Google flexed its muscles recently by banning a number of websites for using unethical techniques to gain an advantage in its rankings.
The search giant even took the aggressive step of emailing the webmasters of the offending sites to advise them why they had been dropped from their search engine results pages (SERPs). It advised them to remove each and every link or piece of coding that breached its rules and regulations in order to be considered for re-indexing. If they failed to comply, the websites might never appear within Google again.
Many within the SEO industry, feeling the heat of the competition in improving search engine results for their clients, resort to unethical, or ‘black hat’, methods to gain the upper hand on their competitors. Spammers are also engaged in a war with Google’s search algorithms, and so the blacklisting of sites is nothing new. However, this is a possible signal of a new, more open approach by Google, and offers proof that it takes sites trying to ‘game’ the system very seriously indeed.
The notice of the ban says:
“We’ve detected that some or all of your pages are using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines.”
“Look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank.”
“We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines.”
Although this is undoubtedly a step forward in the on-going war against spam, some people in the industry feel that a definitive solution is still some way off.