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70 plus websites all almost all gone
crosslinking got me banned
macneil




msg:43490
 4:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I designed 70 plus websites all for outdoors related industry. All had their own separate domain names and hosting. All linked to each other. All were doing EXTREMELY well in Google. Last month all but 2 were went to the bottom. It so happens that the 2 that did not get punished did not link correctly because I had done the links wrong on them and they just had a bunch of links that did not work.
Observation: It is interesting that Google would rather have a website with 50 plus DEAD links than one that linked to pages they thought violated their cross link rules.
Question: I wonder if they sites will ever be able to move up again or will they be bottom dwellers for life. About the only they show up now is if a person does an "exact Phrase" search or is extremely specific. These websites are still listed but just way way down.
I have redone 12 of these websites and will monitor but would be interested in hearing from someone with similar experience to find out if sites that get moved to the bottom (all are 0pr but not greyed out) can be revived or any other ideas or input.
Just for further info I am a website designer and I designed these series of websites to sell ads on (<snip> could buy ads that linked to their own websites) and as incentives for <snip> to use my web design services. In other words if you let me design your <industry> website I'll give you free ads on some of these other websites.

 

2_much




msg:43520
 7:02 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

McNeil, I've had many many sites penalized and its VERY rare for them to come back. I understand what you were trying to do and it was probably a valid mistake. But unfortunately, it'll be quite difficult to get all the domains restored and go back to business as normal.

Like everyone else, I suggest you create a new plan and start again.

trueMarketing




msg:43521
 7:02 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)
macneil,
I'm pretty experienced with what works and doesn't at this point in the Google ho'down :P and I will have to agree with a few others here and say that Google had the implicit right to ban all of your sites.
Regardless of you wanting to offer "useful" information to people who may have or have not thanked you for it in the first place, you could've handled it a little differently, such as:

http://www.blahblahwhatever.com/info/california.html
http://www.blahblahwhatever.com/info/newyork.html
http://www.blahblahwhatever.com/info/texas.html
http://www.blahblahwhatever.com/info/japan.html

you get the idea for regional topic breakups, although there are plenty of other ways of doing this other than the above.

We also got a couple of sites banned due to a competitor signing a ton of guestbooks and listing these few sites with them to eventually get us eliminated from their index.

It worked, losing us an estimated $24,000 or more monthly income. It's still banned b/c Google will not listen to any of our pleas.

So, I definitely feel for you for not knowing beforehand. I would start over again and take it slower. I personaly think building up a few (2-6) websites is much better and less stressful than 70 anyday...

NickCoons




msg:43522
 7:03 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

macneil,

<but with all due respect I was not attempting to cheat anybody.>

That's why you need to know the rules. You may not intend to drive your car through an intersection when the light is red, but you'll still be cited.

<I duplicated the websites so that they could show up in different regions.>

Why would you need this? The internet is global, and I can access just about any website in the world.. there are no region restrictions that I know of that would require a site to duplicate it self dozens of times.

<In other words let's say you make a great website for "resorts in the state of Florida" and it has a front page with links to local Florida resort owners and links to their websites...

...Then why is it wrong to make a duplicate of that website for Texas and call it "resorts in Texas". The index page for Texas would be vastly different than the Florida website but since the interior pages (the "travel tips" and "travel how-tos" are applicable for Texas and do not need to be changed. People should be able to go to these different website for different states and find them readily in search engines.>

Why create seperate sites for different states? Or, how about setting up california.domain.com, arizona.domain.com, etc, and then www.domain.com/traveltips. If the information is the same for each destination of travel, then why duplicate it?

fathom,

<I also think 51 states (unless Canadian provinces became part of the US).>

I didn't know we were planning on adding a 51st state.. that's news to me :-).

Rugles




msg:43523
 7:08 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

<I also think 51 states (unless Canadian provinces became part of the US).>

As a proud Canadian I can tell you we are happily independant.

HitProf




msg:43524
 7:23 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Actually I think it's quite normal to target different geographical area's with different domain names. If you want to do well in local directories you might want to have the name and/or the extension to be as local as possible. Of cource you should also ajust your content to a certain extend, but lost of webmasters don't.

I also think it's not uncommon to interlink such domains: did you like this info for "here"? We also have it for "there", "there" and "over there".

SEO's know what havoc this may cause but how should an innocent web designer know? I speak to non specialized webdesigners on a daily basis and they all think this type of behavior is normal and innocent.

If mcneil fixes his links and updates his info to the specific area's he targets he should be fine - if his content and incoming links are good enough.

The Subtle Knife




msg:43525
 7:24 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

This thread is going off the track a little,
is this a sponsored google supporters forum?
I think not!

The question is very valid, is basically
how much can you get away with.

In other words google automatically detected
something, does anyone know what mechanisms
it would have in place?

I think that google creates a checksum based
on keyword density and many things,
and it compares that checksum on every page that in interlinked. It might be as bold as to only do this on the same IPS, so lot's of domains @ the same ISP get busted easily. I'm sure if each domain had a unique IP, this wouldn't happen.

Surely, If I duplicated a site, and put
the right random text, the check sum wouldn't match, and google wouldn't see it as spam?

Again, I wish people would think more scientifically here - google is *just a piece of software*, it isn't god's gospel,
if some is not spamming and have many useful sites, they should BE ABLE TO GROW THEM.
Who's to say that eventually they will have 100% unique content for each domain eventually, we can't just throw full content sites out of thin air!

We as a think tank should be able to tell exactly how much you are allowed to get away with, not replies like "ha ha you got busted by the google police.." Doesn't help no-one that, only helps google get more and more powerful.

mrguy




msg:43526
 7:24 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

macneil

My opinion really does not matter in the scheme of things. Googles does. It is their index and they manage it as they see fit.

It was your responsibility to first read the TOS that Google provides for everybody there to read. They obviously felt the 50+ one page websites all crosslinked was against their guidelines or they would still be showing up.

Now that you know why they were pulled, you should work on some of the suggestions offered here. It is a done deal, you will never get those sites back in under their current state.

You could of put all those on one site and had each page for each region and just optimized each page differently to get the same result.

I called it spam because that is what Google calls it.

The Subtle Knife




msg:43527
 7:27 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


We also got a couple of sites banned due to a competitor signing a ton of guestbooks and listing these few sites with them to eventually get us eliminated from their index.

So what are you saying here?
That the competition can set up a google bomb,
and google thinks your spamming and kicks you out?

I'd say that isn't fair if that occurred, google I think are too powerful now.

Does this mean a rise in "search engine battles"? Again, we all lose out and google wins.

Napoleon




msg:43528
 7:28 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Come on.... the surprise for me is that he got away with it for so long.

I don't think there is much dispute that this is well over the edge... to put it mildly. It's a fair cop guv!

Apart from that, if the site is so good, then people will link to it anyhow, especially if you give them a nudge. Repeating it n times just isn't the way forward.

JeremyL




msg:43529
 7:42 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everyone talks about how google doesn't like crosslinking or has a cap. Well thats not really true. What it doesn't like is link spamming and link farms.

Google will not ban you if you crosslink 70+ regional sites with UNIQUE content on each. In my area that I work now ALL the top players and rankers have unique domains for each region (i.e. DallasDomain.com, NewYorkDOmain.com) which ads up to about 50 domains for each company. Each of these comapny sites crosslink with text links to all of thier 50+ domains in the company to each other on thier homepage and with a dropdownbox on the 2nd page. All of these domains have unique ip's but on same hosts. Why are they not banned or penalized? Each of these 50+ domains for each company has very unique content. Thier tamplates are the same, but all the content is unique.

So the moral is, crosslinking = good, spamming = bad.

macneil




msg:43530
 7:42 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

THE REASON I SET UP 70 DUPLICATE WEBSITES was that my first one (the Florida website) was very popular. I had some offers from some companies in Florida to purchase the website. So I thought I'd create some others like it and maybe some day be able to sell them all. I could have added sub-domains or several other options but in the end I could have only sold one website. I had even thought maybe some big company would come along and buy them all. I also thought maybe some airline or travel related company would ask to have their add on the bottom of every page of every website or similar.
I have no problem with getting kicked out of Google.
That's life in the fast lane.
I know that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Google is certainly the best at what they do and I understand the "If you want to make a good omlette you have to break some eggs" theory, so my websites looked illegal to their robots and I got the boot.
I can certainly start over and create 70 different websites (one at a time) with new domain names and make sure all the content is different on every page of all of them.
I am extremely glad to have these types of forums to exchange ideas and information.
I am really disappointed that people who know nothing about what I was trying to create are so anxious to rush to judgment that they cannot pass along info without forming incorrect assumptions making accusations that are way off the mark. I hope you are able to keep more of an open mind if you are ever summoned for jury duty.

ciml




msg:43531
 7:45 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are different types of Google penalties. It's not always clear when a problem is an automatic penalty, a manual penalty or not a penalty; so I think that it would be very difficult to subject penalties to the quantitative analysis that is performed on PageRank and weighting factors.

Also, Google's approach to penalties tends to change very suddenly, so a discovery one month might not be as applicable to next month as discoveries about PageRank and weighting factors.

The Subtle Knife:
> I'm sure if each domain had a unique IP, this wouldn't happen.

Personally I don't think that using different IPs avoids Google penalties.

<added>
> I understand the "If you want to make a good omlette you have to break some eggs" theory

macneil, this understanding will be very usful to you. Anyone stuck in the "But it's not fair!" mould will find their online marketing life more difficult as a result.

[edited by: ciml at 7:48 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

BigDave




msg:43532
 7:46 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

You have two different issues (that you know of) You have duplicate content, and extensive crosslinking between esssentially duplicate sites.

It was probably the duplicate content that was what got you caught and it was the crosslinking that got you banned.

You don't see a problem with having 70 copies of the same article out there when you are operating in one of the spammiest industries? Think about the poor surfer that searches on a keyphrase that happens to be in one of your files and has to go through 7 pages before he can find any other sites!

This alone would probably just trigger the duplicate content filter, and generate some spam reports.

But you added the extensive crosslinking between these duplicate sites, which is what probably got you the penalties.

How do you links from other sites compare to your links between your own sites? Do you have 10,000 incoming links to each of your sites to offset the 3500 that you have between your sites? Or did you just have a few external links to each page and the rest of the links were from your own duplicate sites?

WebManager




msg:43533
 7:56 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally - I'm quite pleased.

It's easy to buy 20 domains and link them all together with the same old nonsense - and cheap.

Get a few good links ladies and gentlemen - and try to be imaginative - fresh, relevant content.

I put up websites for free for people who have meaningful and new content.

That way everyone gains: the public get useful and relevant sites - I get good links.

It's what the INet is about isn't it?

INFORMATION

Ta Ta

toughturkey




msg:43534
 8:00 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Instead if attacking macneil, I for one would like to thank him for sharing his story. We coaxed macneil into telling us details - then jumped all over him. Let's take what we can learn from this experience and stop editorializing. I hate self-righteous webmasters who act as Google's self appointed gaurdians!

Chicago




msg:43535
 8:01 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

MacNeil,

Thank you for your recent message. I understand what you are saying...and believe you. I have been in the Internet marketing arena for a long time, yet new to this board. There is a clear disctinction between contructive criticism and kicking a dog when it is down. The irony of it all, this that all of us walk the google line. The scary thing is, no one can really see the line. I have a business group that I work with that does substantional cross-linking. All of it is perfectly legal IMHO. If google's PR wasn't around, people would tell you that you are stupid for not doing it. Now that PR is around everybody is forced to modify business sense to incorporate search engine sense. MUCH EASIER SAID THEN DONE. Good luck to you and remember put yourself in your users and competition shoes prior to making decisions in the future.

[edited by: heini at 8:45 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

[edited by: Chicago at 8:50 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

The Subtle Knife




msg:43536
 8:07 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


Instead if attacking macneil, I for one would like to thank him for sharing his story. We coaxed macneil into telling us details - then jumped all over him. Let's take what we can learn from this experience and stop editorializing. I hate self-righteous webmasters who act as Google's self appointed gaurdians!

I've noticed a lot of this myself, it's turning into
a google supportors forum!

Two words. Google cheat sheet.

markdidj




msg:43537
 8:10 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I thank life that I didn't follow someones advice to not use javascript for page content.
I didn't want to use frames so I created my template with javascript, including a loop to create the menu, which appears on every page. If I followed this persons advice, still not using frames, I would have had to put the same menu in every page in HTML. I would have also put the links to every page on every page.
I take it this would have got me banned?

I stuck with my initial idea of using javascript, and last month was the first month I was indexed. I can now see how I'm being indexed, and work to getting better results without cheating.

I suggest if you want to use alot of links then create them in javascript. You only need 1 html link for google to follow.

MacNeil, wont creating multiple websites like that also devalue the sites? If someones looking for originality and they find 70 sites almost the same.........

Powdork




msg:43538
 8:22 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Two words. Google cheat sheet.

Huh?;)

BigDave




msg:43539
 8:25 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've noticed a lot of this myself, it's turning into
a google supportors forum!

Yup, google supporters like me are welcome here. As are those of you who hate google.

But don't think that just because we like google, we don't know how to deal with google. The reason most of us like google is *because* we know how to get good results from them.

Two words. Google cheat sheet.

ROTFLMAO

bobmark




msg:43540
 8:35 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree that the tendency to kick someone when they're down is too common on here - it is both mean spirited and uninformative.
One thing I would say, however, is that if you make a decision to devote financial resources to registering 70 domain names and paying to host 70 virtually identical sites as opposed to hiring staff to create unique content, buying PPC or other advertising, paying for inclusion, etc. for 1 or 2 sites, then you have made a strategic business decision presumably on the assumption that your method will yield better results than more conventional methods and have incurred inherent risks.

roundabout




msg:43541
 8:36 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

great observation, Chicago. However, there is a good reason that Google refuses to explain its rules in detail. If we all knew the specifics, we'd all try to game the system by doing everything not explicitly outlawed. And this wouldn't help the browsers.

[edited by: heini at 8:47 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]
[edit reason] with a worldwide memberbase we don't do politics / thanks [/edit]

Rugles




msg:43542
 8:40 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

" However, there is a good reason that Google refuses to explain its rules in detail. "

It also gives Google flexibility to adjust the algo as they see fit without having to worry about lawsuits.

sem4u




msg:43543
 8:41 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Two words. Google cheat sheet.

That was 3 words when I went to school :)

union_jack




msg:43544
 8:54 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

MacNeil,

Forget the bashers, learn from you mistakes and make a fortune!. In 3 months you could be back but with better sites making more money. There is always a silver-lining.

Good Luck. :)

paynt




msg:43545
 8:56 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is a great discussion and moving at a fast pace. Iíd like to start by welcoming all our relatively new members posting here. Thanks for jumping in and adding to the discussion. Iíd also like to thank our true blue regulars who have made such efforts lately to keep up with these questions about crosslinking. Itís a bit tough to keep up with it all and your participation is appreciated.

Iíll toss out a few hints and tips to crosslinking that Iíve developed over the past several years.

Note Ė this information is for people wanting to create a long term not a throw away site. Do you know the difference? If not, please ask.

Either way - Start with a plan!

Ok, repeat, I said start with a plan. I actually want to put that all in caps and yell it out but Iím sure it will simply annoy you all.

Next, if you are unfortunately in the middle of a campaign without having first established a plan then stop and make one. If you thought you had a plan and are suddenly realizing you might have problems with it then you need to stop too.

Looking through all these fine posts over the last few days I can sum a few things up withÖ

Mirrored content is a no go! I canít even remember how long ago we used this successfully in optimization and promotion, not that it doesnít still work for a limited time by luck or fluke or freak of Google. Warning Ė With mirrored content you risk your site, unless and even if you are an Ďexpertí and know what you are doing.

Mirrored content with crosslinking Ė hello! Wave a red flag and say Google come get me! Ugh, no offense intended because I am actually glad any of you took the time to write but oh, Iím giving no more slack with this.

Duplicate mirrored content links = those multiple links to every site you own with no rhyme and reason, placed on every site mirrored content links. Is this you? Ok, so you read about that somewhere or you saw someone else doing it or you íreverse engineered ití so what? Without knowing what the outcome of such a strategy will lead you to and without balancing the risk/benefits, HELLO but this is real business here guys, not play money. If you go down with these tactics then oh well, itís the risk you take. Read Pegasus post #28, good post. If you donít understand then read the post again.

So far itís pretty simple.

I want to make it even simpler and suggest you think before you link.

This means that in developing your plan for dominating the web you decide first what your goals are and your purpose. Think about - what makes what you have to offer unique and different? I could care less that you want to sell another hair growing pill or sign me up for another credit card, I want to know why what you have to offer is unique, different or whatever from the next guy. Just because your site comes up a few placements higher today does not mean I will buy from you.

And just because you signed up for 100 affiliate programs, created a template for each and replaced the main keywords and then linked them to each other, ugh and you want to compete in the big leagues? Please, give me a break.

Now in your search for web dominance you might have several products or items of interest to offer me and when I visit one of your sites you want me to leave and visit another, that could make sense but you might have to help me out to see the connection. If Iím losing my hair I may also be in the market for a performance enhancement pill but first prove to me it makes sense, sell me on that. Remember, just because Iím losing my hair does not mean I need a new red sports car, unless of course your site or hub is about mid-life crisis and Iím your target market.

Next, do you really want to lay it all out for your competitors? After all, if you present me with every link and open your books to me, does that make good business sense?

Oh, and the problem is - this is just the beginning.

john316




msg:43546
 8:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yah..I think macneil was pretty cool about the whole thing.

Most folks go with the old.."a former employee/web designer of mine somehow created 70 crosslinked, hidden text spammed, duplicate sites..WITHOUT ME KNOWING ABOUT IT! Now that I've fired them, do you think googleguy can take a look?" hehehe

Anyway macneil, what I would do is ban the googlebot from the 68 sites that got zapped, you still have 2 left that rank?

Build out some decent content for the duped sites and as they come online with unique content, unban the googlebot.

A possible positive:

You have targetted content for picky overture editors.

[edited by: john316 at 9:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

Chicago




msg:43547
 9:05 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since I am being edited, I will be more Politically Correct.

Google doesn't explicitly state their rules in most all cases, leaving many of us to guess/approximate where the "line" is. Although this provides flexibility to Google ("and better results for users"), the scary thing is that only those "in the know" will be able to be the best. Those that are not "in the know" will be the ones that lose out. You tell me how this benefits the user?

By not drawing a clear line, Google is rewarding only the most savvy among us, when the intended action is really to create equal opportunity for all. A practice with unintended consequences that creates a larger division between those with mind share and those that just don't have the time.

Any post that says it is Google's rules and you must follow them needs to point out that the oft quoted Terms and Conditions are purposefully vague, and that if you decide to not deal with such ambiguity, you decide to igore 75% of the marketplace for search. It is a love - hate relationship.

roundabout




msg:43548
 9:33 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google purposely keeps things vague so that there will be fewer people "in the know" ... this suggests that the Google algorithm starts to fall apart when people begin to understand it.

fathom




msg:43549
 9:38 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't explicitly state their rules in most all cases, leaving many of us to guess/approximate where the "line" is. Although this provides flexibility to Google ("and better results for users"), the scary thing is that only those "in the know" will be able to be the best. Those that are not "in the know" will be the ones that lose out. You tell me how this benefits the user?

By not drawing a clear line, Google is rewarding only the most savvy among us, when the intended action is really to create equal opportunity for all. A practice with unintended consequences that creates a larger division between those with mind share and those that just don't have the time.

Chicago - a tad bit of "rubbish" here.

If you invest in research and observation the lines are fairly clear. This is earned research though -- it didn't come without a price, and that price is both time & money, and some failed attempts that you could implement yourself, if you were so inclined.

Or you could hire a professional to do this for you, or you can (as Google quietly suggests) stay clear and purchase AdWords.

Each is of comparable value. But to say that "Google is rewarding only the most savvy among us"... is a completely unfounded statement. Many here have burnt themselves in the past, but learned the hard lessons and remembered them.

Don't be fooled into thinking that web (Google) savvy doesn't come without a price - and Google rewards a mere few.

The foolish thing is believing that no research, or observation, no hiring and no ad buying justifes being rewarded at all.

Powdork




msg:43550
 9:40 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chicago,
It sound to me as if you're saying that Google is rewarding those that are smarter and work harder. How would you rather have it?

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