There have been plenty of sites recently including some big brands who have been penalized by Google. The search engine giant is sometimes more enemy than friend to marketers, but Google doesn’t seem to exclude itself from its own laws, which is a good thing. Still it’s a little confusing when you’re own site is penalized after an update. There have been a few times where the search engine penalized itself or one of its children companies.
1. Google and the Cloaking Adwords
There have been two times when Google has penalized itself over what it considered questionable SEO marketing practices called cloaking, which is when web crawlers see a different page than what the actual human would see. The first time was for cloaking. Someone in the offices of Google had hidden content on pages in a way to help those using the internal search tool by Google. Back in 2005, the search engine saw this action and cried out in dismay, and Google was banned that day. Seriously though, the search engine that basically created search engine guidelines penalized itself for the cloaking incident. Google had the pages removed from its index for a big bad violation of cloaking. The penalty period is still unknown.
2. Google and the Cloaking Adwards: Part Deux
Like so many rebels of the Internet, Google didn’t learn its lesson and was again found in violation of cloaking in 2010. This time it was for help pages related to AdWords. The pages were immediately degraded in rankings when people searched for “AdWords help” and other related keywords. The penalty period is again unknown, but by then, Google was onto itself.
3. Google Japan and the Paid Linking Problem
Google again found itself in hot water by its own hand when Google Japan was found to be buying links to promote a Google widget. When the news came out, Google’s own spam team reduced the PageRank score for Google Japan dropping it from its throne of PR9 to a lowly (still noble court worthy) PR5. PageRank is a value assigned to all pages indexed in Google and is influenced by many factors. Those pages with a high PageRank are often on the first page of results for highly searched keywords. The penalty period for Google Japan was steep lasting 11 months.
4. Google and the Beat That Quote Paid Link Monster
Google acquired a financial comparison service to expand its offerings to search engine users with Beat That Quote in 2011, but the spam team also had a lot of evidence that Beat That Quote was doing some really dirty link buying tactics and other violations of the Google guidelines. Google swiftly responded by penalizing Beat That Quote with degraded rankings and even stripping away its first page title when people searched “Beat That Quote.” Harsh, huh? The penalty period started for two weeks, but it extended for an unknown period of time. Of course, Beat That Quote is back in its rightful place–for now.
5. Google and the Chrome That Bought Links
If you haven’t noticed, Google really doesn’t like when sites buy links in order to get higher rankings. That guideline even applies to itself. Google found that it was buying links as part of a campaign to promote the new Chrome browser in January 2012. They were obtained as part of an entire video advertising package that was put together by two separate promotion companies. While the companies and Google made apologies for these infractions, adding that the links were accidentally, there was no stopping the Google enforcement team, which required that Chrome suffer for its deviousness however accidental. The browser was unceremoniously knocked out of the top rankings for searches on “Google Chrome” for two months.
One thing to take away from all of this is that Google acts swiftly against itself, so it’s no surprise that the search engine would act just as quickly against others going against the webmaster guidelines. If you have any doubts about your pages or want to learn how to prevent your page from being penalized, contact VR Business Marketing for a free online consultation.