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Google, Updates, Upgrades, Penalties And Filters

My site dropped from no.1 spot to nowhere. Google tech people replied to my email telling me I must have hidden text or used some kind of 'illegal technique'! Why don't they just admit it's their mistake? Standard reply It's a standard reply, nothing else. I would imagine that 9 times out of ten when Google get an email about a site that has dropped into oblivion it has something to do with using techniques that go against their webmaster guidelines. It may not be the case with you but from their perspective I should think it a reasonable reply in the circumstances. There seems to be some confusion about 'penalty' A 'penalty' is applied to sites using tricks and sneaky stuff to boost their rankings in Google.

A good recent example would be BMW who were using one page for the search engines and another for the web visitor. Since this was contrary to Google's guidelines, BMW were removed from the index entirely -- they were penalised (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ramping-up-on-international-webspam/). Filtered Another type of 'penalty' although it really is a purely an algorithm filter, is a webmaster using things like hidden text or keyword-stuffing, for example.

This gets aggressively filtered (assuming the site is not removed from the index) by the application of the filter(s) which then causes the site to drop down the search engine rankings. It may seem like a penalty but it is the result of filtering, not penalty. Penalty is different from 'ignoring' links When links are ignored, there is no penalty being applied, the links simply don't count. The site itself is not penalised, it is merely the case that some of the links into that site are not counted. This measure not only filters out link farms and spam techniques but also prevents a competitor from acting against another site by spamming in order to attempt to incur aggressive filtering. Google does not owe you a living Google does not owe any webmaster a living! I must mention this as many webmasters seem to forget at times, that it is up to them to keep their sites filled with visitors, not Google, or for that matter, any search engine. If Google are busy with rebuilding their infrastructure, their database, their spiders, their algorithms or for that matter, the breakfast bar at Googleplex, and it adversely affects your website, then it's just too bad! Complaining to Google that your website isn't at the #1 spot any more is like complaining to the bestseller booklist that you should still be at the top of the bestseller list even though your book isn't selling as well! If your site no longer meets the current market requirements then you need a new product. The market isn't going to change to suit you. Panic, Florida and Big Daddy Now is definitely NOT the time to panic. Google are upgrading.

Things will be all over the place for a while yet. If you take drastic measures for what was up until recently a highly placed site, you run the risk of completely ruining your placements. During the infamous 'Florida update', many webmasters panicked and began changing, tweaking and altering things that had no bearing on their ultimate placement. However, thanks to the 'adjustments' made in haste, they did manage to bring problems on themselves that took months to recover from once the dust had settled and everyone had a much better understanding of what had occurred. Steady at the wheel, Captain!.


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