Google webmaster guidelines
This is an interesting one. I got home last night from London having been to a charity lunch at Lords Cricket Ground as a guest of my friend Mehdi Nezarati of esna. It was a great afternoon and will suffice to tell you that lunch was timetabled to finish at 18.30 for you to understand the nature of the “session”.
Before I hit the hay I noticed an email:
We wish to thank you for linking to our site xxxxxx from trefor.net. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that this link is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
It is important for us to bring our site into compliance with Google’s terms.
Please remove our link from the following page(s):
I’ve removed the links from this post though not from the blog. The two “offending” posts were one that I had written and one which was a guest post from a senior exec in the VoIP industry who also happens to be an old friend.
I replied to the email with the words “you are talking balderdash” (I actually didn’t use the word balderdash but it did start with b) and left it at that. It’s always a bit of a risk to reply to emails like that having spent the afternoon at a charity lunch that drifts into the evening but hey…
This morning I woke up to an email conversational trail that basically agreed with my statement. There is a story behind it. Names are withheld but basically a competitor to my friend’s company had identified hundreds of links to the company’s website and reported them to Google as not being natural.
Google ranks websites by the number and quality of the links into that website. trefor.net for example gets linked to by the BBC, telegraph guardian and others. This is good in Google’s eyes as these are all highly rated platforms in their own right. I don’t do anything to get these links. They just happen.
Now website owners often pay to generate links. I get many such offers as well as solicitations from people offering free content provided they can insert a link. I turn them all down. If Google were to suspect that trefor.net was indulging in such activity, or that we were trying to artificially generate links in to us it would be looked upon badly and would begin to affect how we feature in search engine results. ie we wouldn’t feature.
This business can get dirty. Some websites have been know to pay to have such bad links into their competitors’ sites and even to get links in from totally inappropriate sites such as those promoting porn and gambling (I’m told these do exist).
Legit business have to then systematically find these bad links and work their way through the hosts asking for the links to be removed. Alternatively they have to ask Google to not recognise the links.
This is the first time I’ve seen this happen “in the wild” but it is interesting. We did discuss naming the companies involved but concluded this would be too high risk. This stuff all happens in a murky internet underworld and doesn’t get seen by the general public.
Getting back to the lunch. Mehdi is a really top bloke and has spoken at a couple of trefor.net events the past. His company esna is doing very interesting things in the Google UC space. His guest list represented a roll call of heavy hitters in the communications world. You should expect to hear more from esna.
The lunch was organised by a company called Superskills Experiences run by former rugby players Will Greenwood and Austin Healey. They raise a tremendous amount of cash for good causes. Yesterday was no exception with some of the lots going for £40k or so! Lots of rugby celebs there including Lawrence Dalaglio, Jonny Wilkinson and Sean Fitzpatrick being interviewed on stage In the featured image.
Wales v All Blacks tomorrow. I’ll be there.