Just under 3 years ago now, I woke up 4 hours before boarding a flight to several emails from Google.
The first email was a penalty notice saying my site had been deinexed with a “pure spam” penalty, the following emails were about my AdWords being suspended, my Blogger account deleted and so on.. At the time, I covered it in quite considerable detail:
It got a lot of interest from the SEO community as a whole, with many penalty experts saying the site couldn’t possibly be “pure spam” and the coincidence of several other services getting taken out (at the same time) meant it had to be a targeted assault on me. In total, they deindexed 7 of my “public” facing sites, but never managed to get around to doing much damage to my “unknown” (or non-public) properties.
Regardless though, a considerable amount of people (more so in the white hat/Moz camp) couldn’t possibly believe that their precious webmaster enforcers would do anything of the kind.
Well, they say lightning never strikes twice.. I guess Google thought I’d stop being a pain in their ass after the first assault, how wrong they were when they must of seen the amount of traffic I’d been getting recently:
Yes, that’s about 2k pageviews a day.. A lot more than I was getting on GoS.
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It seems this time though, they put a lot more time and effort into the assault.
They seem to of taken last assaults lessons into consideration, and tried to effectively go after my other income this time.. Shame they did about 1% damage in total on that, and nothing I can’t recover from.
It genuineness astounds me though, to know how much of a hard-on the Cutts crew must have for me, I haven’t ever seen/heard of any other names being attacked like this, aside from Agent BlackHat – And they weren’t nearly as bold about that one.
I’ve even been turning more grey hat in recent years.
Unlike last times blatant penalty for “pure spam” – This time I’ve been hit with a link based penalty, knocking my 1st page posts down to #5 – #10.. So far.
When I posted this in my Facebook group, a lot of the responses were because my site has been negative SEO’d, pretty much since I started posting on it – Not unusual, I’ve got a lot of fans at BHW.
I highly doubt that it had anything to do with the negative SEO side of things.. This type of penalty is manual, that means someone has physically gone onto my blog, reviewed my entire sites link profile and said it’s all dodgy – Which if you look through yourself, it’s not.
When I disavowed my ENTIRE link profile last time, then submitted a re-consideration request.. It still came back as a no, apparently having no links at all, still counts as pure spam. So we shall see how this time goes, I’ll update you on that.
Reading My Customers Emails
Back in my GoS days, I ran a honeypot after suspecting something fishy was going on with Gmail –
Most of the SEOs had a go at me for being paranoid or simply not believing that Google was capable of this.. but this time around, it seems to be the case once more, except they went into some serious detail with this one.
Around 28 of my PBNs had gotten hit, I couldn’t find any correlation or footprint between them, except when I dove into the customer list of who was on there – Every single PBN (This PBN only had a Max. 4 OBL, so was very low) that had been hit had a customer that was using a Gmail account, so when I sent the report to these customers (from our internal sever email) with the links included in a PDF, Google must of found all of those reports and systematically targeted those PBNs. I have spent the best part of 24 hours trying to figure out ANY footprint that could of tipped them off, but most of them I hadn’t even registered the domains for, built the PBNs, pretty much nothing was coming from my own computer/IP/browser and I use server logs to check the indexation of PBNs, I never use search operators for them.
Note: NONE of my PBNs sold in the last 9+ months were deindexed.
This, mixed with the fact we no longer use the same email reports for our new services and that NONE of my newer PBNs (it was all from the same network) had gotten hit, is what lead me to this conclusion.
Banning Me From Other Google Products
Like last time when they blacklisted my blogger and AdWords accounts.. It seems this time they’ve gone after EVERYTHING I was associated under Google with – Luckily (so far, at least) they don’t seem to of touched my YouTube account, though it might just be a pending internal email from the webmaster team to the YT staff.
From what I can tell, they’ve hit me in:
- Deleted my other blogger accounts
- Suspended my new AdWords
- Canceled my Google Apps subscription and deleted all the information in there
That’s only what I have found so far.. I’m sure in the coming weeks I’ll see the full effects.
So, What To Do Now?
Well, last time I managed to use a technique that recovered all of my GoS traffic.. Though I’m guessing they’ll be keeping an eye out for that one.
I’ll attempt a penalty removal, and update you to how that goes.
Organic traffic makes up around 30% of my blogs overall traffic, but around 42% of my blogs NEW traffic.. So, it’s annoying that (at least temporarily) I’ll be losing out on that traffic, but a mixture of my social profiles, group and email list will still send it through.
I suppose I should be flattered I’m getting Google’s attention so much though. Even if it is negatively.
Thanks For Reading
Normally this is the part where I’d thank you for reading my post, but it doesn’t really seem like the appropriate time to be doing that.
Instead, I’ll just ask you share it to get the story out there.