Hi all. I've been hesitant about posting this, even in this closed forum but I've been grateful for the help received over the past 2 years here, so am just sharing this information in case it benefits anyone. It only really applies if you are at risk of manual actions (not algorithmic). If you are dominating a niche with some Google-owned ventures in it as I was, it's only a matter of time before they come knocking, and I always expected it.
Quick background: I had 6 sites (5 UK and 1 USA) in my niche and in October 2014 all of them were completely killed off by Google in one day via 'unnatural inbound link' manual actions. They weren't linked in any way (IPs, GWT, etc). After a few days of feeling depressed, since then I've been trying with some success to get the ranks back with new sites. I know a lot of people would have given up at that point - my traffic dropped by 95% in 2 hours and hasn't fully recovered - but I felt it would be a good situation to try to learn a bit about how Google's webspam teams work. I'd entered their shitlist and it would be too good an opportunity to pass. I figured that if it didn't work out and they win then at least I'd have tried.... thankfully they have only managed a ;partial; victory as my sites recover for a few months then get killed again but I'm still making more money in a month than most people make in a year
So f**k you Google
Few things to note:
- Install Clicky if you don't already, it hides Googlebot visits so you can only see real human views from Google workers that come onto your site. Setup an alert for this, the ISP name is always 'Google' for their USA based team, so it's easy to do. I will update this later with the Ireland ISP name when I find it (it's a business ISP I forgot the name of). I have 2x alerts and they notify me as soon as either visit my sites.
- My developers setup a custom XSS script that tries to grab actual referral information that Google masks and no stats software shows, whenever their webspam team visit my sites. I'd really love to take screenshots of their screens via this method but are not having much success, not sure if it's possible, but got a few other ideas here.
- Google has 2 webspam teams. One in Ireland and one in Mountain View, California in the Googleplex. They may possibly have one in India but I've never encountered them.
- The Ireland-based ones aren't concise and are pretty 'entry level'. I can share the ins and outs of how I know this if anyone is interested. Their Adwords and Adsense Europe teams are in the same IP range so I suspect the same office in Dublin.
- The USA based webspam team are pretty clever. They follow your 301s, visit your old sites, obviously have custom scripts and software that show all link information for any site. They require a good degree or even PHD to work there: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/2533719
- They can see 301s, 302s, they follow multiple redirects, and the rest of it. They can spend hours analyzing your site, coming back and forth across them all.
- The USA webspam team work afterhours and use their phones in the evening. One of my sites was visited on Christmas Eve by one of their staff (sad cunt). You can't redirect at certain times of the day and hope to fool them, they are there 24/7.
- Google log and use your IP Address information if you ever sign into GWT and Google Plus/Gmail then forget it,once you enter their shitlist. They will probably whack your site within 24 hours. There's an in-depth study I saw recently where someone said they use 'safesearch' in Firefox to log the sites you visit, what you search for, and store it against your IP - so disable it. Don't use Chrome ever. If you don't have dynamic IPs use a VPN.
- I've found ONE way to hide a 301 redirect but I won't share it here yet as I'm still testing it. There's only 1-2 mentions of this method on any BH forum ever, so it's quite unknown. I was surprised Google didn't log it, maybe they do and I'm just lucky so far.
- Once you are on their shitlist, they will delist your site with zero links. Yes, zero links. The reason will be given as 'poor quality content' or even 'unnatural inbound links' even though their own link tools show no links/redirects and I've not built a single link to it. I filed one reconsieration request in my life as I got the 'unnatural inboud links' notice when there were zero links, and they never responded. They don't want you to rank at all once you piss them off enough.
- I got direct correspondence from someone inside Google last year. It basically confirmed the above in a typical Google 'generic' answer. I Google'd the person's name, as they don't ever give their full name, but it was unique enough name to find them on LinkedIn. No prizes for guessing they worked in the webspam team and yes they had a degree in Computer Science. If anyone is interested in how I managed to get that, let me know.
- A few hours before my sites are eventually killed, I always see 1-2 visits from the USA webspam team. They visit at the same time, around 4pm their time, every Monday, so they must have a calendar or reminder setup.
Finally, a good tip. Use a VPN like iPredator and load up Chrome and enable it's auto-translation tool and hit up some of the Russian BH forums. Those guys are 2-3 years ahead.
I will share more if people want, but have been quite reserved, walls have ears etc. If anyone has any other insights please do let me know!