6 Big Brands Penalised by Google
Jul20

6 Big Brands Penalised by Google

11SHARESFacebookTwitter I thought that I’d put together an example of big brand websites that have been penalised by Google. This is partly inspired by the recent Rap Genius penalisation debacle. Plus, it’s good for SEOs out there who work on large brands to avoid the sorts of tactics that got the following websites banished from the search results by the all-powerful Google. 1. Interflora.co.uk 22 Feb 2013: If you’ve not heard about the Interflora penalisation case then you haven’t been paying too much attention to SEO this year. The popular flower service saw 95% of its top pages for high traffic keywords such as “flower” and “roses” removed from the search engine result pages. 11 days after it was penalised it was allowed back and ranked for many of the high driving keywords that it ranked for prior to its penalisation. In 2011, JCPenny was penalised for engaging in paid link schemes, which saw them out of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for around 90 days. Quite the contrast in comparison to Interflora’s 11 days, but this could be due to the amount of paid-for links that JCPenny accrued over the years. What did they do to recover from this? According to Search Engine Land, they contacted many of the bloggers that they may have incentivised  (possibly with free flowers) to remove any links that may have looked unnatural. What’s also curious about this case is that their website may have been penalised with excessive use of advertorials on major newspaper websites, which I’ll come onto in the next bit. There was likely quite a bit of disavowing going on in the background, which only Interflora and Google would know about, but this may have expedited the status that Google placed on their website from penalised to “normal” — or whatever Google calls a website that is no longer in the penalised stage. 2. 600+ Regional Newspapers Punished Due to Advertorials  22 Feb 2013: Although this wouldn’t be considered a manual penalty by Google, this is still in part related to the penalisation of Interflora, so is very relevant and would be something to take note of for many SEOs out there. First spotted by Anthony Shapley, he noticed that a lot of regional newspaper websites had their toolbar PageRank decrease from the highest case, PageRank 7 to PageRank 0. It can almost be blamed in part for advertorials that they were selling (without including the rel=”nofollow” attribute) and as a result they suffered a blow to their toolbar PageRank. Advertorials offer SEOs an opportunity to increase rankings if they insert keyword phrases along with relevant copy. However, this didn’t...

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Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong
Dec26

Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong

14SHARESFacebookTwitter On Christmas day, Google penalised a large US-based lyrics website and removed its presence from the SERPs. John Marbach, the guy that exposed Rap Genius wrote an article on his blog entitled “RapGenius Growth Hack Exposed” detailing how Rap Genius had improved its search rankings by enticing bloggers to add linkbacks to Rap Genius’ website that contained heavily targeted anchor text — in exchange for a Tweet to said page. (A link for a Tweet) This is what the search results look like when you search for “Rap Genius” at the moment: As you can see RapGenius.com can’t be seen other than on other websites mentioning the now penalised website. This is the sort of link building that RapGenius.com has been doing: That’s just asking for trouble. That’s 16 links to the same site with targeted keyword anchor text to specific pages on the RapGenius.com website. The reason they got caught? They weren’t careful enough. This sort of link building activity likely sent alarm bells ringing, and the fact that they were publicly exposed and publicly reaching out to bloggers like this on Facebook was just another nail in the coffin or even the final nail in the coffin. What’s the course of action? Rap Genius can definitely bounce back from this, as we’ve seen this sort of penalty with brands like Interflora and BMW. They need to contact all of the sites that they’ve reached out to delete the linkbacks to RapGenius.com or either disavow them. Now Rap Genius’ entire backlink profile will be under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether they recover from this. I don’t see why they shouldn’t recover from this if they act quickly. Another point is the fact they’ve likely gained a lot of attraction, as major sites like TechCrunch are now linking to RapGenius.com, which should count for them when they get back on their feet. It’s really quite interesting how a negative can also be a positive. Obviously the negativity of this is at a much higher percentage, but sometimes you just have to look at the positives — even if minimal. Matt Cutt’s “When penguins attack” post on Twitter When penguins attack! Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/iEs9yKBVXC — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) December 25, 2013   What’s your take on...

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