The Unexpected Block
Recently, a colleague shared an experience of being temporarily barred from conducting basic Google searches. The block lasted for approximately 4 hours. The reason? Google believed he was searching too rapidly. I was a little mystified and perplexed.
The Automated Query Error Message
The situation escalated when several days later our network experienced the same issue. Instead of the usual search results, we were greeted with this message: “We’re sorry… but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.” It then provides a link to a Google support page regarding the blocking issue which incidentally does not address the problem.
At this point, the frustration level was increasing and beginning to get the better of me. A quick walk outside for some fresh air soon restores my inner calm. We resort to using Microsoft’s Bing to search for some answers to our now pressing and immediate problem.
Troubleshooting Google’s Blocking of Search Results
Being cautious about malware, we ensure our computers and servers are always clean. Despite our confidence in our security measures, we followed Google’s advice. We used the ‘HiJack-This’ program, which helps identify and remove malicious items. Even after adhering to Google’s recommendations, the problem persisted.
Interestingly, one of our computers regained access to Google search results, not because of the troubleshooting steps, but due to a change in its IP address after being switched off for a while – it was the only computer that was outside of our static network.
Captcha Code Issues
Further research revealed that we weren’t alone in facing this issue. It wasn’t just about ‘searching too fast’. On occasions, rapid searches triggered Google’s Captcha Code, which required manual input to continue. For businesses heavily reliant on the Internet, this is a significant disruption.
Google says if the problem persists then “your network administrator should contact us”. They provide a link for additional information. Once there you fill out your name, email address, country, IP address, number of users affected, and date Google started blocking. You cannot submit that address if you do not submit your IP!
The Potential Culprit – SEO Reporting Software
One theory we considered was that our SEO and PPC reporting software might be the root cause. The software frequently queries Google, potentially giving the impression of an aggressive search bot.
The Solution – Private Proxy Servers
To avoid interruptions, we found that using parallel private proxy servers was effective. These servers allow automated software to run multiple reports simultaneously, switching between IP addresses. If one IP gets blocked, the software shifts to another, ensuring tasks are completed. Depending on the frequency of reports, the number of private proxy servers needed may vary. We recommend starting with 10 for those using SEO software. Opting for private proxy servers over public ones reduces the risk of early blocks.
For our needs, we collaborated with Junaid at Corgitech for VPS and Trusted Proxies for proxy servers. Both companies provided excellent support and were instrumental in addressing our concerns.
Understanding Google’s automated systems and taking proactive measures can ensure smooth, uninterrupted searches that don’t fall afoul of their blocking system.