Online brands are failing to safeguard against Google penalties after renewed web spam crackdown, warns Searchmetrics

By Jessica Davies | News Editor



research article

January 31, 2014 | 3 min read

Online brands are not doing enough to ensure they do not incur penalties from Google after the search giant ramped up its crackdown on web spam, according to new data from Searchmetrics. In doing so they risk “drastic” falls in their organics search rankings, traffic and company value, according to the analytics firm. Several brands, including Expedia, have so far been caught out with the online travel brand having suffered a 25 per cent drop in its organic search visibility, according to Searchmetrics. The reason for the fall has been attributed to a variety of alleged “unnatural” inks to its domain and other important URLs. Searhmetrics analysis has revealed that the brand is likely to have been caught out by a “probable legacy” from an older link-building strategy – a technique which at the time of implementation were not classified as spam. It is very easy for website owners and their marketing and SEO teams to fall foul of Google’s rules since it intensified its war against web spam, according to Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics. “Google is becoming smarter every day, and many SEO 'tricks' that helped sites achieve high search rankings in the past are now seen as signals of spam and are outlawed. If you have been using these tricks in the past and have done nothing to remedy the situation, you could be walking a dangerous line,” he said. Google is fighting against sites that attempt to game their way to the top of search results using techniques that infringe its webmaster guidelines. These techniques are considered bad for search because they can mean relevant websites get buried in search results, and make sites from legitimate website owners harder to find. Google's algorithms detect many spam techniques and automatically demote the sites that use them. It also employs teams who manually review sites for spam activity.Yesterday Google’s Matt Cutts tweeted that it was penalising French Link Network Buzzea, a description that the company took issue with in an open letter, in which they also described the decision as 'abusive'.

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