There are many Internet search engines available for people to use. However, it is the Google search engine that revolutionized the way that we search for things online. It is also the search engine that websites and businesses live and die with. Being among the top of the Google search ranking for a given subject or keyword can mean an extraordinary amount of unique visitors for a particular website. On the other hand, being buried on the 20th page of search results can result in the failure of a website or business. In the Internet age we are living in, Google is just that important.
Getting to the top of the search results and staying there takes a lot of work. Google wants to be certain that the websites it presents in its search results are legitimate and do not represent a problem to the public. They also try to steer away from websites that have business practices that Google believes to be shady. This leads us to the subject of spam.
We hear about spam every day we are online. Our email accounts even have special spam folders to capture and dispose of all the spam emails that we receive. Needless to say, spam remains a huge problem all over the Internet. Google is not taking the issue of spam lying down. In fact, they have made it a mission to punish websites that engage in spamming on a regular basis. Perhaps you run a website and you have received a Google Webmaster email that says your website has been issued a “manual spam penalty for having “pure spam.” Google considers pure spam sites to be the ones they believe have performed the spam infractions that are the most egregious.
Making Google’s S#!% List
So what exactly is pure spam and does Google give any clear definition as to what it considers to be spam? After all, there is no way you can try to fix the problem and comply with Google unless you know what exactly the problem is. If Google sends you a Webmaster email regarding a “manual action” being implied to your site, you need to carefully read the email. There are specific words that they use in their emails. It is important to know exactly what they mean so you can take steps to fix the problem that Google has with your site.
It is hard to recover from Google penalties of any kind, especially a severe penalty such as the removal of your homepage. If you run a website that has been engaged in spamming for a long period of time, and you are currently trying to change your practices and get Google to accept your site again, you have a difficult road ahead of you. You will certainly have more trouble than a site that is guilty of only a few spamming infractions. Sites that have a long history of spamming will not be able to get back into the search results for Google very easily.
Google has been forced to get tough with a lot of sites that continue to spam despite being penalized by Google in the past. In certain cases, the standard method of removing the site’s links has not been an effective enough deterrent to get a website to stop its spamming practices. Enough websites were not slowing their spamming that it made Google realize that it had to up the ante as far as penalizing these sites is concerned. Google has defined the targeted sites as “those sites that display a long-standing practice of delivering mass and deliberate spam.”
These sites naturally want to know if there is a possibility of ever getting this huge penalty lifted. While it is possible, if a site has been spamming long enough and in a high enough volume, undoing that amount of spam could be a tough task. In many cases, certain sites have created such a horrible reputation for themselves, and have become so deeply entrenched into the world of spam that it is virtually impossible to get themselves back to respectability and to get Google to lift their penalty.
In some cases, a site has a reputation that is so tarnished and beyond repair that the best thing to do is to shut down the site and start again with a new website that does not have all of the spam baggage associated with it. While it is never a decision that any website owner should make lightly, this is occasionally the best move for all parties involved. It is just a matter of determining if the damage that has already been done can be corrected enough to the point where Google is willing to forgive you and lift the penalty.
Even with Google laying down the law and severely penalizing websites that have been spammed for a long time, you can be sure that sites will continue to do it, knowing full well the risk they are taking. The reason for this is because these sites believe that spamming is what they need to do in order for their site to rank in the search results. Sites that peddle gambling, prescription drugs and payday loans have been at the focal point of spamming for many years. None of these industries shows any signs of curtailing their spamming activities.
Google has also recently confirmed a key piece of information that a large number of webmasters, especially those who spam on a regular basis, have suspected for a very long time. Google stated that a website known for spamming has the ability to contaminate various sites that contain the identical company information and address. Along with this, Google looks into other less known factors to figure out the validity of various sites that are known to be on the shady side. Google is on the lookout for multiple businesses that operate from the identical address. This does not necessarily mean that shady activities are going on, but Google considers it a red flag that causes them to investigate the site further. It could also be one of the reasons that Google eventually decides to penalize a specific site. Payday loan sites are directly in Google’s crosshairs because of their long history of spamming and unethical business practices.
There are some important things that webmasters can do to minimize the penalties and headaches they may face as a result of being targeted by Google. For example, if a webmaster is having problems with spam warnings relating to a specific site, they should immediately separate any other sites they own that are related to the site that is having the problems. This should include such items as WHOIS information, contact information and any affiliate codes that happen to match. This will eliminate any possible “guilt by association” scenarios.
If you submit a request to Google to have your penalty reconsidered and you either get a negative reply or none at all, you should not give up. Consider hiring a professional who has experience with this sort of issue to help you determine what exactly the problem is. If you keep submitting your request to Google without fixing the problem, they may eventually start to ignore you. This is a situation you want to avoid at all costs.