May 6th Update, 14 –
I now believe this was a full on frontal assault against me and my company – With good reason though.
1) Black Hat Sites –
We had/have numerous sites up using the same black hat techniques ranking in the UK SEO SERPs.Â A lot of the sites we had were branded, along side those branded sites ranking were also sites that were unrelated to me that are still ranking –
These sites are still all ranking.
2) Godlike Marketing DeIndexed –
Apart from a few links back from our black hat sites, the Godlike Marketing link profile was extremely clean, with links from the likes of Moz, Search Engine Journal, Matthew Woodward, Find My Blog Way and tons of other related blogs/sites.
So they went after the route company and not just the actual black hat sites. Though we still have a few up there and ranking 😉
This morning my AdWords account was suspended, even though I don’t use it anymore and haven’t for close to 2 years now. I only used it for old random projects and in total had never spent over Â£300.
And for all those still questioning if they know if I exist, then I’d go with a pretty hefty yes to that..
May 7th Update –
I had spoken with a lady from the AdWords team on Twitter and had another 2 sites penalized this morning.
AdWords Response –
Kelly from the AdWords Team who had Tweeted me –
@Charles_SEO Sorry to hear this. If you’d like me to take a look at your account, please follow us so I can DM you for more info! -Kelly
â€” Google AdWords (@adwords) May 6, 2014
She sent me a link in the DM to a form and (to be fair to her!) she responded this morning – Within a pretty good 12 hour period, good customer service via Social media at least, aye Google! The reason my account had been suspended was I had 2 sites that were violating Google guidelines pushed my account to be suspended. Even though she did also include that the account was inactive and wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the work to un-suspend (think that’s the word?) the account –
The first site I had completely deindexed was WhatAreBacklinks.co.ukÂ – Which is weird as I hadn’t really built any links to it, Majestic shows no history nor indexed links and Ahrefs shows 13 indexed backlinks. The site itself is just a one-page landing page with a video and some informative text + 3 links to guides for people to do further research on. It’s supposed to be a simple micro-site to funnel some more Newsletter subscribers to. The second site I had penalized was a Car Insurance test site that I’d ranked as a joke in the UK SERPs called Godlike Car InsuranceÂ – I hadn’t actually used the site for quite a while and had removed the SAPE links a long time ago..
May 9th Update –
I got an email around an hour ago after I sent in my Recon request, Google denied my request and didn’t give any reason as to why the site was hit, just said it was still breaking Guidelines – I now have no idea as to why it is gaming the guidelines, I’ve removed all affiliate links and 2-3 posts that had some image (or what seemed to be, though I didn’t mean to) and link trickery.
Blogger Deleted –
I also had my entire Blogger portfolio (aka, ALL the blogs on my blogger account) deleted, with no pre-warning and no way to recover the content.. A lot of which I had hand written and used the blogs as a source of income from Adsense revenue.. Granted that income was under Â£200 per month total but it was still hard earned income never the less.
I also (to clear this up) hadn’t actually built ANY links to any of the blogs that were deleted, and it was purely content written by me or some freelance writers I had hired. Some of the content wasn’t that great, but it was perfectly legible and readers would’ve benefited when reading it.
May 11th Update –
This morning, my totally free course and what I perceive as 0/nil/zero/zilch/nada/nowt/ bad tactics, Adsense EmpireÂ was penalized –
I didn’t WANT to believe it.. but now I’m going to definitely go with the big Google still stalking me and trying to decimate anything I have ranking.
May 21st Update –
It’s been over 15 days since I received the Pure Spam penalty on my blog. So that should be enough time to estimate what kind of traffic loss I’ll be receiving from the penalty.
In the last 15 days, as compared to the same 15 days in April, I’ve managed to lose 83.81% Organic Traffic from Google. It looks like I’ll be going from around 3,000 – 4,000 unique visits per month from Google Organic all the way down to 400 – 600 visits.
Well, this morning has been pretty chaotic. I’m supposed to be holidaying it up in Montreal, yet I wake up to check my emails (as any business person does) and I get a penalty email from Google.. Nope, it’s nothing to do with David’s post. Google actually decided to whack a big fat “Pure Spam” penalty onto the God of SEO Blog –
Ok, but before I rush into a rant about how Cutts had a meeting in Cali with the entire webspam team to try and find a way for them to penalize me *cough*
I’ll address some issues with the blog itself, first. Before all the white hats start ranting about how certain things went on.
1) Cloaked Affiliate Links
I had a lot of affiliate links that essentially were 301s and NoFollow’d using PrettyLink – I have now removed nearly all of these and inputted the standard affiliate link, instead of one of these 301s.
2) Previous Site –
Before the blog was actually here, I had a gaming forum. I used the God of SEO domain (along with a number of other domains) to be a direct mirror for the forum for around a month. You can see the web archive of the mirror here. Personally, I don’t think this would of caused any issues as it was removed months and months ago.
3) Negative SEO –
The penalty is labelled as “Pure Spam” which means it’s an On Page issue, though I have had a series of SEOs on Twitter flag up the fact that my blog has been hit with negative SEO. Which it has, though I don’t think it’s the issue when it comes to this specific penalty.
4) Promoting Tactics?
Marie Haynes, who is one of the world’s best when it comes to removing penalties did Tweet me to say that she’s seen a few cases of people getting this kind of a penalty for simply promoting (not actually carrying out) tactics that break the Big G’s precious guidelines.
This is probably the most interesting out of all the theories, especially as promoting a tactic and not using it isn’t against the guidelines as per se. Though Marie did follow up to say that it might be classed as participation via teaching?
Regardless, if this is the case then I’d rather stay penalized than remove my posts on manipulating Google.
5) My Blog Network –
Rohan did mention that it might be due to the big ass menu link to my Blog Network sales page.
Again though, this isn’t manipulating the Guidelines… It’s just giving people a way to purchase links that do manipulate the guidelines – Not directly manipulating them from this site though.
Two people did mention that I could’ve been hacked and had links inserted into the site or some kind of iFrame etc..
I have checked server logs, ran a full scan and double checked my WordPress installation and nothing has come up, so it doesn’t look like I’ve been hacked in any way..
Well, I spent around an hour cleaning up the affiliate links that I had mentioned earlier. Most, if not all should now be removed and I’ll continue to double check for links that haven’t been removed, yet.
I also wrote and submitted a reconsideration request, mainly focusing on the affiliate links themselves. I then went into a bit of detail on the previous site (as mentioned in #2) and the promotion of manipulative tactics (as mentioned in #4) just to be on the safe side and try and figure out why I was actually penalized.
Though… As MANY SEOs have already mentioned, this entire penalty is probably just a battle against me and the God blog rather than because of anything actually genuine.
I am however enlisting a few of my SEO buddies and calling in a few favours to take a look at my blog and see if anything else could be classed as manipulative – If it is, then I’ll fix it and cough up.
Not Just Penalized
Too confirm, as a lot of others have mentioned as well. I haven’t JUST been penalized, my entire site has been 100% deindexed –
Thanks for Reading
Thanks for reading, I will be updating this post as new developments come in. Hopefully this’ll all be resolved and I’ll be back in the index pretty soon.