Fighting a Losing Battle with Google?

Scott Lambert


Being pushed down in the rankings by Google because of spam can be devastating for an online business. Naturally most people fight hard to recover when this happens to their sites; however, is there a point at which it is better to simply cut their losses and admit that the battle is lost?

Recent comments by senior Google personnel suggest there could be. The important thing is to be able to recognize this point and avoid wasting resources that could be better spent on starting over.

Comments recently made by Matt Cutts on Twitter strongly suggest that an ongoing lack of response to reconsideration requests could indicate that a site has such a bad reputation that it is unlikely to recover. Cutts admits that, “it could be quite difficult to undo all the spam across the years.” He also notes that sites may be penalized for close association with spam sites even if they have done very little wrong themselves. Factors such as shared contact details might mark out a site as more likely to be a repeat offender.

“It's never a decision to make lightly, but there can be situations where a website has built up so many problems that it may appear easier or faster to start over with a fresh and new website rather than to try to fix all of those problems individually,” said Cutts’ colleague John Mueller.

Once upon a time Google used to focus its anti-spam actions on the big players, but now even small sites are being aggressively targeted. When a search engine optimization record is tarnished it can be very hard to compete with sites that have not spammed, says Cutts, whereas a site with a good reputation has the potential to outrank even much larger sites.

Trying to fix a site’s reputational problems is no easy task. This usually involves hunting down all backlinks (sometimes there are hundreds), checking their page ranks and trying to get rid of links from the bad ones – with or without the cooperation of their webmasters.

After this, and after checking the site itself for problems such as excessive use of keywords, it is time to make reconsideration requests. The general rule is to submit a second request if there has been no response after four weeks; however, if there is still no response after ten weeks and no more identifiable ways to fix the site, it is time to think about giving up and building a new one.

Ultimately, with the way Google now works, having no reputation is better than having a bad one.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of BellSouth.net, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: SEO

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