Prediction: Google will penalize little-guy sites with opt-in boxes

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Prediction: Google will penalize little-guy sites with opt-in boxes.

Will you be ready for it?

On-site decisions can be penalized without worrying about "negative SEO," for on-site decisions are those of the webmaster.

Can Google implement this?

Yes, it would be a walk in the park for Google's engineers. Detecting opt-in boxes is easy.

Would Google want to implement this?

I guess it depends on how cynical you are.

99% of opt-in boxes have a single purpose: monetization. "The money is in the list," etc. Google wants a cut of your monetization efforts, and opt-in boxes get around that.

99% of opt-in boxes have a single class of user: Internet marketers. Google wants you to be attached to the hip of Google in your online-marketing efforts, and opt-in boxes get around that.

Consider this: Google already frowns on its very own AdWords advertisers who engage in "information harvesting." Depending on which section of Google's policies you read, that may or may not be qualified with "primary purpose of the site." Here's a prominent section where it's not qualified:

Free Gifts: The type of websites that are not allowed includes, but is not limited to, websites offering free gifts or other incentives in exchange for personal information. We refer to this practice as "information harvesting". Examples of free gifts or incentives include prizes, offers, videos, eBooks and quiz/survey results.
Google's AdWords policies are replete with inconsistently qualified statements, and this may very well be by design, providing some leg room for differentiating between little-guy sites and big-brand sites. Although I'd expect both little-guy and big-brand sites to be banned from AdWords for using simple squeeze pages, it would definitely not be out of Google's character to ban a little-guy advertiser for using a top-right, freebie-driven opt-in box while giving a big-brand advertiser a free pass.

Anyway, the important thing to note is that non-paying marketers who depend on SEO efforts can't really expect a better deal than paying marketers who are throwing money at Google.

I guess that leaves one question:

What incentive would Google have not to penalize little-guy sites with opt-in boxes?

I await your thoughts.
#boxes #google #littleguy #optin #penalize #prediction #sites
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    I think your wrong.

    Google owns Feedburner, before Nov. 2012 Feedburner allowed for Adsense ads inside of emails sent to subscribers. Google/Feedburner no longer allows Adsense inside of emails sent to subscribers.

    I imagine something happened in a courtroom where Google was forced to stop the Feedburner emails because those emails/Adsense were extremely profitable for me & I know Google had to be getting a great payout on a HUGE scale.

    Gmail is a whole other game (Google owns it), but the entire world doesn't use Gmail.
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  • Profile picture of the author godoveryou
    I agree with Yukon.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by JamesBorg View Post

    Prediction: Google will penalize little-guy sites with opt-in boxes.............I await your thoughts.
    My thoughts? I would get up and cheer. I don't want to see squeeze pages ranking when I am looking for real information. I laugh at all the people on this forum that turn their noses up at SEO and backlink spammers and then turn around and populate the web with their worthless MMO squeeze pages to build their "list".
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    • Profile picture of the author fortony
      I think you are way too cynical. Google has a lot better things to worry about, that involve way more money, than the bit of change they would be losing in the situation you are talking about.
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    I think it's just like affiliate links. If the site provides value (by whatever criteria it is that Google is using), they aren't going to have a problem with you collecting optins, it's when there is absolutely nothing of worth on a site, just an optin form - I can see why that wouldn't favour it in the SERPS. Look at the popular MMO blogs like Niche Pursuits, Pat Flynn's, all those - they all have optin forms but it's not harming them.
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  • Profile picture of the author clarkfaint
    Yeah I don't know of too many sites that are just full on squeeze pages ranking for anything worthwhile any way. Now being directed to an opt-in page from a ranked page or video? That's different.

    Additionally, I don't think that blogs with opt-in forms in the upper right or elsewhere on the page have anything to worry about either.
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  • Profile picture of the author clarkfaint
    As a side note, I just thought it was funny reading the part about Quote:

    Free Gifts: The type of websites that are not allowed includes, but is not limited to, websites offering free gifts or other incentives in exchange for personal information. We refer to this practice as "information harvesting". Examples of free gifts or incentives include prizes, offers, videos, eBooks and quiz/survey results.

    This is like the model for virtually EVERY online business. Including Google. But I digress.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheInternet
    When I hit a squeeze page in search results, it reminds me of Experts Exchange and the deceptive practices it used to trick you into thinking it had the answer you were looking for. This is not a good association.
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  • Profile picture of the author darrenlc
    If this did happen would Google be able to tell the difference between a site wide contact form?
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