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Wondering why you have been penalised by Google?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

A new campaign has been launched to gather examples from website owners who feel they may have been unfairly penalised by leading search engines. Named “Have I been penalized..?” the campaign aims to abolish secret search penalties.

The campaign website – – asks website owners to submit brief histories of when Google or other search engines have unfairly cut their site traffic or page ranking.

Commanding over 80% of the internet search market, Google in particular has a huge influence over almost every website’s success or failure. Without Google’s traffic, most web businesses have little chance of commercial success.

Yet, Google makes it almost impossible for site owners to find out if a drastic fall in site traffic or page ranking is the result of penalties it has introduced.

With a large number of case studies, will ask leading search engines such as Google to introduce three transparency measures on penalties.

--  First, to bring in a simple mechanism that tells the site owner that
    they have suffered a search penalty 

--  Second, to establish a communication mechanism which allows site owners
    to find out more about the nature of the penalty 

--  Third, to instigate a fast and efficient appeals process if site owners
    wish to challenge the penalty

The new “Have I been penalized..?” campaign is spearheaded by One News Page, a news aggregator which suffered a seven-month Google penalty, causing a 96% fall in Google organic site traffic. The campaign is supported by ICOMP, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Market Place, an industry consortium promoting fairer competition on the Internet.

Dr Marc Pinter-Krainer, Chief Executive Officer of One News Page Ltd., said:

“We are not alone in facing a huge fall in our Google traffic. Despite writing to Google eight times, our frustration stemmed from being unable to find out why we were penalised and the nature of the penalty. After seven months it went away, and in two days, our traffic shot back up to pre-penalty levels.  Today, we are launching our new “Have I been penalized..?” campaign at Given the importance to the economy of online businesses, it’s vital that website owners can operate in a fair, fully transparent online marketplace, where the fruits of their efforts cannot be destroyed on the whim of search engines that don’t even allow them to know if they’ve been penalised.”

To upload a case study, you can visit