google Shopping. [Read more...]
Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit public interest group, has officially complained to United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the way Google displays results in its comparison shopping engine, Google Shopping, is unfair and deceptive to consumers.
“The way that the Internet giant is featuring results from Google Shopping without making it clear that the highlighted results are nothing more than advertisements for merchants who bid for placement is an unfair and deceptive act, violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,” wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, in a letter to the Commission. “Moreover, consumers are actually being harmed because the featured results from Google Shopping more often than not return higher prices than can be found elsewhere, when consumers would reasonably expect Google’s suggestions to be the best.”
According to Consumer Watchdog, when someone searches at Google, “Google responds with links to relevant websites, articles and clearly labeled ads. It also offers suggestions from its Google Shopping service, with photographs of specific camera models. Most people likely expect these to be Google’s suggestions for best prices, Consumer Watchdog said. However, if a person clicks on a pictured item, it takes them directly to the seller’s website, although there is nothing to indicate it’s an ad and that the seller pays Google and bids to be featured in Google Shopping.”
“Google’s presentation of the Google Shopping results disguises the fact that the results are in fact advertisements. Clicking on any one of the Google Shopping suggestions takes the user directly to the merchant’s page where the product can be purchased,” the letter of complaint said.
A Consumer Watchdog study found that more often than not, the item featured in the Google Shopping result is not the lowest price.
The Financial Times also analyzed the situation from another perspective and found five out of every six items highlighted on a Google search are more expensive than the same items from other merchants hidden deeper in the Google Shopping service, with an average premium of 34 percent.
Read the Financial Times analysis here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8c1f2e90-5501-11e3-86bc-00144feabdc0.html
Google has decided to accelerate the updating of satellite images in Google Maps that appear to show the body of a slain teen from 2009. At a certain location in Richmond, California, in the satellite view, there it appears that there is a police car and officers standing around viewing something. Apparently, according to reports, “Kevin Barrera, 14, was shot and killed in 2009. Police discovered his body near a railroad track in Richmond on August 15 of that year, at an address that roughly matches the one of the scene in question.”
It appears that there is a police car near the railroad tracks if you view that location (as of the time of this post) using the Google satellite feature from within Google Maps.
Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, told CNN that “Google has Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case.” They say it will take up to 8 days to remove the images.