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We all know that Google is a powerhouse, but in the past they have been a fairly reasonable one. For all the brawn they possess, they let people get away with a lot of activities that are probably technically infractions. This is what makes it so shocking when they truly bring their guns to bear. It’s their right though, and their newest issued penalty may have enormous repercussions on everything from local SEO to international SEO.

Raven Tools, provider of metrics and management tools for SEO and social media, has announced that they are being forced to stop providing their wildly popular rank checking tool. The reason given is that they failed to pass Google’s annual AdWords audit. Similar things have happened to other rankings providers such as SEOMoz and Market Samurai.

What does this mean going forward? Apparently Google is going to start cracking down on people who are scraping data. If they get caught or cross whatever invisible threshold Google has assigned, they’ll have their AdWords API access revoked.

The real question is whether Google is simply trying to ease the load on data centers, or if they are purposefully trying to strike a blow at SEO providers. Everyone in the SEO industry is at Google’s mercy to a degree, and if they want to stem the flow of data, that could mean major changes for both providers and clients. There isn't too much to worry about yet, and there are always others ways of getting information, but Google is unapologetically using its power here.

Apparently, that thin red (blue, yellow, and green) line that every SEO has to walk just got a little thinner.

Original post on Raven Tools can be found on Wikimotive's blog under the title, "Google Sacks Raven Tools.

Views: 39

Tags: Google, Raven, Raven Tools, local, seo

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Comment by Timothy Martell on December 11, 2012 at 2:08pm

Ralph, while you are correct about Google's goal, your statement assumes that SEO is accomplished by "cheating" the system. SEO is or should be about assisting companies by helping and/or producing valuable content that both consumers and search engines can find and thus help those businesses to rank as a result. This is not "gaming" the system as you would have us believe but, in fact, what google tells us they want us to be doing!

If that is the case, then why would google want to prevent companies doing things the right way from measuring the results of that performance. Adwords may be a great money maker for Google, and even a nice adjunct to SEO, but when we consider that successful PPC campaigns have CTR's in the 5% range and that organic listing one has a CTR of 37% SEO is still a no brainer for most businesses looking to market online.

I agree the concept of "easing the data load" is silly, but it is something that they mention... Thanks for your comments!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on December 11, 2012 at 11:15am

If you simply speak to people at Google who are in a position to know about such matters, they will gladly answer the following question: "The real question is whether Google is simply trying to ease the load on data centers, or if they are purposefully trying to strike a blow at SEO providers." 

Google has long been "unapologetically" negative on any person or business who sellls SEO services for a profit... To them, this sort of business model is like selling the Brooklyn Bridge.  SEO service providers will typically make claims to have an enhanced ability to manipulate Google SERP rankings, which is patently a false statement.  Only Google has the ability to manipulate the Google SERP rankings! The other issue is that SEO service providers will often encourage clients to spend money on them instead of on Google Adwords, which defies common sense and is a bad move for any business that is focused on local and regional markets.  The bottom line is that YES, Google will continue to crack down on whatever tools, techniques or trickery is being used by SEO service providers to either "game" or in any way manipulate the results provided by Google's SERP ranking algorithm or indexing system.

As for "easing the load" on data centers, that is a preposterous concept... Google deploys servers and expands data centers like a car dealer moves their inventory around on the lot.  It is an essential part of their fundamental operations systems and they have enormous resources devoted to ensuring everything from an uninterrupted electrical power supply to redundancy upon redundancy... Heck, when a server goes down, they do not even fix it, they simply transfer the workload to the rest of the system and shut power to that server.  Then, they don't even remove it from the rack where it is housed!

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