Is Google Actively Removing Your Blog From Search Results?

Short answer is yes. They are.

In fact, looking at the arc of algorithmic updates over the last 10+ years, it becomes clear who they’re working for. But don’t take it from me, here’s what Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, had to say about it.

Internet is a “cesspool,” a festering sea of bad information. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away. –Source

What Mr. Schmidt is saying here is that big brands is what people want to find online, and that the rest is garbage. And he’s probably correct, except that in his fight to highlight big brands and burry “shitty” content; small, new, and often amazing bloggers get caught in the crossfire.

So fine….thats the CEO of Google spouting off at the mouth, you might say. That kind of elitist thinking and preferential treatment doesn’t trickle down to the Engineers. Does it? It does.

Here’s what Google Oracle, Matt Cuts said about it:

…we actually came up with a classifier to say, okay, IRS or Wikipedia or New York Times is over on this side, and the low-quality sites are over on this side. –Source.

Guess which “category” your blog and mine falls under?

Highlighting the Highlighted

Let’s take a look into several updates that either explicitly or implicitly buried small blogs and gave a boost to big brands.

Timeline curtesy of SEOBook Infograpic.

2004 – Google Sandbox

Google rolls out an algorithm that places new blogs into a purgatory, somewhere deep on the search results page that is in double digits. This implicitly makes the first results page more “stable” thereby giving big, established brands a preferred treatment over new blogs.

2006 – Cloak and Dagger Scandal

A common Black Hat SEO tactic is to keyword stuff white text on a white page thereby showing humans one thing whilst showing Google bots something entirely different.

Google’s policy on this is firm. They will shut you down for doing something like this, and many small sites have been permanently punished by Google. So what happened to BMW when they got discovered using this Black Hat SEO technique?

BMW got de-indexed for few days only to come back to the first page after a swift back-room intervention.

2009 – D’you Know Vince?

Google Vince update did something really tricky.

If you search for keyword “oil spill”, and then search for keyword “BP”, bp.com gets a boost in ranking. Add to that the fact that Google had rolled out “Extended Results” by this time, and non-BP controlled content gets further buried “below the fold”.

That same year, AdWords allows brands to add additional links (see above).

BP.com has 3 additional links in the paid results area (Learn About BP’s Commitment on FB – BP YouTube – BP Twitter Feed), which further places our content below the fold.

2011 – Panda Ate Your Page

This is another magic hat trick Google pulled to give big brands a preferential treatment.

Panda update de-ranked blogs that didn’t fit Google’s “brand signals”. As Matt Cuts sais it, if your blog didn’t fit the brand classifier, you got de-ranked. When you got de-ranked, guess who floated to the top? That’s right. Big brands.

2011 – +1

Google crowd-sources part of their algorithm to you. Every time you +1 something, it increases the likelihood of it ranking higher. And now you know why brands are desparate to get your Likes, tweets, and +1s.

2011 – Been Caught Spamming

In May, 2001, NYTimes reports that large online retailers (1-800-Flowers and ProFlowers) engaged in Black Hat SEO techniques and knowingly violated Google’s Terms of Service.

Google takes no active action to de-rank these large retailers. Meanwhile, Google has been known to de-rank small blogs for perceived attempt alone.

Who’s Your Daddy?

While speaking at BlogWorld2012, I asked  my audience “what business is Google in?”, and many cheerfully proclaimed “SEARCH!” You can hear the audio of this here.

Alas, Google is not in the business of Search. They are in business of selling ads. This is an important distinction because it instructs us of the money flow, and ultimately, it tells us who Google works for. And it’s not us.

  • Does your business rely on Google search-results placement? 
  • Have you ever been de-ranked? 
  • How does it make you feel to know that your business can live or die based on Google whims alone? 

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi :-)

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  • Eviloverlord

    Brilliant article. Google has been frustrating me the last few years, my usual search techniques that would usually get me to the content i needed rather quickly began not working. When your an IT generalist there are many tech fixes to quirky problems that I have encountered over the years. Encountering them once in a blue moon google in the past had been my go to search engine to get back to the fix that worked. Those days have been long gone. Only thing I use google for anymore is image searches. -Bill

    • http://twitter.com/dino_dogan Dino Dogan

      thnx Evil Overlord :-)

      #BrilliantHandle 

  • http://couchable.co Tyler Herman

    Totally agree. Local results, shopping results, extended results, more ads above the fold. Google will squeeze as many ads above the fold as they can get away with without losing market share. And they only care about brands since they buy ads and tend to be authorities. So better start building your brand now. 

    Affiliates are going to pushed aside. Middle man ecommerce sites are going to be pushed aside. 

  • http://www.startupbusinesshub.com/ Nathan Dippie

    This was such an interesting post. One of the sites which I do some freelance writing for got absolutely slapped by the Panda update… i.e. lost’ 80% of it’s traffic and it’s showing no signs of return. The information they supply is very niche but does compete with a certain high street brand. Obviously Google are in the business of selling advertising space but the only way they can stay the number one search provider is by connecting the searcher with the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. 

    So I’m torn as to their motives. Thanks for providing your insights really appreciated!

  • http://socialmediarevolver.com/ KrisOlin

    Dude, this is actually pretty horrifying! Who can we trust, if not Google? Thank god their takeover of digitizing all the books in the world hasn’t gone through. Yet.

    Regarding the biased search results check this out:

    I searched for one of my blog posts with the exact title

    “What Could Mark Zuckerberg Buy if He Sold Facebook? #Infographic”

    With an exact search query like that you’d expect your blog post to be no. 1 wouldn’t you? 

    Here’s what really happened:

    The first four results were in order Storify, Flickr, Digg and LinkedIn. Luckily these were all my links. Then there were a few other’s and again some of mine from Quora and Bloggers. The first result from my blog was on page 2 but not the actual article, but the listing from my category page titled ‘Extra Bullets/Infographics”! WTF?!

    I could not find my original blog post within the first 12 pages! Sure there were a few other (totally unrelated) posts from by blog, but not this one. Even a Japanese website with just a link to my post was before the real thing! Check it out, it’s crazy: http://ceron.jp/url/socialmediarevolver.com/what-could-mark-zuckerberg-buy-if-he-sold-facebook-infographic/

    What the hell is going on here?! Somebody please explain?

    • http://twitter.com/dino_dogan Dino Dogan

      yup….my posts get reblogged by B2C and they constantly rank higher than me. Which is fine, I dont care but it clearly shows that google is either retarded and unable to find the original post with the original author and give it a preferred ranking, or they are measuring something that just doesnt work for us bloggers.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/DSPMDNASC262PKTDAF2KWCWXZU Heikki Leskinen

      Because google pagerank algorithm is based on the inbound links to the site. That’s why it guarantees (quite) accurate result with all the SEO going on.
       btw. I only ended up to this blog post because of the Google+ enhanced search results.

      • http://socialmediarevolver.com/ KrisOlin

        Heikki, I’ve got 7,956 inbound links according to Google Webmaster Tools and 2,150 according to Bing. That should count for something?

        The first day of publishing a new post it does end up on page one or two quite often BUT after that Google seems to lose the post from the SERP’s altogether!

        For instance yesterday morning I published a new post: http://socialmediarevolver.com/increasing-importance-social-media-smes/ 

        When I searched ‘Increasing Importance of Social Media to SMEs’ in the evening it was on page one position one. That would have been expected as the search term is quite a long tail, as well as it’s in the the Meta Title and Description.

        Today, however the post is nowhere to be seen! WTF?!

        All I can see now are my listings from other websites such as BizSugar, LinkedIn, Bloggers, Twitter, Quora etc. 

        I usually post the URL’s of my new blog articles to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, Blogger, BizSugar, Quora etc. I also upload the main images w. descriptions to Pinterest and Flickr. This is mainly do some PR for them and get additional traffic.

        Do you know why is my original blog post gone from the SERP’s so quickly?

        Or at least not found within the first 25-50 pages? Does it have something to do with my PR operations with other website which have better Google Page ranks than my blog (PR 2)? Or duplicate information etc?

        What is happening? And what can be done? 

        Matt Cutts, if you’re reading this in the SEO land, please explain.