It seems that today, everyone that has a website either displays AdSense (Google Text Ads) on their sites or has tried it at one time or another. One of our customers was making a killing with the program until one day earnings went from over eight THOUSAND a month to being banned from the AdSense program, as well as removing his website from the top of natural listings to nowhere to be found.
So think about it, one day your site is in the top 3 natural results getting thousands of clicks each day from Google alone; visitors clicking the AdSense ads and buying your products; you’re earning a great living, then the next day everything is gone. At this point, a frantic scramble begins, trying to figure out what in the hell is going on. You begin to back track thinking “What could have done this..”, then the thought is to contact Google to see what happened. After emails and possible phone calls, you get nowhere. If this is your bread and butter, what pays your bills, you begin to think how screwed you are now and how ends are not going to meet. All of the sudden, your AdSense that made sense, has become NonSense, that makes no cents.
This particular customer was new to LinkWorth and began asking if what they were doing with us was the cause. We explained that search engines do not actually ban websites for purchasing text ads, but they could possibly discount the value of a given link if deemed necessary. This would have nothing to do with AdSense or their removal from the search results. We began reviewing their site to see if we could help explain the situation and eventually found the problem. Before coming to LinkWorth, they purchased software that created thousands upon thousands of doorway pages.
Doorway pages (definition from wikipedia) are web pages that are created for spamdexing, this is, for spamming the index of a search engine by inserting results for particular phrases with the purpose of sending you to a different page. They are also known as landing pages, bridge pages, portal pages, zebra pages, jump pages, gateway pages, entry pages and by other names. Doorway pages that redirect visitors without their knowledge use some form of cloaking.
Doorway pages are often easy to identify in that they have been designed primarily for search engines, not for human beings. Sometimes a doorway page is copied from another high ranking page, but this is likely to cause the search engine to detect the page as a duplicate and exclude it from the search engine listings.
Because many search engines give you a penalty for using the META refresh command, some doorway pages just trick you into clicking on a link to get you to the desired destination page.
More sophisticated doorway pages, called Content Rich Doorways, are designed to gain high placement in search results without utilizing redirection. They incorporate at least a minimum amount of design and navigation similar to the rest of the site to provide a more human-friendly and natural appearance. Visitors are offered standard links as calls to action.
Many sites now use content rich doorway pages for their pay-per-click campaign landing pages. These doorway pages may employ server side scripting to count click-throughs, visits, and other user actions to assist with marketing data collection.
Now granted, the doorway pages were probably the worst thing the website owner could have done, but the concerning issue of this is how we are hearing more and more about similar situations (minus the violations). Just today a forum poster explained why he had many sites penalized and his AdSense account suspended along with the payments. These poor website owners get the false impression that since the company paying them is a corporate giant, they are assured the payments will continue to arrive, however, they learn the hard way that big companies find every way possible to cut corners and keep their stock prices as high as they can.
Do you think the advertiser is refunded when Google seizes your money? HELL NO! That turns into a 100% profit for the traffic you sent their advertisers. If it involves a large number of clicks, even better. . .for them. I’m not here to say Google is targeting innocent users to steal money, but you have to wonder how often a dedicated Google customer that supports his wife and three babies on AdSense revenue, earned legitimately, falls victim to a Google “error” like our forum posters.
Google says: You can make money without doing evil.
I guess what the world needs to know is Google’s definition of “evil”.