Recent Google Penalties Are Causing Serious Harm To Small Businesses

Ok things are starting to look ugly. Google just rolled out another update today and many business owners lost their livelihoods literally within hours.

I am taking these recent changes very seriously. It definitely is going to affect my future marketing plans of my sites.

Matt Cutts announced the new update on Google Webmaster Central blog and then later tweeted it too. He also tweeted a very interesting video which I am going to get to in a minute.

First of all, let’s talk about the new update and how it’s affecting people in a major way.

In my honest opinion, Google is making their search results look worse and worse by the day. Sites that actually provided good user experience and value got hit hard while sites with poor quality content from the 90s are starting to show up at the top. Of course not in all verticals but in some.

It seems like the Googlebot is basically penalizing sites that have any kind of links that look unnatural (every time I think about the word “unnatural” I want to throw up).

Matt Cutts says:

We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites. As always, we’ll keep our ears open for feedback on ways to iterate and improve our ranking algorithms toward that goal.

But then he shows examples of links that can trigger a penalty which only fuels the negative seo even more.

Now you know what kind of links you need to build in order to get your competitors penalized by Google. What a joke!

After the new update was rolled out many webmasters reported sudden drop in rankings. Some quality content sites and even “mom and pop” type eCommerce stores got nuked.

I took a screenshot of the Google Webmaster Forum after the panic broke out.

People are talking about it all over. Just visit some popular forums like Warrior Forum or Traffic Planet.

I seriously don’t know what to think about all of this. How can they do that and just act like nothing happened?

What’s worse they treat webmasters like shit over at the Google Webmaster Forum.

Instead of giving the attorney some advice on what could have caused his site to drop or what he can do to fix it, StevieD_Web just assumes the person is guilty without any proof whatsoever.

But it gets worse…

People actually depend on their sites. Their families depend on the income it generates in many cases. For Google it’s ok though. Who cares that someone won’t be able to provide for their family now right?

Not good at all.

In some extreme cases it might even lead up to this:

All this stuff is alarming and should be looked into by authorities to be honest. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be all for the government to take action against Google.

What’s also surprising is that not a single news network picked this up yet…or maybe Google is preventing that from happening?

Anyway, Matt Cutts also talks about keyword stuffing. He shows a blatant example of this abuse but hints that other sites will be affected as well.

For example, I think Google thinks my site does keyword stuffing because of the “make money” keywords. But in my opinion my blog is structured for the user not for the Googlebot, so I probably won’t be making any changes soon.

I will just concentrate on marketing my blog the way I feel is best and drive traffic to it. That’s it lol

I don’t care what their robot thinks, I care what users think and what’s best for them.

Another very interesting thing that popped up on Twitter from Matt Cutts is this video:

Matt say:

In general if someone comes to Google and says I don’t like that page if it’s a “she said he said” we really don’t have the resources to investigate and it’s a little risky for us to pick sides because we don’t really know what the truth is. Even if it looks blatantly obvious to you, we really don’t know what the truth is..

Why isn’t Google applying the same reasoning to their latest changes? Why penalize webmasters if you really don’t know the truth? It’s possible that someone else and not the owner of the website you are throwing out of your search results built all those spammy links.

Matt just admitted that they really don’t know the truth but in their eyes you are guilty regardless if you did it or not.

Also, if Google itself doesn’t like the page they don’t have to pick sides, they just remove you silently lol

Ok, I know that spam needs to be removed for better user experience. I think most webmasters will agree with Google on that one, but the collateral damage is too great right now.

Something went totally wrong or they really don’t know how to handle it. Why judge a site based on links that are pointing to it? If you can separate the good backlinks from the bad ones then why issue penalties?

Just discount them completely and problem solved! Or give us the option in Google Webmaster Tools to nuke those links.

By the way, I just did a search for “seo” on found this:

I guess all those small businesses Google just penalized that are about lose everything should now hire another SEO firm to get their rankings back.

Not cool

One piece of advice I can give Google is this: “Never EVER mess with another man’s livelihood or it will come back at you”


19 thoughts on “Recent Google Penalties Are Causing Serious Harm To Small Businesses

  1. This is absolute nonsense, and its a damn shame google doesn’t have some decent competition. They are acting like all their decisions are serving their own self-interests, and I think we all agree, if we saw the BEST results at the top, there would be no issues (but that is far from the case). Many people that participated in link schemes did so to stand a chance. Not because they wanted to be dirty, hell, I’m all for building quality websites, and thats still what im focusing on, but instead google decides to eliminate me (nowhere to be found) for most of my keywords (my site hitting the 100 mark in pages and growing), and leaves 2 page content sites ranking high in the SERPS, sites that can’t even spell the word their site represents right, and sites cluttered with garbage material all at the top.

  2. I agree Ryan although some people did spam low quality sites with those bad links. Those that have quality content lose more than the spammers who can simply replace old domain names with new ones.

  3. Pawel I see that now empty blog page is ranked #1 on Google for extremely competitive term “make money online” Matt Cutts said they will rank higher sites with better quality content so why they rank empty page #1 for make money online What is the wrong with this Google ???

  4. Google has always been a big bully operating under the guise of “improving the Internet” and “providing value” for their search engine. This latest outrage shows Google’s true colors in better light.

  5. It’s always been obvious to me that Google’s only concern is to make vast amounts of money. Adwords is only for large multi-national corporations now and soon the search results will follow suit. They are similar to a Madison Ave. advertising firm and only want multi-million dollar clients. They’ve never cared about ‘user experience’. That’s the ‘Emperor has new clothes’ type of thinking. Maybe they started out actually caring about ‘user experience’ but shortly after their beginning it was like the line in the song ‘Smuggler’s Blues’ …”The allure of easy money has a very strong appeal”.

  6. Yup, lost all my rankings today for all my money sites:P I’m quitting SEO and focusing on PPC and Video right now. Screw google!

  7. See this. Here is the page that Matt has pointed out: Open this post and click on the first anchor text “pay day loan”….You will be redirected to which is still ranking high on Google.

  8. I read about it on TP forum. That’s hilarious! the very same example they showed that was bad didn’t get hit by their update. Why am I not surprised?

  9. I have read few other posts by few people talking about suicide….This is ridiculous. You have got great suggestion here about discounting the BAD links.

  10. Just Discount the links!! Why penalize the domain! It proves they don’t understand the means to the end, just splatter everybody and reverse engineer based on their desperate pleas for help and reconsideration… and oh yea, condescend and belittle webmasters with false baseless accusations along the way just for fun (aka Google Webmaster forum, where if you aint one of us, well hell, your a web spammin’ idiot)

  11. I don’t really like Google. They are big company and always bully people like us. I just lost of the my money site page ranking and one of my site got delisted. Really have to take the site down and think what to do next.

  12. The changes they are making do look awful and I have to think they are in the middle of something, perhaps big, because, well, I’ve always thought better of their results. That being said, this does seem to be affecting more than 3% of the web. As for the people that were relying on Google, I think we all know that is like building a house on a sandy beach and expecting it to stand as if it had a solid foundation. Sure, I feel for them, but in the grand scheme if they didn’t know better, it was from being oblivious, you can only lead the horse to water, not make them drink.

  13. “waiting for jason in his hockey mask to come out around the corner to hack us to death with a blunt machete” – Now that’s funny!

  14. I highly doubt that a petition is going to change anything. They will never rollback the update to be honest. Sure…you can try, but 1000 webmasters complaining about their sites getting nuked won’t make any difference. I am sure there are at least 100x more site owners that are now happy and living the dream lol

  15. I have to agree with most of the comments. I have two websites that were set up when my business was started back in 2004. Since April 2012 I have suffered like a lot of other small business / website owners. We all know Google is trying to force small business owners down the PPC route using Adwords which is where a lot of their revenue comes from. We can all analyse what is going on, but cannot do anything about it due to the power of Google. Quoting one comment, “Never EVER mess with another man’s livelihood or it will come back at you”, is true and there must be an awful lot of angry people out there.

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