Google & SEO Labeling

Google search engine, SEO Tutorials | May 4th, 2012 | Comments Off on Google & SEO Labeling

Ever since the latest algorithm update to fight SEOs and opening a play-field for negative seo I had notice a pattern that was really puzzling me what is going on. Even tho I had some smaller sites penalized with obviously lower quality links and way to targeted anchor texts I also had penalized some high quality sites with very good and strong links, diversified anchor texts and what not.

So the question and doubt that was popping on my head was: Why on earth an over-optimization (anti seo) algorithm would penalize this strong site? While I can understand how the smaller one would have gotten affected from this latest update I had a puzzling theory on what has happened with this bigger and aged website.

I started to analyze the two sites and see what they do share in common and it didn’t took me long to find that the two sites would share

  • The same Google Webmaster Tools account
  • Both sites used AdSense Ads from same account
  • Both sites shared the same Google Analytics account
  • Affiliate links & listings

Aside those 4 points, the sites shared some similarities in links, but not at a scale that should be mentioned. As I said the bigger site is one that I took to heart and took good care of it, no sloppy links & only links from high quality relevant sites (curious to know? nope they were not paid for links, but does that make them more natural then the paid ones?), well structured layout and silo-ed content. The only thing that the site would have as negative (or lack off) is social signals, but hey I am not a very social oriented person and I like to focus communication in less channels and preferably more targeted. This means that if I want to communicate to visitors of my website that would be either through;

  • Blog post
  • Newsletter email
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • Facebook Fan Page

But definitively not through all 4 channels. Can you immagine if you followed this site through facebook, feed subscription, email newsletter and twitter and you would get the same identical message from me via all 4 channels? I don’t know about you, but I would unsubscribe for sure.

On that note, neither has any social signals (or if any, they are very weak). So I could presume the lack of social signals is not the reason why that site got torched (hey its still indexed, just no signs of it even for long tail keywords).

It was puzzling hard to figure out, so I wanted to further analyze things and added another few sites (of relatives, friends and mine too) to analyze and compare, some of the sites were penalized some were still holding strong in the rankings as before, few shared the same/similar patterns as the 4 above mentioned and others didn’t.

The results were even more shocking, and again the penalized sites showed up to be the ones that had at least 3 of the 4 above mentioned points in common, and that made me think that Google is labeling sites based on user profile. Let me explain, if Jim has a site for which he has done heavy seo and triggers some patterns in Google algo, most likely even sites of Jim on which he hasn’t done any heavy seo or over optimization would get torched because he is labeled as SEO (remember, i referred to this over-optimization algorithm as an anti-seo algorithm early in this post, and it wasn’t for no reason).

But that was just a theory I was thinking of while looking at my analyzes. Obviously I dropped it off the theory thinking “No, this would be plain dumb to be true” and moved on to look for new patterns to identify the issue, until… I happened to read THIS ARTICLE on

If you read the post you will find out that Jennifer (THE potpiegirl) asked a question via Twitter to Matt Cutts with regards to a legitimate question of a WarriorForum user, where he was penalized/filtered/torched even tho he had not used any of the black hat techniques that Google mentioned on their eye-washing post about the Titanic update.

That means, the dude had not used hidden keywords within the body of his website, no keyword stuffing, no blatant spam through completely non relevant articles. What his marketing techniques involved was: Guest blogging on high quality & high relevant blogs for his niche, period.

Cutts answer to PotPieGirl via twitter was .. well, look at it by yourself

Matt Cutts on Labeling SEO - Image Credit:

Ugh.. Deja Vu!? Nope, it’s not a deja vu it is my theory popping up once again, but this time is not just in my thoughts, nor my ideas, it comes out typed from the fingers of Matt Cutts the head of Google’s Webspam Team. So that dude had all those sites, and perhaps he had used something shady (not keen to check them sites and not even important to do so, pages rank in SERPs not the user who is behind them) but along with those sites his legitimate site, apparently clean from spamming perspective got torched too because of the other sites he owns? Ugh!

Recap & What SEO Labeling Would Mean

Once a SEO, always a SEO, that would be the short recap of the entire post to be honest. If you have done seo for one site and you’ve used any shady technique that Google doesn’t like (keep on track with this, because what Google likes today it won’t like tomorrow) in site B, C and D then rest assured that site A will get torched since you’ve been labeled as a spammer.

What this labeling means for me is: Astrit, go dark..i mean really dark, all the way underground and act as if you really are a black hatter! Hide from Google as if you have to hide from a horde of hungry zombies, because if they sniff, hear or find a track of you (r sites where you might have performed a test or two) you’ll be grounded even with the sites on which you’ve been the good boy.

I might be completely wrong and Google is not labeling sites based on user profile since each property (website) may or may not have involved same techniques that the other site(s) from the same user – which would be the right way to treat each property, because websites are the ones rankings in the serps, actually even more specifically specific pages are the ones that are ranking on the SERPs and not the “user” that is behind those sites/pages. But my gut feeling tells me that we are labeled, profiled and categorized into Google’s storage basement room, and every page that should be ranking in the SERPs is influenced from the profile of the user behind it – yet another signal.

Does this mean that I will drop off my sites and start all fresh with a new virtual identity and hide from Google? Hell no, what will change in my game now is the focus and only the focus. If once I was building sites for what I deemed to be good looking, easy to navigate, useful for visitors and tried to please Google and focused on ranking them in Google now the last part changes and my focus will be oriented to Bing & Blekko (as far as SEO regards) and other channels (yes, including social media marketing) – at least until i don’t get the impression they are over categorizing and classifying webmasters as Google does.

Do you have the feeling of being categorized and classified, sites that you’ve done nothing shady got torched?

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