posted on May, 14 2014 @ 04:49 AM
I'm going through a very personal and terrible experience with Google. I'm actually rather upset.
Based on this experience I've had a number of realizations about some deep evilness in Google's business practices that don't seem to be publicly
known about. You all need to know about this.
Here's what I experienced:
I built a web application as a business project that I'm working on with a small team working under an LLC. I'm the co-founder of this corporation,
and took a significant amount of risk on by sacrificing other work opportunities and basically working for no pay for a number of months in order to
spearhead this project and get the website live. I've designed and written most of the backend code by myself.
It's not a simple website. There is some real technology behind it, and it serves a useful function IMHO. It was not easy to build. I'm a
professional software engineer that worked for high profile companies in the Silicon Valley for over 14 years, and have had a very successful career.
I know how to build high quality software.
We went live with the site a little over a month ago. As part of our strategy (as is true for many websites), we were depending on getting a certain
amount of organic Google search traffic to our website based on keywords in the descriptive text on the pages of our site.
We got a nice amount of traffic based on organic google search results within the first week. And it kept going up from there, for a little less than
a month. We were on target for our goals, and everything looked ok. People were discovering our site, registering, and using it productively. We
thought we had a successful launch.
A couple of weeks ago, suddenly our traffic dropped off a cliff. We were getting almost no visitors based on organic google searches. It took some
time for us to figure out what happened, and less savvy business owners might never have figured it out. We had received a very severe "covert"
google SEO penalty.
In case you aren't familiar with this, a Google SEO penalty is when Google takes a "manual action" to artificially make any search results for
pages on a particular website buried under N'th page (very few people scroll through many, many pages of search results - so you basically no longer
exist). By "manual action", I mean that a Google employee manually reviewed the site and made a decision to penalize it, as opposed to their normal
algorithms determining your ranking in search results.
The way that we determined a "manual action" had been taken is that a Google search for our domain name puts us on about the fourth page of search
results. We have a unique domain name which was showing in #1 position before this happened, and in general if you do a Google search for the domain
name for any website the site shows in the #1 search position since domain names (by definition) are unique.
On Bing we still show up in #1 position if you search for our domain name.
When I say this was a "covert" penalty I mean that they did not give any indication that they thought we had done anything wrong or that we were
being penalized at all in their "webmaster tools" administration site. They have a tab there that exists just for telling you if you are getting a
manual penalty because you violated their "rules".
In a recent video from the Google Webspam team they clearly describe that they will not always let someone know if they have received a manual SEO
penalty to their site. So, if you have a business website and your traffic suddenly goes down, you might not know that Google decided to penalize
So, what does this mean, and why would Google do this kind of thing?
I have a few theories.
1) In general, and not just relating to our own website, Google makes more money if people pay tons for Google AdWord campaigns. These can be very
effective, but they also can be very expensive and Google AdWords is where google makes most of it's profit to this day. So, they have a conflict of
interest. If their organic search works "too well" and drives tons of traffic to a website, the owners of that website won't need to spend any
money on a Google AdWords campaign. So, google makes more money if new websites have trouble getting to the top in search results. Now that they are
such a monopoly, is it a coincidence they are rolling out new algorithms to search that have such strict rules on when sites might get an SEO penalty,
and how you are allowed to optimize your organic search keywords?
2) Our website, by it's nature, drives tons of traffic to one of Google's main competitors. Kind of fishy that they would try and destroy us with
an SEO penalty...
3) The employees that Google uses for manually reviewing brand new websites that have very rapid traffic growth are probably paid barely minimum
wage, or are outsourced to other countries and paid even less there, and have huge quotas of websites to review per day, or otherwise be fired. So,
someone who was barely literate reviewed the site our team of highly experienced engineers worked on for months - for possibly just seconds or a
minute - before clicking on some button to demote our site, without understanding what we actually did and the service we provide. So, it's just a
"roll of the dice" whether or not a new, innovative site will be penalized by Google.
In any case, Google is acting as "judge, jury & executioner" in determining whether our own website succeeds or fails in the interwebs. There are
various examples I can give of other organizations and corporations that have been hurt by such decisions made singlehandedly by Google. And, it
doesn't seem like this is just and "algorithm" thing (lots of people blame the "Panda" algorithm). It seems like human beings at google are
making judgements on websites, and that Google is exerting a power that threatens Net Neutrality and fair commerce in general.
This is typical behavior for a monopolistic corporation. Google controls almost 90% of all searches on the interwebs. That's a monopoly. That's a
ridiculous amount of power.
Power corrupts. Google may have had good intentions years and years ago, but now????