Hi John, it’s great to have you here for a virtual interview! John is one of the strong posters who make up the backbone of the Google Webmaster Help forums. His blog at http://www.jlh-design.com/ is strong on all things SEO, is quite popular and dares to ask uncomfortable questions that need to be asked. His detailed knowledge of the Google Webmaster Guidelines and the penalties resulting from abuse of them has helped many webmasters to improve their sites and to get them back into the Google index.
John, why do you spend so much time helping people who’s sites deserve to be penalized?
Google does a great job finding spamming attempts and deindexing / penalizing offending sites, however the algorithm doesn’t take into account the human element. Sometimes well intentioned honest webmasters stray into trouble, perhaps the rules have changed and they were busy working on their sites to notice, or even they just took some wrong advice they saw on another forum or blog. I’m not interested in helping spammers succeed but those who may have done something and not known any better. Google’s penalty system seems to treat everyone as criminals with no recourse to the law except through this Webmaster Help Group. There are so many requests that one has to pick and choose which ones to spend any real time on. I generally first make sure they are giving us the right information such as including the URL, some past history, what they’ve done or haven’t done, etc. I always look for some contriteness in their questions and actions. I try to avoid helping anyone that is trying to push the line to the brink of banning just for ranking purposes.
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