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Thread: How to avoid the "Google Slap"

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    m42's Avatar
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    How to avoid the "Google Slap"

    One of my colleagues was asked to help with a site that was severely slapped – had Quality Scores of 1 – and because of his close relationship with Google, he was able to get a "real" Google rep to give him a "real" answer to why the site was slapped.

    The answer:

    "I would not send my grandma to this site."

    Yeah, I know, some people will retort, "What does YOUR GRANDMA have to do with anything?"

    I looked at the site and I would not send my grandma there either.

    The person at Google didn't elaborate. So please permit me to elaborate.

    This particular site was selling a specific business opportunity. The hype factor was through the roof, it was a pure "squeeze page" with nowhere else you could go to learn about the vendor, all the bullets were tease and the claims were extraordinary.

    It had a smarmy feel.

    Google didn't like it. So somewhere in the account, a Google reviewer punched in a low quality score, and all the keyword and SEO tweaks in the world won't change that.

    I realize this is all totally subjective on Google's part. But it tells you a few interesting things:

    -Google is NOT just run by robots. They've got more than enough money to put real people on the assignment and they do.


    Google's secret criteria for judging (and slapping) websites

    Anyone who's been hit with a minimum cost of $10/click on Adwords knows that Google does indeed penalize advertisers on occasion. The question is, what do you do when it happens, and how do you avoid it?

    Dave Davis at Redfly marketing has put together a great blogpost outlining this issue as well as explaining the possible reasons behind Google's alleged distaste for affiliates. Occasionally, publishers get caught in the crossfire between Google and the affiliates. Here are some of Mr Davis' recommendations on how to avoid being penalized:

    • Make sure that you have done everything you can to improve your quality score.
    • Make sure you have no prominent affiliate links.
    • Make sure any affiliate links are marked as “sponsored”.
    • Make sure it is clear that your business model is NOT commission based. (In the traditional affiliate sense)
    • Make sure that you have a physical address on your site.
    • Make sure your site follows all quality guidelines. (As usual, this is only a TINY subset)
    • Make sure your site is not a bridge page or a bridge site.
    • Make sure you offer your own product or service.
    • Submit your site for a manual review.


    If you've already been penalized, here is something you might want to try if you're unable to work things out with Google:
    (

    Diet Fads

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    5starAffiliatePrograms (12 October, 2009), bogart (18 August, 2009), Hellas (19 August, 2009), Loko (18 August, 2009), TopDogger (18 August, 2009)

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    An interesting topic. Time to start improving the QS instead of fixating on Page Rank.

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    Good information.

    It is kind of hard to make money with an affiliate marketing site if you label all affiliate links as "sponsored". I always include a statement about affiliate links on my Terms of Use page.

    How do you make it clear that your business model is not "commission based" when 100% of the income from an affiliate marketing site is from commissions?

    I'm not sure how much manual review Google is still doing, but we know they are reviewing some sites--especially with AdWords.

    About two years ago Google hired thousands of college students in the USA to manually review web sites. They had plans to hire 500 students from the state college near me, but never fully implemented the program. They have since dismantled that program and dumped the student review teams. Perhaps the college students didn't work out for them.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    About two years ago Google hired thousands of college students in the USA to manually review web sites. They had plans to hire 500 students from the state college near me, but never fully implemented the program. They have since dismantled that program and dumped the student review teams. Perhaps the college students didn't work out for them.
    The issue that I see is the question of what defines quality. Is quality defined by aesthetics? What happens if the reviewer makes a mistake and you are given a poor Quality Score?

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    We have all probably seen Poor quality scores that even Google could not explain. These can pop up even when the landing page is heavily themed for the keyword topic, the keywords appear on the page, the keywords appear in the ad text and there was nothing snarky about the site or the landing page.

    I have sent several of these issues to AdWords Customer Service and requested a manual review and explanation. I just wanted to know what I need to change. I have only rarely received an intelligible reply. They simply send a response pointing the the AdWords Quality Score page, which tells me nothing.

    One response did suggest that using the keywords in the ad text does play an important role with the quality score. However, in that situation, the keywords triggering the Poor quality score already appeared in the ad text.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    What happens if the reviewer makes a mistake and you are given a poor Quality Score?
    I think the answer is that you just create a new campaign for the same keywords and URL's and try again.
    Submit Your Webmaster Related Sites to the NB Directory
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    Thanks M42, a great post that I hadn't seen yet!

    Here is a must read post for affiliates that use Adwords.

    In the recent round of Google slaps that were supposedly about landing page quality - AdwordsAdvisor (supposedly an official Google rep) explained what the slap was really about and it was geared toward certain types of affiliate sites, not so much landing pages.

    Read about it here:

    Google Mass Bans & Warns AdWords Advertisers, But Why?

    Certain kinds of websites (ref1) are not allowed per our policies because the user experience is of low quality or we consistently receive negative feedback from our users about these kinds of pages. These sites include:

    * Data collection sites that offer the false promise of free items, etc., in order to collect private information.

    * Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads

    * Affiliates who provide limited value by being a bridge page with the intent of solely driving traffic to another site or who are framing an affiliate site
    Linda Buquet :: Affiliate Management Consultant
    Discover 5 Star Affiliate Programs
    Leading Affiliate Blog - Learn to Earn More! :: Pro Affiliate Forums

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