Recent Google Slap – A Case study

by Jason Acidre on April 26, 2012 · 46 comments · Search


This entry is a guest post by Moosa Hemani, and you can follow him on Twitter @mmhemaniThe views and opinions expressed on this post don’t necessarily reflect my views as an Online Marketer.

In the early era of my career, I got a chance to work with few competitive industries and logo design industry was one of them! I worked for a company who at that time was ruling the 1st page of Google with the term ‘Logo Design’. You can imagine how much traffic they used to get!

Although it was a good learning experience but by the time I started reading blogs, followed the influencers in the industry and ran small experiments in the search industry, I got to know that the online marketing and to be more specific the link building approach we were using at that time was of low quality. Therefore, I discussed this in the meeting with the authorities quite a few times but as they were ranking on the top, my suggestions didn’t get in to notice as they were intersecting with the way they usually worked!

Today I got a message from one my friends, he asked me to Google Company’s name and guess what; The Company’s URL was nowhere! :O

Instead of the main website, the tumblr blog is ranking! So, is it a Google Slap? Yes it is! The site is penalized and has been de-indexed from the Google search results!

Google is getting tougher to those who were ruling the industry with tons of low quality links or who tried to game search engine in anyway, due to the lack of knowledge or by purpose!

I took a quick look to their link profile (Thanks to Open site explorer) and here is what I got!

Tons of Blog Comment SPAMS:

By the time, we all know that Google doesn’t like low quality links. Apparently incase of having tons of links from low quality blog comments and forum signatures, your credibility will be shaky in the eyes of Google.

The penalized website got tons and tons of blog comment links that in a single go looked spammy and low quality! Checkout few examples links they got in their link profile!

I guess this is smart! You can read the full comment and you will find out that it is a general comment and can be used anywhere! :). The comment has been made to build a link, pointing to their blog with an anchor text ‘logo design’

Here are few more:

And:

Above snap shots are few of the examples. Sadly, they got ample of these kinds of links that strongly indicate Google to re-think about the website’s credibility!

What the hell is Google Guidelines?

Another majority links were banner ad-links that they were getting from different websites, which also violates Google guidelines. Before I explain further, here is what Google says about Paid links:

“Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  1.        Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
  2.       Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file”

-          Google

Moreover, number of links they got in their link-profile, were actually advertizing links (banner ads), here are few of the examples.

And:

Above-mentioned links are counted as advertizing links commonly known as banner ads. Google defines 2 different ways to deal with these banner ads but in this case all links are do-follow and were pointing directly to the targeted URL, which simply means that they were violating the guidelines provided by Google!

Link Network:

It didn’t took me long to figure out the personal link network they have where all of their new projects, top designers are linked. Few of the blogs that featured almost everything on their sidebars are:

  • Graphic Design Blog
  • Logo Blog
  • Logo Snap

All site wide links on these blogs are pointing the main website with do-follow attribute! Google neither likes too many side wide links nor does it like excessive linking from the link networks, in-fact Google is working really hard to turn down as many link networks as possible.

So what should they do?

The damage has been done and they are actually paying the price. Yet still their boat has not touched the bottom of ocean and they are still left with some great stuff in their pocket.  So, I believe doing a little frustrating yet technical work may bring them back in the Google Index!

Good stuff they already have!

They have attended quite a few conferences and sponsor awards (that I got to know through their link profile) and they got some good links from high PR websites, Conferences, award websites and similar!

Another powerful weapon they are left with is the social engagement! Although it’s not up to the mark but it didn’t seem as lousy in one go! Google counts in social as one of the important ways to determine website’s credibility, so this can be counter as another plus point for them!

Things they should be doing!

Add/Edit Low Quality Links:

The first thing they should do is to get their hands dirty with their own link profile and remove as many low quality links as possible! They should also follow the Google’s guidelines for banner ad links

Following Google guidelines may not directly help them get back in to the index but it will surely help them to get better rankings in SERPs

Build Quality Links!

Their Link Profile is messy and is filled with a whole lot of low quality junk links; all they have to do, starting from today is to build quality links that includes: link baiting, guest blogging, interviews, infographics, humor posts, memes, white paper and lot more!

Change the Mindsets!

Changing the mindset is something that can help most. SEO is never a cheap service and neither it as simple as many think.  Re-vamping strategy or paying a little extra to a professional is actually long-term investments that will surely payback.   Taking up the policy changes and going with new and more authentic ideas is something I believe can help this company and many more companies going through the same scenario, the most.

Special Thanks to @DaniZehra for the editing favor.

About the Author:

Moosa Hemani is passionate about search and social in general. He writes on different major SEO blogs as a guest writer. List of his writings can be found on his About me Profile.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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