I own a niche-<widget> site (launched SEPT 2003) which, up until about FEB was ranking in the top 10 for all relevant phrases.
Form mif-feb to present, all of our pages are ranking VERY poorly on google (but remain in the top 5 on yahoo/msn/ink), and regardless of the fact that we've garnered about 100 one-way, on topic, relevant links (most unsolicited - including 2 PR8 pages deep linking to specific product categories) as well as a good dmoz listing, we seem unable to rise above 300 in the google serps.
We DO have a small (very picky) affiliate program running which creates links that look like ntrual URL's (i.e. [example.com...] which I had thought was a good idea. However, doing a search for the pages indexed by google has turned up a few dozen affilaite pages that may be considered by google to be duplicates.
Could we be receiving some kind of duplicate content penalty due to our affiliate program? Or will google simply ignore the duplicate affiliate pages?
It shnould also be noted (although I'm not sure how relevant this is) that using the "-dfsdgsdsd -sdfgsdgsdfg -sdfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -dsfgsdgsdg -sdfgsdfgsdfg -sdgsdfgdsfg" exclusion to any googel search brings our pages back to the top 5 for all relevant phrases searched.
So...is this the "sandbox", or a penalty?
Note: No "dodgy" techniques here, NO reciprocal linking, no hidden text/redirets, etc. In fact, we haven;t changed a thing since we launched, and Yahoo/INK seems to love us, but it sure would be nice to garner some "organic" traffic from google in addition to the $100 a day in adwords traffic...
[edited by: ciml at 6:13 pm (utc) on May 13, 2004]
[edit reason] Widgetised [/edit]