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Large increase in Inbound Links seems to have caused a problem
greenlandcs




msg:3226228
 7:32 pm on Jan 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

My website has been up for many years. But for the first time, my web positions sunk dramatically since last week. Almost all popular keywords dropped from top 5 to nowhere now in the SERP. Web pages are still being indexed by Google. They simply don't rank well at all.

I suspect it is due to a recent link building campaign, which added dramatically much more backlinks than before. Many of these links are bought as site-wide text link ads with identical anchor text. This is the first time we buy text link ads and we are frustrated to see the result.

I think the website is now being sandboxed by Google because of the sudden increase of backlinks in a short time. Does anyone have the same experience before? What should I do? How long does it take to recover?

 

jimbeetle




msg:3227598
 3:13 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Many of these links are bought as site-wide text link ads with identical anchor text.

Site wides are definitely not a good idea. Google has been taking closer and closer looks at these since last Spring.

SandySEO




msg:3228558
 11:45 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Dear Greenlandcs,

Were you aware of the fact that by making lots of back links in short time may cause your site to go sandbox effect? if yes, then why you did it? and if you were not aware then you have to stop making any more back links for 6 months atleast as your site will be in sandbox in this time.

- SandySEO

Decius




msg:3228627
 12:55 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you have been nicked, waiting for this problem to solve itself may be a tricky one. Consider switching domains entirely and 301 all your old URLs to the new one.

ConfusedWriter




msg:3228681
 1:56 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this sounds naive, but please explain this possibility:

Let's say I see a new competitor in the SERPS that I don't want there. Are you telling me that all it'll take for me to do is have a bunch of my sites, or friends' sites point links to this competitor's site, and boom, he's out? Or possibly use other services that provide link backs?

Does this sound logical?

greenlandcs




msg:3228694
 2:08 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't know adding too many back links may harm the website. All new back links are from related or unrelated authority sites. The problem might be caused by sudden increase of site-wide backlinks especially from unrelated authority websites.

greenlandcs




msg:3228699
 2:15 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you have been nicked, waiting for this problem to solve itself may be a tricky one. Consider switching domains entirely and 301 all your old URLs to the new one.

Hi Decius, it's interesting. Have you tried this approach before? Would Google transfer the penalty to the new domain as well? I think it is quite easy for Google to do so, why not?

But if anyone has succeeded in getting out of sandbox by using a new domain name and 301 forward, I would like to try it.

jk3210




msg:3228705
 2:20 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Very bad idea.

p5gal5




msg:3228728
 2:49 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

greenlandcs -

I also experienced this on a site - I'd had a site for around two years and it had some moderate content, traffic, etc. Implemented some aggressive linkbuilding and dropped like a rock for six months.

jimbeetle




msg:3228743
 3:05 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's probaly not the sudden increase itself, that can happen naturally.

But, sudden increase + site wides + unrelated? That needs to be fixed.

greenlandcs




msg:3228884
 4:51 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi p5gal5, has your site recovered? Did you try to send a re-inclusion request to google and get any response from them?

jomaxx




msg:3228935
 5:27 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you have an established 5-year-old domain, I definitely wouldn't switch to a new one. Fix the link problem, and try to wait it out. I doubt you'll be in limbo as long as 6 months (I guess 2 months, maybe less if a reinclusion request works).

lfgoal




msg:3229042
 6:35 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"and if you were not aware then you have to stop making any more back links for 6 months"

Bad idea.

"Consider switching domains entirely and 301 all your old URLs to the new one."

Incredibly bad idea, though your competitors will love you for this.

Give it time. Yes, it may takes weeks or months but if the links are from quality sites your site should benefit from them and you may (depending on the number of links and the quality of the sites from which you purchased your links) even benefit incredibly well from them.

The thing about advancing a site in this way is that A. you have to look at the long-view and be willing to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term gain (which most here are unable to do, i.e. the many threads regarding this or that update and the screams of "google has cheated me!") and B. not give in to group superstition.

BigDave




msg:3229175
 8:07 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

My guess is that you confused the algo. Site wide links are not bad, but you have suddenly changed the balance of who is linking to you and what the anchor text is. Site wide links also have a limited positive effect. They seem to be counted as more than one link, but far less than their total value.

Google is also getting very good at spotting bought links and link building campaigns. They certainly don't want to encourage them, so they will mitigate the positive impact. So if you get little positive impact from the incoming links, but they allow the negatives caused by the repetitive anchor text, it adds up to a bad move.

Keep building links but do it slowly and consistently. Show Google some regular growth in links and they will accept them more readily. Don't do anything trying for the quick killing in Google.

CainIV




msg:3229189
 8:14 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sudden increases can kill rankings, depending on the rate of linkbuilding previously. You stated the incease % was a large one, so this could hurt. "For how long" depends on the length of the filter and the sheer 'look' of the unnatural adjustment for Google.com.


If you have been nicked, waiting for this problem to solve itself may be a tricky one. Consider switching domains entirely and 301 all your old URLs to the new one.

Very poor idea the 301'ed site will then start fresh as if it is an entirely new website. This could mean over a year i nthe sandbox.

You are now in the waiting game, mostly likely filtered and will probably have to wait it out. Best things you can do now are:

Develop more content.
Improve the website overall.
Develop links, but very slowly and naturally as it will also look unnatural to now have no incoming links for the next 6 months :P

lfgoal




msg:3229324
 10:25 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

greenlandcs, you mentioned that your site had been around for a number of years. However, how many backlinks did it have prior to picking up these new links? Just a handful, a few dozen, a few hundred?

I have no way of knowing for sure, but it seems to me that a site that's "firmly rooted" (i.e. A. many backlinks, B. many backlinks that have been in place for quite some time, C. many backlinks from sites that themselves are well-rooted) has a better chance of not going "blip" after sitewides have been obtained.

kidder




msg:3229358
 11:03 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you do a search on GoogleBowling or Bombing you will find some interesting reading on the idea of hurting other sites by playing with links and anchor text. From where I sit if you can shoot yourself in the foot then you for sure shoot someone else in the foot. A lot of it has to do with the site / age / vertical space / from what I have read. Google is looking for patterns that is the best it can do, if you change the pattern of your site or any site then a flag is going to go up - what happens next depends on the sites history etc. This would be a pretty easy theory to test if you wanted to invest some money and time at your competitors expense and I would guess it happens.

mimmo




msg:3229364
 11:07 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Logically, if you have 10 backlinks today and next month you have 10000, this *could* be a problem (it depends on many other factors I am sure) But if you have 10000 backlinks today and tomorrow you have 20000 is not such a problem.

For an external factor to 'hit' your rankings, it must be very significant.

Otherwise 100 webmasters can agree to put CNN out of the Google index by all linking to them! :-)

decaff




msg:3229903
 9:36 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

The main issue is:

Your site has very specific historical data related to how Google views it..

Suddenly, out of nowhere, you have added "many" (hundreds?..thousands?) of new inbound links from sources outside of your domain..(the site wide links will quickly get disounted anyways...)

OOOPS!
Google thinks something fishy is going on...you've tripped some filters..

now you need to build out new internal site content to help balance out the new volume of inbounds..

But do this at a very moderate rate...

plasma




msg:3229910
 9:52 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

@ConfusedWriter:

Maybe it can be exploited, but you have to agree, that this time they caught the right one ;-)

lfgoal




msg:3230104
 1:50 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Maybe it can be exploited, but you have to agree, that this time they caught the right one ;-) "

That's really a helpful statement that contributes to this thread.

p5gal5




msg:3230155
 2:35 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Hi p5gal5, has your site recovered? Did you try to send a re-inclusion request to google and get any response from them?

We never did a reinclusion request because we weren't banned. Dropped to around 280-300 for this competitive keyword phrase (the one we had optimized for/had ibls with anchor text), but all of our other, less competitive, phrases ranked well. After the 6 mo or so of ranking poorly, the site popped up to the top 20. Now we hover between 1 and 2 for our #1 phrase.

sweethilit




msg:3230170
 2:49 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

My guess is that the drop is not related to these site wide links. It doesn't make any sense to get penalized because of them.

think about website building companies that add to their clients site wide links, now if they make an upgrade to an already existing big site and add their link in the footer, would it make sense to get penalized?

greenlandcs, You decided to buy links in the first place probably because you where not satisfied with your ranking, was there any earlier drop in ranking?

My suggestion is that you do nothing about it, there are good chances that your ranking will com back in a few weeks.

H

hotelmarketing




msg:3230214
 3:13 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

greenlandcs, how much time elapsed from when you initiated your aggressive linking to when your site was penalized? days,weeks,months?

greenlandcs




msg:3230302
 4:29 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

p5gal5, did you drop those new back links immediately after getting punished?

greenlandcs




msg:3230331
 4:42 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is no earlier drop in ranking. Our position was quite stable. This is the first time we buy ad links. The problem is some websites have thousands or tens of thousands pages. We thought it is quite nature for advertisement. However, after about 1 month, our ranking dropped suddenly.

p5gal5




msg:3230380
 5:20 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

No, we just left everything "as is" and continued to build links/content. Then again, this is not a site with thousands of pages, this is a few hundred pages for an ecommerce site, none of the information is bulk - all the pages were individually contoured, hand-edited, tweaked, etc.

Very time consuming, but, after the bounce, very worth it.

lfgoal




msg:3230418
 5:49 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I also experienced this on a site - I'd had a site for around two years and it had some moderate content, traffic, etc. Implemented some aggressive linkbuilding and dropped like a rock for six months."

"We never did a reinclusion request because we weren't banned. Dropped to around 280-300 for this competitive keyword phrase (the one we had optimized for/had ibls with anchor text), but all of our other, less competitive, phrases ranked well. After the 6 mo or so of ranking poorly, the site popped up to the top 20. Now we hover between 1 and 2 for our #1 phrase."

"No, we just left everything "as is" and continued to build links/content. Then again, this is not a site with thousands of pages, this is a few hundred pages for an ecommerce site, none of the information is bulk - all the pages were individually contoured, hand-edited, tweaked, etc. Very time consuming, but, after the bounce, very worth it."

This seems to be the same phenomenon I've witnessed and posted about.

I think if a site is VERY STRONG to begin with, then aggressive link building may not bring short-term negative results. For example, 50,000 links to CNN or BBC won't hurt either site. They have age, pagerank, high trust, and thousands of inbounds to anchor them in place. If a site that is only SOMEWHAT STRONG tries this, there may be a short-term negative effect, such as going "blip" for a few weeks or months. But...in the end you become stronger.

The thing is, most webmasters will never try this, either due to fear/superstition, or simply being unable to go without good SE positioning for very long (due to income concerns).

CainIV




msg:3230474
 6:48 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

My guess is that the drop is not related to these site wide links. It doesn't make any sense to get penalized because of them.

From what I've seen and from the stance that Google seems to take regarding paid links I would have to agree. I believe Google at this time simply doesnt pass credit for every other link found on the site if the site links to you using sitewides. I believe they may pass pagerank, but no weight.

This, however may not be true in the case of network sites.

panther45




msg:3235471
 7:14 am on Jan 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

So how many links a month do people recommend?

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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