Links Are The Web’s Building Blocks, And Fear Of Google Has Them Crumbling

    August 4, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

This year, as you may know, Google has been sending out a whole lot of messages to webmasters about problematic links. People are in a frenzy trying to get rid of links that may or may not be hurting their search engine rankings, and this is a frenzy created by Google. It may not be exactly what Google intended, but it’s happening.

Does Google have you in a frenzy? Let us know in the comments.

Sure, there are plenty of cases where webmasters have engaged in some suspect linking practices, but there are other cases where links appearing around the web are out of webmasters’ control.

The fact is that the web is about links. Links are what make it a web. It was that way before Google existed, and it still is that way. However, Google has become such a dominant force on the Internet, that webmasters who rely on Google traffic must bend over backwards to appease the search giant, or risk losing visibility in the search results.

Competition is just a click away, as Google likes to say, and that’s very true. It is easy for users to simply go to Bing.com or Yahoo.com or any other search engine. But for the most part, people aren’t clicking away. They’re still going to Google. Clearly, Google is doing something right, but it also means webmasters must abide by Google’s rules if they want any significant amount of search traffic.

Google, of course, launched its Penguin update earlier this year, an update that will continue to be refreshed over time. It targets sites that are violating Google’s quality guidelines. But beyond the update, Google is taking the time to send out thousands of emails warning webmasters about links, and in the process is spreading a great deal of confusion.

Google recently began sending out a new batch of the link warnings with a somewhat different twist than the ones people were getting pre-Penguin. Whereas the company’s advice in the past was to pay attention to these warnings, Google was (at first) saying that with these, they were not necessarily something webmasters need to worry about it. But of course webmasters would worry about them.

Google’s Matt Cutts aimed to clear up some of the confusion in a blog post over the weekend.

“When we see unnatural links pointing to a site, there are different ways we can respond,” Cutts said, explaining the original messages. “In many severe cases, we reduce our trust in the entire site. For example, that can happen when we believe a site has been engaging in a pretty widespread pattern of link spam over a long period of time. If your site is notified for these unnatural links, we recommend removing as many of the spammy or low-quality links as you possibly can and then submitting a reconsideration request for your site.”

“In a few situations, we have heard about directories or blog networks that won’t take links down,” he added. “ If a website tries to charge you to put links up and to take links down, feel free to let us know about that, either in your reconsideration request or by mentioning it on our webmaster forum or in a separate spam report. We have taken action on several such sites, because they often turn out to be doing link spamming themselves.”

Regarding the newer messages, Cutts said, “In less severe cases, we sometimes target specific spammy or artificial links created as part of a link scheme and distrust only those links, rather than taking action on a site’s overall ranking. The new messages make it clear that we are taking ‘targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole.’ The new messages also lack the yellow exclamation mark that other messages have, which tries to convey that we’re addressing a situation that is not as severe as the previous “we are losing trust in your entire site” messages.”

“These new messages are worth your attention,” he said. “Fundamentally, it means we’re distrusting some links to your site. We often take this action when we see a site that is mostly good but might have some spammy or artificial links pointing to it (widgetbait, paid links, blog spam, guestbook spam, excessive article directory submissions, excessive link exchanges, other types of linkspam, etc.). So while the site’s overall rankings might not drop directly, likewise the site might not be able to rank for some phrases. I wouldn’t classify these messages as purely advisory or something to be ignored, or only for innocent sites.”

“On the other hand, I don’t want site owners to panic,” he added. “We do use this message some of the time for innocent sites where people are pointing hacked anchor text to their site to try to make them rank for queries like [buy viagra].”

But site owners are panicking. As usual.

OK, we get that Google has its rules, but there is something about the whole thing that doesn’t feel quite right. It’s not necessarily Google’s stance on any particular kind of linking, but that Google, for all intents and purposes, even gets to tell people how they can and can’t link. How they can and can’t build the web.

Sure, sites are free to disregard any of Google’s rules. You’re not going to go to prison for engaging in practices that Google doesn’t like, but if you’re running a business, being ignored by Google can have a tremendous impact on your well-being. For that reason, many businesses feel that that Google has a boot on their neck.

This isn’t a call for government regulation of Google, though many would like to see it (in Europe, Google is already facing it). As I said, I do agree that competition is a click away. Nobody’s forcing people to use Google. They’re just using it because they want to.

But Google could save the web a lot of trouble by handling things differently, or perhaps finding a better way to rank search results, without punishing sites for its own reliance on links.

People are scrambling to have links removed that may or may not even affect their sites in Google. Some of these links are links that people would be happy to have pointing to their sites, but fear of Google’s wrath has them in a frenzy, and they don’t want anything tarnishing their search rankings.

I want to include a few samples of what people are saying in link removal requests. WebProNews parent company iEntry owns a number of directories, none of which have ever accepted payment for listings, and many of which are nofollowed, yet are receiving requests like countless other sites for link removals because of the fear Google has instilled in webmasters. Nevermind that directories have existed since long before Google existed, and that Google seems to be OK with some directories. For that matter, some directories that are getting link removal requests, Google even links to itself from its own search results.

Now, let’s look at some samples.

“We are glad that our website ****.com is Live in your directory. Unfortunately we received a 2 notification letter from Google telling that our website is having unnatural links. Our firm decided to contact all our live links in all web directories and will request to delete it. Please kindly delete this website in your directory. I hope you do understand our concerns.”

This person was glad to be listed, but feels they have to pull out because of Google.

“Thank you so much for your effort to include ******* in your directory. However, due to recent changes in the company’s online marketing strategy, I am humbly requesting for the links to be deleted from your database…Really sorry for any inconvenience that this request will cause/may have caused you. Hoping for your consideration and understanding.”

That’s another thing. Google is greatly inconveniencing not only those with links posted, but those who have posted the links. Wouldn’t be easier for Google to just take the actions it feels it needs to, without causing such a stir? This is no doubt costing business a great deal of time and money.


“Unfortunately we’re facing an important situation right now and we could really use your help. Our website is currently under a Google penalty – basically that means that Google thinks some of our links are unnatural, and they have pushed our site to the back of their search engine results. We are working with consultants to ensure our site meets Google’s Quality Guidelines, and they have advised us to remove any links that might even appear as if they were paid for. Often, these links were naturally placed and are on great sites, but in an effort to be overly cautious, we need to have them removed anyway.

“Our main goals is to get back to business and ensure we’re creating the best site and resources for our visitors, but until we get this issue taken care of, we’re at a bit of a standstill….”

Fear of Google is causing people to seek link removal even for naturally placed links on great sites. Naturally placed links on great sites.

“Because some of our sister stores received a Google penalty, we’ve been working to clean up our backlink profile and want to remove any links that Google may even begin to consider as unnatural or paid. This is absolutely no reflection on the value of your site, and we apologize that it is necessary. However, in an effort to be certain we are complying with changes in Google’s Quality Guidelines, we would be grateful if you could remove the links from your site.”

So this person is basically saying that even though we may think your site has value, we need to have our link removed because of Google.

“May I ask that you remove the link to ********** from your website? We do appreciate that the link on your site may not be causing us any problems however we wish to cover all bases as if we get this reconsideration wrong it will have huge implications on the future success of our SEO efforts.”

So this person appreciates the link that may not even be causing any problems, but just in case, they want the link removed, because of Google.

“We have received a notice from Google regarding presence of links of our website ******** on your website and they have asked us to get them removed, failing which yours & our sites will be penalized in google search, resulting in loss of business for both of us.

“Therefore, you are requested to remove all the links as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours, and confirm to us so that we can inform Google. It is not a reflection of the quality of your / our website, but only an approach to maintain our respective search engine rankings. Waiting for confirmation of removal from your end.”

Speaking of inconvenience, this person even included a deadline, and still noted that it’s not a reflection of the quality of the site.

“The following site ********* has links on their website without authorisation from anyone in our company linking back to our website. The website owner needs to remove these ASAP. As the registrar you are also seen responsible to ensure the website owner/ domain host they get all links removed, this is infringement of intellectual property.

Then there’s this kind of request. People actually suggesting that linking is somehow an infringement. Linking. You know, that thing that the world wide web is based upon? SEM firms are even advising clients to take such action. Some are advising that clients send cease and desist letters. For linking. Because of Google.


Now, this all may not be exactly what Google had in mind. A lot of people are overreacting, to say the least. But that’s what happens when one company has so much power on the Internet. Not that long ago, you might have thought that the more links out there pointing to your site the better. That’s more paths to your site, and more chances for people to find it, but with so much reliance on Google, people are getting rid of many of those paths for the all important one. Many of the things Google does with regards to how it treats certain kinds of links make a lot of sense, but this kind of madness that has people frantically seeking link removals (and even sites charging for link removals) doesn’t seem great for the web.

It’s understandable that people want to be very careful about not having a negative impact on their search rankings, but this goes to show how much power Google really has over the web, just in its own efforts to try and make its own product better based on its flawed algorithm.

I say flawed algorithm, because it’s not perfect. That’s not to say it isn’t as good as or better than competitors’ algorithms. There’s no perfect way to rank web content. If there is, nobody to my knowledge, has implemented it yet.

When Google started, PageRank and links were a revolutionary way to rank search results, and there’s no question that they have an important place today. However, it seems like Google is indirectly reconstructing the web by sending out all of these messages to webmasters, who will essentially act as pawns in the process of making Google’s own search results better (which may or may not even actually happen). It does suggest that Google is relying on webmasters just as much as webmasters are relying on Google. Perhaps even more so. What would happen to the quality of search results if no webmasters abided by Google’s rules? It’s an interesting scenario to consider, no matter how unlikely. People fear Google too much not to obey the rules. Those who don’t obey are punished one way or another.

Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible, at this point, that obeying the rules is out of webmasters’ control, as long as negative SEO is able to exist, which Google seems to have recently acknowledged that it is.

Google did recently indicate that it is working on a way for users to tell Google which links they want it to ignore, and webmasters/SEOs will certainly be happy when it gets here, but why doesn’t Google simply ignore the links it decides are problematic, without making webmasters jump through hoops? To some extent, Google seems to be taking the action it deems appropriate on certain links (as in the subject of this most recent round of messages), but people are still getting messages, and Google is still taking it upon itself to dictate which links on the World’s web are valuable, and which are not.

Google clearly still sees links as an incredibly important signal in ranking content, hence the company’s emphasis on penalizing any manipulation of them.

“I don’t doubt that in ten years, things will be more social, and those will be more powerful signals, but I wouldn’t write the epitaph for links quite yet,” Matt Cutts recently said at SMX Advanced.

Smart site owners find ways to diversify their traffic, so they don’t have to rely so much on Google for traffic. Social media has been a godsend for a lot of business, and the landscape continues to change rapidly. Even Google itself is doing some interesting things to change how we find and consume information, which may actually make search less crucial. We are living in interesting times, indeed. In the meantime, however, it appears that a great deal of the web will bend over backwards to appease Google, as to not be punished for what Google doesn’t like.

Are you sore from all of that bending yet? Let us know in the comments.

  • Sara

    Isn’t it time for all of us in the web world to say F*CK YOU GOOGLE and stopped using their endlessly self-serving products. Bing is just as good of a search engine (if not better), Yahoo! Mail works great, Google+ is a total joke…. And did I mention that Matt Cutts is a clueless idiot???

    • Picho

      jajaja!! thumbs up! ;D

    • Shiloh

      Well said Sara! Google has become way too powerful and they need to be brought down to their knees. Now we have some lame brain like Matt Cutts dictating to us what we can put on our websites and what links can point to us or else we suffer the dreaded “google penalty” in our rankings. Now because of this idiot we have to worry about negative SEO from competitors attacking our web sites and rankings. Great job Matt!
      All they needed to do was disregard links they think are bad but actually penalizing web sites is absurdly stupid. Google should fire Matt Cutts and his entourage of imbeciles before they destroy themselves.

  • http://www.placestoeatokay.com Steve G

    All Google needs to do is ignore the links that it feels are bad and it would solve the problem of negative SEO being done on purpose or by accident. It’s not like Google is going to alert a webmaster of any links on other sites that are linking to a specific site that aren’t welcomed unless there is a manual penalty placed on the site, and honestly, with so many algorithm updates and refreshes, the odds are hardly anybody is going to be manually penalized. Especially since Panda and Penguin were launched I have yet to hear a bunch of publishers crying about being manually penalized. I’ve heard one or two of them here and there, but no stampede of publishers crying out about manual penalties, but a lot crying out about their rankings in general. Google ignoring these bad links instead of allowing them to penalize a site is a win win on all sides. It also solves the problem of publishers needing to make sure they’re nofollowing most of their external links, especially if they allow the public to generate them on.

    • http://www.belfast-architects.co.uk Alan

      That would be too easy and sensible, but you are right.

  • http://www.randombyte.com George

    “Now, this all may not be exactly what Google had in mind” I’m not so sure about this; Google has sent another wave of messages to the webmasters about 4-5 months ago and these hundreds of thousands of messages have caused panic as well. It’s funny how a high quality backlink, which is supposed to help (and will actually help) your site rank better has become a concern for so many webmasters.

    Maybe it’s time for all of us to concentrate our efforts on content creation, building authority sites that will withstand any future search engine algorithm change. And if your website is penalized, starting with a new one will be the least frustrating decision that you can take today.

  • http://www.nua.ie Nuasoft Web Design

    The problem is that Googles entire ranking algo is based on a long dead concept I.E. “the uniquely democratic nature of the web” where links are counted as votes for sites.

    Google has changed that by dictating how we link and scaring webmasters out of giving links freely.

    Basically their algo no longer works despite the 500 plus patches (sorry changes to how they rank sites) they make every year and they have to continually find new and more bizarre ways of trying to keep it alive.

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

    No matter what you like or dislike about Google you have to be where your customers are. For most of us, the majority of our audience uses Google to search. We may be stuck between a rock and a hard place but that’s just the way things are right now. You have to abide by Google’s rules in order reach reach Google’s searchers.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      Absolutely right.

  • http://www.dr-rwp.co.uk Roger Poultney

    IMO many of the points made here are “spot on” ! Links do indeed form basic “infrastructure” of the World Wide Web – and any notion that they can be damaging undermines whole concept of “interconnected” information space as originally envisaged by the medium’s pioneers..

  • http://www.macgames.info www.macgames.info

    Well actually we received a webmastertools warning message about unnatural links for a domain on which we do no seo at all.
    So this message was just a “decoy” to see who’s responding, if you responded, you’re guilty of creating unnatural links, well done google, many people fell in your trick !

  • Linda Roth

    It’s time for EVERYONE to stop using Google Search. Use DuckDuckGo, StartPage or some other search engine that does not record your IP address. And stop using “Google” as a verb.

  • http://www.thefreegameszone.com Backrubber

    Well done Chris for a great article. I’m really quite annoyed myself by the impact that the Penguin update has had on a few of my sites. I have two sites in particular that are both over seven years old and which have suffered in the recent Penguin update.

    Over the years I’ve gradually added backlinks to these sites. Additionally, a lot of other links now point to the sites – links that I have not set up myself. Some of these links are probably ‘good’ links, for example, links from wikipedia; others are not so good. So, what am I supposed to do? – contact all the companies that have links pointing to mine and ask for them to be removed – not a chance. Who knows, in six months’ time, or perhaps in a couple of years, Google might realize the chaos it has caused through the Penguin update and backtrack a bit.

    The two sites in question are still doing very well in Bing and Yahoo by the way.

  • http://www.danatanseo.com Dana Tab

    All this talk about “bending over backwards” for Google has me a bit frustrated. Forget about Google. Go out there and create great relationships with your customers, your vendors, your employees and your manufacturing partners. Build a real business. Be awesome. People will link to you. It’s the being “real” and “awesome” part that’s hard. Links are an end result, not a means to an end. SEO is transforming for sure. I think it’s transforming into marketing, which is probably what it really should have been all along. Good SEO is more valuable now than ever because a good SEO can serve as a guide to online success. Good SEOs with strong technical background and the ability to articulate and lay down a strategy for top level executives are the ones who can really make a difference. I’m glad Google is doing what it’s doing. It’s forcing us all to be real and improve our businesses, user experience, customer service and online interactions.

  • John

    Google’s intentions, as was mentioned, to have one path to your site and that one path is through google. This way IF you are nowhere to be found (not on the first page or two of google results) you are forced to use adwords and pay google for advertizement. Links are and will be important, despite all the waves that google is making. The next update,probably, will scare everyone back to link building as their sites will be thrown back to the end of the results and they will be forced to spend more money on ads.

  • Dell D.

    I’m always amazed at how naive people can be. Does no one smell a rat here? Now that Google is preeminent in search, they simply don’t want you to be able to find what you’re looking for without Google.

    If they get their way and Bing and Yahoo don’t present credible alternative, they will eliminate all directories, links and any other search methods that don’t put money in their pocket.

    Come on now, do you really think that when Google decided to not allowing directories to charge for listings and yet Google makes untold profits from AdWords, they did it because they thought it would make the Internet better? This is just another way to stuff their wallets.

    Not that I blame them–I’m just amazed at how totally clueless otherwise bright people can be when they dream starry eyed about an Internet utopia.

    Come on Bing, Yahoo, reach out to us and offer an alternative.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/artnip kss9

    Backlinks are only one variable in the ranking equasion. I think Google is putting too much emphasis on the issue. Aren’t unnatural links a part of free speech? I’m not endorssing it but nonetheless threatening to decrease a site’s ranking forthis seems a bit unAmerican and thus “unnatural.”


  • http://www.greyolltwit.com/ Grey Olltwit

    “why doesn’t Google simply ignore the links it decides are problematic”

    Here, here! Well done Chris. You cannot tell me that it is not cheaper and easier for Google to simply ignore the links it considers are a problem rather than sending thousands of emails and stirring up a storm of discontent.

    Roll on the time that Bing et al catch up. It can’t come to soon. Google are ruining the World Wide Web, the whole idea of the ‘web’ being interlinking sites.

  • http://www.100tonsofstuff.com 100tonsofstuff

    We actively solicit reciprocal links relating ONLY to our business: Antiques Dealers or antiques resources (finding out what you have) and our page is so named. We also provide books via Amazon links – another page. So far we have not been notified. This site has been up since 1998.
    We did receive a remove me from our other site: http://www.holdstillproductions.com which is about photography & web design. Again I informed that person that I would not be deleting their link as it was connected to photography & art and to ignore Google. Again, no links are paid.
    I also put up reciprocal links for my clients websites that only fit their sites. None have received this Google notice.

    Stop being scared. As an alternative put up a Google Places page – you have to have a street address – and they will have to pay attention to your site. If you have tried in the past & got stuck in a time warp of acceptance, open a new places page using any other email. That worked for me. Links are absolutely necessary. We approve every single request individually. If they do not meet our standards or are just a link farm we decline. Even if they have category pages of links (but are just a directory of any and all links), we decline. Informational pages on a particular category webpage do not qualify either – just another disguised link farm site.
    MY 2 Cents, doing this a very long time. DAJones

  • http://www.nevadawebsitedesign.com Frank Okun

    The Panda and Penguin update definitely affected a few of my clients’ websites. Going from first page rankings to sudden disappearance left us in the dark for a long time. Now, the rankings are fluctuating – sometimes they are on page one, sometimes on page two, sometimes on page five…there doesn’t seem to be any consistency. Not to mention Google Places listings have a mind of their own. We see new competitors’ sites that appear out of nowhere, which is another concern. Google, what gives?

  • http://www.newenergycom.com Jim Coon

    I would also have to comment on Google’s local strategy. My Google maps listing disappeared. To be listed for local search, starting in June 2012, I had to create a Google Plus local page. I was already on Google Plus for my personal listing, but as you say with the power Google has I need my business listed in local search. This seems to be unfair to other social networks like Facebook because it is a strong incentive to spend more time on Google’s social media site. It would be just a normal competitive practice on Google’s part except that Google is like a utility. And they are using that leverage to potentially crush the competition.

  • http://cass-hacks.com Craig

    Google says, “Expect afternoon showers.”

    The web reacts, “The sky is falling!”

    Those of us who implemented according to the Google Webmaster Guidelines from the beginning, “I think I’ll have a bagel with my morning coffee.”

  • http://www.DomainBlog.net/ Rooster Israel

    Thanks for a great article.

    I think the most frustrating part about Penguin is that other webmasters are literally stealing my quality content, and using that same content to outrank my sites. It’s evil, and it’s a direct result of Penguin. I’ve worked very hard for years to build some of the most useful sites on the Internet. Penguin has put a torch to some of them.

    My super-authority sites were not affected by Penguin, but Penguin is still evil. It’s punishing way too many innocent, hard working publishers.

    • http://get-business-online.com/ Gal Baras

      I agree with Rooster Israel. My site is now demoted because I’ve put a credit link in my client’s footers. WordPress is OK. Theme providers are OK, but not the person who designed, built, promoted, hosted and administered the site?

      Come on!

  • Tominguez

    A lot of updates, too much time invested, money invested in following every update, implementing it, reputable sites being treated as nobody’s. I learned one thing after all these years, try to rank well in bing, yahoo, blekko and ask and you will have the same traffic, double or triple conversions with 1% of useless updates and investment. Google should respect content sites and ecommerce sites that show obvious efforts, many honest site owners and staff really depend on the hard earned traffic, just to see how one update targeted to spammers or bad sites will actually affect the ones who make the web happen, spammers don’t care, they have the tools to make billions of useless sites, some simple math such as Website age, content, freshness should be an obvious white list, new sites should be analyzed and spammers banned for life, but is not like that for one single reason – Adwords (or paid inclusions as we know now ). Shaking the ones who depend on traffic and sales is a sure expectation that they will unload some cash to balance traffic, totally unfair I say. Google is to me a paid inclusion site, no more real relevant traffic, if you think I’m crazy, just start using yahoo and bing or blekko and you will see how nice is to get real relevant content, which your target market really appreciates.

  • Bill

    Google is out of control

    Amazon probably has more questionable links than any site with all the affiliate program links ect – yet they rank #1 for almost all consumer products.

    At this point talk is useless – what is done is done and Google has webmasters chasing a tail that does not exists.

    10’s of thousands of people have tried to clean up sites or do what Google says but still no way to communicate with Google and get clear answers – just the same old canned responses.

    Google does not care about small business period.

    Google penalizes sites and de-list small businesses destroying incomes and livelihood – then says they are not responsible.

    Anyone filing a lawsuit has never one and Google would rather send a legal team to defend its poor practices than actually look over a site they manually penalized.

    Google is using manual overrides making Google a hybrid engine that freely dictates who gets business now.

    With Google at 70% market share and Amazon at 50% of all online consumer sales – the game is over.


    it does not matter – Google is manually placing sites now

  • Chris

    Proof that negative SEO is alive and well…

  • http://www.loveerotic.co.uk Tony Underwood

    We are all moaning about google and all their updates.
    I think we should hit them where it hurts and stop using them as a search engine and lets see their rankings fall, trouble is they have just too big and think they can rule the web.

  • Webmaster

    I agree with Grey Olltwit… Google is ruining the web. I have been saying that for years and it is nice to see some people now agreeing. Google’s pagerank system was a novelty when it was introduced. But ever since people started taking advantage of that system it has become an albatross on the web.

    Google wants the web to bend to its outdated algo, rather than properly adjust their algo to the realities of today’s web.

    Google started out right, but their “do no evil” bullshit is no longer even remotely true. They have ammassed billions of dollars by ripping off the people who made them what they are. I was among the first to put Adsense ads on my sites. After the first year of Adsense, they sent each of us webmasters a beautiful thank-you gift that contained a little mini-mouse, USB expander, USB light and other “toys” in a nice little case. Meanwhile, they never published what percentage of the ad revenue they gave back to webmasters.

    Well, of course they no longer give out gifts to webmasters, and they have cut the webmaster’s percentage of ad revenues to a fraction of what it once was. In other words they greedily hog all the revenue, amassing billions of dollars per year, while the people who generate that money get a pittance. Do no evil, my ass.

    They are off making goggles and rocket ships with money that used to be our commission, while trying to play god of the web and dictate how sites should link, how sites should structure pages, and what content is good or bad.

    I stopped slavishly following their demands years ago and our sites are healthier now than they’ve ever been. Thanks primarily to the fact that 94% of our visitors come to our site on their own, or from social media, or from our own marketing efforts. We ignore Google’s dictates completely now, yet we still rank within the top 10 positions for most of the highly competitive keywords we used to “target”, and on all three of the top search engines. Despite that, less than 6% of our traffic comes from search engines now. (It was once 83% from search engines). I undertand that many sites, particularly new sites or small sites may not be able to do what we do.

    Meanwhile, I use Bing when I search now and I get excellent results. Nobody needs Google and people should stop using them to show them that even the mighty can fall. I remember when General Motors was the largest company on earth, but their cars sucked and so we all bought Japanese cars. Now, GM struggles to even survive. Google needs to learn the same lesson.

    Their arrogance is legendary, their heavy-handedness is galling and their do no evil motto has become a joke.

    • http://www.DomainBlog.net/ Rooster Israel

      > Do no evil, my ass…

      We knew it was coming. Once a company goes public, it has to grow every quarter, or else wall street will punish the stock. Wall Street renders “Do no evil” meaningless and irrelevant.

      Vote with your dollars (stop using Adsense.) Vote with your search (stop using Google Search.) Then, eventually, Google will be forced to change.

      • Tominguez

        well said, thank you!

    • http://www.nobsseo.com No BS SEO

      Well said, but it worries me that you didn’t publish your url. I totally agree with much of what you say but being in Australia I have to “play” by Google’s rules as they command over 95% of the search. I agree that both Bing and Yahoo have a very good search product but unfortunately in Australia both those organisations are run by wombats who simply haven’t worked out how to spell traction much less get some for their respective search engines.

  • http://discoverqueensland.com.au/ Shay

    If your business model relies so heavily on SEO – then you need to readdress that model. SEO has and always will be a 2-edge sword. Dont worry about what google is doing – you have no control over that.

  • http://www.nobsseo.com No BS SEO

    Google have totally got the links strategy wrong. For instance what is stopping me from registering my competitors website with a spammy link site and generating 50,000 links to my competitors site and by so doing demote his site on Google? Then, when my competitor finds out he has those spammy links how can he get rid of them? And if he can get rid of them how much time, effort and money will be involved in doing so? Meanwhile he is losing organic traffic on Google so he may have to invest in adwords………. ahhhhhhh so maybe there is a method to Google madness. See, the smart way to do this would have been for Google to identify the spammy link sites and de-index them or at least negate any link juice coming from those sites. For years Google has been telling us that links are good for our websites and many of us have gone to a lot of trouble to list with directories both paid and free to promote our websites. Now they are saying that “some” of these directories are spammy and by having links on them we are damaging our standing with Google.
    I’ve met Matt Cutts and in my opinion he is a fair and decent man. Why he and his team have taken the sword to so many genuine, fine and upstanding websites is beyond me unless there has been a directive from the top to kill some high traffic page one websites so that they may be forced to buy Google adwords. If that is the case then shame on you guys. If it isn’t then I would strongly suggest Google looks at punishing the websites who provide the spammy links instead of the websites who receive them. It might come as a surprise to a mega billion/trillion dollar corporation like Google that the average small business who relies on search engine traffic and has always tried to play by Google’s ever changing rules really doesn’t have the time, money or resources to keep pandering to the big G’s whims everytime it decides to screw them over.

  • http://www.vesta-tech.net Manila Website Designer

    “All Google needs to do is ignore the links that it feels are bad and it would solve the problem of negative SEO being done on purpose or by accident. ”

    I agree 100% I cannot control who link my site

  • Sammy P

    Link based algorithms were fine when google started. With proliferation of $5 link building services links as quality signal has no value.

    It is time to put conditions for use of free content by google the worlds largest scraper site. Add conditions in your terms of use page like:

    1. Search engines and indexing services should not change the page title.

    2. Display snippets of text out of context like displaying snippets from different paragraphs together.

    3. Put a small deterrent like, violations of the above terms use – scraping / indexing – will make the violator liable to pay a really small sum of money like $10 per day. The fine should be small so that any court will judge it as a valid claim for misusing the content.

    All webmasters put this in their site “terms to use” immediately and see how google will behave itself.

  • http://www.whatever.com John

    I’m sick of the NSA. Oops, I mean Google.

  • http://www.dentaldepartures.com Jonathan

    While I applaud Google trying to do the right thing, there remain millions of spammers who haven’t been caught. It is difficult to believe that Google can keep their rules hidden, and make judgement calls behind the scenes with so little input to correct it.

    Get rid of the offending links? Which links? How many? Why?

    More clarity should be given, but that has never been their strong suit. The fact that Bing came out with a disavow link before Google is astonishing.

  • max

    The main problem is that Google puts toooo much weight at links (most links are manipulated) they dont care about content anymore. Currently it’s only links and a big name thats it. I stumbled on a typical website showing this the other day. This was a big travel website who had one page for car rental in a particular country on their page they had about 8 links, not related to the country, and below they wrote > we are sorry but we dont have ant entry for this country concerning car rent<. That was all, they were pos1 and there were at least a dozen other sites with comprehensive and good info on this subject, they were at the bottom or page 2 and 3. What kind of quality is this? = no quality at all. I stumble on similar cases almost every day, there is something mega wrong at Google, but either they don't care or they just don't know what they are doing, my advice = content is king! not links (manipulated) and big names, the big companies are usually not innovative, its the small ones who drive the development and border.

    • http://www.php-developer.org/ Codex Meridian

      You can always use Bing. If Chris Crum says that Google must be doing right that most people or even him still use Google, some day Chris Crum might also switch to BIng if he is seriously disappointed about car rental search results in Google.

      You will never know. For example, I use Bing 99% of the time now. Way back 6 months ago, I use Google 100% all the time. See? Things have change. I expect some people will also realize this. Just not now. Of course EXCEPT Google will update their algo to SURELY put quality content sites on top REGARDLESS of BRAND or LINKS.

      What Matt Cutts doesn’t realize is that brilliant websites with top notch content may not be branded or doesn’t have much links at all. Or even quality links as you might say. At worst cases, these type of sites may not even have readers at all!

      Quality sites == > Branded sites == > Sites with high amounts of links or quality sites is a COMPLETE FLAW in Search Technology. I used to believe that before, not anymore.

      Why? I found some great sites on Bing that were not found on Google, they didn’t have that much links or even readers. I do not know how Bing rank those sites..Probably they have an EDGE in their search technology now when it comes to spotting great content that does not depend on links or even brands or even social profiles.

  • Tony

    Oh…if you haven’t noticed…Google IS Evil!

  • http://www.barnettassociates.net/ Toby Barnett

    Somewhat, as many old link building tactics are no longer kosher, and seeing a primary term loose ranking, it has me wondering how I would go about cleaning up old links. With that said, after a year there has been little change and hopefully (keyword there) the rankings will stabilize.

  • Grunj

    Reminds me of the old eBay fiasco where changes were introduced which actually penalized those honest-too-goodness vendors who followed all their previous rules to the letter, only to get stomped on later.
    Google, by this latest set of changes may say, all they want, they are not demanding certain changes be made, but truth is they are demands made in sheeps clothing.
    We make every effort to follow their demands and they continue to change the rules, leaving us spending more money on appeasing their demands than putting it into our business so it can grow and expand.
    When does the school yard bully get put in its place? No wonder Europe decided to clamp down on them, and if they continue to ignore the little business guy trying to eck out a meager living on the net by continuing to strong arm us, then the resultant back lash will eventually be noticed by someone in government over here who will want to make a name for themselves by going after Google.

  • http://www.Googleisevil.com Juan

    Google went from “Do no evil” to Dr. Evil.
    They want to make one billion Gazillion dollar$$$$

  • Steve

    I’m beginning to think that much of the time, the puppet masters at google are just bored. So they sit around the water cooler coming up with new ways to make the internet webmasters dance. As for me, I used to use google for all my searches, but with all their manipulations they seem to have lost touch with the reality of relevant search results. Now I use Bing most of the time because the results are much better.

  • http://xoteria.com Louis Ferriol

    When webmasters fall for con games like Whambanners, the UK junk link scam king, their Google rankings suffer. Is this fair, no, but what is the solution other than pluck the worthless banner codes off page by page and eventually hope for the best. No one said the web business is a rose garden. C’est la vie.

  • http://hotmail.com Piet

    Yep. Bing is much much better at content and has been for very long. Google algo 500-600 changes per year is quackery. Proof that they’ll never get it right or close to right. Microsoft’s Hotmail just shut down. Now it’s also time to turn the page on those biggies, tripping in their own shoelaces. Keep it up in Europe…that might wake up the USA. It’s Bing world for me.

  • CJ

    It’s ridiculous that Google has us so worried to promote our own websites now. They are basically saying that if you want success with your website you can’t be active with promoting it and basically have to sit back and hope people find your site through Google and put all your eggs in one basket, the Google basket. If you want to go out there and write articles and put links under them to gain more traffic they will penalize you for that despite how hard you worked to write these articles and despite the fact that people finding these articles and then clicking on your links are obviously interested in reading more. This system needs to be fixed.

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  • Daniel Smith

    Im going to go to the cheapest link building company I can find and submit my competitions website to the biggest bulk package they have for shoddy words like “cheap viagra” … Google you cannot depend on the site owner to manage who is linking to them .. change your algorythm to be smarter.. basically if I do enough bad link building for my competition they will fall off google .. your just creating a loop hole that can be easily executed.

  • Steve Pickard

    You’re all sheep. Google isn’t the whole world of online contact, so stop being bullied and terrorized by this bunch of freeloading parasites and promote some alternatives. Keep in mind what always happens to sheep in the end …. they get fleeced! We should all be very concerned and angry about google’s effective ownership of the internet, not falling over ourselves to comply with their self serving diktats.

  • http://www.makemoneyteam.com Raymond

    Between Googles new anti-lining policy and weird people from China pointing [Viagra] links at my site it seems there is not much hope. I think in todays situation with Google it is probably going to be easier to create a new site and get that one to rank that it will be to get an old site repaired. The disadvantage being the domain name is not aged but still it looks like starting over would be easier.

  • Jose Carrilho

    I’m the author of an art blog – I didn’t place the link because it might be unnatural:-) – and this week I’ve received a request from an advertiser (fashion shop) to remove their advert from my blog.
    This was not a link on any article, but an image on the right column of my blog.

    I can understand that a link in a text to a non-related business may not count as “juice,” but should not prejudice any of the parties.
    Unless of course a website has the policy of having lots of links connecting to spamming sites.

    But this is talking about links in articles.
    In my case and I’m sure in many others, we’re talking about pure advertsing and in that way, if a business advertises on a website which content is not related to that business in terms of search engine and content, it should not be prejudiced; none of the parties.´
    A good example for this would be a beer brand advertising on a sports website.
    Of course that there are exceptions, such as a link to an adult related website on a non age restricted website.

    I don’t know if there’s a way of telling Google that a certain link should not be seen as “link juice,” but as advertisement, thus assuming a neutral result.

    Now, some people here, and even the author of this article, mention that there are other search engines. Sometimes I use Yahoo, which I find great to search images and videos, but Bing doesn’t stand a chance compared to Google. Whether we like it or not, in terms of general search engine, with few niche exceptions, Google rules by far.
    Of course that monopolies can lead to dangerous situations.

    Best wishes to you all,

    Jose Carrilho

    P.S. I could put the accent on “Jose,” but Google might find it unnatural.