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Penalized by Google
Reputable site completely booted from the index
stanley07

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 9:13 pm on May 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Until recently we had a top 7,000 site (as ranked by Alexa) and relied on Google searches for 70% of our traffic. Our site has 80,000 pages of unique content consisting of links to articles found else where on the web. We generate summaries by visiting each link and extracting a meaningful excerpt. Each page has distinct content and we don't use any SEO strategies -- just put the pages out there and people visit. We rely on Adsense for the bulk of our revenue.

On April 2, 2004 we noticed a major drop in traffic from Google. We found that our index page no longer appeared at the top of Google results when you entered our domain name "mysite" even though it has occupied the top spot since 1998. We appeared to have been hit with a penalty. Since then it has only gotten worse -- for the past 5 days we have had 0 referrals from Google!

With our large number of pages could Google be mistaking us for a spam site? What can we do to find out more? We tried contacting Google but got no response, even though an email to Adsense was returned immediately saying we needed to contact the help address. Does anyone have any suggestions? Our traffic has completely died.

Thank you.

 

Yidaki

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 7:07 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Our site has 80,000 pages of unique content consisting
>of links to articles found else where on the web.

That's not purely unique content even if you summarize and write the excerpts yourself.

And your problem might be ...

>We rely on Adsense for the bulk of our revenue.

I could imagine that the AdSense quality team have access to "the red button". They don't like sites that look like what some people call AdSense monetizing vehicles or pseudo content sites. They don't cancel your AdSense account but just doom your site's rankings. I've seen this with other sites and something similar with one of my own sites.

Are your pages still indexed? Try searching site:example.com.

Workin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 7:37 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I Saw A Competitor Of Mine Drop From The #2 Spot To Non Existence. They Then Removed Their Link Pages And After About Three Days Came Back To Their Normal Position. :( You May Want To Try The Same.

Trodda

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 9:19 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yidaki, we have a similar problem to what stanley07 described with our index page gone missing. What exactly should the command site:domain.com show, all the pages under that domain?

If most of the pages are there (including index), then does it definitely indicate a penalty?

vrtlw

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 9:22 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

You May Want To Try The Same.

What hogwash, on topic and more correctly, one way links are the way to go, do not listen to this advice.

Yidaki

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 9:44 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

>our index page gone missing
>What exactly should the command site:domain.com show

It indicates if the traffic dropped due to removal of pages or due to lost rankings. A missing index normaly doesn't result in referer dropping to zero.

From stanley07's description the problem doesn't seem to be related to the recent phenomenon of lost index pages.

stanley07, one more question:

>We generate summaries by visiting each link
>and extracting a meaningful excerpt.

You mean you extract the excerpt or you write a summary for each link? How would you specify your pages: directory pages (custom written descriptions) or cached / recycled search results (auto or hand extracted excerpts)?

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 9:49 am on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Our site has 80,000 pages of unique content consisting of links to articles found else where on the web.

Agree with yidaki 100% ..you just described a spammy directory ...
Given that they should have pulled you years ago along with all the rest of the jacked content searcher traps ..
Surprised if they would before the IPO tho ....
Oh and hi and welcome to WebmasterWorld ....
( jeez... I just said hi to a spammy directory ..what is the world coming to )

stanley07

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 3:43 pm on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for your feedback. Our site is not a spammy directory site -- it's more along the lines of a Topix or Annova except we've be around for awhile and only added Adsense last September. When I do a domain specific search, some of our results do come up (about 5% of the number of pages that came up in Nov-Mar). By we're still getting no Google traffic.

Our descriptions are generated by us crawling each news article then running a content extraction algorithm to find matched-in-context sentences. Thus the summaries are entirely unqiue -- we're not just scraping a search engine. We've put 3 programmer years' worth of effort into developing the technology -- so it's very upsetting.

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 7:43 pm on May 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a familiar story:

Step 1: figure out a way to game the system so you get to be a middleman between the customer (searchers) and the product (true content). (e.g. grab non-SEO'd content, SEO it, and link to the opriginal).

Step 2: test it and see how well it works (Get significantly higher SERPs than the original content, for the contextual target keywords)

Step 3: figure out a way to monetize it. (All the more ironic if you can get Google to pay you for it hehehehe.. vis a vis AdSense)

Step 4: scale the solution HUGE to make tons of money as fast as you can.

The story continues:

Step 5: G announces "don't do this" about your technique, in its guidelines.

Step 6: G announces "don't do this" in its AdSense TOS

Step 7: someone pulls the plug on one or both avenues of profitability (traffic side, or revenue side).

It seems to me you too too long to go from "Step 1" to "Step 4" and that is a sad story.

Funny how this is a TRADITIONAL BUSINESS CYCLE, jut highly compressed. Your R&D phase stretched out too long, and you couldn't SELL into the market before the market closed up.

In hindsight, most successful companies that made it thru such a problem did so by INNOVATING around the anticipated use of the core development. In your case, think of ways to USE YOUR TECHNOLOGY TO GAME SOMEONE ELSE, for example, since G has shut the door. Anything you can do to PUT YOUR STUFF TO WORK A.S.A.P. with a minimum of new R&D will help. In consumer products research, it's called "the hunt for new claims for the same old product" and it takes place at the end of every sales cycle, before a fresh ramp up of R&D spending.

New Toothpaste formula, SELL SELL SELL. Sales drop off... before investing in developing a new new toothpaste formula, find NEW CLAIMS for the current forumula:

-- New IMPROVED toothpaste (now with MORE chemical "A")
-- Now freshens breath! (we added a drop of mint oil)
-- Now whitens teeth! (we added baking soda)
-- Now in easy squeeze tube!
-- Now in 17 fresh neon colors!
-- Now with Ginko/Elderberry/whetever

Eventually you either make enough money with the new idea, or go back to the expensive R&D lab.

As Pooh says, THINK THINK THINK THINK THINK

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 10:36 am on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well,
Its nearly lunchtime , It's sunny outside , ( I just woke up ..I said elswhere I rarely do mornings )and I love this thread ,lets hope the effect spreads to the rest of the spammy directories world ....

Paybacksa ..
you're letting "our" collective jubilation show there .. : ))
( love the marketing analysis ...have we ever worked together? )...

So even tho I goofed and due to politeness ( momma raised polite kids ..dumb maybe but polite )..and said "Hi" to a spammy directory ...I can now say "Bye" to a spammy directory.....ahhhhh bliss....( anyone know the emoticon for this ....clean ones... huh guys ..most of the others I know ...some I think I may have invented having been around since punch cards and fortran ).....

Sorry ....I digressed ..it's that kind o' day and that kind o' thread....from little acorns etc..

Whoops ..starting to sound like mark_A...
( I'm sure we knew some of the same chemicals even if we never worked together )

S'even a good day for M$ ..I just heard that they picked up some German kid for writing "sasser".....

So even Sauron's smiling .... ~~)

JudgeJeffries

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 4:57 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Forgive me but arent you all being a little harsh here.
Every Sunday I get The Times and read the book reviews which in the main are just a brief rundown of the contents of the book. If I like the sound of a book I invest in a copy and if not I save my time and money. This guys doing a precis of the article which saves us the time and effort of reading a full article that may not be of any use to us. If you ask me he's providing a service thats useful. So whats the real reason for these obviously unpleasant comments that are being made?

pmkpmk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 5:07 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I recommend reading "Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey A. Moore for a more detailed view into paybacksa's description of business cycles and how to overcome their ending.

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 5:47 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Surely the biggest spammy directories are Google, ODP and Yahoo - no content, just links to the real content on the web! Let's hope Google bans all of them! Bye bye spammy directories.

hutcheson

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:56 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Iquana, you can tell all you need to know about the ethics of a person by the ethical distinctions he doesn't make.

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 8:06 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

NYT Book review tells me why I will or will not apreciate having spent the time to actually read the book. The editor has read many other books, and relates to me. Value.

Google tells me what website is on target for my query, EVEN IF THE WEBSITE IS ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE (via algorithms they offer in support of my simple ignorant query). Value.

Yahoo purports to tell me same as G, but also almost always tries to sell me something else -- often blatantly. Annoying, but still some value.

"Spammy Directory" as described grabbed an excerpt using automated methods, and stepped in between G and me. Less value than all above, and also annoying. I think that is kind of what "spammy" means. Like spam, but not quite spam. No?

Someone here runs "another site" which also just steps in between G and me. I don't consider it a "spammy directory", however. Instead of attempting to "summarize" he actually manages to get very taregted ads to appear before my eyes (AdSense on his page), and his own txt tells me why I really would benefit from clicking those ads. He is usually right. I imaging he gets alot of clicks.

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 8:37 pm on May 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Okay, I was just playing with my comments. I also dislike sites with no content that just point to the pages I want to get to. BUT there are sites that just summarize other content on the web that are useful.

I fail to see how you can conclude that Stanley07's site is just spammy - unless you actually know which site he is talking about. Give him the benefit of the doubt and try suggesting answers to his problem.

stanley07

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 2:43 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

We get an average of 2-3 emails per day from users who think our site is a great resource for research. Our content summarization is at least as good as Google (which only extracts a couple of matched in context phrases). But I'm not here to defend my site -- I was only trying to see if anyone had suggestions as to getting re-listed with google.

Thank you.

tenerifejim

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 3:36 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm...

Stanley I think if anyone here knew the best way to keep a directory such as yours top accross a host of keywords in Google then we would be too busy counting our cash to answer on WebmasterWorld.

I believe that you have probably been hit by an algo adjustment designed to reduce the large number of link-out only sites that have pervaded google for a period of time. I might be wrong (it wouldn't be unusual).

Unfortunate for you. Good for me (and recently it has been). Sorry. That'll be the great game capitalism.

Mikkel Svendsen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 4:09 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

stanley07, allthough I understand your frustration you have to accept that from a search engine - or search user's point of view your site is most likely not bringing much value. I haven't seen your site so I wouldn't judge it as spam but it might very well be so in the eyes of search engines.

Unique content means content that you created and that is not to be found anywhere else. It does not sound like you have that on the site. I will strongly recomend you focus here. What about letting the users, or the publishers of the articles you list add additional info on top of what you extract? Let users comment it, rate it or whatever. Create some unique content that will make it valuable for me, as a user, to go to your listing instead of directly to the article.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 8:36 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I fail to see how you can conclude that Stanley07's site is just spammy

Evidence ....?
Until recently we had a top 7,000 site (as ranked by Alexa) and relied on Google searches for 70% of our traffic. Our site has 80,000 pages of unique content consisting of links to articles found else where on the web. We generate summaries by visiting each link and extracting a meaningful excerpt. Each page has distinct content and we don't use any SEO strategies -- just put the pages out there and people visit. We rely on Adsense for the bulk of our revenue.

IT QUACKED!
Forgive me but arent you all being a little harsh here.

NO...!
This guys doing a precis of the article which saves us the time and effort of reading a full article that may not be of any use to us. If you ask me he's providing a service thats useful.

I fail to see how you can hold the views you have previously expressed with regard to copyright..and condone this form of high jacking of other peoples material solely in order to bring them to his adsense pages ....!

stanley07

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 3:47 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Apparently I haven't explained our site very well. We are very similar to Topix -- except we've been around 6 months longer. We added Adsense back in September after the site had decent traffic -- so we're not another spammy directory site built around Adsense.

Again does anyone have suggestions on contacting Google?

tenerifejim

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 3:56 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stanley,

Contacting google is a waste of your time. You would be better spending understanding the needs of users and finding other ways of promoting your site.

JuniorOptimizer

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 4:14 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stanley,

I disagree with these other posters and I think its a tragedy your site was banned.

You are supposed to send a re-inclusion request to Google if you think you were banned, and you're supposed to ask for re-inclusion by explaining what you think you did to get the site banned.

The address to email to is webmaster@google.com. You may have to wait a bit to get a response.

The quality of answers in this thread is disappointing. Nowhere did I see Stanley ask for a critique of his website. He merely asked for help on determining why pages were missing from the index.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 5:10 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

stanley07,

unlike some of the others here, I do find directories to be useful. Sometimes even pages that are just lists of related links. In one field in particular, there is "the mother of all widget links pages" site where I have found some incredibly interesting and useful links that I have never come across on any search engine.

But I would have to say that I do not think that sites like yours deserve front page ranking on most searches. Search engine users would generally rather go directly to their target site.

Where directories belong in the SERPs is starting on page 3, to help the searchers that have not been able to find what they have been looking for in the regular SERPs.

And while I am sure that you have a wonderful directory site, that deserves to be rated high as far as directorys go, if your site comes up high in too many searches and is affecting the quality of the SERPs, you can expect to periodically get shot down for a few months while google makes some adjustments.

Google has to worry about giving their users good results. It is a lot more important to them than being "fair" to the websites that they are ranking.

stanley07

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 5:46 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

JuniorOptimizer and BigDave thank you for your help and support.

Again I can't stress enough that we are not a directory site. People are quick to characterize our site as such without even seeing our site.

Being on the first page is really not that important. We don't worry about optimization. We just want to deliver good pages to build a quality repeat audience. Up until the recent fiasco, about 45% of our total visits are from non-unique IPs so I think we're doing something right.

quotations

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:07 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

>As Pooh says, THINK THINK THINK THINK THINK

and Steve, too.

"Sit down in our thinking chair and

Think, Think, Think."

"Cuz when we use our minds,
Take a step at a time,
We can do anything,
That we wanna do."

>could Google be mistaking us for a spam site?

No mistake. This is classic spam.

If they are really removing sites such as you describe then my real content sites will be very, very happy to not see you ranking above them any more.

samuel_ado

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:09 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

hi,

we had same problem and solved in 2 days
[webmasterworld.com...]

but we still do not know the reason.. it seems that was "G" .. hope "not" ...

loanuniverse

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:17 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

..unlike some of the others here, I do find directories to be useful. Sometimes even pages that are just lists of related links...

Dave, you make a good argument, but you got to look at it from the point of publishers. My site is linked to by at least three of these directory sites, and I would have never found about them unless I had ran my logs through a log analyzer once every couple of months since most of those pages are PR0 to PR3.

I appreciate the link, but I do not appreciate them taking a paragraph from each of the articles and sticking them underneath the links. To me that is making money from my work {and I am not even a good writer} I just happen to touch on particularly expensive widgets from time to time. The one that upset me was the one with the google adsense code on top.

I understand about "fair use", and do not really make much of a fuss about it, but to me the practice is a little scummy.

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:36 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

As I understand it, you actually have a legal case against someone who takes a paragraph of your page, repeats it with ads on top, and publishes it.

Since you rely on adverising for revenue, and they have not added value, nor editorialized, etc. then it is not fair use and is competing.

There are strategies to work in this gray area, for sure, which I will not suggest here, but if they simply make a page around your paragraph and add AdSense, they can be sued for your legal costs plus lost revenue plus perhaps punitive damages.

Yidaki

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 23962 posted 6:37 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I didn't say you run a spammy directory. Given the info you provided, i thought your site could be classified as one though. From what you later described it's looking more like a news search engine or news directory though - i don't understand the 80 k static pages then though. 80 k pages of excerpts? Hmm ... still smells like an AdSense farm, stan.

>occupied the top spot since 1998
>We rely on Adsense for the bulk of our revenue.
>added Adsense back in September

What was your source of revenue before september - the last 5 years?



The first thing i would do to have the site reincluded would be to find out why it's been delisted. That's why i'm questioning the uniqueness of your content.

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