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Off Theme Penalty
Seems to have been applied to my site

 10:06 am on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just noticed something interesting in my logs.

My website, which is mainly about widgets, also had a couple of sections in the 'Store' area - selling magazines & books etc - routine affiliate stuff.

These sections used to get great traffic from Google - in fact, I got more search traffic landing on these pages than to my main 'widgets' section!

I've just checked my logs and realised that around Nov/Dec '04 the traffic to my 'unrelated' affiliate stuff dissapeared completely - I mean zero referrals from Google

I didn't notice at the time, because coincidentally, I picked up more referrals from Yahoo & MSN at about the same time, so the total figure was about the same - and I don't very often scour through my logs in minute detail to see where every referral is coming from.

Also, traffic from Google to my widget related pages seems to have increased slightly.

So is this about 'Themes' - has anyone else noticed a drop in Google traffic to 'Off Theme' areas of their site

Yahoo & MSN continue to provide referrals to both 'Theme' and 'Off Theme' areas.



 2:13 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Going back to Dec04 there was a minor update, which seemed to be a tightening up of the Floride update in Aug04 - which was about themed link text backlines. So this might well be why your main section florished whilst your spin off died because most of your backlinks where relating to the main product. Im not sure there is a theme penalty as such, but your backlinks (where from and link text) do play a large part of your theme(s).


 2:28 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)


<So is this about 'Themes' - has anyone else noticed a drop in Google traffic to 'Off Theme' areas of their site>

In my case drop in Google traffic was in random and affected both theme and "off theme" pages.

Keep in mind that some authority "Theme" sites have been affected too.

At present I'm receiving untargeted traffic from Google compared to that before 3rd February 2005. On the other hand, the traffic from Yahoo is more targeted.


 2:33 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting Sue

The site in question actually has very few backlinks, apart from rubbish scraper sites - I haven't invested much time in developing it to the max (it's not my main site, just an affiliate income sideline)

If I understand correctly, you are saying that it is not the off theme pages themselves that are penalised - it is just that off theme links are discounted.

My off theme pages only have a few scraper site links pointed at them - so if these were discounted, that on its own wouldn't make the massive difference that I am seeing.

Also worth noting - off theme pages still showing the same page rank and backlinks (from my own site) as always - no white or grey bar.


 2:43 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)


Yes, my google traffic to on theme areas has also dropped - over the last 12 months or so.

I did notice a slight improvement at around the time of the update in question that wiped out my off theme areas - but it was only a small upward step as part of a general long term decline.

Most of my main 'on theme' content is from a datafeed - so it's not unusual that google is squeezing it out.

I'm considering removing the off theme areas from my site completely - and putting them on their own domain.


 3:35 pm on Apr 20, 2005 (gmt 0)


<I'm considering removing the off theme areas from my site completely - and putting them on their own domain.>

You might get better organized sites out of it :-)
But I donīt think that it will have great effect on your current situation.

IMHO, Google is moving in new directions than the ones we are used to. Accordingly factors like theme, PR, Google dance etc arenīt going to be the same.

I donīt think that we shall meet another Florida or Allegra but shall be faced with a series/cycles of random minor updates and tweaking. But I could be wrong of course :-)

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