Help – Google Slapped Me With A -12 Penalty!!

As you can clearly see by searching Google for [seo book], my site is nowhere to be found on the first page…

In fact, there’s some guy named Aaron (probably not even his real name) ranked #1, 2, 3 and 4… obviously he has some kind of "in" with Google.

Proof that "Aaron Wall" gets special treatment!

Even though Google "claims" to treat subdomains like folders, he still has 4 listings, including one with a bunch of extra links! Clearly Google’s "organic’ engineers are HAND EDITING this SERP out of fear that this Aaron fellow will come over to the Googleplex and eat all their free organic hot dogs.

But it gets worse!! After investigating, I discovered that he doesn’t even *sell* a book any more. That’s right – not a book to be found, and Google still dedicates 14 links on page 1 of the SERP to this clearly irrelevant site.

If the definition of SPAM is "sites positioned above mine," this Aaron character is clearly a SPAMmer in the extreme… even if you overlook all of the "thin affiliate" sites for his "product" that are also Positioned Above Mine (TASPAM?).

Clear evidence that the -12 penalty exists!

Well, not only do I have an SEO book, it’s even free. Clearly Google has slapped me with some kind of penalty or filter. I can prove this, because you have to go all the way to page 2 to find my site at #13:


Now, since my book is obviously better than no book at all, for people who are searching for an SEO book, my site, quite obviously, should be ranked #1. Why isn’t it? Clearly, further research into this "-12" phenomenon is required.

You can help advance this "SEO revolution" – act now!

Since I can’t "prove" that the -12 penalty exists without attempting to escape from this filter, I need everyone who likes my book, and believes that it’s better than no book at all, to link to my site with anchor text like "seo book," "free seo book," "aaron wall sucks organic hot dogs," "best seo book," "this site actually offers an SEO book you can read," and "world’s best SEO book slapped by -12 penalty."

In a cause like this, there’s no room for the wishy-washy. If you believe in good search results… if you believe in truth, justice, and fair play… you know what you must do.

We’ll talk more soon, comrades.



30 thoughts on “Help – Google Slapped Me With A -12 Penalty!!

  1. Don’t worry, Dan. Google Search Engine Report Pages are somewhat like the weather here in British Columbia. It often rains but when it’s sunny, it’s superb. The only thing you know is that there are no constants. Just keep on a happy face and who knows what we’ll see in the next roll of the Google slot machine – sorry search machine.

  2. The good news is that they lifted my earlier “-18 penalty” about a week ago… but they replaced it with this -12 thing. It’s a sad commentary on Google’s search quality if you ask me. :D

  3. LOL! I nearly fell out of my chair reading this post, Dan. Great sense of humor!

    Seriously though, your book has helped me and others to whom I’ve referred it out tremendously. You’ll definitely get my vote (link) for sure.

  4. I checked the SERP you gave, and you’re right. If his site isn’t offering an ‘SEO book’, why isn’t than ranked on #1? They should at least put webpage’s that actually provide an SEO book, like yours.

    Maybe the ‘quality’ raters that G have, should hand edit the SERPs more better.

  5. LOL Dan!

    I have the same problem – two of the sites pushing me off page 1 for Lego Instructions no longer have lego instructions on them, and haven’t for years. Mind you, one of the other sites above me is my own Squidoo lens, so I guess I only have myself to blame for that one.

  6. Probably best to use a slightly more universal search yardstick
    That penalty might be worse than first thought, and you were given a slight reprieve due to link velocity.

    I need to do an update on my WordPress SEO Masterclass soon so no doubt you will get yet another highly relevant link.

    Have you experimented with using “SEOFastStart” instead of “SEO Fast Start” in the title – that way you get slightly more keyword prominence at the expense of the opening SEO as a separate word.

    You could probably use the search term used a little more in the content such as “Yes, the SEO book is free”

    Obviously you are kidding, but Aaron’s subdomain spam is nowhere near as bad as what were up to recently with their translated tag subdomains.

  7. LOL, you’ve been spending too much time in the SEO forums again. In fact… if you’re not careful we’ll start seeing “Dan Thies says there’s a new -12 filter”.

  8. The problem in all this is that Google does not adopt a smoothing process in how it applies its algorithm. It just cranks its levers to the new settings, and lets it roll. For the past month. I have seen extreme reactivity in the results from week to week. Currently subdomains seem to be treated as independent. What will it be next week? Who knows.

  9. Now thats link bait! Should strike up a lot of comments too.

    -12 filter? Did you just make that up or do u have proof of this? I didnt think Dan Thies got any penalties ;-)

  10. Dan, it was very funny. I even thought for a second you were serious. I had the same problem recently but with a -56 filter. Now it is ONLY -28. Still it is painful as I was 3rd! Good luck. Maybe you should speak to this Aaron guy about buying his domain or maybe putting a link to you on his website :)

  11. sir, you are very wrong about the -12 today. yours fell to #14 in my browser. lol

    oh and another thing, it must’ve been just the rest day of the one hand editing yours so it fell -12,,,,,and so on. “peace”

    i rarely visit here but I always like what I see on top of your posts.

  12. Dear Mr. Ties,

    We have been conducting a review of your link baiting activities for quite some time. With this latest action, you have crossed the line and we have classified you as “Link Bait Abusive”. While we tolerate link bait, we don’t tolerate outright abuse of non-cognitive webmasters when such activity results in back linking sans nofollow.

    Your site is now penalized n-4*(pi/4.331) in accordance with the unpublished sections of the Google Guidelines, incorporated here by reference.

    You may appeal this decision via webmaster console, if you first verfiy ownership of every one of your domains and install Google analytics. You can expect a response within 60 days, once we have had time to root out all of the offending sites.

  13. Interesting…. I purchased his seo book about 18 months ago. I found it to be great back then…. But his promise of a new chapter a day or week, whatever it was, did not happen. And yes his site is of no use to me and I can not longer trust the information as being current… Which is why I just purchased the Stomper Net Deal and found my way to this site… I dont have the time to research seo stuff, I have no problem paying reasonable monthly rates IF the information is current…

  14. The only reason that he is ranking for the keyword seo book is because google is giving weight to the domain name. Just shows that having a domain name that contains your main keyword works :D

  15. Hi Dan,

    I’d say that any SERPS sitting above your most excellent SEO book, Dan Thies – SEO Fast Start, is a downright travesty and I’ll be writing to the powers that be as a matter of national importance (although I don’t want my competitors reading your stuff ;)

    Your information is very approachable and I’m glad to say that you don’t talk like some techie SEO engineer (that’s a compliment – although I know you are one).

    Here’s my experience of late…

    I’d agree these filters exist because my absolutely lovely high converting ecommerce website (6.5% isn’t bad… you Stompernet bad boys rock), is currently sitting 134th for one of my main keywords and has been dropped for most of the others for the last two weeks.

    In fact, the thing has been up and down the SERPS like a proverbial yo-yo and I’ve not been aggressive – just writing a blog, posting a few directories/commenting and the like. I’m being picked on, just like you. Simply because my competitors are old, have got ‘inside contacts, or have one or two links from wikipedia (isn’t that a nofollow link).

    Another website I run got manually edited out completely, because a competitor ‘ratted’ on me and the G men didn’t like the look of it. I subsequently gave the site a fresh new look, wrote a good article that linked out to one of the biggest names in my niche, sent a begging letter through Webmaster Tools stating that I was now a reformed character and… Well, they forgave me and promptly returned my website to many page 1 positions that were righfully mine all along!

    Just before I go off to lie down…

    That Aaron guy does a lot of videos though doesn’t he… but his newsletter totally sucks. Not like yours Dan… You’re the man! (sorry :)


  16. Adrian, thanks for your kind words. Aaron’s on that very short list of people I will *always* stop down to read.

    But clearly there is injustice in your case as well. I mean, I don’t have to look at your site to know that it is clearly the most relevant result for whatever it is you want it to rank for.

    A truly fair search engine would have sideways search results, and make everyone #1. :D

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