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|Google's 950 Penalty - Part 11|
< continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
< related threads: -950 Quick Summary [webmasterworld.com] -- -950 Part One [webmasterworld.com] >
Just saw one 950+ and it does my heart good to see it.
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No, I'm not saying that's necessarily why, but it would serve them right if it was, for playing dirty like that on a page that's supposed to have reciprocal links with people exchanging fair and square in good faith.
And another 950+, the last site in the pack. Flash only (not even nice) with some stuff in H1 and H2 elements with one outbound link. class="visible"
Another way down at the bottom is an interior site page 302'd to from the homepage, and isn't at all relevant for the search term - it must have IBLs with the anchor text (not worth the time to check).
Yet another must also have anchor text IBLs (also not worth the time checking) and simply isn't near properly optimized for the phrase.
So that's four:
3. Sloppy webmastering
4. Substandard SEO
No mysteries in those 4, nothing cryptic or complicated like some of the other 950+ phenomenon, but it's interesting to see that there are "ordinary" reasons for sites/pages to be 950+ that simple "good practices" and easy fixes could take care of.
The question does arise, though, whether the first two are hand penalties or if somethings's been picked up algorithmically on them - in one case unnatural linking, and in the other, CSS spamming.
[edited by: Marcia at 4:46 am (utc) on July 23, 2007]
[edited by: tedster at 9:13 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2008]
Of course it also begs the question - are they -950'ed for that or some other reason.
Without proof it is difficult to say.
Cain, I don't think those are 950'd in the same sense as many of the other sites in these threads that have been experiencing the 950+ phenomenon, which is why I brough them up. It was to illustrate a point that some sites tank for reasons that are nothing new. In addition, there's nothing about those sites that would appear to qualify them for ranking well for that search term in the first place.
The first one mentioned does show some degree of "promise" but I feel that the lesson to be learned from that one is that playing manipulative PR hoarding games and trying to artificially stack the deck with links to game Google, to try to dishonestly eliminate reciprocal links from their site, did absolutely nothing for their rankings, and we can only guess that what they did appears to possibly have actually been the cause of their problem.
I have a bunch of sites with the -950 penalty. I managed for two of them to escape by doing the following:
- Removed all "title=" attributes from hrefs, tables, and anywhere else they were. This involved removing 1-3 "title=keyword" areas from each page.
- Decreased the keywords in alt image text when the image was actually a link. For example, I changed <href=".."><img alt="blue widgets"></a> to <href=".."><img alt="blue"></a>
- These pages were being linked to from pages that did not have much content. For example, the Blue Widgets page was linked to from /widgets/b/ and on that page it just had the heading of "Widgets the begin with B" and a list of links to blue widgets, black widgets, etc. I moved all links (800+) to the /widgets/ directory and just linked to them from there and removed the "Widgets that begin with B" page.
errorsamac - Did you (or anyone else) have a site come back from -950 penalty today?
A badly hit, long suffering (since december) site I've been working on rose from the dead today.
I'm pretty sure it was changes we made late last week, as it was a total redo, but just want to check if others saw escape from penalty today.
|Did you (or anyone else) have a site come back from -950 penalty today? |
I tend to think that if you make the neccessary changes to have the penalty lifted under G's current settings, you should come back within a week or so.
I did not notice any change by Google yesterday regarding -950. In my experiences, it takes 10-14 days to recover from -950 after you have made changes.
|I tend to think that if you make the neccessary changes to have the penalty lifted under G's current settings, you should come back within a week or so. |
This has been my experience. Only had 1 site affected, an affiliate. 'Deoptimising' the site worked the first time it was affected and has also worked again.
I went on leave last week and got back to find the client had sent in re-written text and got designer to amend site. As well as increasing keywords they also used a lot of icons and images whereas before we had real text. This meant overall keyword ratio went up and keywords were adjacent each other whereas before they had been spaced out. Looking at the page 'text only' you could see why it might raise a flag.
I re-wrote (again), changed text in global nav and they came back up into main index within 10 days.
The 'over-optimisation' penalty is rather strict. I see many other sites with far more repetitive text doing fine, so they must be OK in other areas that come into play.
As others have noted I think that lack of variation in IBLs, low quality IBLs and too tight a 'theme' are areas to watch.
This site had far too many similar anchor text IBLs and we've been working to randomise these and get higher quality links. However as it's an affiliate there's not that much that can be done.
|you should come back within a week or so. |
Yes, that timing agrees with the 3 sites I've seen come back.
But to be specific, I mean about a week after G caches the changes...
Another current trend I''m noticing with a site is that most of its terms go 950 during the weekend for the last several weeks. It does fine most of the week but its rankings plummit during sat/sun and come back on mon.
I hope you're right because a solid, established site of mine just went 950. Earlier only individual pages would go 950 but now all the pages on the site dropped.
GREAT news. I spend several hours and got rid of a whole lot of ALT and Title tags for Hyperlinks.. I drastically reduced the number of times my preferred keywords appeared and within days WHOOSH..... my site was in the top 6 for "blue widgits" when it was about 110 before that. It shot up to 8th position for "red widgits" and position 4 for "green widgits". I guess my pages may have been overoptimized.
a part of my site went to end of serps
i changed nothing ,
on 07/12/07 my site come back
my site has no affilates no adsense
not keyword stuffing , but i deoptimize
my site from 5 repeats (keyword phrase) to 3 repeats to be on the safe side
the same parts of my sites is not on the end not in the middle of the serps now not in the serps
i thing on 08/12/07 they came back
has anybody similar observation
Well, I seen a tiny light at the end of the tunnel today....
I checked my rankings, and I can FINALLY find myself again. Number 701 to be precise.
Sure, it's not pretty, but at least I'm physically in the serps again.
To get there, I de-seo'ed the onpage content to a degree. Nothing major, I just made things look more natural.
Example - The old title would say "Blue ¦ Red Widgets by Mega Widgets"
Now it just says "Mega Widgets"
Then made a few other changes, and got me out from he11.
So, today, I took a look at the index page again, and picked out some more SEO stuff. Things like link 'titles', etc. Hopefully this will move me forward even further.
Considering going around to some forums that I frequent, and changing the anchor text to the home page (since it's set to the keyword I'm targeting) But will wait to see how these other changes pan out.
Today, I'm no longer in the serps.
Grrr..... I don't think there's any hope for me.
Since you are right out the ass end of google anyway, why not do something drastic and totally de-optimise your site?
Mr Stitch - deoptimize internal anchor links, especially ones to home.
Use 'home' as the only link to your index page and do not reference it (for now) using any keywords
Only get inbound links to subpages using keyword text and spread the anchor around the next 6-10 most important pages with 'very few' new links to the index page, and any new links to the index page use a 'soft' version of the anchor text.
That will hopefully help you pop back in if you have already cleaned up the index page and nav links.
Destroying a website for users and for search engines is no solution to the 950 penalty.
Deoptimizing a page is not destroying it; in fact, it's likely improving it from a user standpoint from most of the websites I visit.
Since the word "deoptimizing" makes no sense to start with, it is hard to know what you mean, but using anything other than the most appropriate words for linking is bad seo and aggressively user-unfriendly.
|Destroying a website for users and for search engines is no solution to the 950 penalty. |
|Since the word "deoptimizing" makes no sense to start with, it is hard to know what you mean, but using anything other than the most appropriate words for linking is bad seo and aggressively user-unfriendly. |
It's hard your understand your use of the statement "Destroying a website for users and for search engines is no solution to the 950 penalty" especially when you cannot make sense of the word "deoptimizing". As you said "since the word 'deoptimizing' makes no sense to start." If the word "deoptimizing" makes no sense to you then your first statement is nothing more than a senseless empty rambling backed with no understanding.
But your statement may have been made with some understanding. As you said "it is hard to understand" which of course means there is some sense, maybe not complete sense but some understanding, to the word "deoptimizing". This makes it really hard to understand, ummm make "sense" of, the first part of your second statement "since the word 'deoptimizing' makes no sense to start." A bit of contradiction, confusion, or some silly senselessness?
Anyway not trying to be snooty or anything but if "Destroying a website for users and for search engines is no solution to the 950 penalty" (if you want to be literal as you didn't say "possible" or "may be") then you must know what the solution is. If you know what the solution is...well then you must know what the problem is. So may I ask what is the actual cause (no speculation) of the 950 penalty and actual concrete (no-fail) solutions backed with facts, cases, experiences, etc.?
... deoptimizing simply puts sites into a less competitive / less monitored area where you need less or no IBLs not to get filtered out.
You didn't possibly think that you'll be #1 for a competitive term because you edited OUT the necessary phrase from your anchor text?
If your site suffers from -950 for the words / phrases you target, ( and not in the longtail ) you have to get more quality links to it with those, +more variations, +more derivations in the anchor text +correct anything and everything the bot might see as problematic.
- dupe content
- wrong balance of pages
- keyword stuffing ( meaning widget widget widgetry all over )
- phrase co-occurrance that might trigger spam filters ( blue widgets, blue cheese, blue hawaii )
- errors in HTML
- chain redirects...
there's no single cause for the -950 penalty.
It's a spam/quality related whatever that doesn't tell you the reason.
Spam filtering includes keyword co-occurrance and relevancy checks. If you don't have links with the phrase you're toast, and that's exactly because Google sees you targeting it by every means but link popularity ( you say your site's about XYZ, but others don't link to you with it ). Remove, rewrite XYZ in your nav, and Google might let you get away with it, but you won't rank that well.
Get links instead.
or pose yourself the question.
is my site good enough of a resource for XYZ to even ASK for quality links? ( from relevant, popular sources on XYZ ) ... if not...
... then don't target it.
If it is, you'll be able to get links.
Oh and don't jump on me.
This reply was for the 'deoptimization' part of the thread.
A site that has loads of proper links doesn't have to deoptimize.
I went ahead and geared down the site some more, reluctantly I might add. I'm being honest when I say my optimization efforts before this were very light to say the least.... now they're practically non-existent.
There was no keyword use in the nav, aside from the obvious. It breaks down like this....
The site deals in two different parts of the niche market. The index page starts off with two small sections for each category. 'Widgets' and 'Tires' (sorry, can't think of anything that go's with a widget)
Then, of course, the index page points to a page for each respecting category. The widgets.htm page has all the different types of widgets... and I DON'T mean color. Each widget is a unique item by itself. You can click on a widget, and it'll take you to that particular product page with all the available colors, video to see how it works in relation to the other ones, dimension stats, pricing, etc. The alt text for each image on the core widget page is NOT optimized for 'widgets', which is what I'm trying to target the site for in the serps.
The index page also points to the 'tires' page where there is a more detailed description of whats going on with the product, warranty, etc. Then towards the bottom, there are a few links to the different types of tires. And each of those pages has all the necessary product descriptions, pricing, etc. We DON'T rank at all for the 'tires' product, but I'm not really concerned about it, as this type of product is something that the user (99%) check out in their local store first. We simply offer it as brand name support, and gives the user something else to consider.
Now, the navigation....
The index page is linked as 'Home', on ALL pages. It's been that way since day 1, five years ago.
The widgets page is linked to with the term 'Widgets', and it's not an seo choice. It's blatantly obvious that it's strictly for the user. I simply can't imagine calling it anything else.
The tires page is linked as 'tires'... again.... duh.
There is no hidden content on the site. There is no duplicate content on the site. There are no door way pages, redirects, or anything else that might even remotely constitute as black hat seo.
According to Webmaster Tools, I have 800 links, mostly pointing to the home page of course. The site is 5 years old, like I stated earlier. So there is no way this is some sort of 'quality' issue. Even if ALL my links were devalued, the age of the site alone should at least put it at #300, #400... heck, it should be SOMEWHERE, just not GONE.
Another piece of info - The domain is NOT targeting the 'widgets' term, such as www.widgets.com, or www.buy-widgets.com. It's set up more like a brand name, but of course, we have much less industry 'umpf' than the bigger guys. To make it clearer, the target term is a two-word term "Moving Widgets" (yeah, without specifics, this gets tough). The domain AND brand name is "Wonka Widgets".
The title of the home page, at one time, was Widgets and Tires by Wonka Widgets. In light of recent events, I've just changed it to Wonka Widgets.
Another piece of the puzzle - The actual 'widgets' page is grey-bared for page rank. While most of the individual widget pages have pr, and some actually rank 'ok' for various terms. There are a couple that are grey-bared as well, and my gut tells me that Google see's them almost as dupe content.
Example - I have 'flying hero widgets' and 'driving hero widgets'. A separate page for both. Even tho these two products are very close in design, i MUST separate them as they serve different functions. Not to mention the fact that each one has different color choices, and close to 20 to boot. If I grouped it all on one page, the thing would take forever to load.
Finally, I'm certain that some people may ask whether or not the site in question is an authority site, or a site that even offers the correct product for such terms. Well.... as far as I can tell, I'm the ONLY guy in the top 1000 that offers this much product, and different designs.
Well... ok, there is this other site that does, but they offer high end brand name product. Ours is on the genaric side. Other than that, there isn't anyone else. BTW, in this industry, 'brand name' doesn't mean anything, besides spending more money. But I know G-bot can't tell the difference. Funny tho.... we actually manufacture a lot of product for the brand name people. So it's sort of insulting to see our site get tanked when we manufacture 1/3 of the nations product in this sector.
30 years in business, dealing with the biggest names in the industry (THE biggest names), and G treats us like we're some sort of fly-by night spam site.
It would really nice if G would take the time to look into this case, as we ARE the authority.... PERIOD.
|The site deals in two different parts of the niche market. The index page starts off with two small sections for each category. 'Widgets' and 'Tires' (sorry, can't think of anything that go's with a widget) |
Then, of course, the index page points to a page for each respecting category.
|You can click on a widget, and it'll take you to that particular product page with all the available colors, video to see how it works in relation to the other ones, dimension stats, pricing, etc. The alt text for each image on the core widget page is NOT optimized for 'widgets', which is what I'm trying to target the site for in the serps. |
|According to Webmaster Tools, I have 800 links, mostly pointing to the home page of course. |
OK worst case scenraio.
Sorry if I got it wrong, but this is how I imagine it.
... so basically you have about 800 links to your homepage with various on-topic links, on a 5 years old site that's perfecly OK ( you're -950, which means you're trusted )...
The homepage is but a splash page with TWO ( as in TWO, 2 ) LINKS, to the two categories and that's that?
If it is so, you've filtered out most of the relevant anchor text, narrowing down any votes to the ones you used on those two links. Do you have any text navigation on the homepage?
Also, did I get it right that you have no descriptive text links pointing to the product pages, only image links without any ALT attribs? ( Not that ALT would help you much ) Do you have at least a caption somewhere below or right next to these pics in the code?
If either of the above applies, especially the homepage problem, those could be playing a major role in your site at -950.
NO, the index page is NOT a splash page with two links.
There is nav, that has home, widgets, tires, about us, affiliate program, faq. It's a horizontal nav, and it's the same nav on all the pages.
Under that, there is a large div, with two h2's. The first being 'widgets'. Underneath that, there is content talking about the three different 'basic' designs of widgets. Each different type has supporting content, with a single link targeting a specific place on the core 'widgets' page, where of course, is all the different kinds of widgets for that particular style of widget. Proper use of anchor text is used.... not spam. This way, if a person starts at the home page, and wants to see our selection of a specific style of product, they can click the link and it will take them directly to that section on the widgets page, and yet at the same time, allow them to scroll up or down or where ever to see the other versions of different types of widgets we offer.
Then under the second h2, we have a similar set up talking about the tires... more of a 'teaser' paragraph, if you will. A single link in that section takes you to the 'tires' page where more in-depth information is given, and corresponding links to the various styles of tires.
Again, the index page has a ton of unique content.... unique because I'm using terms that's used in our manufacturing process. The same process that's been supplying this stuff to the masses for 30 years.
About the product image thingy you mentioned. Yes, there is physical text on the page. The breakdown go's like this....
The widget product page is broken up into several sections, each with their own h2 heading. Underneath each heading are the pictures for every different design for that style of widget. Each one has a title above the picture. The title is not a link. The picture itself links to that particular designs' page. The image has alt text... not spam text. The alt data is whatever name we gave to that product. The 'widget' text is NOT repeated in every alt description like Wicker Widgets or Muchu Uno Widgets. It's merely Wicker and Mucho.
Underneath all of these products I wrote several paragraphs that runs as a standard across the board for picking out the widgets that the user needs. So yes, there is other content on this page.
"So may I ask what is the actual cause (no speculation) of the 950 penalty and actual concrete (no-fail) solutions backed with facts, cases, experiences, etc.?"
I'm not going to get into this silly stuff, but the idea that a way to avoid the penalty is to not only do things user-unfriendly, but also counter to what successful sites (both user-wise and SEO-wise) do, well, that's just not good advice.
The key problem in undertsanding the issue here is the dead end thinking that 950 penalties are all the same, and thus can be fought by the same tactic.
Some sites are 95% hit by the penalty; some are 3% hit. Some penalties are applied to spammy garbage that Google is being targeting and trying to penalize; some pages are authoritative pages on niche authority websites. Etc. To suggest the same tactic should be and can be successfully employed on all these really makes no sense logically.
Some people talk about pages that are penalized because they rank rank for lots of terms, and have lots of different anchor text from lots of sources. Others talk about pages that are penalized that have the same anchor text, primarily only from the parent domain. Blah blah blah.
At the same time, the world goes on. The majority of websites are not effected by this penalty. The majority of successful websites not effected by this penalty build websites for users, with appropriate anchor text, non-spammy linking, and coherently written pages. THAT is what Google is not trying to penalize... even if sometimes they do penalize pages like that.
|THAT is what Google is not trying to penalize... even if sometimes they do penalize pages like that |
More and more as time goes by. The occurrence of this collateral damage has been increasing over time and yet Google doesn’t seem to be trying to cure it. Years ago you never really saw any of that. Ideally pages should rank where they belong on a continuous scale between 1 and 1,000. Now, there’s a definite possibility of a page ranking say 7th, but is a hair away from 980.
Overall Google does a great job but sometimes you get the feeling they never read, “The Emperors New Clothes”. There are these incredibly bizarre parts to their algorithm that they just ignore.
|The occurrence of this collateral damage has been increasing over time and yet Google doesn’t seem to be trying to cure it. |
Actually, I think Google is acutely aware of collateral damage and would like to minimize it.
Adam Lasnik has publicly commented on his concern as algos change and some innocent sites on the edge are affected (sorry I don't have a specific link for this). Anyone who's talked with Matt Cutts would sense his very genuine concern for webmasters as well.
I am seeing some pages that I thought were probably marginal but basically OK now moving back up on their own. It's inevitable, of course, that as these are moving up, someone else's pages are moving down, but I wouldn't say that Google is doing nothing. Again, I feel that the pages that are minus 950 rather than completely gone sit there in a way because they have a measure of respect. They were previously trusted, and they've most likely tripped a series of filters which, when factored together, have a very sharp cutoff.
I believe that Google is constantly re-examining affected pages to sort out the best algo settings for many millions of sites. I don't think it's easy, particularly not as spammers get better at imitating the signs of on and off-page quality that Google respects.
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