An Important Warning

By: John Elder posted in Adsense


Hello good people!

Today I want to talk about something that’s just about the most important thing I’ve ever talked about, and it’s a touchy subject, which I hope you can appreciate. It has to do with Google and the evil that can be done in it’s name…

The secret to making gobs of money from adsense, at least the way I do it, is to own hundreds – even thousands – of websites. The problem is, for whatever reason, Google can often decide these websites are spam and remove them from it’s index.

Personally, I don’t think my sites are spam at all. Not in any way shape or form. Why? Because I provide a service that people want…

If you’re looking for a Black and Decker 10 watt microwave oven, and you stumble onto my website on Black and Decker 10 watt microwave ovens, you can find a link to either buy one, or you can click on an advertisement which takes you to someone else who is selling them.

Either way I’ve solved a problem for you

The problem is, Google has never been completely transparent about what it considers spam. There are no set guidelines, and when there *are* guidelines of some sort, they change them at the drop of a hat or at the whim of some manual spam reviewer Google has hired from India who can barely speak English. It’s crazy.

Let me tell you a story

When I started marketing on the Internet, back in 1996 I registered my very first domain. I used that domain for lots of different things…as my main corporate presence, to sell products and services that I had created, to offer free stuff, and about a thousand other things.

As of recently, that website had a PageRank of 5, with about 2,000 other sites linking to it, NONE of whom were co-opted by me to link to the site…they just linked to it (I assume) because they found it to be a good resource worth linking to. In fact, I never did any linking SEO work myself.

About a year ago I decided to convert that site to an Adsense site. I wrote 100 very well researched articles on 100 of the most popular kitchen items (microwaves, knives, dishes, etc). The articles were all 500-1000 words each and gave fantastic information to help anyone make a purchasing decision on any of those 100 items.

How did the site do?

Well, traffic shot to around 100 visitors per day to those 100 pages (not great by any means), and I earned between $10 and $20 a day in adsense revenue from the one adsense ad I placed at the top of the site. $300-$600 per month…not great, but not terrible either.

I didn’t do any dirty blackhat SEO tricks to fool Google into giving it a higher ranking than it deserved, in fact I did no SEO work at all…I just let the site sit there earning away.

About 6 months later, traffic evaporated on the entire website! Instantly. One day it just went to zero.

I logged into my Google Webmaster Tools account to see what had happened, and saw a flashing angry message icon from Google. Google hardly ever contacts webmasters, and when they do – it’s never a good sign.

The message said something along the lines of “We have reviewed your website and found that it does not meet Google quality standards, we have therefore removed it from our index”.

I filled out and submitted a reconsideration request form asking Google to change their mind because the site was not spam in any way shape or form, but I was promptly ignored by Google.

Gone…Dead…Ghost…

Here was a website that had been online since 1996…one that over 2,000 other websites thought was good enough to link to on their own, without any prompting from me. And for no reason that Google would explain to me, they removed it from their index.

That site is dead now…because some tool over at Google decided to flip a switch and destroy it. And I don’t even warrant an explanation after 15 years of owning that site.

That’s bad…but I personally know people who have had HUNDREDS of sites de-indexed at once. Sometimes Google will decide one of your sites is no good, and de-index it…and then de-index all the other sites that they determine belong to you…just because. I’m lucky that didn’t happen to me this time.

You can see if your site has been de-indexed from Google by going to Google and typing in this:

site:yoursite.com

Obviously change yoursite.com to whatever your domain is. If nothing comes up, your site has been de-indexed.

What can you do about it?

Not a damn thing. Period.

Once Google decided your sites are spam, for whatever reason they want…your sites are toast. Gone. Dead. And they won’t ever come back.

But you can take steps to prevent it from happened. For one thing, make it as hard as possible for Google to know that you own a website. To do that, don’t use ANY Google product besides Adsense. Don’t create a Google Webmaster Tools account that shows Google traffic data for all your websites. You’re just telling Google which sites are yours.

Don’t use Google Analytics. There are other free webstat options out there like Piwik or Awstats (Awstats comes free with most webhosting accounts).

Heck, I don’t even use gmail or that new Google Social network, because when you log into them, they track your Internet usage.

This isn’t conspiracy theory here, the Google Terms and Conditions clearly give them the right to use your data across departments in anyway they want. People have already proven (at least, to my satisfaction) that Google uses your Google analytics data to help rank web sites in the index. How? By monitoring your website’s “Bounce Rate”.

“Bounce Rate” is how long someone stays on your website before leaving. If Google (through your Google Analytics account) notices that most people only stay on your site for a few seconds before leaving, they will determine that your site sucks and push you further down the rankings. This is bad for us because we LIKE high bounce rates, it means someone clicked on an Adsense advertisement and left your site, thus earning you money!

But what about Adsense?

Won’t Google get all the “info” they need through your Adsense account? No! Adsense is different. Since money is involved, the rules are different and they can’t share that same data across the different departments (it’s a privacy thing relating to the money aspect of it all). So you’re relatively safe on that count.

But take it from me…don’t use any free Google tools on, or in connection with any of your web sites. You don’t want to spend 6 months building 500 websites only to wake up one morning to find that Google has decided that they are spammy and removed them all from the index, killing all your site traffic instantly and dropping your Adsense earnings to ZERO overnight.

Protect yourself.

In the mean time…keep on building!

-John
The Marketing Fool!

John Elder is an Entrepreneur, Web Developer, and Writer with over 21 years experience creating & running some of the most interesting websites on the Internet. Contact him here.



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