Anyone reported a competitor to G for Black Hat SEO?

Discussion in 'SEO, Marketing and Finance' started by momofone, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. momofone
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    momofone Pleb

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    Just wondering if anyone has ever used the 'report spam' to report a competitor for hidden links in footer etc. What was the outcome, and if Google took action - how long did it take?
  2. Ryan Ashbrook
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    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer Supporting Member

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    If it's anything like anti-piracy measures, the person who reports it might not ever know the outcome of it.

    Considering it's Google, they might just de-rank them for it.
  3. momofone
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    momofone Pleb

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    If that would be Google's chosen action, how soon would one likely see that happen? weeks? months? Just wandering...
  4. Ryan Ashbrook
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    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer Supporting Member

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    I don't know, personally. Best guess would be a few weeks and you start seeing a decrease in ranking for the site.

    That's just a guess, though, I have no idea how Google handles such things.
  5. el canadiano
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    el canadiano Well-Known Member

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    Google can easily just de-rank someone's site and that's that, but they also do stuff like this in a large scale (by changing algorithms), such as Google's recent "Panda" update.
  6. momofone
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    momofone Pleb

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    I don't think Google's algorithms are up to much since the particular method of hiding links in footer (i.e. Same color as the background, Font-size="0") being used in this case, is so obvious and such a well-known tactic, it boggle's the mind that Google have not found it, let alone penalized the site, which appears as the #1 result for quite a few keywords - BUT the site in question also has Google Adsense so therein lies Google's motivation to turn a blind eye, putting profits before search results.
  7. el canadiano
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    el canadiano Well-Known Member

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    Google has a lot of customers, you know. It's like banning a Runescape Member (someone who pays) if they cheated.
  8. Mike54
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    Mike54 Well-Known Member

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    Ryan, were you keeping up with the issues with Overstock.com and J.C. Penney, back in February? When they decided to slap J.C. Penney, there were links appearing at number 1 that had fallen all the way back to page 7, within as little as 2 hours.

    From the article on J.C. Penney -

    As for Google not being aware of background font colors and 0 font size in links, please don't fool yourselves. They've been taking action against sites using those techniques for years. Check this Google Help Article. I can attest to this being true, because we're always getting new customers who had previous and self-styled SEO "experts" use those techniques on their sites.

    Here is another article concerning hidden text. And here is an interesting interview with Matt Cutts. Look at the dates. These articles and interviews are well over three years old, so Google is most certainly onto hidden text and has been for at least that long.

    One of the worst things you can do to your sites is to try and make the search engines do what you want. Your efforts need to concentrate on how to make sure your sites are providing what the search engines are looking to find. Work in concert with the search engines and you'll get the results you're wanting. Try to force the search engines into doing something unnatural and you'll end up paying the consequences for it.
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  9. Ryan Ashbrook
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    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer Supporting Member

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    I saw you post that on the IPS Community. Good stuff there.
  10. DavidMcHenry
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    DavidMcHenry Senior Member

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    As evil as I think Google is, I dont think they'd ever jeopardize the integrity of their search results to make a few pennies. It could take a very long time before any penalty is given out if at all. Generally hiding links is frowned upon, but its more of a usability issue than a search engine issue. Plus there is always the chance that the webmaster might not even know they're there.

    PS Pretty sure "gaming search engines" is a violation of the Google Adsense program TOS/Policy? You can report them to adsense as well if you wish and their account maybe suspended.
  11. momofone
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    momofone Pleb

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    If you take this case in isolation it is only a few pennies, but looking at the bigger picture, if thousands of sites are doing this, it potentially adds up to more than a few pennies. The rules are clear and well-defined in this case, and as far as the webmaster not knowing they are there, I view this as a case of ignorance is no defence. If I am doing 50 in a 30mph area and I get caught, should I expect to be let off for not knowing that?
  12. cpvr
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    cpvr Well-Known Member

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    No, I haven't done that.
    A lot of my competitors follow the rules.
  13. momofone
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    momofone Pleb

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    Oh really? So do you think SEO cheaters are restricted to certain industries, subjects or categories then? You must be in a good niche ;)

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