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|The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 3|
#1 yesterday and #31 today
< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
< part one: [webmasterworld.com...] >
First thing I want to clarify is what this pheomenon looks like: your domain used to rank well for a number of searches, and now all those searchs show you at position #31, top of page 4. The very best test to discover if you are infected is this: do a search on your domain name itself - type example.com into the Google search box, a search where you naturally expect to be #1. If you have this particular penalty against you, then even that search will show you at position #31.
No other types of suspected penalties are relevant to this thread. If you are not showing #31 for a search on your domain name, then this discussion does not apply to your site.
This position #31 penalty is not at all widespread. I brought up the topic all over at Las Vegas PubCon this past week -- and I barely found anyone, even in this seriously hooked-up crowd, who had a clue what I was talking about. And for the few who did, it was because they read this thread, not because they're bumping into it on their sites or with their clients.
|Adam commented a bit on google groups but said he would not comment more because of google secrets. |
This seems to be the official comment from Google: no comment. Even with 25 Google employees in attendance at PubCon, no further comments could be heard. As I said, the crowd here had no attention for the topic either.
Although some who suffer this experience appear to be mystified, I sense that the majority have quite a good sense of what's happening - what past marketing approaches may have brought down wrath from Mountain View. It clearly IS associated with practices that were aimed directly at manipulating the Google SERPs, rather than honest marketing practices. Maybe the site owner doesn't know what someone else in the company did in their name, and maybe they're just dissembling.
It seems to me the position #31 penalty is a warning shot -- and a very unusual one at that, quite loud and low across the bow. I believe it will not be a long term feature of the way Google functions. I do not have any sense that new sites will be contracting Google Flu #31 in an ongoing fashion. One morning, not too far from now, we will wake up and not see this.
Until that morning, I think patience and good hygiene in online marketing are the way to go. Scour the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and demand full disclosure from all staff and third parties involved in online marketing/SEO.
[edited by: tedster at 3:49 pm (utc) on April 5, 2007]
You have to be honest and ask yourself these questions.
1. If your an affiliate site, what do you offer that the manufacturer/service site does not offer. I read reviews which is good. May be that is the section you need to concentrate on and exploit. Instead of being the best hotel site, may be the best hotel review site.... Something along those lines.
2. If you did break googles guidelines with links, did you clean them up and submit a reinclusion request?
3. Also, consider the structure of your site and get opinions. A lot of times webmasters build their sites for search engines and not for humans. Take a look at traffic flow. Get opinions and listen to them and consider them. May be even contact some past customers with a survey?
4. When you fix your site, realize it might just take some time. As an alternative during the penalty period, look at free google services such as google base/froogle to get some additional traffic.
Honestly, its just a small penalty, so you can more than likely overcome it quickly. Overcoming a complete ban would be a much different story.
tedster, thank you so much for bringing the issue up at the conference. I do believe you are right that it is a warning sign, but I also believe that it is perhaps somethign written between the lines in the google guidelines that I have yet to decifer.
Thanks again for taking the time to ask around, much appreciated.
I agree totally that not only these reading this post but ALL webmaster should careful read your suggestions.
I am far from giving up.. I daily scour my site, re-read the guidelines to find some clues.. read the boards on clues.. etc.. etc.. it's may seem like a small penalty but after 8 months and probably down to about 5% of original traffic.. and can be disasterous.
Mark my words people.. I will overcome this..
[edited by: AustrianOak at 7:21 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2006]
thank you for that.
I think you have encapsulated this really well
I have been thinking for a while that it is a warning of some kind and I have been going over our site page by page as well as bringing in colleagues that have done some "marketing" to get to the bottom of it.
If I find anything I can hoestly say has caused this I will post it here, as it may be useful to others.
In an ideal world a nod from google as to the cause would be brilliant, I think they can see they are not dealing with site owners that are, what seems to be the going term, "black hat" at heart.
Avalanche, your sites the one with frames? yes/no.
Just wondering, why it is you chose to have frames?
If I got the site right, I gotta say, don't you think you pushed it a bit tooooooogle far?
To give you an example of what Im talking about. I sell widgets. Red widgets blue widgets pink widgets.
Now if I also sold comapny A's widgets,
I'd sell Red widgets, blue widgets, pink widgets, Company A Red widgets, Company A blue widgets, Company A pink widgets.
Now if I also sold comapny B's widgets,
I'd sell Red widgets, blue widgets, pink widgets, Company A Red widgets, Company A blue widgets, Company A pink widgets, Company B Red widgets, Company B blue widgets, Company B pink widgets.
Now if I also sold comapny B's widgets,
I'd sell Red widgets, blue widgets, pink widgets, Company A Red widgets, Company A blue widgets, Company A pink widgets, Company B Red widgets, Company B blue widgets, Company B pink widgets,
Company C Red widgets, Company C blue widgets, Company C pink widgets.
Now if I wanted to "push it a bit tooooo far?"
I'd sell cheap widgets in my cheap bargain widgets store where you can get widgets accessories for Red widgets, blue widgets, pink widgets, Company A Red widgets, Company A blue widgets, Company A pink widgets, Company B Red widgets, Company B blue widgets, Company B pink widgets,Cheap Red widgets, bargain blue widgets, pink widgets accecories, Company A Red widgets, Company A blue widgets, Company A pink widgets,Cheap Company B Red widgets, Cheap Company B blue widgets, deals on Company B pink widgets, Company C Red widgets, Company C blue widgets, Company C pink widgets.
And I'd put all that and more on the home page, oh and also in the no frames tag. Along with all the other companies ABCDEF...
OOh no sorry i'm wrong, I would do that in a million years.
Never got past the home page, as I thought your problem was obvious.
c'mon. If I did get the site right... As much of a fan of giving the lava lamp a good kick now and agian...pleeeease.
Tis just an opinion.
But If I was the baboon dave that big G hired to penalise sites then I'd be hitting the big shiny red button.
if thats not the site
whoops sorry :p
good post, made me laugh.
Just clear matters up I'll mail you the URL,
Your critism is most welcome.
If you have got the right site, I completely agree with you if you're talking about the meta tags - these are being cleaned up.
Anyway, let me know.
My site has been hit for the first time since 6/27 and it's now beginning to make sense. When I was a newbie-SEO I added many links to unrelated sites of questionable quality. After 6/27 I removed half of them and was rewarded (?) a month later. About 8 days ago, I got a PR6 link and a couple of days later my site was deranked on most key-phrases.
It looks like it's Google's policy to prevent PageRank to flow to low quality / bad neighborhood sites, so they penalize the PageRank of the linking sites. I think it was the PR6 link that tripped the filter.
(speculation:) My number one positions are intact, because on those terms Google has gathered enough user data, which renders PageRank irrelevant.
Does anyone know how often data refreshes occur at the moment? After 6/27 I read a Googler (MC?) say that they were comtemplating once every 7 days.
[edited by: Martin40 at 10:55 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2006]
Thanks for your excellent post and thanks for going to bat for us at Pubcon. I think your comments are right on. Google is evidently not going to comment on this penalty. Posters in this forum have given them plenty of bait and they have taken none of it. I have asked G for 9 months to analyze my site and give me feedback and have received zippo.
That said, it appears that Austrian Oak and I are the longest sufferers of this -30 penalty that regularly post. Approximately 9 months and 11 months respectively. Therefore, for many of us it has indeed worked into a long term penalty.
Whatever caused my penalty, and I have researched it for 11 months non stop, appears to have been caused by the outside programmers I hired last fall. Everything was fine until they put up a mirror development site in November 2005 causing duplicate content. But that has been gone 10 months +.
We keep finding things they screwed up, including hidden text two days ago. So I am now ditching all the work I paid them handsomely for and going back to my basic webpage.
I give all this background to say this: If indeed these outside programmers got me penalized, all Google had to do was respond to my emails, reinclusion requests, or send me a sticky mail. And the problem would have been fixed immediately. As it is, I have been scratching around in the dark, trying to figure out what the programmers messed up while I am not myself a programmer. I am a webmaster that has always done whitehat SEO (at least to my knowledge).
So the acid test is fairness. Has Google been fair in notifying webmasters of these penalties? I think not.
As I have said before, anyone so penalized deserves notification after no more than 6 months. Then if he does not fix the problem and fly straight, he shouldn't just be penalized. He should be permanently banned. Once again I volunteer for this program.
In penalty and moved to 34th spot today on our keyword term searches and back to #1 on example.com
back to #3 instead to #1 on example.com
|I do not have any sense that new sites will be contracting Google Flu #31 in an ongoing fashion. One morning, not too far from now, we will wake up and not see this. |
You are right. Simple reason for this: As someone said before, Google have just started to 'muddy the water'. This is their way of dealing with the disaffected webmaster problem.
They are saying " why bother doing anything for these guys? They broke the rules. Sure they might have fixed up their sites now, but how much effort is it going to be for us to restore or not restore on a case by case basis? Far easier for us to get rid of any negative press by changing our algorithm to spread the ranking of their pages around a bit. They gonna rename it a 31-50 penalty now?"
My site has sat with a clear case of -31 penalty for just on seven months now. All of a sudden my domain ranks #43 instead of #31 where it has been steady for the whole period. Other key words that pre-penalty were No#1 or #2 and post penalty were also stable at #31 are now wavering around the 4th and 5th pages.
I am pessimistic about any fix, as I have spent months going through my site with a fine-toothed comb, submitted reinclusions etc etc there is no communcation ever from these guys, they don't comment on the -31 penalty, no do I think they ever will.
Who was it that just said
Er , wrong on both counts. It might as well be a complete ban, how much traffic do you think we get at #31 as opposed to #1 or #2? Try less than 3%. Overcome it quickly? Well it has been 7 months, how many -31 penalty cases do you know that have been revived 'quickly'?
|Honestly, its just a small penalty, so you can more than likely overcome it quickly. |
Guys.. obviously for those of us that have been hit for 6+ months, this is a MAJOR penalty with devastating results.
jwc2349, it's good to hear that you may have found hidden text.. only for the reasons that that might be the cure in your case. Please do keep us informed, as I will and we all should of any progress. We will overcome this.
I think the one answer atleast that I would like to have is whether the penalty is removed manually, automatically perhaps with monthly scans of the "penalized" stuff, or whether there is even an out?
I am today sitting in the mid 40's for "domain"
[edited by: AustrianOak at 5:07 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2006]
A major penalty is a ban...
How many of you have realized that the penalty existed 6 months agp? It seems like it has just been uncovered recently and reasons why it might have happened have really come to light in the past few weeks.
>> A major penalty is a ban...
what's the difference between a total ban and getting 10 visitors a day? Not much
Well, I can tell you a difference, not being in the index. Try getting a site back into the google index once its completely out.
At least you still have indexed pages that can recover.
This is true, it is a world of difference.
Just got to hope that by changing what we think caused this will remove the penalty, if you give up hope there is nothing left.
Appi, big thank you for pointing out problems we have, we're working on them now.
Still got a feeling that off site aspects have more of a role to play in this penalty, such as links from bad neighbourhoods.
I say this as I'm trying to find a common cause to this.
Although, again there may not be one, it could just as easily be applied if your site falls into a big list of categories.
Right now, no body knows and if they do, they're not telling.
Tedsters post was nice and positive.
>> Still got a feeling that off site aspects have more of a role to play in this penalty, such as links from bad neighbourhoods.
IMO, this is about links that goog sees as clear attempts to cheat, and thin affil or not useful content. I think it's a combo. If you have links from well known sites goog is much more liberal, but if most of the links are from questionable sources /exchanges /sitewides and all you have is variations of "City Keyword" typed over and over with a link to an affiliate, google will say, why not put the affiliate site in, and leave the rest out?
regading very few people not knowing about this penalty: they might not have figured out the #31 thing yet, they just see it as a penalty. On the other hand, maybe it's rare.
"A major penalty is a ban...
How many of you have realized that the penalty existed 6 months agp? It seems like it has just been uncovered recently and reasons why it might have happened have really come to light in the past few weeks."
Did you make up the definition? To me.. dropping down to under 5% of original google hits is a major penalty. A ban is a ban.
Also, I uncovered this from the early beginning, we (the penalized) have just realized that is it a commonality in the recent months. I have yet to uncover or find anyone to uncover a reason why it might have happened. We need someone to recover, then we can make conclusions.
[edited by: AustrianOak at 6:11 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2006]
"Still got a feeling that off site aspects have more of a role to play in this penalty, such as links from bad neighbourhoods."
You might have something there.. I have litteraly 100's of not 1000's of scrappers stealing my content, then linking to practically every page of my site. I find new ones daily..
I would hope google doesn't penalize for this as it's giving other websites power to destroy ours.
|A major penalty is a ban... |
No, a ban is a small penalty.
At a ban, You receive an email with exact accusations.
You know exactly what rule is violated.
You can correct Your website, file Your reinclusion request and after some weeks, You are back.
That's a loose of some weeks and maybe some days of work to correct all the problems of a site.
Compare this to several month loose and
several month resarch what could be wrong and
several weeks of work to correct all real and imagined problems
Let me get this right, if you get banned you get mailed to confirm you are banned and they give you the reasons as to why you have been banned?
I.e they give you the opportunity to put right was has gone wrong?
I am curious on that as well.. perhaps it's best to just fill up my index with 1000 hidden keywords, wait for a ban.. FINALLY get some communication with google.. and ta-da.. back! :)
|Let me get this right, if you get banned you get mailed to confirm you are banned and they give you the reasons as to why you have been banned? |
I.e they give you the opportunity to put right was has gone wrong?
Exactly! You receive an email from the deathcorps that Your site will be removed from the index and all information how to be reincluded.
It took me 2 weeks to be reincluded and had 3 further weeks with about 20% reduced Google traffic.
It's better to be 5 times banned, than all this June 27th horror and the hunt after the text of the 11th commandement which caused to be in hell.
I think the difference between the +30 ban and the total removal ban, is
(1) PLus 30 happens when you've got major fundamentals wrong with your site, without outright obvious outright ban stuff like hidden text.
(2) Outright ban, is hidden text etc,
You can easily remvoe the hidden text, and get reinlcuded, but its much harder to fix the +30 problems becuase they are usually so entrenched.
Google is saying, look, we can see you didn't do something REALLY obviosuly bad, but feel your site content, is just not worthy of being well ranked.
Sort out your content,(duplicate content and thin affiliate), make sure your site is worthy of all those incoming links you've generated through exchanges(and likely please remove them too if they are obviosuly #*$!).
AN outright ban, is for a breech of googles rules you can simply fix. A +30, is when your site is just not very good in terms of content, and likely you've done a few too many link exchanges.
dupe..see message below.
[edited by: walkman at 9:34 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2006]
I agree with you. I have two questions:
1. Has anyone had this removed by Goog via reinclude? If so, what did you do to fix?
2. Has anyone gotten over this automatically by changing the information and letting googlebot sort it out? If so, how long did it take from the time you changed the content?
walkman, that is the key question.. how does one return? We are yet to see someone that has returned from this penalty.
[edited by: AustrianOak at 9:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2006]
For those who searched for their domain.com and DIDN'T rank where they should be and not at #31 either...
I just checked the 30+ clients sites that I manage and only 3 of them were not ranking #1 for their domain.com. Maybe the following can help you discern why your site is not ranking well.
Two of the sites I checked were ranking #4-5. Both have other sites using the same name although the domain name is different and sites with their domain.com in the title (this is a sure sign of inadequate links). The third site had most of the text on his home page copied recently and is ranking #27 for his domain.com.
ALLLLLL 3 of these sites don't have enough quality links pointing at their sites and barring getting rid of scrapers they have a chance to recuperate with more links.
Soooo. Check your sites for all the above along with watchin for an eliminating scrapers and maybe they will recuperate.
Lorel, can you share some tips how to elimante scrapers (besides reporting them). Is there anything I can do on my site? How does thr base href work?
[edited by: AustrianOak at 12:41 am (utc) on Nov. 20, 2006]
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