Google Apologizes for Parked Domain Mistake

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Many website owners are blaming their poor search rankings on the Google Penguin update, which penalized sites that were over-ambitious with search engine optimization by giving them low rankings – but if the decline in rankings happened in the past couple of weeks, then SEO efforts may not be to blame in every case. For some, it may be because Google mistook the site was a “parked domain,” a web domain that exists solely for the purpose of displaying ads (unless the owner sells the domain to someone who develops it into a “real” website).

Why would Google make this mistake? Matt Cutts, head of Google web spam, said that recently the search engine mistakenly classified some sites as being parked domains, explaining on a Google+ post, “Our classifier for parked domains was reading from a couple files which mistakenly were empty. As a result, we classified some sites as parked when they weren’t.”

Those who think Google never says sorry for its mistakes will be pleasantly surprised. Cutts continued, “I apologize for this; it looks like the issue is fixed now, and we’ll look into how to prevent this from happening again.” That’s a refreshing change of pace. Site owners can rest easy going forward when it comes to their search engine optimization campaigns, but should still keep their SEO practices above board at all times to avoid a genuine Google Penguin penalty.

At the end of last year, Google announced that it would be targeting parked domains or “placeholder” sites so that they wouldn’t rank as well, as part of an effort to “clean up” the Internet at large. Despite this, it appears the low rankings in connection with the mistake really were a simple oversight.


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