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Is Google More Focused On Penalties Or Positive Features?

    March 27, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

While it’s nothing new, a lot of webmasters are frustrated with Google for penalties their sites have received. The recent attack on guest blog posts has sparked a whole new round of outcries. Google says, however, that it tries to focus more on proactive and positive features, and less on penalties. You wouldn’t know that to read conversations that are happening every day on search blogs and forums, but that’s the stance Google is taking. Meanwhile, Google thinks we’re too bored to want to see lists of algorithm changes (which would presumably include some of these “positive” and “proactive” things). It used to release these regularly.

We also keep seeing tweets from Matt Cutts about how Google is taking action on various networks. It doesn’t exactly convey a lack of focus on penalties.

Do you think Google really is more focused on proactive features than it is on penalizing other sites? Let us know what you think.

So you know how Google penalized a site and cited one link from a guest post that was on a topic that Google didn’t think belonged on the site (even though the site owner felt it did, and most other people can see the natural fit in topic)?

Danny Sullivan wrote an article about that, which this guy shared on Twitter, saying that Google penalties have “jumped the shark”. Matt Cutts responded:




Danny also jumped in, and Matt again:








One that note about Google focusing less on penalties and more on proactive, positive stuff like natural language, Aaron Wall threw up a survey.


Here’s what it’s showing as of Thursday:

Maybe perception would be different if Google hadn’t stopped putting out those monthly lists of algorithm updates, which might have illustrated some of that natural language-type stuff more. Maybe.

Cutts also had to defend Google from comparisons to the Emprie in Star Wars.


Do you think Google really is more focused on adding positive features to its search engine as opposed to penalizing sites? Let us know in the comments.

Note: This article has been updated to include more context and tweets.

Image via PollDaddy

  • phil dom

    not unless your amazon or ebay.

  • http://www.couchespouradultes.fr/ Patricia

    definitely penalties, that’s what brings more money into ad sales 😉 google is not a charity, they are an ad search engine ( people just search through ads )

  • Daniel

    I dont like this at all

  • http://www.interpreteremployment.com pharvie72

    Ok Google, we get it…. YOU are a tyrant, and YOU rule the internet, but at least the Romans put out clear rules as to what was allowed and what was outlawed.

    With that being said, don’t get me wrong, I also support relevant results on Google, and any other search engine for that matter. The problem is is that any action items you get from Google are so specifically vague, that Cutts has the discretion to decide what should be penalized and what shouldn’t be.

    In the MBG action, I received an email from a person that posted on my internet marketing blog, and he wanted me to remove the link from his article. His post related completely to my blog, and had not been edited, or changed, and to my knowledge was not posted anywhere else.

    According to the writer he received a message saying the link didn’t look natural, but I never received any such notification…

    IMHO Google is now so focused on penalizing people that they have completely lost the focus of what they started out doing.

    I am all for positive user experiences, but I still see a lot of garbage on page one. In fact, the WORST sites I am finding are the ones that are advertised by Google Ads. If they are so focused on positive experiences why do they have such spammy sites in their ads? (not all of them are, but a high percentage are.)

    Thank you WPN for having this great blog, and allowing us to say our piece!

    • http://www.kegkits.com Thomas Hargrave

      At least the Romans put out clear rules? Sure they did, their rules were “do what I say and you won’t die, and if you do you might die anyways”.

      • Paul Harvie

        So you see my point then. Google doesn’t say do what we say, they just say, you did something wrong, and we aren’t going to specifically tell you, you just get to guess and then Google will decide if you fixed the right thing.

        Suffice it to say, if the Internet is a dictatorship, and Google our merciless leader then at least make the rules clear.

        That being said, I still haven’t had any manual actions taken on my site (maybe after today that will change), but I feel strongly about the strangle hold Google has taken on good webmasters in response to the many web spam sites there are.

        I also know that it is easier to build algorithms to factor out the lowest common denominator, rather than find good material. It’s a catch 22, and I do my best to remain compliant to Google.

    • Emil

      You are right I see the same problems every day, they play a game and you and other are the player. Just look at adsense when there is a problem they send you a list with around 10 possibilities which again are very vague even when you have more sites they focus the list on the whole account means lets say you have 100 sites you should find out which site is the wrong one and what is wrong there. The user is not the “holy ghost”, all this is not thought through and not real but a nice game so that they can laugh about the other who are scratching their head, this is kids behavior.

    • http://www.netbuilder.com.my/home/SEO+Malaysia/q?m=article&article_id=24 Danny Cheng

      I’d have to say it feels more like Google’s penalizing sites but then what do I know? I’d have to agree that there’s a lot of garbage on page 1 of Google results and junk ads too (some probably because of cloaking scripts) but it’s touch and go with Google- so what’s okay today in SEO may not be okay tomorrow….

  • https://restore.solutions/ Numus Software

    Google is nothing without the websites it indexes and the websites are not much without Google.. Google is dictating to the webmasters… a one way street.. its was a symbiotic relationship (in the old days).

  • disgruntled

    Matt Cutts and the anti-spam crew are full of themselves.

  • Bob

    This is a silly question. We all know the answer to this.

  • Bob Teal

    Any post they do not like here seem to be removed. Censorship!!!!!!!!!

  • Bob Teal

    We will try this again as my fist post was removed. Wanted customers to know that Google is just making us raise prices for all product sold on the web as we have to pay Google now for traffic if we want to stay in business after over 15 years. We use to get plenty of traffic from our 3 websites and over 30,000 products but since Google cut off all free product data entry we all have to pay Google now for traffic. Our 3 sites get less traffic now than when we had one site and one product.

    That is the bottom line is again the end user will now pay more for something they need to ship out their products. We sell Cardboard boxes which should be as cheap as possible but Google wants us to pay them now for everything. Customers want to save pennies and Google wants real money now for traffic. Organic search is dying the death Google wanted.

    Too bad search results are still so bad its not what you want its what they paid for you to see now. Our customers can search all day for the lowest price on packaging supplies but they will get the one that paid the most for PPC. Not the lowest price at all.

  • http://www.dirtworks.nethttp://www.newenglandnatural.com Dirt Works

    Matt Cutts still is a clueless jerk. He and his team have made sure that small business get eliminated from the top ranking. They seem to think that every online business has the time and the money to have a full time staff to follow up on every little knit and stab in the back they get from Google. They don’t. Anyone who can’t afford to waste hundreds of hours a month chasing down google’s little pet peeves and keeping up with their nonsense gets the boot and there’s nothing they can do about it. Worse yet, Matt and his team dismiss every claim out of hand without ever admitting that the ultimate goal of google is to make their life much simpler by eliminating as many small business from the internet as possible and those still want to fight it out have to become regional or local businesses happy to be relegated to local search only.

  • Mike

    Penalties obviously…
    Why don’t we all get together and come up with a better search engine? I’m tired of seeing poor results headed by Wikipedia and About

  • https://www.practicalsports.com/ Ron Tabor

    Thanks to Chris, not many stand up against the King like Chris does.

  • Emil

    I rather think Goggle has nothing real to do so they invent one nonsense after the other our behavior in the Kindergarten was exactly the same just creating nonsense most of the time because we had nothing realistic to do. The fact is that since about 2 years Google search becomes irrelevant more and more. It’s better to use Bing now they live in the real world, Google live in a Google created one which is abstract and not real, Salvadore Dali would have loved them.

  • Converted-to-Yahoo

    What does Matt Cutts mean by actionable items? My site got hammered and I never received any emails or notice in Google web master tools. Nothing about un-natural links or violation of terms of service. No actionable items, just a mysterious drop from search results – some ftom page one to page 20, others from page one to page 4 on very esoteric topics where there just isn’t allot of material out there. My website is still my passion and I have worked hard to have awesome content (best by far when compared to who beats my ranking) and I still have no idea why I have been punished. Google does seem to be ignoring content and focusing too much on penalties. This will eventually hurt Google as those performing searches just don’t care about a posting on a guest blog or a weird off topic backlink, all the searchers want is to find the best content. Most site owners want to focus on content and do not have the resources or money to police the internet. Try some A/B tests with Google vs Yahoo. Sometimes Yahoo is better, sometimes Google is better. Google no longer has a clear lead but they do have customer loyalty. If lost it will be tough to win back customers.

  • Mark

    Google is the best penalty search engine in the world – hands down! Are they good for anything else?