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Google On What Will Get You Demoted Or Removed From Index

Matt Cutts talks fighting webspam

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Google’s Matt Cutts, as you may or may not know, often appears in Webmaster Help videos addressing questions about what Google does (and what it doesn’t do) in certain situations. Usually, the questions are submitted buy users, though sometimes, Cutts will deem an issue important enough to ask the question himself.

In the lastest video, which Cutts tweeted out on Monday, a user asks:

“Just to confirm: does Google take manual action on webspam? Does manual action result in a removal or can it also be a demotion? Are there other situations where Google remove content from its search results?”

Who better to address this question than Google’s head of webspam himself, Matt Cutts?

Cutts responds, “I’m really glad to have a chance to clarify this, because some people might not know this, although we’ve written this quite a bit in various places online. Google is willing to take manual action to remove spam. So if you write an algorithm to detect spam, and then someone searches for their own name, and they find off-topic porn, they’re really unhappy about that. And they’ll write into Google and let us know that they’re unhappy.”

“And if we write back and say, ‘Well, we hope in six to nine months to be able to have an algorithm that catches this off-topic porn,’ that’s not a really satisfactory answer for the guy who has off-topic porn showing up for his name,” he says. “So in some situations, we are willing to take manual action on our results. It’s when there are violations of our web spam quality guidelines.”

You can find those here, by the way.

“So, the answer to your question is, yes, we are willing to take manual action when we see violations of our quality guidelines,” he says. “Another follow-up question was whether it has to be removal or whether it can be a demotion. It can be a demotion. It tends to be removal, because the spam we see tends to be very clear-cut. But there are some cases where you might see cookie cutter content that’s maybe not truly, truly awful, but is duplicative, or you can find in tons of other places. And so it’s content that is really not a lot of value add – those sorts of things.”

“And we say in our guidelines to avoid duplicate content, whether it’s a cross-domain, so having lots of different domains with very, very similar or even identical content,” he says. “So when we see truly malicious, really bad stuff, we’re often taking action to remove it. If we see things that are still a violation of our quality guidelines, but not quite as bad, then you might see a demotion.”

A bad enough demotion might as well be a removal anyway. I’m sure a lot of Panda victims out there have a thing or two to say about that.

“And then the last question was, ‘Are there other situations where Google will remove content from it search results?’,” continues Cutts. “So, we do reserve the right to remove content for spam. Content can be removed for legal reasons, like we might get a DMCA complaint or some valid court order that says we have to remove something within this particular country.”

“We’re also willing to remove stuff for security reaons, so malware, Trojan horses, viruses, worms, those sorts of things,” he says. “Another example of security might be if you have your own credit card number on the web. So those are some of the areas that we are willing to take action, and we are willing to remove stuff from our search results. We don’t claim that that’s a comprehensive list. We think that it’s important to be able to exercise judgment. So if there is some safety issue, or of course, things like child porn, which would fall under legal. But those are the major areas that we’ve seen, would be spam, legal reasons, and security. And certainly, the vast majority of action that we take falls under those three broad areas.”

“But just to be clear, we do reserve the right to take action, whether it could be demotion or removal,” he reiterates. “And we think we have to apply our best judgment. We want to return the best results that we can for users. And the action that we take is in service of that, trying to make sure that we get the best search results we can out to people when they’re doing searches.”

Speaking of those security concerns, Cutts also tweeted on Monday that Google has sent messages to 20,000 sites, indicating that they may have been hacked. He attributes this to some “weird redirecting.”

Google On What Will Get You Demoted Or Removed From Index
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  • http://www.javascriptsandmore.com Javascripts and More

    Its always been about a better user experience.All search engines should be following these guidelines.

  • http://www.seocatalysts.com/ Search engine marketing

    Any kind of over optimization will be very harmful for the websites according to Google’s new guidelines.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I’m not surprised Google takes manual action when the situation requires it. The algorithms are great, but they aren’t always perfect. Stuff will slip through the cracks and Google doesn’t like to let that work for long.

  • http://www.paydayloanmission.com Pay Day Loans

    I don’t see why anyone needed Matt Cutts to clarify this. This has been clear for already a few years. Anyhow, whenever Matt Cutts comes out with something it’s always old information that’s been around. Nothing new, ever.

  • Jen Smith

    Go to google .com type in ‘Make Money Online’ (without the quotation marks), the top site, NUMBER FRIGGIN 1 SPOT is a blank site called ‘makemoneyforbeginners’

    Yeah well done Google truly compelling content.

    Greedy Google wants its Adwords money!

  • http://www.wedgeim.com calgary internet marketing

    All the “Cutletts” of course praise this algorithm change but ultimately the results speak for themselves, same sh*t different order.

    once again so many changes in one month equals crap results….just driving more traffic to Bing.

  • http://www.mrchangjinglu.com/ Mr Giraffe

    The updates are great. I’m sure Google will make it better.

  • http://www.cheers2wine.com Steve

    Once Google has “demoted” a site, can it make changes to correct the problems and then have their ranks go up in the near future?