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Google Penalties

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Communicating Google PenaltiesGoogle penalties

The purpose of this article is to explain why Google need to communicate more when issuing penalties. (Published 21/10/2011).

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In April 2011 Google released a Panda algorithm update. This update wiped off about 1/3 of traffic from many, many websites across the world. I monitored this and 4 weeks later, a lot of sites that should never have been Panned by Panda got the majority of their traffic back or saw a vast improvement. And, sites that scrape content for a living were ranking higher than the sites that generated the content. Hum…

Web teams got to work that sunny day in April and quite possibly spent the next 16 hours there trying to figure out what the heck happened. This update was quite serious but was anyone told exactly what would be happening and given time to rectify any issues? No.

Google police

I understand that Google don’t tell people what their algorithm will do, but something as big as a Panda update should have been documented with exactly what types of pages/content that they were going to penalise. There was no need to make it another guessing game. There are thousands of reputable companies out there that if they had known in advance, would have done something about it.

So, I come to my solution. Google, you are the most dominate search engine force on the Internet, so now might be the time to have your own online police force. If a member of the general public was to commit an offence, they would be warned of their offence, tried and then convicted. See where I’m going?


The web is a little different but an offence is still an offence, so Google, if you believe that a website is committing an offence, issue a WASBO (Website Anti Social Behaviour Order) in the first instance. Tell them of their offence and give them sufficient time to respond and act upon your advice. I know of no other “democratic” legal system that just wallops you on the head without first telling you what you’ve done wrong.

All WASBOs would be served through Webmaster Tools with details of the offense committed. You don’t need to get in 2 way conversations with the site owners, just canned responses that are descriptive enough to allow the website owners to be able to put right any wrongs. If this is not done, then your penalty action will be valid.

SEO Juice PandaIn summary, please, please, please Google, if you are going to mess with people’s livelihoods, get your updates right first time, tell people beforehand what you are doing and why and give all the legitimate sites a fighting chance.

P.S Please stop giving Panda’s a bad name, I can no longer look at the one I won and it’s currently hanging from a ceiling in preparation for the next piñata ceremony:-)


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