Can you Report a Website Involved in Negative


Hi guys. And welcome to another edition of Zupo's SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is can you report a site to Google Associates that's engaging in SEO or spammy kind of tactics or doing something against their guidelines? The reason why I want to talk about that today is often when we're doing comparative research or looking at our competition or competing sites, we'll find that our competitors are doing things that are pretty much against the guidelines of Google and it can frustrate us. And so we're going to talk about that today.

Before we begin, do you want to introduce the tea because this is Zupo's SEO Talk & Tea. We have a Keemun black tea from Tea Station. Tea Station is one of the OG Boba shops from back in the day. I think I bought this tea like six years ago, actually. So it's been a really long time. I like taking this out whenever, I just want to change things up a little bit. It kind of tastes like the base of a Boba mote tea, and this is what Boba mote tea is made out of, but let's go ahead and get brewing and get talking.

So, when it comes to reporting a site to Google, this often happens when you're analyzing competitors and you're seeing that they're doing a spammy SEO techniques or anything like that. And in my experience, I've worked in SEO for about 10 plus years and it's funny, I have found many sites for my clients who their competitors are engaging in harmful or negative SEO, but I've never actually engaged in reporting them because we've just focused on our client's site and doing good SEO.

But the other week I had a conversation with a client and we could tell one of our competitors was engaging in somewhat negative SEO and so I decided, hey, you know what? In conversation, let me go look that up, let me go see if that's even possible and did some research. And I looked through and yes, it is possible. There actually is a tool devoted and made by Google to report spammy websites. So in that case... I believe it's called a Google web spam report and it can be found through their Google Search Console. And so this is great in the sense that you can now actually go directly to Google and report them. Report them being sites that are engaging in negative spammy SEO.

What I have found, and I have the tool here, and I just want to read it to you guys so that you can guys can see. It is a Google Search Console, and there's different ways that you can report a site. The ones listed on the site are paid links, objectionable content, malware, other Google products, something else is wrong, copyright and other legal issues, personal private phishing, and rich snippets. Because this is an SEO channel, we're probably going to be mostly talking about paid links and phishing. Actually, no, probably just paid links.

Paid links is the main one that you're going to find or rich snippets actually. Paid links and rich snippets are the two that are most relevant to SEO and is something that you could probably be looking into to report. I will say that as I was doing my analysis of the report and everything, Google has said that they do not honor a majority of the lab reports they get. So what that means is that they get many reports every day of people trying to report on other websites, engaging in spammy SEO. They will focus and hedge their efforts on sites that are ranked on the first page of Google for different search queries. And then second, they will also just do their own manual review. And then they will determine if they're going to penalize that site.

Google said in their blog that they will, they generally only honor a small percentage of reports that come in. So please keep that in mind. And when you file the report, I have it pulled up here. Let me find it for you guys. You can report based on the different categories, prompts that they'll provide, say, okay, how do you know that they're doing this? And can you show examples and actual evidence? So in that case, that's kind of what you're going to have to do. You not only have to report the site, but you have to have evidence and a clear reason of why you believe that they should be reported.

So in that case, that does give you another tool in your arsenal of SEO tools, in the sense that if you are up against a site that is clearly just disregarding SEO rules, and they're really going against Google guidelines, you can use the Google web spam report to report your competitors. So I would say that, that might be a good tactic to use, but I would say not in isolation. Ensure that even if you're a competitor engaging in spammy SEO, that you are still hedging on proper SEO, which is high quality link building, digital PR, good content, growing the size of your site, and so on and so forth.

So while you go about your day, know that that tool exists. I encourage you to do some research. There's a lot of text and information that's going to be on there. So I encourage you to go look at it as well. But again, it's something that you can use in tandem with your SEO strategies, especially if some of your competitors are not playing by the rules. I'm going to go ahead and pour out my tea. If you guys found that video enjoyable or you liked what you saw, please like and subscribe and hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks everybody.

Jason Khoo

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.