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Google Make Webmasters Feel Uneasy

Eagle-eyed users of Google’s ‘Webmaster Tools Help Centre’ have recently noticed a change to the wording for one of the answers given on the page – namely the answer to ‘can competitors harm rankings?’ The answer, which was apparently updated in March 2012 but has the date May 22 stamped on it, used to say “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”

Now however the answer reads “Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index” which understandably many webmasters don’t find that reassuring.

When the subject of the word change was brought up on a Google forum, Matt Cutts, head of the spam team at Google, released a video that explains how webmasters can detect black hat SEO techniques being used against them by their competitors…but he failed to explain why Google now only ‘works hard’ to prevent a site’s competitors from harming its ranking.

In short, Mr Cutts’ advice was to file a spam report, which it seems thousands of webmasters do each day, and wait for the Google team to investigate. Since the Penguin update this is tending to take quite a long time though, so we suggest not holding your proverbial breath.

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