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This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 > >     
The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 6
1 yesterday and #31 today

 9:02 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I was at a minus 30 for about 5 months and in the last couple of days my site has returned to position #6

Would you say that means that the penalty is removed?

[edited by: tedster at 11:34 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]



 11:12 am on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I search for mydomain.com then I'm the 1st result. However, if I search simply for mydomain without the ".com" then I'm buried. So perhaps this method is usable for other folks as well.

What used to be my flagship site got slapped with the sitewide -30 penalty on July 26th. Since then I've done major architectural changes and improvements. I've done everything within my power to work within the guidelines and if that's not good enough then I'm simply spinning off a large site into several smaller ones and porting content over. I submit reinclusion requests but of course get zero response from Google and with anecdotal evidence that it can take months and months to get organic results back from Google, it just makes more sense to start over at a new domain. It's ridiculous.

I understand Google needs to control the quality of its SERPs but in my opinion, their methods create so much collateral damage that they should double, triple their investment in handling reinclusion requests and create more transparency. Too bad webmasters can't unionize and stongarm Google into making positive changes in this regard :) I can imagine the headline, "Webmasters Block Googlebot, Want Spam Reform" ;)



 1:01 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)


Sean, isn't it a problem when you have identical anchor text for like every subpage in the 10 main categories on your site? I mean same anchor text for entire groups of important pages...

Google is about links, and these links tell the algo that there are like 10x50(?) pages, all of which can be described as...

US State(1-50)


I don't have any -30 sites just wondering if this is a trend among them. Don't mind me.

Also, I don't get why shove everything in a subdirectory. Even your HOME link points to that subfolder, and not the domain root... which left you with 2 identical home pages. One with a higher PR and one with lower, but it actually has PR meaning it's been there for a while now. A contact/about whatever page wouldn't hurt either.


 2:21 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

KiepskiJohn, good luck and keep us all posted!

seanpecor, do you mean you've just got hit this July 26th of this year?


 3:55 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not showing up for a search on example.com is a problem, and could indicate the minus thrity penalty

Oh but I do show up for domain.com (domain.co.uk actually).. it's just the name of my site that doesn't show up first. Here's how I'm ranking:

#1 domain.co.uk
#30 domain (from Google.com)
#1 domain (from Google.com, repeat search with ommitted entries)
#1 domain (pages from the UK)

As I said before as well I do sometimes rank for product names on the first or second page when there are thousands of results. This would seem to indicate that there is no -30 penalty applied to my domain.

I've only done one thing wrong so far as far as I can tell.. I paid $30/month for 800 crappy sites with generic shopping links pages to link to me, but after reading comments on this board I stopped doing that and it has been several months since any of them have linked to me. Since then I've only gone the paid directory route. As I understand it, however, buying links should not get your site penalized.

Now in your expert opinion would you say that I have a penalty applied or just the new domain blues?

Also, would a penalized site be as heavily spidered and indexed as mine is? Googlebot hits me 30,000 times per day and I've gotten 265,000 pages indexed in less than 5 months. In most respects they seem to love me, except for poor rankings. It would really do a lot for my mental health to know that everything is OK and that I should just wait until my domain gets some age behind it..


 5:52 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

AustrianOak, yes, July 26th of this year. No message from Google via WMT - just *poof*

I'm not one to whine, I'm adapting fine and expect to continue to grow revenue 50% every year through diversification until the cows come home, but it is just frustrating.



 11:31 am on Sep 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oak, here's some news from one of your old comrades from the April 26, 2006 bomb.

Did the first check for several weeks today and shock, horror - we are number 1 under myuniquedomain.com and myuniquedomain.com!

This is after 16 months, and in the last 4, I have not changed anything apart from add 2 new (unique) stories a day, written by a paid journalist.

Euphoria quickly dies away on further checking that shows a search on myuniquedomain puts us on page 4 as usual (formerly No.1) and several dozen searches on key phrases where we used to be No.1 we are still way way down.

Site page count stands at 15,900 so little change there. Overall traffic still negligible, so no change there.

I guess the old "minus thirty" penalty has now morphed in several directions. Does the fact that we are still effectively penalised for hundreds of key terms, everything bar myuniquedomain.com, mean that we are in or out of the -31? Not sure there is an answer to that.


 4:23 pm on Sep 3, 2007 (gmt 0)


Don't forget to wrap your domain name in quotes: "mydomain.com" when checking if -30 is still there. If you show up anywhere but #1 on "mydomain.com" (with quotes), you are still in trouble, regrettably.


 5:23 pm on Sep 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Gawd, you are right. So far deep I gave up after page 7 :-(


 5:53 am on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

AustrianOak. I feel for you man but is it not time you moved on as I told you 4 months ago? Plan for the worst and be surprised at the best. You could have built a new site just after than ban and be ranking again now.


 1:15 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

My apologies everyone

Even though I have been a member for quite a while, can someone please explain to me what this minus 30 and minus 950 are?

I need to know what are they, and what causes this? Finally how do you correct it?

Thanks in advance for your response.


 3:02 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

can someone please explain to me what this minus 30 and minus 950 are?

Check in the Hot Topics [webmasterworld.com] area, which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page. There you can find this summary thread:

Google -30 & 950 Penalties - brief summaries [webmasterworld.com]


 5:01 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good point Crush! I've moved onto other markets and niches. I rebuilt one large domain asked for 2 re-inclusions with no success. I believe google is cleaning out majority of the affiliate type sites out of the top 50 <in my market niche> even if you have unique content.


[edited by: tedster at 5:32 pm (utc) on Sep. 6, 2007]


 9:01 am on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps that mean that your site has been removed from ban and now it's again back to normal.


 8:49 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

What if your site was always ranked low even though you have a lot of links pointing to you for 3 years, can it be all due to penalties?


 12:01 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

We have released our directory a few weeks ago, and keywords have jumped up and down in google.

We have got obviously a lot to do in terms of onsite optimisation and attracting inbound links, but one thing I have noticed is that nobody mention click through here?

"I just hate to think that the only thing the intern thinks about my site during the decisive 2 first (and the only) seconds as he/she opens it is: "suckers couldn't even hire a Web designer - trash bin - there you go!"

I think that a site redesign would also help from a SEO point of view, but not in case a "human reviewer" at google studies it - we are all actually human reviewers working for Google:

We curently pay a lot of attention to click through, trying to get people to view at least 2 pages before they leave the site. I have not started tracking ranking against click through, but I really believe that they must be linked (as they are in adwords), and Google is likely to promote listings with high click through and stickiness (tracking whether people come back straight away after landing on the page => likely to be a spam website or unrelated topic => no reason to rank the site high for the keywords request). This is basically something technically possible, and making sense. So probably true - but would also not be too challenging to test.

In order to avoid "penalty", I would recommend also:
1) optimise your meta description
2) study landing pages for your targetted keywords, and improve page views for these landing pages.


[edited by: tedster at 5:10 pm (utc) on Sep. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] no personal URLs, please [/edit]


 10:32 am on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was involved with an authority site which ranked #1 for dozens of extremely competitive keywords for 3 years. I stopped working on the sites early January due to the company merging and "trying" to now save by using their in-house seo teams. The sites where clean, content rich with no special tricks.

The new team decided to start with paid links, launching a sub-domain blog and trying to link the main keywords , in-cases up to 30 times per post towards the sites homepage. Lots of newbie SEO tricks, here today gone tomorrow.

The site has been hit by this penalty and I am sure their traffic has been crippled based on previous reports I did.

I really feel this penalty is clamp-down on SEO spam, "if" I get involved again, its a case of trying to undo the damage and seeing if the site recovers. As I have learnt, sometimes the damage is done and can be unrecoverable.

I think many webmasters trying to increase their rankings have tried some of these tricks which used to work in the past, and now are backfiring.

Interestingly enough, the targeted keywords on the paid links, were the first keywords to move down in the serps.


 10:36 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to loose my patience. 9 months and counting! My website is 100% clean. I have fixed everything that i could to meet webmasters guidlines criteria. No link selling/buying, no automated link exchange schemes, no duplicated content problem etc.

Last night i have sent reinclusion request. If nothing happens in 2 months i will start with fresh domain.


 2:29 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone,

In preparation for the first anniversary of this thread that's coming up tomorrow, I just wanted to see how the regulars are doing as well as those that reported the problem back in October 2006.

Needless to say, I have not gotten a lucky break yet. However, it would be very nice to hear some success stories as I'm sure some sites have come out of this penalty during this time.

Considering that consensus has it that this is most likely a manually applied penalty, please describe your communication with G, if any, that you suspect might have led to lifting of the penalty.


 4:11 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

5 places higher than when i got penalised plus much longer tail.

roughly 300% more traffic


 6:37 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

So Nippi, What do you attribute to your success?


 7:07 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

isn't it a problem when you have identical anchor text for like every subpage in the 10 main categories on your site? I mean same anchor text for entire groups of important pages...

Yep, it can even cause a "Minus Sixty" penalty for interior pages if you have

phrase one widgets
phrase two widgets
phrase three widgets
...etc. in anchor text navigation too many times, percentage-wise.

And combined with the same "branded phrase" across a "footprint" part of the page that's in a global include, it can blow the homepage right out of the known solar system.


 2:57 am on Oct 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yep, still hear! have completed two reinclusion request with no reply from google. I've started on a different niche as I'm 9 months into the -30 penalty and dont see anyway out at the moment. Talking to our rep majority of sites hit with this kind of penalty never recovered. Hmmm I hate being in the majority.....what's up with that?



 3:33 am on Oct 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

my success?

Cleaning everything.
removing anything bad, affiliate junk, bad links, rubbish content.

being hoenst with myself, as to now that I HAD got the + 30 penalty, was my site worthy of being in the top 10? Was it actually better than the sites there... not just better seod? That really, is the test.

Are you really worthy?

complete redo.

monthly reinclusion requests, as I fixed different things.


 6:46 pm on Nov 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello all, I've been following this post very closely. One main reason is because one of my (money making) keyword phrases was coming up on the 3rd page when it was originally on the first page. My domain.com was #1 so thatís why I knew that it wasnít the -30 penalty.

The problem for me was over optimizing for that keyword phrase. I had replaced the phrase in a couple of places as well as adding inbound links and now is first on page 2 for that keyword phrase.

My advice for you who are in the -30 penalty is keep on trying and donít give up.


 4:46 pm on Nov 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yep, it can even cause a "Minus Sixty" penalty for interior pages if you have
phrase one widgets
phrase two widgets
phrase three widgets
...etc. in anchor text navigation too many times, percentage-wise.

Marcia, that is really interesting, I have had a "minus sixty" penalty in place on my site for about 7 months now.

I never really considered internal links as an issue but I look at them now I realise that I have repeated my main keyword a few more times than is strictly necessary.

I am going to tone that down and send another begging request off. Should I assume from your comment that you have successfully seen sites reincluded in these cases or are you just confident that is what knocked them out?


 2:54 am on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tedster said this is mutating and I am wondering if a situation I have might be related to the -30.

I have a site in which the main page has ranked in the top 5 for probably 3 or 4 years. A few months ago it dropped to -30 and more. There were a lot of changes around then in the top rankings on the top so I didn't think much of it. It ranked well using a popular data center watch so I hoped it would all sort itself out. But now it's down in the 40s though on the watch site it's 21 for most data centers. I guess it's time to start digging to see what I can do.

The rest of my site doesn't seem to be hurt. Long tail is doing fine.

Could this be related to the -30 penalty?


 7:04 am on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

phrase one widgets
phrase two widgets
phrase three widgets
...etc. in anchor text navigation too many times, percentage-wise.

This is one of the really important keys, and yet it gets so lost in all the noise about reinclusions, "totally clean sites", "I've done everything right" and "Google's unfair collateral damage".


 6:54 pm on Nov 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

The original -30 penalty was applied to any search that returned the domain involved. Even a search for "example.com" returned the domain root on page four. That kind of penalty seems to indicate a major loss of trust, which usually translates into siginificant and clear violations of Google's guidelines - big-time backlink manipulation especailly.

Even though the penalty has evolved (it's no longer always -30 for example) if the ranking drop isn't affecting all the searches where a domain is returned across the board, then whatever is going on is not likely to relate to this specific penalty. It's probably something else, and even if it's not so easy to see what's wrong, be glad for still ranking well on some searches!


 7:08 pm on Dec 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

14 months after I discovered the penalty (and 15 or so after it has actually been applied), 5 re-inclusion requests and a major site layout redesign later this is starting to get old.

It appears that the penalty has a profound multi-tiered effect on the site. It is hard to tell if that's what Google had intended or not but it is rather devastating. Everyone's case has got to be different but here is what I'm struggling with:

Dropping Google and having to rely on other sources of traffic drastically changes the visitor's demography. On this technical site a switch to Yahoo as a major source of traffic has dumbed down the user-generated content and steered other content towards really basic noobie-type visitors thus alienating the former industry professional regular visitors. As a result of this the site was less likely to be recommended by a pro to someone interested in the subject and therefore less new links are being added. Also, dumbed-down content causes people to stay less time while at the site which may be recognized by Google by the virtue of AdSense code and feed it back into the negative feedback loop. All of this has snowballing effect 'cause less visitors means less interest, fewer viral referrals etc. and it just keeps on becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bottom line: if your site was offering something of value to visitors before the penalty has been applied, due to the enormous length of the penalty it will most likely be much less appealing to both Google reviewers and regular visitors after a year into the penalty. This, obviously lowers the chances that the penalty will get manually lifted.

So, if I can only hope that a Google rep (who is repping Google on these forums anymore, anyways?) is reading this, please consider expiring this sort of penalty after at least 6 months and not longer. If you were looking to disrupt economical basis (umm.. AdSense?) of a junky spamming website, after 6 months you would have killed it already and the owner has moved on. However, good sites that the owners have heavily invested time and money into (like, almost 10 years in my case) would still have a chance to recover. Why good sites get penalized in the first place would be a subject of another heated discussion and I donít want to open that can of worms here.

Google, DO NOT ISSUE OPEN-ENDED PENALTIES! They are extremely unfair and unnecessarily damaging to well-meaning site owners that might have been given the penalty by mistake in the first place.


 5:42 pm on Dec 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

well spoken 1script!


 5:47 pm on Dec 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

1script, is your home page lower than #1 when you put www.example.com in the Google search box? That was always one of the key characteristics of this penalty and the examples that I know of are now all back to a regaulr looking result.

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