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Merchant Centre Ban Tied To Penguin Penalty or Prooduct Policy Issue

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by thedarkest12, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. thedarkest12

    thedarkest12 Regular Member

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    Hi all, here's an interesting one to muse over....

    Client has two websites that operate in the sports nutrition niche in the UK. Both websites promote and carry the exact same products.

    Both websites perform relatively well in the SERPs and have for four years been active using Google Merchant Centre. 60% of sales are derived from Google Product Search (merchant centre).

    Recently two variables have changed at around the same time, and I'm scratching my head what the issue is here and how to resolve.

    Site A which had less outsourced SEO performed remains active both in organic search and merchant centre.

    Site B has been hit with Penguin and Unnatural Link Notification, as well as, the google merchant centre feed being disallowed.

    So variable 1 that kicked in was of course PENGUIN that crippled site B.

    The second variable that kicked in at the same time is the UK policy change for Google Adwords and Merchant Centre were updated to review and ban certain sports nutrition and herbal products from the UK from being sold without a herbal medicines license. This is variable 2.

    Site A which stocks and advertises all the same banned sports nutrition products remains fine in the SERPs and in Merchant Centre.

    Site B received both the unnatural link detection, as well as the merchant centre disallowed notification and has of course resulted in a grotesque collapse in sales.

    In order to recover from the Merchant Centre ban I contacted Google for clarification, and was promptly pointed in the direction of the latest policy guidelines changed, that have listed about 100 sports nutritional products as a new classification known as Herbal Medicines, in which case a pharmaceutical license is required to advertise and sell via Merchant Centre or PPC. We were told to promptly remove the offending items and submit a reinclusion request.

    We did just this, removed any offending items from the google shopping xml feed and contacted Google.

    This time they disapproved the feed, not because of a violation of any Merchant Centre policy, or PPC policy, but a one sentance simple statement - the entire website violates Google policy guidelines.

    So, here's my conundrum...firstly, are they disallowing the google feed because of PENGUIN penalty, or, are they disallowing the feed because of the banned herbal medicines still remaining on the website (even if they are not being promoted through merchant centre). If this is the case, why is SITE A not affected (or the competitors in this industry), and if the issue is about the products, why do google allow websites to appear in the organic SERPS?

    This leads me to conclude (however I may be wrong and seeking advice here) that the issue is revolving around the PENGUIN penalty - in which case, are Google dissallowing any site that has PENGUIN penalty to advertise via Merchant Centre?

    Does anyone else have any information on this?

    Regarding recovery from PENGUIN .... we've upped our social signals, changed our template, and cleaned up the site a little. Regular, high quality updates are being made to the site four or five times a week.

    We have not, nor have no way to remove backlinks from the past 3 - 4 years of SEO work. I actually believe the issue is probably that there was little to no anchor text diversity in the backlink profile, although I have no software to check and am guessing at this.

    Any advice would be appreciated on this one...
     
  2. jascoken

    jascoken Senior Member

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    I can't comment on the merchant centre issue, as I have no direct experience there, but as to your last question, I just commented on someone elses thread with some info that may help.

    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...destroyed-what-approach-take.html#post4450124

    You can get free profile reports from Majestic which will answer your anchor-profile question; then you'll have an idea whether an anchor dilution push could help with the Penguin effects.
     
  3. thedarkest12

    thedarkest12 Regular Member

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    Jascoken, thank you, I followed your post and have been reading through your articles and suggestions and posed some further questions your way on the other thread. As an update to my original post, I continue to receive the personality void response from Mr Google whom refers us to the blanket Policy Page URL for merchant support and I can only conclude the following is the issue and not penguin... we do not sell steroids, only herbal sports supplements, of which it seems every other thom dick and harry can still sell them, but Google ban things like L-glutamine (which is an amino acid ffs) and class that as a steroid. So it seems our site as a whole is penalised from merchant centre submission on products that are not even submitted to merchant centre.

    It just seems retarded if this is the case, as this is a 'one rule for one, and another for Amazon and the like' Google policy...if it were penguin related I could potentially understand that they don't want sites who have gone out to manipulate the organic results appearing in their other 'free' products like Merchant Centre.

    "The promotion of anabolic steroids, muscle-enhancing stacks and cycles, body-building supplements that have a similar effect to steroids and related content, irrespective of claims of legality, are not allowed. Prohibited items include, but aren't limited to:"