Weekly SEO news: 30 September 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're trying to find out if Google ever forgives a penalized website.

In the news: Google tests different blurb lengths on the result pages, the PageRank numbers in the toolbar have been updated, a lot of news about the Google/Yahoo deal and more.

In addition, there's a lot of magic in the success stories below. :-)

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Does Google ever forgive a penalized website?

Getting high rankings on Google is so important for the success of a website that some webmasters try anything to get on Google's first result page.

Unfortunately, many of the methods that promise high search engine rankings are basically spam. Google doesn't like spam at all and if Google finds out that your website contains spam elements, your website will be penalized.

Which web page elements are cosidered spam by Google?

Google considers quite a few things as spam. The most popular ones are automatically generated doorway pages, cloaking and false redirects, keyword stuffing, hidden text or hidden links, paid links and automated linking systems.

What does Google do to penalize websites?

When Google penalizes a website, the website will either be removed completely from the index or the positions of a website in the search results will be lowered.

Does Google ever forgive a penalized website?

In a discussion in an online forum, webmasters shared their experience with re-inclusion requests on Google. One webmaster reported that it took over one year until a website had its old rankings back:

"One of my clients was completely banned from Google for a spammy link exchange program; we cleaned 'em all up and filed a reinclusion request, and they are currently #1-3 for just about every relevant search phrase you could think of.

They're ranking higher now than they ever did before the penalty - but it did take about a year to work their way up to that point."

Another webmaster confirmed that it takes long until Google re-gains trust in a website:

"That's what I've seen, too. A long, slow release from 'probation' as trust builds.

I do think Google always has a record of the past penalty somewhere, and any future infractions might be dealt with quite harshly. But you definitely can see a site get completely released from the ranking effects of a penalty."

It's very likely that Google keeps a record of all previous penalties that have been applied to a website.

What does this mean for your website?

You should avoid shady SEO methods at all costs. Do not participate in automated linking schemes. If someone promises you a quick and easy solution that requires no or little work then it is very likely that it's spam.

If your website has been penalized, remove all spam elements from your website and file a re-inclusion request on Google.

It seems that Google does forgive penalized websites but it takes a long time until a penalized site has its rankings back. During that time, you'll lose a lot of visitors and sales.

If you want to be on the safe side, only use ethical search engine optimization methods to promote your website. These methods might not sound as impressive as some of the promises that you can read on the Internet but they make sure that your website will get lasting results on Google's first result page.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Google bucket tests user-defined blurb length in search results

"Google seems to be bucket testing a feature that allows users to specify how detailed the summary blurbs in their search results will be. [...] Because search is such an integral part of its business, Google has to be careful whenever it thinks about implementing a new search-related feature."

Google PageRankGoogle updates the PageRank numbers in the toolbar.

"Over the weekend, Google updated the toolbar PageRank values. [...] Take these toolbar PageRank updates with a grain of salt. The toolbar PageRank values are typically months old and do not always reflect the importance and value of a site on the web or even in the eyes of Google."

Reality check: Google is already fixing ad prices

"While Google-Yahoo price fixing might make me roll my eyes, as I said, Google already fixes prices within its own network. How can that be, given that it's an auction model?"

Yahoo, we can't afford a monopoly in search advertising even if it kills you

"There are three players in search today. In the long run the 80/20 rule is likely kick in unless a monopoly emerges. Microsoft needs to be that 20% player to keep the Internet healthy, just as AMD keeps Intel’s processor prices in check even though they don’t have much actual market share. But if Google gets Yahoo, Microsoft won’t be able to be that counterbalance."

Sue Decker makes the Yahoogle case and (finally) gets it right Sue Decker

"Yahoo! will use this agreement to help us become a stronger competitor in all aspects of online advertising; and Yahoo! is not exiting the sponsored search business. We plan to remain a strong player in sponsored search."

Search engine newslets

  • Take a look at Google's birthday logo.
  • CEO: How Yahoo's ad server is different.
  • Google goes to Washington, gearing up to put its stamp on government.
  • Top 5 search engines for kids.
  • A Yahoo algorithm update might be on the way.
  • Google toolbar 5 now available in Firefox.
  • Google Maps UK adds traffic information.
  • Memory exhaustion DoS vulnerability hits Google's Chrome.

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3. Success stories

"It's magic, of course!"

Steve Drury"As a children's magician I needed my website to be found in a very competitive online market, IBP has succeeded in my site achieving that - and more!

I now rank highly for many relevant search terms and my page rank has increased in a surprisingly short time. A few hours tweaking with IBP's functionality on my site each month keeps many local competitors asking me how I do it. It's magic, of course!"
Steve Drury, www.childrensmagicparties.com

"I would recommend IBP to anyone who has a website."

Paul Mellan"My name is Paul Mellan and I have an online magic shop called Mel's Magic city. I have had this website since 2002.

IBP has helped improve my website quite a bit! Before purchasing IBP, my rankings on Google for my keywords was not even close to top ten.

Since using IBP, my ranking today in Google for my two most important keywords is #4 and #9. If you told me I would be in this position, I would've laughed, but it is a reality.

I tried other SEO programs and didn't come close to this type of success! I expect to be number one and stay there. IBP is unquestionably the ultimate tool to use to improve search engine rankings! I would recommend IBP to anyone who has a website. Thank you IBP!"
Paul Mellan, www.melsmagic.com

Share your success story with us

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.

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4. Previous articles

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