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This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 64 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 7

 1:58 pm on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

I've had some 20 sites -30'ed. The penalty seems to have been replaced by -60. All sites were manually checked by G the previous day. I've also helped others check their logs and G employees were lurking on their sites 1 or 2 days before the drop. I have not seen an automatic -30 since December 06 but it may be still possible.

My sites were mainly thin affiliates so I understand the penalty but in my latest case the site didn't have any affiliate content so the main reason for penalty remains unknown. Looking at the latest -60 penalties it seems you don't have to be a thin affiliate, thin is enough. Mini sites with very little content can be dropped even though the 10 links and some text they have are very useful for visitors.

[edited by: tedster at 4:47 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2007]



 11:20 am on Jun 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

Looking over this lengthy Minus-30 Penalty thread, I see mention several times, of how some webmasters think that the penalty was "manually induced". For those that believe so, they mention that they have seen a "manual" Google visit.

For the purposes of log file analysis, what reverse DNS entries in your logfile indicated this manual Google visit ? Can you please cite some examples of this ?


 2:53 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have two pages of a site with the minus 30 penalty that have broken the 30 barrier for the same search term. They're listed at 26 & 27. Is this a good sign or just a quirk?


 3:16 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would say it is a positive sign as long as you make another jump up within the next 10-15 days.


 5:34 pm on Jun 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just an update. I now have 4 keywords that have broken the 30 barrier. My best ranking keyword is #15 (up from #26 a week ago). Most of these terms used to rank #1. I'm crossing my fingers that Google is slowly letting my site out of the penalty box.


 1:18 am on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's been a while since we had an update on this -30 penalty - any chance of a summary on where it's at given the length of the thread.


 2:28 am on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

The reason I think there's been no recent action in this thread is that the original characteristics of this exact -30 penalty have been washed out. First, it's no longer strictly a minus thirty. Some sites have seen it lifted completely, and many others have seen it change to minus something else - second page, third page, sixth page, whatever.

The chief characteristic - being at #31 for your domain name search [example.com] - is just not the situation anymore. Also some folks assumed they were suffering from this thread's -30 penalty when they weren't. This one was rare, and if you had it, you also pretty much knew the games you'd been playing.

At any rate - we can't go looking for a formula of "this infraction earns you minus XX" any more, even if we ever could have or should have trie to.


 3:21 am on Aug 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

-30 became -50/-60/-70 pretty quickly, and then with the dynamic nature of things, even well trusted sites that were #1 previously and now hit with this type of penalty can experience a yo yo to top it off, cycling sometimes from as deep as 80 to the first page for ubercompetitive terms.

The penalty(ies) have morphed, but the remedies posited are no less imaginative than those described in the -950 threads; it all comes down to trust, and in that game Google is a paranoid skitzophrenic with a loaded gun and a bottle of scotch...tread lightly.

All that said, I am seeing an uptick of sites getting hit with the morphed -{ceiling} penalties as of Aug 1; some element of trust definitely shifted.


 7:23 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is there any more current information on this topic?

Our site has been penalized as described. We have been a very long standing site with many good Google rankings going back to 2005. As of 9/11 (ironic but not funny), all of our rankings disappeared from the first page and some can be found bouncing around down on pages 4-7.

We added a number of paid text link ads about a month ago and I now realize that must be what has caused this problem. I am now working to remove these ads and get back in good graces with Google.

Webmaster Tools show we are still being spidered and it even shows us as showing up in the index for our terms on the first page as usual, so I'm not sure why the Tools don't show an accurate reading of what is current.

Also, I'm wondering if this was a "manually induced" penalty or automatically caught by the algorithm. Can anyone tell me how to find out one way or the other?

Earlier in this thread someone posted this question, but I did not see an answer for it:

"Looking over this lengthy Minus-30 Penalty thread, I see mention several times, of how some webmasters think that the penalty was "manually induced". For those that believe so, they mention that they have seen a "manual" Google visit. For the purposes of log file analysis, what reverse DNS entries in your logfile indicated this manual Google visit ? Can you please cite some examples of this ? "

If anyone knows the answer I would appreciate it.

And two last questions:

1. if this is a manually induced penalty, what is the best way to go about getting the penalty removed?
2. if this is an automatically induced, what is the best way to go about getting the penalty removed? Or will it just take care of itself when the text ads are removed?

I am in the process of getting all the ads taken down, so I will have all those removed very soon.

Thank you very much for any help!


 7:46 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

1. if this is a manually induced penalty, what is the best way to go about getting the penalty removed?

2. if this is an automatically induced, what is the best way to go about getting the penalty removed? Or will it just take care of itself when the text ads are removed?

>>> Remove paid links and also other links which might have been doubtful, check other factors that would have lead to lose trust of Google, send a reinclusion request using Web masters Tool login and finally wait for weeks/months with fingers crossed.

Meanwhile PPC could be a good idea for your ROI keywords.


 1:59 am on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback wanna_learn. I know I Wanna!

Can anyone tell me how to figure out if the penalty on my site is "manually" or "algorithmicly" induced?



 3:00 pm on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

No way to know.

The original minus thirty was a relatively rare penalty that was manually placed for a severe loss of trust. Its nature morphed and it became automated, or at least semi-automated. But the recourse is the same - the reconiderstaion request. Some ranking drops may just be lifted automatically, and that's when you know it was purley automated. But it doesn't hurt to make the request in every case.

What you are describing is not the original "minus thirty penalty" that this series of threads discusses, even though the number of positions lost might be the same. Many kinds of ranking manipulations were involved, and Googlers were extremely silent about the issue, to the point of refusing comment whan asked a direct question.

Google does apply a variety of link selling penalties, and those are a different story. Some are now suspected by many people to be automated - although in the beginning of their war on paid links, they seemed to be all manual.


 11:46 am on Sep 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

-30 penalty is actually a 30 position drop after which the site will continue the normal life in the serps going up or down. I had a -60 site that actually climbed back to page 2 during the following 12 months until it was "discovered" again and hit with a new -60.

That's why your -30'ed site can go up to #25 quickly if the other sites on that page are weak.

As said earlier the penalties have changed and it's harder to find the latest penalties as the usual domain or site name tests no longer work.

For a manual check search your logs for, and


 4:56 am on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've been reading up on many threads here and other forums regarding the -30/40 penalty - when two main websites for my business were hit with the -30 penalty. Reconsideration requests were sent on the same day, reciprocals were deleted, all outgoing links were deleted which couldn't be accounted for. I know what caused the penalty to occur and I'm not going to announce it, but to be totally honest for a single SEO which doesn't know why this kind of penalty occurs or any other 'penalty' in that fact shouldn't be in this game.

I'm only sharing the experience as one person may educate themselves from this, 3 months after the reconsideration request - after I had given up hope both sites had come back into the SERPs, the main site was kept the same.. from num 1/3 rankings for everything in its market, being abit lower which isn't a bad thing.

For the 2nd website, its SERPs had come back a day after the main websites. By that time, and having lost all hope - the site was 301'ed to a new but older domain. Now SERPs are rising for both.

I wasn't going to share the penalty experience to be totally honest, but one word of advice I can say is 'Google reconsideration request'.


 5:07 am on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Was this a "traditional" -30 penalty? The kind where even your domain name ranks #31 on a search for example.com? That's what this thread started out discussing, way back in part 1.

To my knowledge, that precise penalty (which was rather rare) has been retired, although other kinds of problems can cause a ranking drop of three pages today.


 5:42 am on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

If your replying to my thread Ted, then yeah it was. But like you said, the -30 penalty is old and isn't the same anymore like everything else.. you'd rarely see any term including their 'domainname' to be exactly 30 etc, or even once! Theres quite a few number of pin points to hit yourself with this penalty lately, quite suprising the amount of competition I've seen hit with it along with our website at the time..

I don't know if you've being hit with it once and recovered.. but do you think the lower SERPs is because of links being devalued or it's just a waiting game. I've never witnessed a penalty of any kind before, so hopefully this'll be the only one, and the last.


 6:40 am on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Recovery from the traditional -30 penalty (as well as some others) was a gradual, stepwise thing. The penalty originally was assigned for a major loss of trust. That loss came at least in part from a backlink profile that Google considered manipulative. Often those links were combined with technically sneaky redirects of various types. I'd say that, given those conditions, a lot of the original backlink profile is wiped out, never to be reclaimed.


 4:03 pm on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)


Are you insinuating here, that if -30 penalty was inflicted due to dodgy backlink profile, that Google would penalize AND destroy entire backlink profile ? Or do you mean that Google would just rid you of the dodgy backlink profile elements ?


 4:12 pm on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)


Sadly, rumors about "retirement" of "minus 30" penalty have been greatly exaggerated. I have a dubious honor of starting this thread 2 years and 6 parts ago :) based on experiences with one of my sites (you have the URL).

It gives me no great pleasure to report that 24 months later the penalty is very much still there. No search term, including the the site's own name (in quotes) shows up on SERP higher than 30 as the name of the penalty suggests. Today it's actually SERP 35, which is an "improvement" over 50+ which was the case about a year ago.

Since the penalty has been applied, the site has been through a major redesign (template layout, not URL structure), gathered new links, including one from DMOZ and is still receiving some traffic from Yahoo as well as direct bookmarked traffic.

Needless to say, I have filed 10 or so reconsideration requests during this time, to no avail.

So, it is not the time to close this thread as yet.


 4:29 pm on Oct 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

>even well trusted sites ...

It might be clearer and more realistic to express this as "even previously unsuspected sites...."

The surface level understanding is identical, but the second channel runs deeper.

>if -30 penalty was inflicted due to dodgy backlink profile, that Google would penalize AND destroy entire backlink profile ?

How do YOU treat trust in YOUR personal life? "I've found a whole web of deception in what he said last week...what'll I do? Believe everything he said that I haven't proven false, or start discrediting his entire message?"

Suspicion is sticky. Trust isn't.


 7:10 pm on Jan 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

one of my domains was finally released from the -30 penalty.

Majority of the keywords came back but not the main three. It's been out of the penalty for about 1 month and I didn't make any changes to the domain.


 3:53 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

@ northweb,
how long did it take you to recover from the penalty?


 11:14 pm on Feb 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

2 years. yep, still have other sites including our main site stuck
-30 to -40. Since last post another site was released. Kind of interesting, it's main keywords did not recover but many of the 3 - 5 keyword phrases recovered. Same as previous domain that was released.


 1:19 am on Feb 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

2 years? are you kidding? I don't have the patience to wait 2 years lol


 1:37 pm on Feb 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

2 years. damn. sounds like a capital punishment to me.


 5:50 am on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to post in this thread, hopefully for the last time. The site who's plight had prompted me to start this thread is out of penalty for a couple of months now. Total time spent with penalty - 28 months, give or take two months. Hope noone else here gets hit this hard - this was a real blow to the site's traffic. Basically, back to the level of traffic from some 10 years ago.


 9:32 am on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

After nearly 3 years with the -30 penalty (which was later -60) my site is back.

I'd abandoned all hope of it ever recovering and have been building new websites instead of wasting my time trying to recover it and pretty much forgotten about it.

However, last week I ran Webposition to check another site on the same topic I was surprised to see that the original had recovered rankings on a whole range of search terms.

And when I tried "domainname.com" in google, there it was at #1 again - penalty gone!

For the record, I have no idea why that site was penalised as it had good content, didn't link to bad neighbourhoods and the backlinks were largely natural.


 3:56 pm on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for this report barracuda07, 3 years for a -60 ... well this is a real pain and a good example how this (-40 ...-60) penalty works.


 7:31 pm on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

At barracuda:

You mention when you enter "domainname.com" you appear in #1? Was this the case before the penalty was listed? Where did you show up for "domainname.com"? I show up fine #1 for "domainname.com" but am in position 51 for "domainname" with out tld?


 10:56 pm on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

This supports my theory it's better to 301 a whole site instead of waiting years until a penalty is lifted:


"Q: I work for a large SEO firm, is there any harm in 301ing an old website"

"Matt: If itís a site we donít necessarily trust, I donít think so if youíre starting fresh. Sometimes itís better to just start truly fresh. We do our best to clean up the backlinks. As long as we see an earnest effort to combat this, that can really redeem you in our eyes; thereís nothing that says you couldnít insert a hyperlink to send more information to us."

[edited by: SEOPTI at 10:56 pm (utc) on June 7, 2009]


 12:11 pm on Jun 8, 2009 (gmt 0)


Yes, before the penalty the site used to rank at #1 for domain.com it never used to rank for domainname (without .com) but interestingly enough ranks at about #7 now.


 2:44 pm on Jun 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tedster, you are correct on the cause of the penalty. Nice to be out!

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