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Pinging Your Blogs to Search Engines

Monday, August 29, 2005

Your RSS Feed Might Look Like Spam

This is an interesting article about RSS spam. You can read the full article at http://www.dummysoftware.com/article12.html

Interestingly, the article mentions three main methods of RSS spam, which include: keyword stuffing, RSS link farms, and fake feeds/blogs. Check it out.

"RSS feeds seem to be the breakout technology for the year. With more users turning to them for driving traffic to their site, it’s no wonder that a trail of RSS feed spam is following in the wake. A careful editing of your RSS feed could make the difference between being classified as genuine content or RSS spam."

"RSS spam largely consists of three main types most often found in the RSS search engines. The first type is keyword stuffing"


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back in the Google index! The Blacklist has been removed!

Well, the story on a Google blacklisting has come to an end. About thirty days ago, I began this story by mentioning that a site of mine was blacklisted in Google. The site was completely removed from the index, PR meter was set to grey, and a query of site:domain.com produced no results. I talked about how I emailed Google support and kindly explained my situation and asked for reinclusion. They responded by saying they have forwarded the email to their tech department.

Today, the site is back in the index. Yes, it's true. Google does remove sites from the blacklist and set them back to normal. If you have a legitimate site, you do not need to can the domain and purchase a new one. You can indeed breath new life back into it.

So what exactly did I do to get the site back in the index?

Well, for one, you can read my previous posts about each step I took. But in general, I took a few steps to clean up the site as best I could. Note, the site contained thousands of pages, so cleaning it up 100% was not possible; although the word "clean" is mysterious when it comes to Google anyway. A kind email to the Google team, a little patience, and belief in knowing that the site stands as valuable content. Oh a couple backlinks from prominent web sites didn't hurt either, although they existed prior to the blacklisting.

What about my Google PR? Has it changed or penalties applied? No. I have checked this too, and it appears the PR has been restored to its former self. I can see no penalties and, in fact, I am seeing google search results again in my logs.

What a wonderful day indeed. I will keep everyone posted of any other information regarding the re-indexing.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Google Actually Responds by Email

Well, I am certainly surprised. I originally contacted Google through their web site to ask about the banning. I received the typical automatic reply and figured that was that. Then I noticed at the end of the automatic email they mentioned to reply if your question is still unanswered. So I thought it can't hurt any worse to reply to this one, what are they gonna do, double ban me? So I replied. Within 7 days (today), I have received a reply apparently from a real Google employee saying they have passed my message on to their engineering team for further investigation. The plot thickens..

Monday, August 08, 2005

Googlebot pays a visit today

For an update to the previous posts..

It appears Googlebot has payed the site a visit today, several times, as recorded in my logs as follows:

Googlebot Hits 47 robots.txt Hits 1 3.61 MB 08 Aug 2005 - 19:00

This is uplifting, although does this mean I have a chance to get back in the index or is Googlebot just double-checking why it banned the site to begin with?


Still no luck getting re-indexed by Google

Two emails to Google and only one auto-reply message back. The site is still removed from the results. I have been searching on the web about this and it seems the July 27th Google update has affected a whole bunch of high PR sites by deleting them from the index. I'm not sure what kind of filters Google added to this one, but it looks like they have caught a lot of legit web sites in their spam nets.

Apparently, some of the banned web sites are now reporting they have re-appeared in the index a few days later. I wonder if this is a new kind of sandbox technique by Google where possible spam web sites (or at least detected as such) are being filtered away until they can be reviewed in more depth by Google employees.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Arg! Referer Spam is Annoying!

Maybe you have heard of this one before - referal spam!

An automated program that hits thousands of sites with a simple ping and leaves a spoofed web page as the referer link.

I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. Spammers have automated programs that use random web browser user agent strings, and random IP addresses (possible through spyware installed on people's computers), to send out a mass referer spam.

If your web site openly displays referer links, as many blogs do, then this gives the spammer a link from your high PR page, and presumably a bump in their own Google ranking. Even if your site doesn't publish referer links, they figure it only takes a milisecond to ping you so they stick you in the list anyway.

This leaves us bloggers with no choice but to not display referer links. What fun is that?


Trying for the Google Re-Inclusion Request

As a followup to the previous post on being blacklisted from Google, I have contacted Google via their help system web site. They sent back an automated reply stating sites are not manually removed from the index, but give little information other than that. Then there was a small line at the end which mentioned to reply with more information if your question remained unanswered. So I figured, it can't hurt to reply, and went ahead and wrote a bit more, always in a friendly tone. Maybe replying puts the email through to a different inbox or past a filter so someone actually reads it. We'll see.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Blacklisted in Google, Now What?

With the most recent Google update on July 26th, I now have the experience of having a web site blacklisted in Google (not this one). How do I know?

Because I did a search on Google using site:mydomain.com and received no results.
Because I checked in the Google toolbar and the PR went from a digit to a grey bar.

The site was not a spam site, nor did it intentionally use SEO blackhat tricks. The site is even listed in dmoz.org and ranks highly on Yahoo and MSN. The site included many RSS and atom feeds. Is it possible some of those feeds (especially the atom ones) contained nasty web site spam tricks within them, which Google thought was my own site's content?

I know Google has automatic web site spam routines that check for spam web sites. When a site is blacklisted it is not done manually. At least that is what Google claims. So, basically you have to hope your web site does not fall into their spam detection routine... or that a careless programmer over at Google didn't add a little *too* much detection in the script. Come to think of it, how accurate are their search engine results if they automatically blacklist sites regularly now?

Now the big question, and I suppose, a learning experiment too.

How do I get a blacklisted site back into the Google index? How long will this take? Will I regain my PR or start from scratch?

Well for starters, I wrote Google an email. I'm sure that will just end up in a big black hole. So, I went further and submitted a Google Sitemap of the web site's pages using the new Sitemap program at Google. Happily, Googlebot did indeed download the sitemap without error. But whether this helps a site back into the index remains to be seen. I am hoping in the next Google update at the end of the month, I may begin to see Googlebot back at the site or even appear back in the index, or should I just go buy a new domain? :)

I would also like to take this time to express my dissappointment in Google. It is ashame that one search engine has such a monopoly on the Internet that being blacklisted from their holy search engine is almost like being banished from the entire web. That is just plain ridiculous. I praise MSN Search and Yahoo for trying to gain more ground and look forward to a more equal search engine playing field in times to come.

Rathish’s Webspace » Blog Archive » Google blacklist
Blacklisted website update day 2 at David Kendall
How Search-Engine Rules Cause Sites to Go Missing