June 29th, 2012

Google Blocking Users from Search Results with Automated Queries Error

A short while back a colleague had told me how he got locked out of performing basic searches in Google. His blocking lasted about 4 hours, and he felt his only crime was searching Google too fast. When he told me I must admit I was a little mystified and bemused.  It then started happening all over our network and the feeling soon went to one of frustration when the following message appeared instead of search results:

The following page is what you see when your receive the Automated Query Error -

Google blocking search results

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. See Google Help for more information.

Note that Google copyright is 2009 which leaves one somewhat concerned as to whether there will be any current help resource etc.

Clicking a link you are then directed to a page http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=86640&rd=1 that claims it has found unusual traffic from your computer network. It then provides troubleshooting tips.  It advises checking for Malware using HiJack this.  I have to admit 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. Okay let’s tackle the problem using their suggestions. 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

One of our pet hates is Malware and as a result we are fairly diligent about what is on our computers and server. We run a tight ship and constantly check for viruses and malware that may infect our computer network, checking with high grade root cleaning tools etc.  We would be surprised if anything got past us – but, it does occasionally happen – it was not that long ago we got caught by the dreaded Babylon search tool that pretty much buried itself into all of our browsers. Removing it takes some superhuman effort and a lot of patience.  However, it only served to make us even more vigilant.   Still we followed Google’s advice and ran the enumerating app HiJack-This – a free program that allows you to view programs installed on your computer and easily remove malicious items.

Google then suggest after using HiJack-This that the user should update and run the three following programs as the use of Hijack This, this often exposes other issues:

  • Lavasoft Ad-Aware
  • Spybot Search and Destroy
  • MacScan (for the Macs)

I feel what we use on our systems is probably a lot more effective than what Google is recommending but to give benefit of the doubt and to be completely sure we covered every base, and downloaded their (Google’s) recommendations.

Note: In this time one of our computers started displaying Google results again, however, this is not due to efforts run on the other computer with Google’s suggestions. That computer was simply switched off for a while which then changed the IP address.

Starting with LavaSoft’s Ad Aware, I went through the motions of the installation process and ran the application. It scanned the root kit and came back with a clean bill of health – so far so good and all together 3 hours of time wasted.

Next up was SpyBot Search and Destroy – my computer was beginning to resemble one of those paranoid PC’s that have tons of anti-spyware programs (because some forum told them to do so) all conflicting with each other and bringing in more issues. Nevertheless I installed SpyBot and let it ‘do it’s thing’ on my machine.

SpyBot did find some old adware cookies that it cleaned up for me but nothing that was sending out automated queries and searches to Google.

My next port of call was to clean all Google cookies from Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, and Opera – reboot and still nothing.

Searching Google with Captcha Code

The problem was still there as I suspected it would be. After a little research I was happy to see I was not being singled out and there were many cases of this.   However, I don’t think it was because of what a colleague suspected insomuch we were ‘searching too fast’ It was something else – however, it did appear that when running a fast search from our network it somehow alerted Google and we would receive a annoying Captcha Code from Google that you have to type in to continue using its search engine. Believe me, when you’re running a business that is centred around the World Wide Web, it becomes infuriating having to continuously be hounded by the Captcha code.

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.  Now you cannot submit that address if you do not submit your IP!  It provides a pop-up window that goes to WhatsmyIP.org and lets you retrieve your IP address results.

I then submitted the requested information. It should be noted here that in Google’s drop down, for how many users affected it only gives you the following:
- Single user
- 100+ users
- 1000+ Users

Missing was lower number such as 1 – 10. (We are only 6) Just before I submitted the info I notice Google search engine started working for me again.

Solutions to the problem and prevention from being blocked from Google Search Results

Getting blocked from using Google’s search results can be clearly disastrous if you’re running a company whose primary focus is SEO, PPC, and web design – I was keen to prevent this issue from occurring again. We felt that the PPC and SEO reporting software could possibly be the cause of this issue. It runs a lot of queries repeatedly in Google which may have given the impression of an overtly aggressive ‘search bot.’

We thought the answer was maybe to lower the amount of times it was searching and for a while this actually worked – until the problem reappeared again.

Well, your frustrations are over – if you just use parallel private proxy servers you’ll be able to continue with the task at hand without interruption.  You’ll require multiple proxy servers enabling any automated software to run multiple reports at the same time, jumping from one IP address to another to avoid the dreaded block and even if one of your IP’s becomes jammed, the automated software will bounce to the next IP address and continue the task until it is completed in its entirety.

Obviously it depends how often you run reports as to how many private proxy servers you’ll require – for those working with SEO software we suggest starting with 10 and see how it goes.   It’s possible to buy public and private proxy servers but if you go for the public option you’ll be sharing those IP addresses with others, thereby increasing your risk of being blocked early on.  Pay the extra and go for your own private proxy servers is our recommendation.   If an individual IP address becomes blocked many proxy server suppliers will replace that address with a new one.  Also running your software via a VPS will help increase the speed at which reports can run.

We were recommended to Corgitech and worked with one of their team, Junaid, who was extremely helpful in answering any questions we had regarding VPS.  For Proxy servers we chose Trusted Proxy’s (www.trustedproxies.com) who specialise in proxies for SEO agencies and are highly regarded.  Again, their team are highly efficient and are responsive to any questions, as well as having great online support.

Hopefully this has given a little more clarity to this Google Block issue and now you’ll be on your way to stress-free searches for whatever purpose you desire!

Share the love

About the Author:  Vincent is a partner at Sonet and enjoys the wind on his back and the sun on his face.


Comments

26 Responses to “Google Blocking Users from Search Results with Automated Queries Error”
  1. Merv Klein says:

    Is this still happening to you? I came here looking for a solution as the same happened to me several times in the last week. Google does not respond to support request. If you something better please tell me.

  2. no_name says:

    Hi!
    I also faced the problem that Google was blocking my manually done websearch!
    Google’s websearch was totally unusable for me! I had to reset/remove all cookies after every single search-request I did!
    Here is my solution: Using Safari you have to install some cookie-blocking extensions (I installed Ghostery and SafariCookies) and set them to block cookies from www. google.com (or whatever Goolge-search-domain you’re using).
    Using Firefox you have to setup cookie-blocking for http://www.google.com (or other domain) using firefox’ preferences.
    Now I am able to use the Google websearch again… 

    • Vincent says:

      Thanks for the info. We are still looking at various options including VPS solutions. I am going to try your solution for Firefox and see if I get any results from it.

      Thanks

  3. Gavin says:

    I’m still getting this error on my iPad using Dolphin Browser. Strange thing is, Safari on iPad works fine. Also, the date on the page I get is still 2009.

  4. Betty says:

    I am getting blocked by google as well while attempting to search.mmi am a single user using the AT&T network with an iPad.  I am not doing anything fancy.  I have had to use either Yahoo or Bing to look for something – and most of my inquiries are quite simple.  I am 76 years old and don’t need the irritation and frustration this causes.  If I am going to be blocked, then I should be afforded the capability to get in touch with some one from Google.

    Do all those programs Google say to run work on an iPad?

    Thanks 

    • Gavin says:

      Betty, try clearing your cookies and cache.
      To do it on the ipad, if you are using Safari, go into Settings, then hit “Safari” then hit “Clear Cookies and Data” (note: this will sign you out of stuf like Facebook etc).
      Hope this helps ;)

  5. Vincent says:

    Since we wrote this post, several months have gone by and in this time we have switched to a dedicated IP address and moved over to BT’s business fibre service. When that happened the Google blocking stopped.  We cannot figure out why this happened, no one here was using automated software to search Google’s search engine and we can only surmise that it is possibly a public IP. However this doesn’t quite add up either.

    We are still hoping that whoever is in charge of that department will start reading their emails.

  6. sergio says:

    I am using a vpn from china and I have the same problem.
    Do some of you also use vpn? Might this problem be related to my ‘jumping’ to several IPs everytime I try to elude the ‘great Firewall’ and go check my fb and watch youtube? 
    thanks

  7. Michael says:

    Got the same problem using Dolphin on my Android phone. Perhaps if enough people vote with their feet, Google might start paying attention.

  8. James says:

    Same problem with my iphone using the safari browser. I have been in touch with AT&T support and Apple support, no one knows what is causing it or how to solve it. Google offers no assistance and the suggested solution on their link does not apply to mobile iphone users (installing malware protection software). This problem has been coming and disappearing for a good 6 months now, sometimes it last hours and some times it lasts days. Currently it’s been at least 2 weeks straight of being blocked from google. The only solution I have found is switching to Bing. Way to go Google!!

  9. Pete says:

    Same thing happening to me here in the US on the AT&T network.  Sort of ridiculous because I would imagine I am sharing an IP address with quite a few people.  The suggested google fix as mentioned does obviously not apply to mobile devices as well so I have no idea what to do.  Tried clearing history and cookies etc. turning off VPN.  tried deleting the google app.  Nothing.  So now I am just using another browser.  As James says-way to go google.  

  10. asc says:

    Having same problem with Dolphin browser on my GSIII.  Dolphin AND Google about to lose another user.

  11. bhaavan22 says:

    For a single computer its fine to clear cookies and clearing cache.
    But in a work-group of 35-40 Computers How can i solve this problem ??
    In this Group browse are using with page rank, Web rank, seo tool-bars, alexa traffic, moz-bar plugins and extensions are using they are unable to work with out these toolbars.
    How can i Fix Google Search “We’re Sorry” Error Pages

  12. vicky says:

    i am facing same problem with Google Search Engine….”we are sorry..”
    any one can tell me any solution for my SEO Business… i have 50  employee. every one face that’s  type of problem..

    • Vincent says:

      We have now updated the article with a solution for the problem – read from the heading “Solutions to the problem…”  The problem as we believe is SEO reporting software with too many automated queries.

  13. Chrislaiter says:

    What SEO reporting software are you using? Do you still experience the same problems now?

  14. Henry Buell says:

    Thanks for the post on this.  I was pulling my hair out, but guess I will just switch my IP address again.
    I’m a marketing and SEO writer – but I am not running around everywhere checking page rank and such.  I am using the Chrome ‘Page Rank Status’ tool, and I usually have a huge number of tabs open, but this is a clean install, with no such issues.
    The thing is, I am having the same problem when using my VPN (Strong VPN), but when I do not use the VPN, no problem.  So it can’t be cookie or application specific, since just changing the IP makes the issue go away, as you discovered.
    Guess I will switch my IP again :/

  15. Ted says:

    I am a novice user using a VPN  to watch US TV, i have to turn off VPN to search, When VPN is off google search works fine. 

  16. Salvatore says:

    Hi,
    it happened to my iphone today and I was getting the message posted at the top of this webpage.
    Incidentally, this problem appeared soon after I’d downloaded runkeeper ap, so deleted the ap from my iphone and the problem was solved : ).
    Sal

  17. Renato says:

    I’m a network administrator for our company and we recently ran into this issue.  We previously thought that it was due to a program called Inspyder Insite. But after reviewing a packet capture in our primary router/gateway, I found that there was a lot of traffic directing to the Google IP addresses from one particular user.  After reviewing these packets, I noticed that they were coming from Mozilla (Firefox) and using the following request:
    “GET /search?client=navclient-auto&features=Rank&ie=UTF-8&ch=111111111&q=info:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mymonthlytraffic.com%2Fsupport.php HTTP/1.1 ”

    This, along with other sites not just mymonthlytraffic.com, directed me to check the user’s Firefox Add-ons.  I then found quite a few add-ons that were enabled, including web rank, aleza, etc.  After disabling these, our Google searches went back to just captchas, then after a few minutes we got normal search responses.
    I hope this helps.
    -Renato

    • Vincent says:

      Hi Renato, interesting information and we will check this out. I had not considered that plugins could be what is causing/caused the issues.  We use SEO toolbar, and a couple of search related tools to help us search internationally. Not sure if any of thsoe could be the issue as we had also delted quite a few when I reloaded our browsers recently.
      Thanks for the heads up
      Vincent

  18. Debbie says:

    This started happening to me on my HTC phone about a week ago. If I am at home using the phone on my WiFi I can search on google but if I am using my 3G connection (not sure of proper terms here) I get the Google sorry page shown above. Have tried clearing history, cookies, cache, etc but nothing has solved it & I have no idea why it happened in the first place. Would really appreciate it if someone could give me some advice. I don’t know where to turn.

  19. funkygibbon says:

     ’Bots’, ha.
    Google likes to know exactly who’s using their search engine so they can supply their  browsing activities straight to Prism.
    So they block people using vpn’s.
     

  20. MichaelWesten says:

    As most everyone here, I was having this same issue but found a different solution.  First, I am behind a very large corporate network and I do not have access to the Proxy Servers or routers to look in to their logs, activity or what-have-you so that wasn’t an option for me.
    Solution:  ipconfig /flushdns
    I tried all the clearing cache and the like mentioned above but it was not until I went to the command prompt and typed ipconfig /flushdns that I got the captcha, entered it and am working again.  Hope this helps others if the other, very thorough solutions do not.

  21. Chris says:

    To agree with ur freind “top of post” it can happen by searching google to fast as tht is exactly what happened to me my block laster for 15 minutes and then stope showing capcha’ss all together i did a series of of 100 plus searches “yes flipping throguh pages counts in googles eye’s” and this happened to me 27 hours hasnt happend again

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

  • Vincent

    1

  • Deana

    1

  • Sean

    1