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This 188 message thread spans 7 pages: 188 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >     
Google's 950 Penalty - Part 2
What do we know about it, and how do we get out of it?
sandyeggo




msg:3228909
 5:10 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >
< related threads: -950 Quick Summary [webmasterworld.com] -- -950 Part One [webmasterworld.com] >

In further research last night I (think I) came to the conclusion that the pages that we lost were over optimizised. But in what way and where are the questions. I could only compare who is listed, and who is not.
On one of my main search terms, where last week I was numbers 2 & 3, I am now # 59. (other sections are worse, but sticking to this problem for my research)The result should be one of my deeper pages, to the actual related page of the site. But what appears here is my main index page. The page that should be here I have not found yet.
So if i am thinking i am over optimized, i want to see what others on the google results page are having success with. Guess what? They are way over optimized. But this is the difference that I can see so far. In the unlinked content on the page, they repeat the search term over and over - key phrase density probably twice as much as i have, maybe more.
But I think the difference is that where I repeat the term, it is anchor text internal links. I think I repeat the phrase in the anchor text equal to or more than I do in the content on the page itself. It does not appear spammy, it is basically the navigation links that I speak of.
So, is it possible that google is looking at the anchor text links and weighing those phrases more than what is in the content itself and considering repeating phrases within the link as spam? Could it be the anchor text density verses the density of the content itself?
Am I making any sense to anyone?

[edited by: tedster at 9:20 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2008]

 

johnhh




msg:3228915
 5:13 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The list posted is a list of what we have <b>dismissed</b> as factors after careful consideration and some tests.
Sorry if it was confusing.

soapystar




msg:3228945
 5:36 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

if you dont think scraped content is a problem try searching for your own snippets..is it your page that shows?

northweb




msg:3228956
 5:49 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

sandyeggo

I've had the same feeling. I also have lots of anchor text with my keywords as part of my navigation on all pages.

I've started with a subdomain pulling a majority of the anchor text off and then I guess it's wait and see.

thedigitalauthor




msg:3229056
 6:44 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sandyeggo & Northweb:

Are you saying that if I have a navigation bar that lists all of the pages (lets say same level pages for a particular area) - of course they appear on all pages -- but if it is the search term, then it is what may be causing the overoptimization.

For example, I have a celebrity site, so for actresses, I have them all in the same subject, with the nav bar showing all the other actresses (which was done for ease of use of visitors, not for SEO). Since the name of the actress is in most cases the search term, this may be what Google thinks is over optimization?

mlacanna




msg:3229065
 6:49 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Let's see if this helps.

For the search phrase: "keyword1 keyword2 keyword3" (without the quotes, of course) I had one page ranked #3.

The page filename is "keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.php".
It's title is: "Company: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 UK".
It's description is: "keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 by Company: blah blah..."

OK. Now this page is ranked #19.

So i decided to perform a search for "keyword1 keyword2 keyword3" (without the quotes, of course) and analyzed the top 10 results:

#1) Title: "Keyword2 keyword3 tips". No keyword in the URL. The 3 keywords are in the description but not in a sucession, but scattered across the description.

#2) Title: "Keyword2 keyword 3 by Company Keyword2 Services #*$!#*$! #*$!XX keyword2 keyword3". The URL has only the keyword2 in it. Again, the 3 keywords are in the description but not in a sucession, but scattered across the description.

#3) Title: aaaaaa and keyword2 keyword1 (aaaa bbbbb) Information. The URL has only the keyword1 in it. Again, the 3 keywords are in the description but not in a sucession, but scattered across the description.

...

Only the 6th result has the exact string in its title: "keyword1 keyword2 keyword3", with the keyword1 repeated 4 times. The Description is full of repetitions: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 aaaaa bbbbb keyword1 ccccc keyword1 ddddd eeeeee keyword1 fffff keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword1 ggggggg keyword1".

#7 to #10: No exact match with keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 in titles. No exact match in description.

Results 1-3 seem not to have any SEO at all. In fact, they're old html pages with zero design / optimization effort on them. One of them is made with Front Page in 2001.

1) Maybe G is filtering exact matches?
2) Maybe G is filtering clearly -yet honestly- SEOed pages?
3) Maybe G is tolerating senseless and cheap keyword stuffing in page titles and descriptions, only with the keywords mixed up? (see my example in #6 result).

(Excuse my English; not my native tongue).

randle




msg:3229100
 7:19 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

We have some sites with the classic symptom of ending up in the high 900ís for their main key word. We also had an old, very well ranking site that dropped about 25 positions at the same time, just thought maybe a minor algo adjustment pushed it back. Now we find it in the high 900ís for its second, and third most popular phrase, where it used to always rank right around the first page.

Hereís a little summary of our experiences/thoughts so far. I think one of the difficulties in these situations is lots of people have different variations on what happened. Some are suffering from this, others maybe from something else. I have always wondered if thatís by design, it seems so challenging to really pin down concrete, common traits.

Anyhow, this is beginning to prove very challenging; each day that goes by indicates itís a fundamental shift, and its here to stay. Iím seeing sites we do not own, suffering from this that I never thought would incur a penalty, and then Iím seeing sites I always considered to be living on the edge with no effect all.

*-Its got to be a penalty; years on the first page, then in an instant position # 998.
*-Itís targeting well searched key words (phrases); ones you must have optimized for, at some point, in some way.
*-Itís targeting terms you traditionally have ranked well for. (probably from optimizing)
*-Its hitting the site, it seems to drag down the entire site, not all of it, all the way to the 900ís for sure, but overall rankings for interior pages are not doing as well.
*-Get hit, and you can go all the way to the end, right up to position 1,000, but not over it.
*-For us, it happened to a handful of sites, all at the same time, exactly on the night of January 1st.

These sites have been optimized with some basic old school SEO; Key word in the title, key word in the H1, variations of the key word in some on page text links, LSI variations in some text links, one or two links pointing out to clear authoritative sites. LOW keyword density, we were never big on repetition.

I have no proof whatsoever, and the thought of guessing really goes against our grain but what else could it be?

Linking? We donít do much at all in the way of reciprocal linking. We donít purchase links. A few of the sites donít even have a links page.

Server? Possible, they are on the same server, itís dedicated, we donít share with others, its managed, its expensive tell you that. They do have separate IPís.

Content? Itís completely original, but because these sites have been around so long they have been scraped to death, so there is a ton of duplication out there.

Whats left; On page optimization.

soapystar




msg:3229164
 7:55 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

scraped to death

seeing this become a repeated theme....

jakomo




msg:3229215
 8:36 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi

1) Maybe G is filtering exact matches?

IE: No, I dont think, because my competitors are using

Page name:keyword1_keyword2_keyword3.html
Title: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
Meta Description: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
H1: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
Keyword density: 1.13%
They are #1

Another one
Page name:keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.html
Title: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
Meta Description: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
H1: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
They are #2
Keyword density: 4.30%

My site before the collapse
Page name:keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.html
Title: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
Meta Description: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
H1: keyword1 keyword2 keyword3
Keyword density: 1.20%
I was #3, now: Who know.....

Best,
Jakomo


northweb




msg:3229228
 8:45 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's more about the number of anchor text links on a page....something my sites have in common.

side bar, bottom of page, etc. lots of internal links
with anchor text.

anyone else?

AndyA




msg:3229233
 8:48 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the same thing jakomo is. Keyword density in the range of 1.2-4%, keywords used in title, meta description, and in body of page. Also, some keywords in links going to other sites.

The page that's #1 for one of my search terms is also a huge page, 150K+! I always thought Google didn't like large page sizes. I've reduced my keywords a bit on a couple of pages that were hit, so we'll see if that makes any difference.

landmark




msg:3229236
 8:49 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

soapystar:
if you dont think scraped content is a problem try searching for your own snippets..is it your page that shows?

You're right. We have been hit by this on and off since Sep 2005. Prior to this there were hundreds of sites copying our content (sometimes the entire website!) and G had no problem determining that we were the original source. Since then, we get pages vanishing for weeks or months at a time, then reappearing.

The thing that we've noticed is that during the penalty period, a search for a snippet from our site shows scraper sites first, with ours last or near the bottom of the list.

The critical thing is that sometimes just one sentence may have been copied from a page that has hundreds or thousands of original sentences. Just that tiny fragment causes the penalty.

Also, in a search for a snippet our page is listed either first or last. It's as if G decides that if we are not the source of the content then we must be the worst offender possible - the PR0 and scraper sites all get listed ahead of us. It's like G decides to hit the quality sites hardest. Hard to understand what kind of twisted logic could cause this.

Weirder still - removing the copied snippet from our page has no effect. G "remembers" that your page was penalised and keeps the penalty even though there is no longer any duplicate content.

Our site has well written content that is very "copiable" by other sites. I can't help thinking that if we wrote rubbish content with spelling mistakes, etc, our competitors wouldn't bother copying it and we would stay ranked at number one.

annej




msg:3229274
 9:42 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

shows scraper sites first, with ours last or near the bottom of the list

Sounds familiar but I'm not sure what comes first like the chicken or the egg question.

It could be that the penalty is severe enough it just puts us below the scraper sites and not that Google is viewing the scrapers as the original copy.

I am almost certain that content pages including ones that are old and well established are getting caught in an algo change that is meant to get rid of spam sites. Google keeps saying it has to be done algorithmically and this is the result.

So in that sense you can say this is the fault of the spammers. If they weren't around Google wouldn't even be doing this.

AndAgain




msg:3229412
 11:31 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I usually dont post but this really blows me away...

>>sandyeggo

Without any research and without looking at your website I could garauntee that a dramatic drop ranking can only be attributed to over optimization. Either on page optimization or off page (linking)... I mean seriously people what would it be? Do multiple pages from a site drop from doing it the right way?

>>jakomo

Please dude, forget about that keyword density crap. Even the numbers in your post prove that it does not matter. I have pages with far less of a KW density than anything you detailed that hold number one rankings.

Lets just take a look at the famous George Bush (and now Michael Moore) Google Bomb. If you dont know...do a search for Failure in Google and then view the cache to find out the Keyword Density for those pages is a big fat 0.

Ok so now that we have determined that keyword density CAN (and usually does) mean absolutely nothing...What keeps those pages at the top?

Organic Linking!....If you dont know, ask somebody!

My guess is that any penalty seen is a combination of poor linking and poor content...maybe one more than the other.

Anyway...Im done ranting!

Spend your Google 950 Error Research time building a high quality site with unique content and high quality links and you will much better off.

Peace Out,
-AndAgain

[edited by: AndAgain at 11:33 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]

sandyeggo




msg:3229416
 11:35 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sandyeggo & Northweb:
Are you saying that if I have a navigation bar that lists all of the pages (lets say same level pages for a particular area) - of course they appear on all pages -- but if it is the search term, then it is what may be causing the overoptimization.

Thats my theory. Once in a while in my research i prove it wrong, but most of the time i'm right. I believe (for me) it is anchor text over optimization. It is the most common change to my affected pages. Put it this way, if I can look at a page and tell that someone really spent some time SEO'ing the page as far as internal linking and anchor text goes, it is usually hit in this update. On my site, the pages that i spend the LEAST amount of time on, hardly SEO'd at all - they are still in good position.
All I am doing to compare is to see who else tanked with me at the end of the 950-1000 results page. Look for the common element. Does anyone else see anything consistant in other tanked pages?

My guess is that any penalty seen is a combination of poor linking and poor content...maybe one more than the other.

I have plenty of organic links. If you think that not having enough links will take you from a page rank of 1-5 and put you at 991 in one single day, let me say that in my opinion you are mistaken. I held those positions for 5 to 7 years. I think I must have a few links out there :-)
Further, my competition has many of the same links so i have eliminated that problem for us as far as this problem goes.

[edited by: sandyeggo at 11:47 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]

ionchannels




msg:3229425
 11:37 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's our situation:
Many of our sites have been hit by the 950 penalty. The penalty ranges from 900 to 950. The affected sites all have massive anchor text optimization. We applied a filter to all articles using php and linked any occurrence of keyphrase1 to our site at www.keyphrase1.com. Each of our sites has thousands of articles with this sort of sitewide anchor text optimization. Bad idea... we've removed all excessive anchor text and hope to see a recovery. We have 20 or so other sites where we did not do this and they all do not have the penalty. So, we have a good sample, about 20 with anchor text optimization with the 950 penalty and 20 without, and all are unaffected, 100% of the time, no exceptions.

steveb




msg:3229427
 11:45 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's easy to dismiss overoptimization ideas when you get your head out of fixating on one page. When ten pages have the exact same linking, same titling, same basic word usage and the red widget page is at 950 while the blue widget, purple widget and other seven widget pages are in the top three... the penalty may be a result of Google looking for what they consider spammy page constrcution, but it is plainly clear that changing or recreating a penalized page has no effect and that pages with the exact same optimization/structure rank fine.

It certainly does no harm to better optimize a page inappropriately hit by this mysterious penalty, but it's no solution in terms of the penalty, other than changing anything always makes the search engine kick the dust off and recalculate a page's score.

optimist




msg:3229430
 11:48 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The scraped site content is very common here, there were multiples and still are copies originating the the region where rankings are top 10. Also there are hundreds of proxy sites in the inurl.

Navigation: most pages in the root, left nav links to priority ones, footer links to more.

Sections, every page in each section links to every page in its section so:

/section

all pages in /section link to all pages in /section, and include the left nav and footer of all root pages.

AndAgain




msg:3229451
 12:03 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have plenty of organic links. If you think that not having enough links will take you from a page rank of 1-5 and put you at 991 in one single day, let me say that in my opinion you are mistaken. I held those positions for 5 to 7 years. I think I must have a few links out there :-)
Further, my competition has many of the same links so i have eliminated that problem for us as far as this problem goes.
_____________________________________________________________
Ok well lets just point out some facts here and let me ask some questions...

First of all has anyone noticed that not many senior members have posted here AND that this is not really even that big of a post...meaning not many people were hit?

Second of all...just because you held a position for x amount of years and probably have allot of very high quality links. Are you seriously saying that you did nothing wrong?...I mean can only be either your on page or off page optimization..what the heck else is there?

You did something wrong and just because you have some high quality links doesnt mean that some bad ones cannot hurt you.

You still didnt answer the question about the george bush google bomb that has stood strong without having the word "failure" on the page....I think everyone should really take a deep breath and think about that one for a while.

Bottomline is that I really highly doubt many people here have anything close to what can be called a search engine or even web crawling technology so I mean why try and pick apart an algorithm when you cant truely unless you have a the resources to TRUELY do so.

So really yeah my point, again, is...yeah if you have scraped sites getting hit..GOOD, I am so filled with joy that Google smacked your bottoms.

Peace

PS. I mean something done wasnt right or you wouldnt have gotten hit right? You cant possibly deny that nothing was done wrong sitting there with your eyebrows raised and forehead wrinkled up like...what!? I didnt do anything...kids stuff

[edited by: AndAgain at 12:11 am (utc) on Jan. 24, 2007]

sandyeggo




msg:3229455
 12:09 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

As far as our site goes, i am not the "scraper", but like everyone else on the net i am a "scrapee". We have a commerce site.

Anyway, I am testing changes and will report if any movement at all.

optimist




msg:3229457
 12:13 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think someone does not read well these are sites that are scraped and have good content. They have been infringed on.

trinorthlighting




msg:3229458
 12:15 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they have been scraped and infringed on, file a DMCA complaint. If you have not done so and your serps still suck, thats not googles fault. Its yours....

Webmasters have to take responsibility for their content and protect it. Instead of spending the time typing on webmaster world about it, write up the dmca complaint.

If its a proxy site, find the ip and deny it...

Lorel




msg:3229473
 12:37 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

For those affected by this penalty do you have full urls on all internal links and base href tags on all pages? They are supposed to help protect your site from scrapers. I manage over 30 sites and do the same on all my sites and none of them have been affected by this penalty.

sandyeggo




msg:3229498
 12:47 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Our site does have base href tags and links are all absolute.
Thanks

tedster




msg:3229518
 12:59 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

From what I can see "scraped and infringed on" can sometimes make nasty trouble, but it does not generate a 950 penalty. We need to locate the real "tell" here. I am currently attracted to the overuse of keywords in on-site anchor text, but I've got nothing definitive to share.

Here's what I keep coming back to: Why would the "widget" search get such a serious and heavy-duty penalty, but not "widgets"? And by what mechanism could that happen?

Marcia




msg:3229583
 1:25 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>Why would the "widget" search get such a serious and heavy-duty penalty, but not "widgets"?

How are the singular and plural used in phrases, and what are the possible commom phrases that would use one one other? How are the concepts that relate to the two different?

--widget repair
--how to fix a broken widget, could be
--how to fix broken widgets - as compared to

--buy widgets online
--widget shopping
--discount widgets

Two different concepts, but even though there can be an overlap between singular and plural usage of the words, the words that accompany the word in phrases draw upon different concepts - and would be approached differently.

>>And by what mechanism could that happen?

Does query time filtering by using a "pre-processed" list make any sense at all?

northweb




msg:3229590
 1:28 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

tedster - overuse of keywords in on-site anchor text

i'm changing the amount of anchor text and navigation on a penalized site. going through the kw density, etc....then just wait.

sandyeggo




msg:3229596
 1:34 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have taken 3 different sections of the site and made modifications a little differently to each so i can see what made the most difference. Still a theory at this point, but if I see movement I'll let you all know.

randle




msg:3229611
 1:52 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

At this point we are still leaning toward an on page, over optimization penalty and have made some adjustments to a few sites suffering from this thing. The effort being to scale back the focus of particular key words in the title, H1, internal text links and overall key word use in the body.

But the talk about scraped content really got us poking around and we were amazed at how much of it were suffering from. It just seems like a challenging task to go chasing every pathetic nitwit that steals content but maybe thatís the new reality.

We are seeing, over the course of the last three weeks real changes in the results were involved in. Mom and pop sites rising up very high, some of them with scraped content, (from us no less) but not all.

You get the feeling, if you step back and actually spend a little time studying this thing and know what your doing, thatís itís a complex layering of different causes and effects.

annej




msg:3229667
 2:45 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

pages with the exact same optimization/structure rank fine

I have the same situation. I am sure it is a very fine line that makes a few pages plunge while most still do well. I am with some others here in suspecting it is some sort of related phrase penalty. Phrases that were innocent natural phrases until now but because they match the patterns of spammers sites we are affected.

I mean can only be either your on page or off page optimization..what the heck else is there?

That there is a change in the Google algo. What Google does to deal with problem sites can damage other sites. There is bound to be some overlap. In this case, as has happened before, Google's algo has affected regular pages and hopefully it is affecting spam pages.

In this situation all we can do is try to work out what we need to do to bring our pages out of the penalty. In my case I may have to write articles that make less sense and build navigation that won't be as user friendly. I know there is no way we can out guess the Google's algo but we can find commonalities and try some small changes in our sites.

Also Google may adjust the line where they consider a page spam in order to bring more of the regular sites affected back up. They have done that before as well.

This 188 message thread spans 7 pages: 188 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >
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