Friday 26 May 2017

Google's New Warning about Link Building from Article Syndication & Guest Posts

Google's NO to misuse of Content Marketing

Google has issued a fresh warning which comes as a reminder for spammy links being built in articles referred to as guest posts, partner posts, syndicated posts or contributor posts.

Lately Google has observed an increase in such spammy links which are built by or in the name of one website and published on a different website. Google doesn't discourage article syndication where users are benefitted by some good content and awareness about a topic or a company. But if the intent is purely to build links in a large scale, that is where the issue is.

Warning Signals:

As mentioned in the Google announcement, below mentioned are some factors that can trigger a violation of Google guidelines:

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
  • Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site (in which case use of rel=”canonical”, in addition to rel=”nofollow”, is advised)
Sites need to be very careful of publishing any articles that contain spammy links. This may result in sub-optimal performance from the organic perspective. The publishing sites should check whether the content is useful for the readers and does the context match with the site. Also if the content contains links that have questionable intent, do they have rel="nofollow" tag applied?

Google clarifies that if link building is a priority, the quality of content would be compromised. To keep the web clean, Google encourages webmasters to report spam if they receive requests related to 'Post my articles' which are intented to build links. Here is the form - spam report form.

Publishers need to keep an eye on the context of the article they are posting for other sites and also keep a check on the links included. Here is what Google has to say to the distributors of articles:
"And lastly, if a link is a form of endorsement, and you’re the one creating most of the endorsements for your own site, is this putting forth the best impression of your site? Our best advice in relation to link building is to focus on improving your site’s content and everything--including links--will follow (no pun intended)."
Can we assume we would soon see an algorithm update related to links? You never know. Stay safe! Build quality content on your own site. Avoid spammy techniques to build links.

Here is an important link of Google's Quality Guidelines for your reference:

- Tejas Thakkar

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Types of Google AdSense Policy Violations & New Page Level Policy Action

This post will help you understand various types of Google AdSense Policy Violations, how to resolve them and a new Page Level Policy Action update that would certainly bring some cheer to the AdSense Publishers.

Let me begin this post with some good news for the AdSense Publishers. Google has announced couple of changes in the AdSense policies to provide greater transparency to the site owners. They are as follows:

Page Level Policy Actions

Google stopped serving ads on the whole site that violates AdSense policies. Google will now remove ads only from a particular page that violates Adsense policy guidelines. Having said so, Google will impose Site level actions if needed. And in case of repeated violations, a publisher may face Account level action.

New AdSense Policy Center for Publishers 

Google would soon launch a new AdSense Policy Center for Publishers that would provide more transparency on violations found and actions taken. This would help publishers to act on it with step by step instructions provided in the policy center.

Now let's get back to some basics.

Google AdSense is a reliable income source for many around the world. While AdSense brings a pleasure of earning substantial amount of money, at times it gives us nightmares with its Policy Violation Actions. 

We come across questions such as Why is my AdSense account disabled? Why Google stopped serving ads on my site? What are the Google AdSense Policy Guidelines? How to resolve the AdSense violation action? Let us try to find out answers to these questions.

If you visit the Policy Violations section in your AdSense Account, this is what you get to read:-
"Google monitors the sites that AdSense ads appear on, to ensure that they comply with our programme policies. We have identified the following violations on your sites. Please note that this represents only the violations that we have currently identified. You are responsible for ensuring that your properties fully comply with our policies at all times. We suggest that you regularly review all your sites for compliance. For more information regarding our policy notifications, visit our Help Centre. "
Now in case you violated any of those programme policies, you could receive a Policy Violation message in that section. Depending on the severity of the violation, you can either receive an Account level violation or a Site level violation. The difference is very well explained in the following answer that I obtained from the Adsense Help Center.

AdSense Policy violations can be due to the following reasons:-

Common reasons AdSense accounts are disabled for invalid traffic
  • Clicking ads on your own site
  • Manipulating how ads are served
  • Ads embedded in applications
  • Deceptive Ad placement that would generate accidental clicks
  • Generating automated bot traffic
  • Use of incentivized traffic source

Common reasons AdSense accounts are disabled for policy reasons
  • User generated content
  • Violation of webmaster guidelines
  • Deceptive Ad placement
  • Copyright Infrigement
  • Illegal content
  • Pornographic, adult or mature content

Here is a screenshot for your reference that shows some examples of Site level violations:

Here are explanations from Google Adsense for few of the site level violations listed above:

Deceptive Site Navigation:

Sites displaying Google ads should provide substantial and useful information to the user. Users should be able to easily navigate through the site to find what products, goods, or services are promised. Examples of misguided navigation include, but are not limited to:

  • False claims of downloadable or streaming content
  • Linking to content that does not exist
  • Redirecting users to irrelevant and/or misleading webpages
  • Text on a page unrelated to the topic and/or business model of the website.

Large Ads above the fold on mobile

Publishers may not implement Google ads in a manner that disguises the ads in any way. In order to maintain a good user experience, it is important for publishers to clearly distinguish Google ads from site content. This includes, but is not limited to: site layouts in which the ads push content below the fold on mobile devices; placing 300x250 or larger ad units above the fold on a mobile optimized site.

Update - Google now allows placement of 300x250 ad unit above the fold on a mobile site.
"After careful review, we've determined that when 300x250 ads are implemented above the fold in a user-friendly way, the ads do not annoy, distract, or result in ad performance issues."


Publishers may not implement Google ads in a manner that disguises the ads in any way. For instance, publishers may not place ads under misleading headers or titles as this may confuse users into thinking the ads are actually site links related to that header. To avoid this issue, we ask that publishers use only "sponsored links" or "advertisements" to label ads

Scraped Content

As stated in our program policies, we may not show Google ads on pages with little or no value and/or excessive advertising to the user. This includes pages that are scraping or rewriting of content from other sources without adding value.

How to resolve an Adsense Policy Violation?

You would receive a notification in your Google Adsense account in case your site violates Adsense policy guidelines. You should also receive an email with additional details for the same. Here is an example:

Google allows you three days to fix the issue before they may take a strict action and disable the ads permanently. 

Steps to resolve the Adsense Violation Action:

  • If one of the sites under your Adsense account is affected, remove the ads from that particular site.
  • Now either you can keep the affected site without ads and keep running ads on your other sites, or you can take necessary steps to make the affected site compliant with the Adsense policies.
  • Once you have made necessary modifications to the site, mark the action as resolved in your Adsense account. So for example if you received a warning for Deceptive Site Navigation, probably you have too many broken links on your site that lead user nowhere. Or maybe you are leading users to irrelevant pages. Try to fix such issues within the given time frame (generally three days) and mark the issue as resolved in the account.

  • In case you have received an account level violation or if your account is already disabled, you may have to make necessary changes as per the guidelines and write to AdSense explaining the substantial efforts you took to be compliant with the AdSense policies. 

Most important question...

How should I avoid AdSense Policy Violation Warning?

Well, it isn't that hard. Create a site for users and not for ads. Not only users but even Google would appreciate it. Here is a video that would certainly help you grow your understanding of AdSense policies. This video includes:
  • Nine tips to stay compliant with AdSense
  • Eight most common reasons for AdSense policy warnings
  • Four steps to resolving a policy notification

And some very useful links for your reference:

- Tejas Thakkar

Monday 22 May 2017

Google Image Search adds New Filters for GIFs, Clip Art, Latest & Colours

Google has added another feature to its image search. Now users can filter images based on latest results, clip art, GIF and colour. This feature is currently available on mobile search through browsers like Chrome. It doesn't work on desktop searches.

Here are few screen shots for your reference:

Search query - Flowers

Filtered by - Latest

Filtered by - GIF

Filtered by - Clip Art

Filtered by - Yellow Colour

So next time when you use Google image search on mobile, filter the results to obtain the best result.

- Tejas Thakkar