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The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 5
#1 yesterday and #31 today
jwc2349




msg:3213384
 3:30 pm on Jan 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

<continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >
< part one: [webmasterworld.com...] >

Still penalized for 56 consecutive weeks now. Domain name search swings between 33-45. However, sadly the targeted search terms I follow so closely and ranked #1 for almost all of 2005, now turn up from #283 to #950. This occurred last Friday. They used to be in the same #31-#45 spot.

We have followed everything Adam has pontificated about:

1) make your site squeakly clean. We did. On November 20 we ditched all the crap the hired programmers put up last year which apparently triggered the penalty.
2) provide unique and compelling content. 78,000 new, unique content pages in the past 21 days! Site is now 95% new, unique content--something Google says they love.
3) ask yourself this question: "...why would someone choose my site over others in the same field..." That is an easy one. We provide a unique visual search method. So we are definitely not run of the mill.
4) then file a reinclusion request. Filed on 12/14/06.
5) et al

But Adam also stated: "... it would be extremely rare for a site to be penalized for years..." Looks like we may be that extremely rare occurrence.

FYI, Google continues to crawl aggressively and has since October 5.

Lastly, while Google says that they listen to webmasters and provide communication via their webmaster central and notify webmasters of reasons for penalties or impending penalties, they can't hold a candle to MSN.

I notified MSN in August that I thought I had been unfairly penalized. They answered back in about 10 days stating that I was right, that I had indeed been unfairly penalized and that I would be seeing a return to the serps in a couple of weeks.

They lived up to their word. I did return to their index and guess where I rank and have ranked for months for my targeted search terms. #1, #2, #3 or at least page 1 or 2 for all my targeted search terms (such as <edited>). The SAME EXACT search terms I used to rank #1 for in Google.

Makes you wonder how much Google really does care about correcting an apparent error. Sure doesn't seem like they live up to their promises of communication. Heck even convicted murderers come up for a parole hearing every few years.

<Sorry, no specific search terms.
See Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]>

[edited by: tedster at 3:49 pm (utc) on April 5, 2007]

 

shredder




msg:3251814
 10:23 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Still the same since August 11.2006. Tried everything. Nothing works. In Germany more then 90% use Google as their searchengine. It's like been killed. :( All pages between 28-59. Before August 11. I had 6000 Visitors dayly. Now 250.
I don't know the reason.

northweb




msg:3251844
 10:54 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

heck, i came close today just throwing in the towl!

With our 2 main domains buried I'm thinking of leaving them. We have over 6 years of time toast!

Our option is to start working on a site that is not penalized but will need a good year or 2 for development.

any suggestions? Spend time fixing and maybe never getting out or start over.

oh hum.

daveblake




msg:3251857
 11:13 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have started moving some pages over to an underused domain (I should mention this is an old - 5yr+ domain) and applying 301 redirects from the old pages.

I am getting these pages listed in the first page of results for SOME of the keywords that used to rank highly. I am surprised how well this works as I understand that a 301 redirect does not transfer page rank.

The problem in getting that extra mile is due to the new domain having bugger all quality inbound links. To rank on the very competitive key terms means building up all the links again. This is an enormous, nearly impossible task. To get the same quality links is so much harder now than it used to be (take dmoz as one example).

tedster




msg:3252122
 6:10 am on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am surprised how well this works as I understand that a 301 redirect does not transfer page rank.

That's not my understanding, or my experience. PR and backlink influence do not seem to transfer immediately, but they do transfer eventually. I assume there's some set of heuristics that needs to be satisfied first, so it may not transfer in every case.

nippi




msg:3263044
 2:05 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Confirming people, the Adam lasnick comments.

(1) Must abide by googles tos.
(2) Offer something not offered by other sites.

Is the key to getting out of this.

If you've artificially inflated your links, remove them.
If you've got affiliate content... are you better than other sites? Providing something unique on the net? You’ve got to offer something more, to stay in with affiliate content.
Check your CMS; min was continuing to serve pages with no content, thus giving me a huge dupe content penalty.

Though I've only viewed a few examples of other site that have been hit by the +30 penalty, none were as bad as mine. No black hat stuff on my behalf, but lots of breaches of googles TOS. Big link directory, lots of bad html, 100% affiliate content.

Fix everything, but it was the ensuring my site offered something really good, that the other sites did not offer, that finally tipped me over the line.

So have a good hard look at your site. Is it the same as all the others? If YES, forget trying to get this penalty removed. Have you added something really different and useful? Submit a reinclusion request and explain it to Google.

CainIV




msg:3263076
 3:41 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

So have a good hard look at your site. Is it the same as all the others? If YES, forget trying to get this penalty removed.

In the real workd this sounds great but isnt true whatsoever. The top 50 sites in 4 different genres I work in have rankings, and many of look the same, selling about 95% of the same products.

It is of course a good guideline to follow, but rarely has anything to do with penalization or lack of ranking unless content is duplicated elsewhere or there are canonical issues / technical issues.

walkman




msg:3263083
 3:58 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

cain,
not all get caught right away--assuming that those sites are as you said, identical enough.

tedster




msg:3263100
 5:12 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread has been going for quite a while, and I'm wondering how much the phenomenon has changed. For example, in the beginning site urls that used to rank at the top were pretty much pinned exactly at #31. Now people are discussing a range of 28 to 59.

One more hallmark of the original phenomenon -- a remarkably precise symptom, in fact: a search for the domain name itself also returned the actual domain at #31. Is this still the case? It isn't for the examples I was monitoring. They haven't returned to the expected #1 position for a search on example.com, but they have moved all over, mostly further down

I'd like to be sure that we are all still discussing the same thing -- and that it is just one thing. Maybe one thing whose face is changing, but not a mash-up of many types of ranking troubles.

walkman




msg:3263118
 6:27 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

tedster,
Gog changed the ranking. On my, previously, penalized site it changed to the range you specified soon after we started talking about it here. Same penalty, just randomized the # a bit.

AustrianOak




msg:3263128
 6:50 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

walkman is dead on, as it's been noted in the past. One clear thing is that the domain will never (along with keyword search results) rank anything higher then #28.

Reaching my 10th month anniversary :)

[edited by: AustrianOak at 6:51 am (utc) on Feb. 25, 2007]

nippi




msg:3263151
 8:34 am on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cain

You've missed the point. If the top 100 sites are using the same base data... why are the ones at the top... at the top?

In the amrket one of my sites was hit, there are many thousands of sites using the same data, the ones that are at the top take the data, and add to it.

Rankings, ratings, comparisons, people who liked this also liked this, thes things are within 10klms of that etc.

You'd be surprised how much you can "improve", a standard data set.

jwc2349




msg:3263298
 4:30 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nippi is right on the money, based on my personal experience.

Millions of sites in my travel market feed off basically the same data. Accordingly, it is very hard to differentiate yourself. Therefore, Matt commented "...what value are your adding..." And he was exactly right in asking that question. Unless your site somehow takes that common data and adds value, then why should Google give you any credence?

It wasn't until I replied to his comment, filed another reinclusion request, and proved that I was adding unique value, did I exit this 13 month penalty.

1script




msg:3263307
 4:58 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

@ jwc2349


It wasn't until I replied to his comment, filed another reinclusion request, and proved that I was adding unique value, did I exit this 13 month penalty.

Your actions were based on the firm assumption that duplicate content was the issue that tripped the penalty filter (or attracted human reviewer attention) in the first place.

In my case I cannot make that assumption or at least it would seem really odd and unfair if it was really THE reason. I do use bits and pieces of content available on dozen other sites, too. However, I am providing a valuable service - the very access to that information - with arguably more added services than others. Additionally, I am helping in creating of that data unlike other people that don't seem to suffer much from using the same data.

Anyways, the purpose of this Sunday morning rant is to say that it is rather difficult to know for sure that duplicate content is THE reason and so I would caution against calling yourselves copycats and turning yourselves in without carefully considering the possibility of making things worse than they should be.

1script




msg:3263308
 5:01 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

@tedster

31 turned into sliding scale 25-55 almost immediately after this phenomenon has been discovered here. Maybe two of three weeks after the first part of this thread has been started.

But it sure makes for a catchy thread title! :-) So I'd still call it "Minus Thirty"

walkman




msg:3263525
 9:14 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

jwc2349,
are you afraid of getting hit again by the algo, or do you think they override that manually /give "immunity" for spam related penalties?

mirrornl




msg:3263550
 10:04 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

@tedster
pinned at 28 indeed

tedster




msg:3263561
 10:14 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

My main thought is that the algo would not be likely to automatically send the domain down 3 pages for a search on the domain name itself. This symptom feels to me as though the penalty is manually placed, and therefore manually removed -- as others have already commented. My suspicion is that involvment with certain specific link promotion programs might trigger a flag which a human inspection then verifies. I'm very willing (even eager) for someone to say that this can't apply to their case, especially if they are certain.

So I am wondering if those who still suffer from this "minus thirty" ranking issue also see it for their domain name search -- placing example.com in the search box.

nippi




msg:3263585
 10:44 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

1script

I am of the opinion, that:-

(1) Reason for penalty is trust breach, you have somehow notified gogole you are trying to rank higher than your site deserves.

(2) Google does a manual confirm that site appears not worthy of its rankings.

(3) WHatever the reason for the penalty, to get out, you must show attempts to rank higher than your site deserves have been removed, and that you now deserve any ranking you get.

(4) If your site has similar content to other sites, before the penalty is lfited, you must show you have value added.

(5) Helps greatly, if in your reinclusion request, you explain in detail how you have value added, and compare your site with other sites in your market.

jwc2349




msg:3263625
 12:02 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Once again I think Nippi is correct. Re-read his comments all ye -30 sufferers. His comments are right on the money.

Tedster, I feel certain the penalty is manually applied and there is absolutely no doubt that it has to be removed manually. In my case, there is no doubt whatsoever.

1script: Duplicate content was not the reason I was penalized. I thought that at one time, but that opinion was erroneous. I was penalized because Google thought I was spamming them. And in hindsight, I can see why they would think that.

Walkman, I am not at all concerned about getting hit again by the algorithm because the -30 penalty is not algo-tripped. It is manually applied. For proof of this statement I offer this: within a few days of the penalty being lifted, my targeted search terms returned to page 1 or page 2 in the serps. Some as high as #1 again. And they have remained there for 6 weeks now.

What I have to do to receive even better rankings is to regain Google's trust factor. And that is going to take time. Probably more time than I would like. But Google can be assured that my site is totally trustworthy. They'll just have to see for themselves.

1script




msg:3263654
 12:52 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

@jwc2349

Congrats on your success getting out and staying out for considerable time.

Just a quick question: how quickly Google acted on your reinclusion request?

jwc2349




msg:3263668
 1:29 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

1script:

My last reinclusion request was acted on within a couple of days. However, several things lead up to that as I have documented in various places but I am not sure I elaborated on it here at WebmasterWorld. So here is the chronology:

1) On Thursday January 11, I commented in one of Matt Cutts' blogs asking him what someone who had done everything that Google had recommended but still suffered a penalty after 13 months could do to get back in Google's good graces.
2) That night he replied to me, pointing out that my site did not offer anything unique and asking why anyone would choose my site over thousands of others. He also suggested that I ask for "tough love" in the Google forums.
3) On Friday morning, I replied back to him, pointing out what we had done to make the site unique and why my visual search technology was indeed unique.
4) Later that morning I filed a reinclusion request, pointed out the measures we had taken to clean up the site and make it different than other hotel sites. I also told them again about our unique visual search technology and asked them to take another look. I reiterated that my site was much different than other hotel sites and deserved reinclusion.
5) On Monday, I posted to Google Groups, asking for "tough love" that Matt had suggested.

On Tuesday, January 16, the penalty was removed.

walkman




msg:3263734
 2:44 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

cool jwc,
I wish I had done the submission ages earlier; I would have passed them. I assumed that the algo would pick up the changes. I have added plenty of unique features so I am in a decent shape for manual reviews I think...I was worried about an algo thing.

MY rankigns however did not jump up right away. It took about a week to rank for my home page keywords and now I don't rank well for other pages, but my traffic is getting better by the day so I hope to be there soon.

CainIV




msg:3263794
 5:03 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

You've missed the point. If the top 100 sites are using the same base data... why are the ones at the top... at the top?

No, I didnt miss the point at all. I assumed you meant each website offered close to the same services, products and information. I did not know you were talking about duplicating base data on your website and trying to rank for this.

I would think most members here already understand the importance of not using, verbatim, base data that other websites use, no?

nippi




msg:3263875
 7:35 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cain, apologies if I offended, intention was only to emphasise, if those 50 sites in 4 genres seem all the same...

a. there has been no trust breach, or they've not been busted. The sites that remain, may well have duplicate content, minimal differentiation, but the penalty is applied for trust breach.

b. Once penalised, if your sites suffer from sameness, you must remove the sameness to get back in. You've got to show you are BETTER somehow than what is there, offering something they don't offer.

MrSpeed




msg:3264156
 2:16 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't believe the penalty is manual. My site that was banned did not rank for any particular keyword and I'm certain it was was flying below the radar of just about any search query. My site is not a travel site. It also did not offer anything unique that could not easily be found on 20 other sites.

CainIV




msg:3264663
 8:38 pm on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cain, apologies if I offended, intention was only to emphasise, if those 50 sites in 4 genres seem all the same...

Not at all, none taken, this kind of discusssion is great actually :P

"b. Once penalised, if your sites suffer from sameness, you must remove the sameness to get back in. You've got to show you are BETTER somehow than what is there, offering something they don't offer."

I would definitely agree with this one wholheartedly...

[edited by: CainIV at 8:39 pm (utc) on Feb. 26, 2007]

dangerman




msg:3266909
 6:24 pm on Feb 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

The phenomenon still exists, it is not a mashup of other penalties etc as the rankings all stay within #28 to #59. Including yourdomain.com.

I too think Nippi has a valid point. It is not enough to clear the Google transgressions. Once penalised it has to be a cut above the rest.

We have noticed our original content has been copied a lot, which obviously does not help. One of the things I am doing now is emailing webmasters or changing our copy (shouldnt have to but sometimes easier than filing DMCA complaints). There is an interesting thread on this at [webmasterworld.com...]

northweb




msg:3271968
 10:34 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just Checking In! Jumping up and down...my site has moved up from 32 to 29...Wild! At this rate i should be looking good by 2010.

For those who have climbed out of the -30 penalty are you still OUT?

thanks

AustrianOak




msg:3271974
 10:38 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Northweb.. I am still in.. on month 11..

Don't get your hopes up for 2010.. #29 is the same penalty. The only way people are being un-penalized is with a re-inclusion request after finding what they have been penalized for..

Oak

trinorthlighting




msg:3272009
 11:01 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am suprised you guys have not built new sites by now.

AustrianOak




msg:3272075
 1:09 am on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Surprised why? Building a brand new site and getting it to rank is 1000000x more difficult, and in most cases useless.

Many of us are honest webmasters that are searching for reason(s) for the penalty. Putting 5+ years into a valued website is worth to many of us to un-penalize. It can seem like a long journey at times, but I have witness half a dozen sites be freed, some as far as 14+ months under the penalty.

To everyone.. keep the faith and keep searching for clues, asking for help can also be beneficial as outside parties will notice things you may not.

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