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Allegra Update - #1 site penalized by google
How to get back in the index

 12:10 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I own a site which ranked #1 for some good keywords for the last 2 years. We always follow the google webmaster guidelines. We don't cheat, we add always fresh content and we have collected lots of "non reciprocal" links in the past.

But if I try to find this site in the datacenters, it is nowhere in the 58 datacenters.

How can webmasters get back into the google index?



 7:08 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I fully understand and I don't know what to do either.

I have had sites ranking # for "years" by following all the rules, no duplicate websites with the same content etc.

Then come January, I went to "0" in rankings and my staff had to find other ways to earn a living while we try to fix this and it just makes you frustrated when nothing is said from Google on anything about how to fix this.

For a while now, there was an insider checking my sites when I asked to let me know if anything was wrong or needed to be changed. Again, they said nothing is wrong and yet none of my sites have come back.

They all rank 5 and have exchanges or are linked too by the correct partners.

I don't know what to do.


 7:26 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's a widespread problem, so aside from "do nothing until Google fixes their problem", you can hunt down content thieves and linking pages that could be causing hijacking.


 9:52 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

But there must be anyone outside there who knows how to get back into the index. How did people do this in the past when their sites got penalized or banned? Is there a special way?


 10:47 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's not a penalty or ban.


 10:52 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Has happened to me for two (so far) of my 7 sites... I am scared to look now :-(

All sites are clean, no ads, popups, no spam, no nothing just pages with a bit of graphics and text, some css thats it.

All sites totally relevent, the results now even below the #1 spot are bad.

This is the worst update i have seen for years :-(

What is causing it? Is Googleguy still here?


 10:56 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

"it's your fault. Your SEO skills suck."
"You tried to cheat and Google's PHDs are smarter than you"
"Diversify, don't blame Google if you can't run a business"
"Follow Brett's guidelines and stop blaming google for your failings"

get ready for these comments and more from people who haven't been hurt, yet.


 11:01 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google is doing an amazing job of wealth destruction for me right now.

Not only have they clubbed me in the SERPS, but they suddenly slashed the payout for AdSense by a huge amount, seemingly.

I'm betting they announce record earnings soon.


 11:03 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

No one seems to know what to do, but please, if someone does find a solution, please post it here.


 11:08 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing some sites come back slowly. For instance, there is a major political blog. NAME.BLOGSERVICE.com. But the blog wasn't coming up for "NAME" search. The guy even made a post on his blog complaining about that, blaming it on a right-wing conspiracy. ;-)

It came back, now it is #1 and #2 indented for his term. I think a lot of sites are going to trickle back in.

However, people who were riding high on link exchange aren't going to get their high SERPs back. That was the point of Allegra after all.


 11:53 pm on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

We are getting some odd results.

Some pages on the same URL have dropped lower, but others have not moved. PR of the pages seems to have no relationship. A few have totally disappeared, but a few that never showed up before are now at least in the first 100.

It seems like Google is doing a lot of thrashing right now, so not going to panic until it settles down.


 10:52 am on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Walkman" seems like you haven't read the post exactly. I've said that I always follow the google webmaster guidelines and I never cheat in any way.
But thanks for your post anyway.

And in my oppinion I can see very bad results in the serps and I do not mean the serps in my business, no, I mean the serps when I try to find normal things in the world wide web.

For example: If I try to search for "online casino", google is showing me poker and sportbook websites instead of the clear results in the past. Additional they show me subsites like pub.xyz.co.uk/abc/def/lma.html instead of full domains in such a high competitive field. And I can see this in every business when I try to find something.

Does anyone think this is ok? :)


 11:38 am on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Walkman" seems like you haven't read the post exactly. I've said that I always follow the google webmaster guidelines and I never cheat in any way.

I think Walkman was being ironic.

Like many people a few of my sites have been kicked by this latest update. What seems wierd to me is how the sites have gone from top ten to invisible.
Granted some of these sites are kind of affiliate sites BUT the content is often original and edited. What suprises me is sites that are far more brazen, i.e. just spit out the same content from the same suppliers are still in the top 10?!
This makes me think that my sites aren't being penalized or banned.

The other thing is my stats aren't going down. This could mean one of 2 things (IMHO). People are using other SEs or there are 10 times as many people looking for my products!


 1:46 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

"That was the point of Allegra after all."
How can you be so sure this was the point of Allegra? Do you have consistant data to prove this? I have read many conflicting bits of information on Allegra and didn't realize anyone knew for sure what it was all about. Please share or direct to this info.


 2:19 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm sure Allegra did a lot of things, but one of them was to try to whack down sites that got high in the SERPs only through aggressive, indiscriminate link exchange. For a while there, piling up hundreds if not thousands of link exchanges was effective. It amazes me how long Google was rewarding such stuff, and I'm sure there are still benefits to it. But it isn't as successful now as it was before.

That is based on the areas I follow, where such sites were doing great for a while, and now have fallen back. Not disappeared, but fallen back.


 2:30 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I moaned like this 18 months ago when my only site was blasted by Florida - and 18 months later still is - trust me you wont find any magical answer here or anywhere else - its all part of the highs and lows of relying on Google. So after a few weeks of moaning and hoping someone like Google Guy might take any notice I did what I think is the best thing you can do.

Keep building your site - build other sites, diversify in what your doing and forget about Google - if you come back you come back, if you have checked that you are within the guidelines then walk away and concentrate on other sites. Trust me there's no point in #*$!ing about Google being broke, or rubbish results it won't make any difference to your current situation. So save a few weeks and get busy, take it as a challenge and you'll soon be back up there in a much more powerful position.


 2:34 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

>my staff had to find other ways to earn a living while we try to fix this

So your staff was depending on a Google ranking to earn a living?
Hmm, I wouldn't sleep at night if it were me.


 3:11 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have been reading about this Allegra Update and sites going out of rankings and a lot of people discussing why and why nots...

I have a very simple point: There is something called an Hilltop Algorithm. Google had this patented few years back and it was known that they are implementing it for the most competing phrases. I feel in this update they have increased the number of phrases for which they apply Hilltop, and hence the results.

The Hilltop algorithm is pretty easy to understand, you don't need a Phd in Algo/Comp.Sci, all you need to do is read it carefully and have some idea of what an algorithm is :-)


 3:18 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I guess you didn't my post carefully either :). I was joking. I said expect these posts from people who haven't been hurt by Allegra. Walkman is on your side


 4:04 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


Google is broke its that simple.

There is nothing you can do to get your rankings back through whitehat seo techniques.

If you want to walk on the dark side, blog back link the hell out of the site over the next 4 weeks and you'll come back.

If you don't want to walk on the dark side, forget about Google and focus on Yahoo and MSN.


 4:15 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

my staff had to find other ways to earn a living while we try to fix this

I can't imagine the look on my employees faces if I were to say "We lost our rankings in Google, so I'll have to lay you off now."

Seems like an aeful lot of panis for what will probably be a temporary glitch for most (white hat) sites that have been affected. I'd give it 8 weeks or so before putting up the "going out of business" signs.

There is nothing you can do to get your rankings back through whitehat seo techniques.


If you want to walk on the dark side, blog back link the hell out of the site over the next 4 weeks and you'll come back.

Sounds like a great short-term solution. I hope all my competitors take your advice ;-)


 6:44 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

>what will probably be a temporary glitch

I think it's already starting to sort out, actually. I've noticed more of the author fan sites that were mysteriously not showing up for a search on that author's name starting to show up again. My personal page still doesn't show up if you search for my name or the title of the site, which shows the problem is still in existence in at least some places, but maybe they're fixing the glitch one domain name at a time. The loss of a few personal webpages from the Google Index would hardly hurt its authority, after all. But it'd be a heck of a shame to lose all those author sites. I hope that the trend of their returning continues. *crosses fingers*


 7:08 pm on Feb 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is really painful for webmasters that relies on google traffic. Everytime google place those site scrappers into supplemental results, new ones appear.

Right now there is this chap that register sites, numbers the domain names like 1-19 and then copy contents of others in it, all similiar in design and wordings but not detected by google.

If he don't goes into supplemental results, the I would have guessed the original content owner and other scrappers are.

I have a site that has around 30% of the pages in the supplemental results and with this update, almost 90% are now listed as supplemental results. And you can't get out of it even if you change the content completely. When everyone else is noticing googlebot crawling, there were no sign of googlebot going through those pages on this particular site.

Perhaps, the only way to stop this madness would be to qualify sites before allowing them to display adsense ads, because apparently people are doing it solely for adsense money.


 3:26 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Its the same for my niche.
The site that is ranked tenth is a recall that was written in 1998.
Good Results in the serps?


 11:29 pm on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

A competitor has bumped me off of #1 position, which I've held for freaking ever. Not with just one site, but he suddenly has three sites in positions 1, 5 and 7. All are for the same company, different URLs all on the same server. Prior to Allegra, he wasn't even on the radar. Although I'm searching from the USA, his sites are in Indonesia, and now dominating the serps.

I analyzed his stuff a little. On-page text content is...whatever. High density for a few keywords but nothing too extraordinary. Backlinks: I have just short of 9000, all pretty much relevant and legit. He has circa 1100. (I searched using both link: and "+www.site.+com".

What he does have, though, is zillions and zillions of links OUT. By and large most of the links are completely, utterly irrelevant to his site, like, I dunno--say if an Alzheimer's site has links to dog food, calligraphy, and blacksmithing- no connection whatsoever. But all those links out...Maybe Google is valuing outbound links really heavily now, figuring those sites are authority sites or something.

Just throwing it out there.


 11:58 pm on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I have just short of 9000, all pretty much relevant and legit"

care to share the secret?


 1:32 am on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Umm...if I am to be totally sincere: nope.
I'm a big believer in honest sharing in this community but one does need healthy boundaries too, and need not expose all one's privates and guts to all & sundry. A hint-
Ever hear that one where a young man asks someone how to get to Carnegie Hall? The reply: "Practice, practice, practice."
I worked really hard on those links. Personal contact with webmasters, obsession, long days and nights at the computer. Plus (here's your 2nd hint) submissions to 'stuff'. That's all I can say.


 1:54 am on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Practice, practice, practice."

I was being somewhat sarcastic. I doubt you got 9000 relevant links by practicing. Maybe ROS ones yeah...


 4:37 am on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Depends what his site's about. If it was, like, a Harry Potter merchandise site, he could probably get 9000 backlinks just by plugging his site tirelessly on all the thousands of online communities devoted to Harry Potter for the past five years. There's a lot of kids with websites out there. ;-)


 5:43 am on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nope. No purchased links unlesss you count a few minor one-time submission fees, and no ROS (run-of-site) links that I'm aware of, or more specifically, none that I contracted with anyone to get. If any ROS is going on, it happened without any input from me. Every one of those circa 9000 backlinks, every one of them, is the result of either: a direct one-on-one exchange by personalized eMail correspondence with another webmaster (or his link exchange template) or: organic propagation after site launch, without my participation, setup or knowledge. No link schemes either, not a one. And I'm an eCommerce site, not a portal or authority. Whether you choose to believe it or not it's the truth. All I know is, I did my homework and now Google shows me with a hair under 9000 backlinks, I kid you not.

No blog spamming, no affiliates. I'm telling you, I was obsessive and did nothing else for a month or so. I used a wireless laptop to work from bed, working 16-18 hour days, weekends too. I researched everything, way down the rabbit hole. I researched my competitors' backlinks. And those backlinks' backlinks, and those backlinks' backlinks' backlinks. Every supplemental, vaguely related keyword's top serps' backlinks. Like microscopic dissection, no stone unturned, obsessively.

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