Guidelines are pushed as though they are commandments from a religious tome, but they are indeed a set of arbitrary devices used to hold down those who don't have an in with Google.
When Google nuked BeatThatQuote I guessed that the slap on the wrist would last a month & give BTQ time to clean up their mess.
As it turns out, I was wrong on both accounts.
Beat That Quote is already ranking again. They rank better than ever & only after only 2 weeks!
And the spam clean up? Google did NOTHING of the sort.
Every single example (of Google spamming Google) that was highlighted is still live.
Now Google can claim they handled the spam on their end / discounted it behind the scenes, but such claims fall short when compared to the standards Google holds other companies to.
- Most sites that get manually whacked for link-based penalties are penalized for much longer than 2 weeks.
- Remember the brand damage Google did to companies like JC Penny & Overstock.com by talking to the press about those penalties? In spite of THOUSANDS of media outlets writing about Google's BTQ acquisition, The Register was the most mainstream publication discussing Google's penalization of BeatThatQuote, and there were no quotes from Google in it.
- When asking for forgiveness for such moral violations, you are supposed to grovel before Google admitting all past sins & admit to their omniscient ability to know everything. This can lead one to over-react and actually make things ever worse than the penalty was!
- In an attempt to clean up their spam penalties (or at least to show they were making an effort) JC Penny did a bulk email to sites linking to them, stating that the links were unauthorized and to remove them. So JC Penny not only had to spend effort dropping any ill gotten link equity, but also lost tons of organic links in the process.
Time to coin a new SEO phrase: token penalty.
token penalty: an arbitrary short-term editorial action by Google to deflect against public relations blowback that could ultimately lead to review of anti-competitive monopolistic behaviors from a search engine with monopoly marketshare which doesn't bother to follow its own guidelines.
Your faith in your favorite politician should be challenged after you see him out on the town snorting coke and renting hookers. The same is true for Googler's preaching their guidelines as though it is law while Google is out buying links (and the sites that buy them).
You won't read about this in the mainstream press because they are scared of Google's monopolistic business practices. Luckily there are blogs. And Cyndi Lauper. ;)
Update: after reading this blog post, Google engineers once again penalized BeatThatQuote!
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