" Just as an update to all you fellow -50 penalty suffers. I have confirmed 1 link shared by a minimum of 5 sites that suffered this recent penalty. This site in question is a "polish" site that offered links through DP for sale."
superbitz: OMG... I had a few backlinks from a site with a similar background except it's Italian. It's also a .info and url is the name of the author. Is the site in question is related to adobe products like photoshop (just for confirming)?
Anyway I already contacted the author in DP and he removed all the links. :)
[edited by: Hemanth at 9:13 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2007]
Obviously your "suspect" link profile may be different then my example above. But this was what presented itself in my cases, so you may want to look for something similar at your end.
superbitz, I know the polish site you are talking about. I am with Stiphen and believe that it is more than just getting a link from one site. I also know a site that has a link from the Polish site and is not affected by this. I think this is an issue that does not relate to paid links at all.
Gomer, as I stated above, this is in relation to my situation and yes, I am convinced it is the problem. You are welcome to disagree but in my case, one bad link can certainly cause the problems I see with my site examples.
If you knew the specific site page I was referring to (which I don't think you do) then you know that of the current 4 sites that have yet to remove their footer links from the bottom of this page, all 4 sites have the same shared penalty. That's quite the "coincidinky" don't you think?
I don't believe there is one umbrella explanation for all the sites getting the -50 handjob and that the reason my 3 sites had problems isn't related necessarily to either your site or some of the others I have seen on these forums.
I am just providing some possible explanations that directly affect me and you can feel free to do the same. I don't expect anyone to take anything that I say as Gospel and that certainly includes you.
superbitz, do keep us posted on how removing that link effected your site. While I may think one way or another, I certainly won't say I know for sure and am open to all possiblities.
D'oh. I did some further investigation and the search engine traffic jump on a non-optimized site that I mentioned before was not caused by Google. And the Google index count jump appears to have been a blip. They may be doing testing/restructuring, but there could also be a penalty at play.
superbiz: I think you are mistaken on another thing also. I find it extremely hard to believe that this is a handjob. The big fluxes in the index and the raw amount of sites points to just a number of adjustments to the algo, nothing more nothing less.
About "four sites had footer links on that site".. that points to a behavior of misbehaving rather than a single incident. From the sites I looked at they were not first time offenders in regards to having a slightly inflated link profile.
Stiphen - I have been on the Google Webasters Forums and the posters with the big shiny G's next to their names (the ones with Google) practically said as much when asked directly.
Again, your welcome to your opinion. But this isn't my first "Google Dance" and if you do believe these recent penalties are "automated" and thus algorithmically generated, then be prepared to wait a long time as I don't see these "timing-out."
I have no experience or comment on the recent penalties, but can add that I'm pretty sure I know the polish site in question. PR6 and 7 pages, all lost PR last week, and ranks very poorly for its own (4 letter) domain name now.
I know 3 sites with links from this site. One was authority site, and is unchanged. One lost rank exactly as I would expect if losing it's only PR7 inbounds. From #4-5 to #7-8 for several keywords. The 3rd has been fluttering between -950 penalty and #30 for main keyword, and is now back in -950.
The three cases I know certainly don't seem to be suffering a "penalty" due to being caught with paid inbound links, but they are not new sites, and perhaps not as vulnerable.
Anyway, submitted a reconsideration request today. Gave full details of my one and only one paid link and proof of removal. Let's see what'll happen, good or bad. I'm tired of this. :(
Any improvements or further developments?
After reading this it seems that this might have been exactly what hit us; it started seemingly only with the index page falling out of the index (and Google cache), at first unnoticed because we link extremely well also with other pages.
Those also have gone missing now and the only thing leftover is the forum on the website. The last pages were lost just yesterday and again they dropped not only out of google but also do not show any cache any more.
Seems to be a slow spiral of death :-(
i found something at my site... i was using links for a region-selection... that was a php-script which was called with 2 or 3 parameters.
Maybe the bot makes one unique url with it. Hmmmm.
Update: I fixed issues found in Google Webmaster Tools Content Analysis (particularly duplicate titles), changed urls to change some parameters to url line items (with 301 redirects on all), found issues where users had posted URLs to SPAM sites (eliminated and prevented), and submitted a reinclusion request. All this was done in the past week or so.
Since then, the GoogleBot continues to visit as it always had, and my PR is as it was. I consider those a good sign. A search for my domain with quotes is still bad. Indexed pages is further down, but I think it's dropping pages that have now been 301'd to new URLs and updated titles. Server logs show that the bot is finding the newly URL'd pages, though they've not hit the index yet.
Overall, I'm going to have faith that this will work but will continue to take some time. That the bot is still active and that 301'd pages are coming out of the index tells me that G is doing their job. I've done mine, so now it's a waiting game.
I really believe that the duplicate titles and SPAM links were my killer. The bot will take care of the first, and I hope the reinclusion request the second.
Things are changing, but I can't yet say that all is well.
so now you are not using urls with parameters, right?
Almost exclusively, yes. Still have a few but I don't consider them specific to my desire to improve search results, I.E., date ranges have been kept as parameters, where the subject line was incorporated into the URL.
Update: One of my two sites did have its penalty lifted as of 7pm PST 12/27. That site is back to where it was before and has actually improved on several keywords.
My debt management client still has its penalty in place. I submitted both reconsideration requests within minutes of each other. I am hopeful this 2nd client penalty will be lifted quickly. I corrected similar issues with both sites.
Will keep you updated.
superbitz: Congratulations! Can you tell us when you submitted your reinclusion request? Also, in reviewing your previous posts, it looks like the only action you took was to remove some questionable links. Would that be correct? Also - last question - there are several kinds of penalties, minus 50, 950, etc., how would you describe yours?
Yes, both of my sites suffered the -50 penalty that befell most sites back on 12/10. The sites dropped out for about 72 hours then returned to the index at around 7pm on 12/13 with a -50 suppression on all its search terms.
Both sites shared two "questionable" links which were removed. I believe that was the main problem. However, I did identify some "possible" duplicate content issues caused some proxies that Google had cached and I had those removed as well. But I believe these non-link related changes were really just "cosmetic."
If and when my 2nd site pops back in I will let you know. I submitted a substantially more detailed request with that site so I am suprised that it wasn't the one to pop back in first.
Google still has not fixed the proxy issue which might also contribute to what we see, their spam team is fast with penalties but they are super lame with fixing fundamental stuff like the proxy issue.
So obviously the spam team people work faster/better than the other Google departments.
Guys, it seems the Google Team is back from Holidays. :D
My rankings are slowly returned. It's in progress from yesterday night. Search for the site's title now returning to my home page! My main search keyphrase is also back with 1 position up. Now at No: 9 of about 1,330,000.
How's it going guys? So we can confirm that this is purely related to the paid-links issue. In my reconsideration request I pointed out only that violation.
Here is my experience:
I have a 2,5 years old web site with an Alexa ranking of 10k (50k
daily unique hits, %65 of it is Google Traffic, now unique hits
dropped to 15k/day).
indexed page count and site:domain.com results seem normal, i can find
any page searching my domain... but...
My web site was used to rank at #1 or #2 for some keywords more than 1
year and i can't even find them in the SERPs for a few days.
Only %10 of the forum threads keep their positions. There is a MAJOR
This'd happened at the end of November and took two weeks to become
normal. 3 days ago it happened again. All important pages have PR and
include zero paid links.
Even parked domains rank better than my unique-content-pages!
I submitted a reconsideration request, double checked my pages, can't
see anything wrong by my side...
Googlebot is still indexing my new forum threads in a few hours but it
simply doesn't list them in the SERPs!
I don't know "Google -xx Penalties" but i've been suffering from this disease since December 21th.
No joy for me yet. Reinclusion request was 26 Dec. Not really expecting anything until the end of this week. We'll see. Congrats to Hemanth!
Seems we got a good number of our opages back even though Google Webmaster Tools has no updated data on number of spidered links. This happened a week after the re-inclusuion request and an endless number of fixes.
We saw our pages coming back first on the following data centers: 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. They then came up everywhere else around 1 day later.
They showed up in < an online data center comparison tool > without supplementals, so maybe Google is fetching here first or playing with their supplemental index?
Could be coincidence or specific to our dropped pages... Fingers crossed we stay where we are now...
[edited by: tedster at 7:32 pm (utc) on Dec. 31, 2007]
Here is an update on my situation.
We lost our SERP positions on December 10th although our pages remained in the index. Google then slowly started moving our pages that were in the primary index to the supplemental index. Our pages have however started to move back to the primary index from the supplemental index. No improvement in SERP's though.
Within the last few days 2 of my spammy competitors came back from the December 10th "penalty" These spam sites haven't been changed very much. The only change I can tell is the hidden links in the top paragraph on the homepage (of one site) are now visible.
The doorway pages, hidden text, paid links and keyword stuffed navigation are all still there. Ya gotta love Google for putting these two prime examples of spam on page one of the serps.
Anyone else noticing that their GWT crawl stats stop showing data on or around this date? (hard to tell exact day from the chart).
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