THURSDAY 25 NOV 2010 12:52 PM


The “Have I been penalized...?” campaign has been launched as the first steps towards abolishing search penalties.

Search penalties, often imposed secretly and without warning by search engines such as Google, can dramatically cut a website’s site traffic or page ranking.

In particular, Google’s search penalties can have a huge influence on a website’s level of success, as Google controls of 80% of the internet search market.

“Have I been penalized...?” asks website owners to submit their accounts of falls in site traffic or page ranking that they believe were brought about by search penalties.

The campaign, spearheaded by the news aggregator One News Page and supported by the Initiative for a Competitive Online Market Place, wants leading search engines to introduce three transparency-supporting measures: telling site owners they have incurred a search penalty; allowing site owners to find out the cause of the penalty; and putting an appeals process in place.

One News Page saw a 96% fall in their Google organic site traffic over a seven month period in which they were penalised by the search giants. Dr Marc Pinter-Krainer, CEO of the organisation, praised the campaign for aiming to allow website owners to operate in a “fair, fully transparent online marketplace”, and cited the importance of online businesses to the economy as a crucial reason for abolishing secret search penalties.