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950 Penalty... Not
Site tanks due to coding error
moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 3:20 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

phew.. ok, now i've been hit, too. exactly what the folks on the google search news forum describe.

since the last days on last page of search result pages with most of my keyword combinations. big website, in it since several years, neddless to say unique quality content. biggest hit ever. a penalty, a glitch?

90% reduction in google visitors.
75% reduction in adsense earnings.
60% reduction in visits.

anyone else affected?

[edited by: moTi at 3:23 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2007]

 

mzanzig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 5:20 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

OMG, any idea what might have caused this, er, nightmare? I mean, you are very experienced with Google and Adsense, so if you tell us you have been 950'd then I am worried.

(And no, I am not affected.)

moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 6:44 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

yeah, it is shocking. i have changed nothing in the recent months, only added fresh content as usual.

with one exception: a few days ago i added a <noscript> tag below the html header which caused to alter the page content for users with javascript turned off.
this dumb idea might be conceived as a deception and spam attempt and of course i have removed it by now. i very much hope that this is the cause for the serps drop and that it only takes a week or so for the algo to get it right again.

but.. since i've read the stories in the ww google search news forum from many others, chances are that it is not the cause.
well, there are always things to tweak (keywords, link text, interlinking etc. come to my mind) but as i see in the other threads, no one has the slightest idea what actually causes the penalty.

yes, additionally to the useful content my sites are highly optimized for search engines and user experience and as said i've never had real problems with ranking. any modifications to get up again would be stumbling in the dark.

well, it makes no sense to speculate at this time. i will inform you how it turns out.

i've never been the one that said "diversify your income streams", because i've made a few bucks with adsense in the past and luckily saved a good part of it for the bad times. my niche and site type make it very difficult to monetize otherwise. payouts compared to other revenue sources are superior by far. but in all those years there was not really a problem with the reliance on google for me. income not steady, but i can live with it. if this penalty continues, i have a few months to change my business.

at least i have my adsense account. but never thought that it could hurt me this way. and it's crazy to see how dependent a long established website is still on google traffic - where the money comes from the daily fresh visitors.
just wanted to share that you should never trust your rankings, not even after years of steadiness.

for now i've decided to work hard as usual and see how it goes out.
if it's still the same with the serps in a week or so, i will do the first changes to my website. if i only knew where.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 6:53 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

If it's any consolation, I lost 70-90% of my Google referrals from late March until late May of 2005, and Google traffic came roaring back--better than ever--after those two months of drought.

(My loss of rankings apparently was caused by duplicate indexing of www and non-www pages; after I set up redirects in .htaccess, the problem got sorted out at Google's end.)

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 8:14 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry to hear your troubles. Stuff like this can make me hesitate to follow the fresh content bandwagon a la 'if it ain't broken, don't fix it.'

p/g

elguapo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 10:59 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was hit by Jagger, and that 3 months at the end of 2005 saw my Adsense income go down by as much as 80%. That hurt a lot. I've been with Adsense since it started and that traffic loss broke the continuous upward streak of my Adsense income. Only showed me that you can never be too reliant on one source of revenue as it can disappear without warning.

I fixed the problem (I got carried away with reciprocal linking and even created special link pages to sites marginally related to my site) -- and after the hellish 3 months, Adsense came roaring back better than ever.

Just fix the problem and Adsense income can and will go back to what it used to be

RonS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 1:41 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

About 30 days ago, one of my small sites got hit with some sort of a G penalty or anomaly -- went from about 325 visitors/day to 60.

This site had 2 "halfs" by subdomains, two completely different subjects. Both side were equally hit (by percentage). Both sides have been around for more than 18 months, one had been around for 4 years.

2 days later everything turned around, and is seeing about 500 visitors a day, and one side is seeing record revenue, the other has seen a decline in CPC so total income is the same even with increased revenue.

The numbers are so small that it's really impossible to draw any statistically valid conclusions, but anecdotally, there is hope when Google hiccups.

moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 8:12 pm on Mar 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

ok folks, just wanted to say that i'm back again :D
it seems that the mentioned noscript tag was indeed causing the penalty.
short summary of the events:

around 10th of february: modified my html code to show non javascript users a blank page with a text to turn on javascript.

20th of february: serps penalty takes effect. apparently a critical amount of pages with the "foul" code has been spidered and indexed so that nearly all of my webpages are completely degraded to the end of the serps.
my immediate action is to restore the html code and delete the elements that could be interpreted as deception or spam attempt by the google algo.

20th of february until 2nd of march: penalty maintains. stats and earnings are totally devastating. slowly more and more pages with the proper code are reindexed.

2nd of march: penalty lifted and serps largely back to normal for my websites. hope it lasts..

this faux pas cost me hundreds of dollars, ten rather painful days of hope and uncertainty and some lost sleep..
to those who are affected by the google penalty: check your code! check if it displays properly for all users including bots!
and thank you people for your encouragement. you were right. phew..

RonS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 1:20 am on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Congrats! Phew!

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 8:28 pm on Mar 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good thing you checked your code.

seo_joe

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 7:27 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

around 10th of february: modified my html code to show non javascript users a blank page with a text to turn on javascript.

20th of february: serps penalty takes effect. apparently a critical amount of pages with the "foul" code has been spidered and indexed so that nearly all of my webpages are completely degraded to the end of the serps.
my immediate action is to restore the html code and delete the elements that could be interpreted as deception or spam attempt by the google algo.

The Googlebot is a non-javascript user so you are serving a blank page to Googlebot. I don't think it was a penalty, it was probably just that, in Google's eyes, you had no content on your site. I'm surprised the other SEs didn't do the same.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3272108 posted 7:38 pm on Mar 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

MoTi's situation seems to be handled, so I'm locking the thread.

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