Has Google put you “on notice”?
It’s enough to strike fear in the hearts of the online marketers. You get a threatening message from Google. Uh-oh… They’ve found pages on your site that may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. What to do?!!
If you have gotten such a message, Don’t Panic. And just because you haven’t gotten one yet doesn’t mean you won’t. If/when it comes, again, don’t panic. There’s a chance you won’t need to respond.
Dan Thies and Leslie Rohde can’t count the messages they’ve seen like this. Many of the messages are targeting sites that have no “logical” reason for any such notice to be sent.
Download the Presentation Audio (mp3) here.
Download the slideshow presentation (pdf) here
In this “Emergency – Don’t Panic” webinar replay, Dan and Leslie, along with Andrea Warner, give you a plan — 3 simple steps *everyone* can take right away, and a couple things that you might be able to use, if you’re in the right position to take advantage of what’s going on.
So if your rankings at Google matter to you, if you care about SEO, watch this Special Emergency “Don’t Panic” Webinar replay. On second thought, if you care about paying your mortgage – and you count on Google’s search results to send you traffic to do that, you can’t afford not to watch this replay.
Link Liberation 2.0 Training – Special Discount Through April 18th
This video is perfect for anyone who has been put “on notice” and anyone who wants to be ready in case they get “the message”.
You should have called this webinar “Matt Cutts sweet talk”. Pretty disappointed from the content to be honest! As if links don’t matter. Are you guys serious? It seems like you have never worked with small business owners such as accountants or plumbers. And you try to make them content publishers! Content, yes – hyper important. But, hell, YES we do it for the links (!) so we can gain authority and move up the rankings. The end result they want to see -> conversions. Period. There is nothing wrong with that. The internet has been built based on links and it doesn’t seem this will come to an end any time soon. Social media is just not able to pull that off. I am a small business owner myself and I have never converted a single customer from social media, even though I have two blogs and I write content at least once a week. But I do this for reputation. That’s it. Besides, Google doesn’t stand for god and just because a few blog networks closed, this doesn’t mean link building is dead. How come you didn’t even address all these small networks SEO companies own and control? They will keep link building, why not? Links are good and hold the internet together…. My 2 cents. Greg
Greg, did you even listen to us?
Of course links are VERY important – and link building isn’t dead. But doing EFFECTIVE link building – with link baiting, persistent features, event marketing etc. requires you to have an AUDIENCE. Social delivers that – your other efforts deliver lots of links. If you don’t do that, you are largely battling for links one at a time.
BTW, Matt Cutts doesn’t deserve any “sweet talk” until he answers the questions I (and many others) have been asking about the “false positives” with the webmaster tools warnings. He conveniently ignored that, but was happy to talk about de-indexing splog networks. So it goes…
Greg Fowler says
I find it interesting when someone may complain or make a remark, i.e. sweet talk Matt Cutts, they don’t leave their link back to their domain? However, you have the right to do what you want and to say, but if you would listen to Dan and Leslie they are saying to get great link over the long term is to have linkable content, which it is a FACT!, that is they best way to get links and they are correct. They didn’t say link building was dead, they simple said to stop building spammy links. They way they build their links as was shown in the presentation, one site has 119,000 links, with natural link building, seems pretty good to me. I believe you can building links, but I would say they best links are other naturally link to you and is by far the best long term (safest) strategy.
@Greg Fowler, thanks!
We do like the comments and feedback – even those who think I’m Matt Cutts’ bestest pal based on seeing part of what’s been a very long conversation between the two of us…
It also tells me what I need to teach in tomorrow’s video – which is precisely how your social media audience gets leveraged into high-value links. Something we had scant time to cover in this webinar, and deserves more attention. Especially since it will let a lot of people start taking action right now… the better to improve our chances of winning a customer when we release Link Liberation 3.0.
The 119,000 links there would be embarrassingly bad if there were more of an LL2/LL3 style link building campaign going on – and at least a few of the more recent links are from the “negative SEO” people trying to hurt me by sticking links in their splog networks. Too bad that doesn’t work. Pretty sad commentary on what their lives must be like, to be honest, if they’ve nothing better to do. 😉
Even if you want to do some “manual” link building, there are highly-leveraged ways to do that, and less effective ways. We cover that stuff too in our courses – people like Garrett French (coming to a webinar near you soon…) do that extremely well, and his training modules in LL2 won him a LOT of fans among our students.
Every time I listen to you guys and gals I learn how much I don’t know. And find out a lot of the things I did know I really didn’t know.
Maybe someday I’ll get to meet y’all and then you can tell me I do know what I know. Then I’ll know what I’m doing. Until then I’ll just jump in hang on and hope I don’t drown.
Bill, I’m pretty sure that you actually do know at least most of what you know – or at least, most people do, you know? 🙂
The stuff we’ll be showing you over the coming days, it’s all “safe” and non-technical – the worst thing that can happen, even if you just blunder through it the first time, is that you end up better off than you were before.
Thanks Dan for the webinar, I just download the mp3 to listen it later.
Burn Fat says
Good shout Dan the Man!
Thank you guys for this excellent info – but then again, that’s what I expect from you 🙂 Thanks for the presentation (pdf). I’m a visual type, and it’s much easier for me to keep up with important points that you cover in the video when I have the visual. Best regards from Serbia 🙂
Paul Clarke says
I had the un-natural link warning, and my site increased in ranking. I checked again this morning. Traffic increased by 25% and I’ve moved up a couple of spaces for my main keywords in Google.
So a couple of options here. All my competitors were doing given the same notice or this “slap” is so inherently “random” and “un-coordinated” that even Google does not know it’s “backside from it’s armpit” as far as these notices go.
I’m firmly in the latter camp. I made no links from networks what-so-ever, but there you go. I’ve gone up.
Traffic to all my sites has increased year on year (some of my sites date back to 1997). my reliance on Google as a percentage of this traffic has decreased year on year.
They are still responsible for around 50% of my traffic overall, but if they were to totally de-index me 100% tomorrow..50% of my business would be fine, and I could easily live on that while I take remedial action.
To be so subserviant and relient on one purely for profit business (Google) who insist on enforcing the most asinine and unthought out changes is dangerous.
In any other form of business to have a 100% partnership with one “customer provider” who has zero obligation to you or to even behave in a responsible manner, would be frowned upon by business analysts.
If you went for a loan from a HIgh Street bank and explained in detail the 100% reliance on a “single conduit” for business, and then elaborated about the “Zero pecent” control and influence you have over that conduit… you’d be laughed out of the bank’s foyer..with the bank managers boot print on the seat of your trousers.
It’s not just borderline – this “Google only” approach is plain bad business practice. Relate this to anyone who understand business and they’ll tell you the same. Your risk profile in this scenario is entirely unacceptable from a long term viability point of view.
Google are a purely “for profit” business. They have only paid lip service to the idea of;
“We want to ensure a quality experience”..
Yes they do want to do that, but only as long as it remains profitable.
They are as open to:
– A well though competitior stealing a march on new technology
– Personal or business related scandal
– Corporate mis-management etc…
as ANY OTHER BUSINESS.
This time last year “The News Of The World” was – and had been the number one selling weekend paper in the UK for decades. It’s gone – worth an estimated 350 million UK£ and had existed for 50+ years. Solid as a rock, massive sales, huge advertiser spend. Gone. It took seven days.
Don’t kid yourself that Google will be here forever, or even that it will be here for another 5 years. I’m betting probably not. The most likely stumbling block will not be scandal though – but new technology that trips them up and makes them irrelavent.
Someone else reacts quicker, and what seemed like the runaway leader in the field is suddenly barely and “also ran”
Myspace was way bigger than Facebook 6 years ago.
Yahoo had years head start on Google,
IBM had the PC market sewn up before MIcrosoft.
Not only is there prescident for this “handing over of the top spot” to happen, if you look, at the history of all big business through the 20th and 21st century, then for those operating outside of a monopoly you’ll find that it’s almost inevitable. It WILL happen, in fact Google have managed to maintain their top spot for far longer than even the most succesful none monopoly enterprises in the Western world for the last 120 years. Coca Cola is about the only brand I can think of that has just managed to do it – and only then it’s market share has fallen decade on decade agains the sum of its competitors.
I feel sorry for those who were affected. Esspecially those who “false positives”. It shows our favourite (sic) search engine for the massive bumbling behemoth that it is.
If you want to live 100% in it’s shadow, forever beholden and supplicant to it’s vaguaries – then that’s up to you.
If you have some business experience and have seen all this before, you mightl consider adding susbstantial variation to you constomer flow as quickly as possible.
Not just because Google are a ponderous, slow to react, 100%-self-serving giant, but because like in any business the world over – it just makes good sense.
Philip Gebhardt says
Hello, sorry I missed the webinar.
I use WP Ecommerce (WordPress ecommerce plugin) and this seems to generate a lot of good links (have a look at the products page on my website and you will get an idea of how I am using WP Ecommerce) which rank well in the search results. Am I going to get slammed by Google for doing this?
Philip Gebhardt says
Hello-did you discuss Google Sandbox? Does it exist? I have recently built a website for a new domain and it has come absolutely nowhere in the search rankings for certain keywords for about a month. I’m pretty sure that I have initially optimised the site and normally I don’t have a problem in terms of sites ranking reasonably well (page1 or page2) but the site only comes up in the search results when I type in the URL in the search bar. The website is http://treesurgeonkent.com – I optimised for ‘tree surgeon kent’ and ‘tree surgery kent’ and also ‘firewood supply kent’ and the website come nowhere in the search results. Any thoughts you might have on this would be greatly appreciated.
There’s no “sandbox,” but instant rankings aren’t what they used to be. 🙂 You’ve got a brand new site there, and you’re competing with sites that have been online for more than a decade. It needs marketing & promotion – it needs other sites linking to it.
You’ve also got some technical issues to address. The TITLE tags on some pages are too long – you want 10 words or less and around 65 characters at the most. This isn’t a ranking issue necessarily but it could be, and it’s definitely an issue when you actually get displayed on the SERPs.
Your bigger technical issue at the moment is to figure out why pages like this are indexed by Google:
That’s a “not found” page – which they shouldn’t be able to find links to on your site, and which should return a 404 Not Found error.
You have several such pages indexed by Google and they all use identical text that appears on a whole lot of other sites. Take a phrase from the page like “In the most existential sense, isn’t it really everyone’s fault” – and search Google to see how bad your duplicate content issue is with this – it’s a big problem in the age of Google’s Panda algorithm.
Philip Gebhardt says
Thanks very much for your reply Dan
The reason why http://treesurgeonkent.com/overview-of-our-services/firewood-logs-for-sale/firewood-supply-maidstone was there was because I wanted to set up an online shop where the client could sell firewood. For some reason I thought that google was punishing me for this so I removed the shop (hence the 404 not found error) What can I do to solve this? Should I re-instate the shop?
Thanks also for the advice regarding title tags-I will look into this. Can you explain a bit more about your point regarding ‘duplicate content’?
Don’t be afraid to sell stuff on the Internet – if the only reason the shop is removed is “fear of Google” then put it back.
As long as your 404 pages actually return a 404 error you won’t have a problem with those as duplicate content, but it doesn’t look like they’re doing that correctly at the moment.
Philip Gebhardt says
Okay-thanks for putting my mind at ease Dan
Paul Clarke says
The interesting thing about that phrase (which I won’t repeat here) is that a quick PR check and Alexa check of the top 200 sites that have it (and the rest of it) reveals some interesting and incongruous “fact-ets” This is for the main site not the specific URL of the page.
Out of the top 200 (of about 41,000 according to my results);
There are 11 pages where the main URL’s has a PR of 4 or greater with that phrase.
7 with an Alexa rank of under 100k.
Further analysis of those I had time to turn my analysis tools onto (a total of 23 – so I’ll admit, not really that good a number statistically) shows that they have a massive number of links, great traffic and are very profitable.
Ok 2 possible reasons that I can see;
1) The text is part of standard 400 series “error page copperplate” and Google knows this. OR…
2) We think Google’s algorithm is a lot cleverer than it really is.
I have a lot of clients, many who previously did stupid things with their SEO before my company took over.
This includes link sharing, link buying subscriptions and in one case buying 1 billion email addresses and spamming them with overy sales garbage. (with a less than 0.000001 percent response rate – yup – less than 10 positive replies from 1 billion mails. Cost was several thousand dollars – ROI was about 5% – if they weren’t now my client I would say it served them right)
Only 2 of these have received a notice. Those that have their own webmaster tools login or those that are now on one of my accounts. Just the two out of now just over 250 sites and 114 clients. Many of which have had all sorts of nonsense comitted on behalf of their SERPS over a period of years before I took over.
One had a BMR account, the other an account with a subscription called “Linxboss”…and that was it. Many of the others have had every sort of tomfoolery and dickens committed to them for years and years. (nothing since I took over) – if anything they have all improved.
I’m not entirely convinced Google has done anything brilliant and innovative at all in terms of Algorithm change. My evidence suggests they simply infiltrated a few (less than 10?) high profile link building subscriptions and deindexed all the sites they could find.
No fancy algo changes. No men in white coats tweaking complex algebra and altering massive blocks of code, 5 biros sticking out of their top pocket, their balds heads reflecting streams of data pouring down their screens as they deal in arcane algorithms beyond the ken of mortal men.
No – joining BMR – check links – deindex. Repeat with a couple of other networks.
MASSIVE fear and inaction among spamming community – minimal cost (a fraction of a major algo change) far quicker – job done.
The biggest win Google have is the fear among spammers and those looking to set up new network sites. It’s simple, quick, easy.
Look after the content on your own site – add a LOT of value over time. That’s what wins the day more and more as time goes on. Checking the providence of tens of trillions of links was never the job Google wanted to take on in the first place (and yes – it is that many – and estimated 25 billion new links created every single day) As a task on its own it adds no value to them at all.
They will take the low hanging fruit. The pareto of the 80% easy pickings for 20% initial effort. Then their own money men will ask the question.
“Ok – how much more will reducing spam still further cost – and what’s our ROI on it”
If the result is close or negative..it won’t happen.
uri @ performance marketing says
Great info as usual guys. We actually did our own testing for “Negative SEO” which you can read here: http://www.saasaffiliates.com/testing-negative-seo-has-google-opened-the-floodgates-to-competitors-hurting-your-web-ranking/
In a nutshell; we were able to Trigger the Google Warning (or it could have just been a fluke) but we have not seen any changes to ranking and/or traffic. (so far) anyway.
I think it is important to note that our link profile is strong as well as anchor text diversity.
As well, Google WILL NOT de-index a site that is getting links from blog networks, but WILL de-index sites THAT WERE TAKING PART in accepting content from these networks… 🙂
Humble pie says
another great quality Webinar.
I must humbly admit I’m one of those people with their head down in shame after this last bout of changes. While we do a lot of great content and marketing it I got greedy and joined some splog networks, now paying the price.
What I found puzzling is if I put the URL in quotes into google it doesn’t bring back any results for the actual page, but when I put site:domain.com in it brings up all pages as indexed.
What am I missing here?
Also with this type of penalty, in your experience is it temporal or do we have to remove all links first?
Keep up the great work!
If you want to check on whether an individual URL is indexed, use this syntax in the search box:
If you want to check what URLs from a domain Google is aware of (they may not all be indexed, but that’s a long and boring story) use:
site:example.com in the search box
If you actually had a penalty, then you’d need to clean it up and respond with a reconsideration request. It is unlikely that you have a penalty unless you actually put your site into the splog networks, as one of the sites the paid links and spam were coming from.
I have tried to sign up for your LL2 course but the sign up form isn’t working for UK based information. I have emailed your support department but not received an answer.
They’re working on the issue, Steve – support doesn’t run 24×7 but they’ll get you squared away.
Acne Chatter says
Excellent webinar. I listened to the recorded version only. Awesome information. I loved your response to the individual with the 200 website. Really! How can you provide quality information to the public. I am glad that Google is cleaning up. Hopefully, the sites with only regurgitated valueless content and thousands of artificial links will be gone and quality content sites will have a chance.
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Dan –
I am confused about what is being offered in the sale of Link Liberation 2.0?
So does the Sale price of $297 also give us the automation software that was described in the original launch.. I’m gusses, not?
Thanks – John
No John, but once you get into the course we will make sure you are able to gain access at insider pricing if you want it. None of LL2 actually requires ResultFlow. Everything in the course can be done by just you, you plus other humans or all that plus off-the-shelf and mostly free websites. The purpose of ResultFlow is to take all of that to a whole ‘nuther level of scale which your *might* or might not want depending on your business and business goals. Right now about a third of our students use RF and the rest do not and it is my belief that overtime that number will be closer to 50% but it would never be 100%.
Thanks for the webinar. I’m just wondering if something like Blogsvertise.com is considered a blog network. Sites like this and others put bloggers and site owners together. Site owners pay the bloggers for posts that include a few links inside relevant content. Is this considered spamming by Google? Obviously this is not great content, but it is still unique and I doubt it comes from any type of network.
This sort of compensated endorsement is not precisely a blog network per se because the blogs in their network (probably) do not all get linked together with the result that simple network analysis can unwind the whole lot, but it is in that area of “paid links” that Google has been on record forever as not liking. In general, you should count the benefit of these links purely in terms of the traffic they provide because Google will at some point, if they have not already, discount links from these blogs as “paid” and therefore “untrusted” or “unnatural”. Fair? Not entirely, as the whole concept of a link with absolutely zero bias or benefit is rare to start with, but systems or programs that create these links as a routine or a business model are what Google WILL locate and discount over time.
What absolutely DOES work, is to go to blogs within your market and do guest blogging. This really is an exchange of value – your content on their blog in exchange for the link to your domain – but it is considered 100% OK with Google. We have a module as well as additional invited speakers in LL2 on this vary strategy. Moreover, we should you how you get noticed and invited to this game by building an audience of your own first.
Hi Dan. I’m very interested in buying link liberation at your offer price but the link from the email you set me returns a 404 error. Can you send me a link that works please?
That’s weird. Sorry about that Ian. The link to the special offer is right below the video.
Thanks for this webinar folks. Nice summary, too.
Also liked the comment about being “liberated” from link-building after links get to a “critical mass”. Encouraging. Thanks.
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