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Thread: Does Google know what websites you own?

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    m42's Avatar
    m42
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    Does Google know what websites you own?

    Michael Gray has written an interesting, if not mildly paranoid blog post to explain how Google could potentially identify website relationships via XFN links. The idea that Google would use this information to penalize publishers doesn't seem too far fetched, as Google has been known to pull some fairly shady shenanigans on not so rare occasion.

    The first video clip Mr. Gray has posted is extremely informative. If you don't have time to read the entire post, I'd recommend at least watching the clip in order to obtain a better understanding of how XFN relationships work.

    Excerpt from the blog post:
    Comparing notes with a few people, the two biggest discovery methods are webmaster central and Google analytics. So anything that’s in either of those two areas is likely to to be shown. That includes actual client sites, potential client sites or anyone else who shared/granted you access along the way. Makes you wonder about that crazy guy who gave you access and you blew off because he had a shady backlink profile. Does google count that against you?

    Does Google Know What Websites You Own

    What is your take on this? Are you currently doing anything to dissociate your sites?
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    Will.Spencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m42 View Post
    What is your take on this? Are you currently doing anything to dissociate your sites?
    I am not currently doing anything to disassociate my sites, although I might soon.

    In addition to Google Webmaster Central and Google Analytics, Google can also associate sites based upon:

    • Link relationships
    • IP addresses
    • Nameservers
    • Domain registrations
    • AdSense ID code
    • ID codes from other ad networks

    Not of these might be definitive, but Google doesn't really need definitive. They are pretty safe with a decision to devalue any link silently. There is no penalty to them for doing this.
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    Without notifying Google , it will not find your website. If you are using any of its services for your website promotion , then it will surely know about your website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Padalda View Post
    Without notifying Google , it will not find your website.
    Google is quite good at finding web sites, without any help at all.

    You don't need to notify Google about a web site, and Google will still find it.

    Google will also find relationships between websites without any notification.
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    I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

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    DickTracy is offline Newbie Net Builder
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    It's an interesting question - I make a half-hearted effort to use different hosting companies and IP addresses but then use the same adsense code on quite a few of the sites which gives the game away pretty quickly, and only have two analytics accounts. So if google wanted to they could see the sites as being connected very quickly.

    I suspect the question really is - does it make any difference? My thought are that it probably doesn't.

    If you have too much sitewide interlinking within your own sites perhaps you will get a penalty (so I'm told, I never seen it myself), but it seems pretty likely that the same will apply if you have too much sitewide interlinking with a site that you don't own yourself.

    Large interlinked blog networks seem to be the other possibility where sites are penalised because of common ownership, perhaps where they wouldn't be if owned separately. But blog networks tend to give themselves away in other ways - obvious sold links, large scale interlinking etc that again are maybe the real cause of penalties.

    I'd be interested to hear about cases where a group of sites have definitely been penalised for common ownership where they wouldn't have been penalised if owned separately.

    edit: the roommates video at the end of the article is worth watching!

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Some of you might remember the tool that Matt Cutts accidentaly displayed during a session at the Search Engine Strategies Conference a few years ago. It showed the sites associated with a site owner and Matt Cutts indicated that one bad site can affect all of your sites. In the example he used, I think he found a porn site that was owned by a guy who was having trouble with rankings for his other sites.

    Also keep in mind that Google is a domain registrar. I cannot think of any reason as to why Google needs to be a registrar, other than for intelligence gathering. I am not sure, but registrars could possibly get around private registrations to find out who owns a site.

    http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/accredited-list.html

    You probably do not need to be seriously concerned unless you are running black hat or porn sites. But that cold be a serious concern for a lot of people.

    Big Brother is watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by DickTracy View Post
    the roommates video at the end of the article is worth watching!
    The video is a hoot!
    "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
    Some of you might remember the tool that Matt Cutts accidentaly displayed during a session at the Search Engine Strategies Conference a few years ago. It showed the sites associated with a site owner and Matt Cutts indicated that one bad site can affect all of your sites. In the example he used, I think he found a porn site that was owned by a guy who was having trouble with rankings for his other sites.
    I recall something like this and afterwards the footerlinks in the Mortgage - Home Loans - Refinance - Mortgage Refinance - Mortgage Rates - Home Equity site were brought up in discussion. A lot of the corporate sites do this kind of linking.

    The problem for Google is that a algorithmic penalty would destroy the index. There's too many sites being interlinked.

    One solution for them would be to apply a manual penalty to sites that they deem to be running a link scheme.

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    if google finds out that you have a porn site, will google then degrade your sites that are not about porn?

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatthehell View Post
    if google finds out that you have a porn site, will google then degrade your sites that are not about porn?
    That is what was indicated. I don't think he said they always would, but he indicated that it can affect your other sites. That sounds like a manual penalty to me.

    The whole idea with being able to show all of the sites that a domain owner has tells them quite a bit about the type of person they are dealing with. I strongly suspect that they use these tools when someone submits a re-inclusion request. It could be a determining factor as to whether they remove a penalty or let it stand. If you request a re-inclusion request for one site that was violating G's guidelines, but you have 5 others that are still doing so, it could easily influence their decision.

    It might have been in the same session where Cutts was analyzing a site and pointed to ring tone links in the footer, when the site was not related to ring tones or cell phones. He indicated that this was likely a reason as to why the site was not being indexed. Too many unrelated links in the footers are probably a trigger to indicate link selling.

    Big Bother is watching! Comply. You will be assimilated!
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