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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.

 

mrguy




msg:43491
 5:02 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Out of curiosity, were the 70 sites all distinct sites selling a different product or service, or where they all selling the same product or service?

toughturkey




msg:43492
 5:10 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, more info please. How much cross-linking was there? Did all 70 sites link to each of the other 69 sites directly or in one big loop?

Iguana




msg:43493
 5:17 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a number of sites that at one point I linked just about every page to my main site home page. I was PR0 for 1 month on all those sites and nowhere to be found in the search results - except for the site where, like you, I got all the links wrong and was spared any penalty. I got rid of all the links and my sites were back to normal in the next update after my non-crosslinked pages were picked up.

A word of warning - I was an exception - other people have had very bad experiences with PR0 though cross-linking and many have never recovered.

tigger




msg:43494
 5:18 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

also were they all hosted with the same company

Jakpot




msg:43495
 5:36 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

This link crap hurts a lot of folk.

In my view Web sites should rise or fall based on their own merits not on links from other sites, many of which have questionable value themselves.

I do not intend to add a lot of links to my pages and I pay the price for it under current algorithms. However I do quite well
by just adding more pages to make up for what I consider a penalty. Even with a low PR pages can still get a lot of hits.

hlbuss




msg:43496
 5:41 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you follow basic linking guidelines, you won't have nearly the problems. It is recommended numerous times in this forum that cross-linking of that many sites can be dangerous.

Legitimate link popularity is a great way to determine the popularity of a site. It's far more accurate than any on page method, as it puts a lot of the sites ranking into the hands of others.

macneil




msg:43497
 5:43 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK, will explain. I know I'm going to get flack but at the time I designed these website I did not even know this forum existed so built these websites on what knowledge I had at that time.
I built one website of approximately 50 pages. I then copied it 70 times. I then went back and changed the front page of each of the 70 websites. I then changed the name that appeared of all the interior pages (just the name that viewers see but the "title" stayed the same.
All the pages on every website link to each of the 70 websites on the index page. All of the interior pages of each website has links only to the other pages of that particular website.
68 of the 70 websites have been punished (dropped WAY down in the rankings) and 2 have not. The only thing different between these websites that I can find is links to the interior pages of that particular website.
In other words the 2 websites that did NOT get punished link to the other websites. But .. I did the links to their own interior pages wrong and that's about 50 dead links. Google did not punish these websites.
I'm sorry. The more I explain the more confusing it must sound. Bottom line was Google must have found all these duplicate interior pages on 70 websites and banned anybody who linked to these pages with these "title" names. I wonder if that is a lifetime punishment or if anyone has had similar experience and was able to have life after near-death.
Thanks

mrguy




msg:43498
 5:49 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

You created a link farm and either where found by a filter or somebody reported it as spam.

Your sites will never show up again as they shouldn't since you directly violated Googles TOS.

Chicago




msg:43499
 5:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

"one website of approximately 50 pages. I then copied it 70 times"

If the content is the same on your seventy sites, regardless of unique URL and unique title, you are spamming.

If the content is unique on all the sites then you can get away with cross-linking because you are trying to organically promote your other UNIQUE properties.

I would 1) consider a single HUB for all your site, using URL extentions.

or 2)starting all over again, this time by the rules.

Google states, that if you have trouble explaining what you are doing to a competitor then you are likely in violation.

futuresky




msg:43500
 5:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

This link crap hurts a lot of folk.

In my view Web sites should rise or fall based on their own merits not on links from other sites, many of which have questionable value themselves.


My feeling exactly too. Athough I like the AMOUNT of traffic I get from google, I've always detested the link-popularity algorithm. And now, just because of this algorithm, macneil (and others) have numerous sites junked by google. I'd love to do more cross-linking with my sites, not to inflate page rank, but because it makes sense to cross-link. BUT I'm TERRIFIED that google will penalise me because it thinks I'm artificially trying to inflate their precious page-rank system.

I have read Googleguy say don't be afraid to cross-link your sites (or something to that effect) but yes, I am afraid and macneil (and others) experiences seem to indicate I'm not being overly-paranoid. Sorry, but this stuff makes me mad.

tigger




msg:43501
 5:54 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Bottom line

IMHO you've had it, start again, sorry I can't put over any other way, I picked up a penalty for cross linking but not to your extent

My PR was 7 now it's 0 and the site has been cleaned up and numerous emails have been sent to G asking if they would consider removing the penalty with no reply

Sorry not the news you wanted :(

ikbenhet1




msg:43502
 5:57 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


>> I then changed the name that appeared of all the interior pages (just the name that viewers see but the "title" stayed the same.

You mean you changed the filenames? Then that's probably it.

jomaxx




msg:43503
 5:58 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Obviously Google has no interest in indexing every page of 50 cut-and-pasted websites. There's absolutely no value to its users in doing so.

Without doing a long analysis, it sounds like you've incurred a penalty. If you are lucky, the sites MIGHT simply have been dropped for duplicate content and not explicitly penalized. But even in that case, they won't recover until you replace them with new websites containing unique content

futuresky




msg:43504
 5:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Oh yikes, I've just read mcneil's lates post describing what he did (wasn't there when I started typing my previous post). Eek, now that is a different thing altogether than linking totally different sites.

Ah well, I'm still scared of cross-linking anyway.

Rugles




msg:43505
 5:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google would not be Google if it did not use link-pop.

Just play by the rules and you will get lots of free traffic from Google.

my 2 cents

rfgdxm1




msg:43506
 6:02 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>You created a link farm and either where found by a filter or somebody reported it as spam.

>Your sites will never show up again as they shouldn't since you directly violated Googles TOS.

Right. He cheated big time, and had a ton of sites get the Google Death Penalty. Thank you Google for being on the ball and squishing this spammer hard.

Chicago




msg:43507
 6:18 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

because a similar thread has been created multiple times over the past few days alone: will someone please state the rule clearly as they know it. the ambiguity of cross-linking is causing a lot of pain, uncertainty, and animosity. We need to be more clear with others and to ourself.

Spammers aside, will someone answer this hypothetical:

1) a business has multiple domains with UNIQUE content
2) for cross-selling/promotion purposes only (NOT PR), the business wants to provide exposure its other properties

a) can the business have a link to the others sites on each of it free standing URLs
b) what is a definition of UNIQUE content that we can all feel comfortable with?

[edited by: Chicago at 6:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

macneil




msg:43508
 6:19 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Your sites will never show up again as they shouldn't since you directly violated Googles TOS."
Thanks for your input mrguy but with all due respect I was not attempting to cheat anybody. I had 50 pages of how to articles on each website that were EXTREMELY helpful and informative for lots of people. I got dozens of emails thanking me for my efforts. I duplicated the websites so that they could show up in different regions.
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. In addition you have a whole bunch of helpful articles for travelers in general like "what to bring with you on a vacation" "first aid tips" "tips on how to rent a car" etc OK then lets say that website is great and you sell some ads on it.
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. They are helpful as they create revenue, they provide lots of VERY HELPFUL information and they are not intended to mislead anyone anywhere about anything. I made one website that worked and thought "why not make more of these for other regions?" I am not spamming, misleading, tricking, or trying to do anything other than to make a living and lots of sponsors appreciate the websites (they still do EXTREMELY well in all non-Google search engines) and travelers write me regularly with thank you emails for the vast research I have gone through for the how-to articles and the time I spent getting authorization to use these various articles.
At the time I built these websites I did not know there was such a thing as "pr" or spamming or whatever mrguy and Google assumes I have done to cheat. I am just a web designer trying to make a living. I created a very popular website for one region and don't understand why I cannot do the same for other regions without having to completely change EVERYTHING for each one. Pages like "first aid tips for travelers" should be the same in Texas as they are in Florida so I am DEEPLY offended when mrguy says my websites should be banned for life.

xerxes




msg:43509
 6:25 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please, am I allowed by Google to make one link to my new site which is completely different in text and photos, but does have the SAME business? Is this cross-linking, please? I am taking the link off now until I hear that it is OK. Thank you.

Still Waters




msg:43510
 6:30 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

posted by Chicago

1) a business has multiple domains with UNIQUE content
2) for cross-selling/promotion purposes only (NOT PR), the business wants to provide exposure it other properties

a) can the business have a link to the others sites on each of it free standing URLs
b) what is a definition of UNIQUE content that we can all feel comfortable with?


This is exactly my situation. Our business has multiple domains, which we'd like to link. The content is unique and related. Anyone have solid answers to Chicago's questions? TIA :)

Yidaki




msg:43511
 6:31 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

macneil, you're off - you lost the game. Take a new ball and start from scratch. (It's wise to restart with a different plan.)

xerxes, it's impossible to give you a clear answer. But it's likely possible that you'll find the answer here at WebmasterWorld. Try a site search for "crosslinking" and read, read, read ...

rfgdxm1




msg:43512
 6:32 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please note us posters here don't get to make the rules for Google. Google sets their own rules. Based on Google's rules, you are a spammer. If you want to be in Google, its their search engine and can use whatever criteria they want for listing site. Also, I notice you wrote:

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

Umm...why did they have to be duplicated on over 70 crosslinked domains so they could show up in different regions? If you had put all of this on one domain, people in all these regions would have been able to access it on the Internet. I can see no need for 70 different sites on a related topic on 70 different crosslinked domains other than for search engine spamming reasons.

Marketing Guy




msg:43513
 6:35 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Macneil

The fact of whether you were trying to cheat Google or not is irrelevant.

The fact that people use the same method to cheat Google and therefore the big G penalises is relevant.

You duplicated content throughout a lot of sites - Google saw that as spam and penalised you.

Personally, I would have created a seperate "how to" site and link the others back to it once only. That may be what you need to do in order to get back in Googles index.

At the end of the day Google's index is Google's index. They send us traffic and if we want that we have to play by their rules. If they say no duplicate content over multiple domains - then dont duplicate your content over multiple domains.

From our point of view this may seem unfair, but Im sure if we had to deal with the same amount of spam as Google does, we would also impose strict rules. That's just the way it is.

My 2 c's.

Scott

Chris_1




msg:43514
 6:37 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Add my name to the list for Chicago's question. We have the exact same situation. We setup a new domain since it would be easier to market and remember - unique content (but same templates). From my earlier asking of a question similar to Chicago's I decided it should be safe (since the content is separate).

Thanks,

Chris

rfgdxm1




msg:43515
 6:39 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

>macneil, you're off - you lost the game. Take a new ball and start from scratch. (It's wise to restart with a different plan.)

Google is the umpire here, and Google has ejected him from the ballgame for throwing spitballs. No choice but to discard all his domains and start over. Arguing with the ump ain't gonna work.

>xerxes, it's impossible to give you a clear answer. But it's likely possible that you'll find the answer here at WebmasterWorld. Try a site search for "crosslinking" and read, read, read ...

Right. Only Google knows the answer. However, it's gonna take more than crosslinking 2 domains to have any material effect on PageRank. Thus, while Google never reveals specifics, definitely just 2 domains having one link to each other isn't going to set of the spammer alarm bell at Google.

fathom




msg:43516
 6:41 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pages like "first aid tips for travelers" should be the same in Texas as they are in Florida so I am DEEPLY offended when mrguy says my websites should be banned for life.

As harsh as it may sounds -- your suggested design doesn't add up.

You may not have known about Google, PR but you did vaguely know about link popularity, otherwise I doubt you would have added up 70 web sites and hosted them.

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

It is unfortunate macneil that the lessons learned were hard ones... but just the same, visitors have no need of 70 web sites when one will do. Only a company wishing to shortcut their way to the top need these.

I suspect the duplicate content was the major factor though.

Pegasus




msg:43517
 6:44 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

You may not have been trying to get an illicit benefit, but I'm sure your setup was highly lucrative. The only difference between your site and a spam site was the intent. You weren't trying to spam, but you got all the benefits of spamming.

Google can't tell good intent from bad intent.

Many people here, and many webbers I know, are all dependent on Google.

If you want to be Google's friend again, get a new domain name, re-post all your content there (one time), and set the website up without duplication. Kill everything else.

You could hold onto some penalised domains, so see if they recover. Just empty them, put a note on the front page, and keep an eye on them.

There is no life beyond Google. It's time to be re-born.

my two cents :)

Chicago




msg:43518
 6:46 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a feeling that b) is one of the most mis-understood issues in our business today.

I will give my professional opinion:

a) yes
b) if a site sets up a unique URL, by doing so, the publisher is saying - we have a unique site with unique information its own free standing URL. Contrary to popular believe, a single HUB is not always the answer to multiple URLs under one business umbrella. One reason is for branding. A company that has a new product called XYZ, who is attending a trade show, may be better off (for branding purposes)to tell users to go to XYZ.com to view product information, as opposed to going to makerofXYZ.com. Another example, a company has multiple domains because from a sales standpoint, it is much more advantageous to get someone in Chicago to understand the value of a service when they say go to ChicagoRestaurants.com as opposed go to Restuarant.com and choose the Chicago link. These are to examples as to why one would not have a hub. and There are more.

You could off course have re-directs to elevate the above, but this is a decision that business owners should be able to make themselves and the issue is prevelant.

The ideas of Unique can, in my opinion, be answered by asking Oneself this question.

If my target audience can go to any of my URLs to view the information they are in need of, IT IS NOT UNIQUE and CAN NOT BE CROSSLINKED. If my target audience needs to view a single independant URL to get the information they need because it is not contained on any of my other URLS it is unique and can be crosslinked.

[edited by: Chicago at 6:58 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

Rugles




msg:43519
 6:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

McNeil

You could acomplish everything in your travel info scenerio with one domain. When you set up dozens of domains with very similar content it is called DNS spam.

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