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This 57 message thread spans 2 pages: 57 ( [1] 2 > >     
Are specific pages on your site being banned/penalized?

 9:37 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Last October a site of mine lost 50% of its traffic overnight. At the time, I was wrapped up with another problem so I didn't investigate it.

When I finaly got around to checking the situation out I discovered that Google is penalizing (essentially banning) specific pages on the site. So you can understand what I am seeing, take this example.

I have a page about "versions of widgets". I used to be top 5 for that phrase. Now, when I search for "versions of widgets" I can not be found, at all. The page in question still appears when I use the site operator but it is not searchable. You can not even find the page when searching for unique phrases. It's essentially been banned, even though can still can be found with the site operator.

I have identified 15 or so such pages. There doesn't seem to be a common thread between them though. Some have toolbar PR, others do not. One has a couple of sold links on it but the others do not. Some of them were well ranked when this happened, others were not.

Has anyone else experienced this type of "partial banning" of a site? What could be the potenial causes?



 12:33 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am trolling to find more people that have experienced this - yes, have it for the home page of a site
- the home page is being regularly recached,
- we have made sure that no one has copied the latest page text including meta description
- while the page is cached, when you search for unique text in quotes into Google, that text does not exist.
- other internal pages on the site are able to be found for unique text on their pages.
- first started when scrapers took copies of words around the search phrases.
- other times, I have changed the meta description, and words around search phrases, and the home page has come back again.
- strangely, despite the homepage not being able to be found for unique content, it is ranking for some random phrases - probably more due to the inbound links for those phrases since the content has effectively been killed.

3 weeks since reinclusion request, 5 weeks since home page tanked.

But have now seen an internal page of another website with the same thing happened to it.

For internal pages, its easy enough to change the url. But for the home page, I am a little more reluctant, especially when I have a reinclusion request sitting there. If I redirect domain.com to domain.com/home as new home page, will Google still take the "penalty" off the home page so I can revert back at some stage?


 1:03 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'll try changing the URLs on some pages and the text on others and see if I get any results. I'm not sure if I should redirect the old URL to the new one though.

I would think redirecting might transfer the penalty but at the same time, I don't want to loose any IBLs. A couple of the afflicted pages have quite a few IBLs.


 3:06 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

The same thing happened to my site last October. I have been having trouble with unintentional duplicate content (due to site architecture) and i think that must be the cause as i havent done anything intentional to warrant Google bannning me. Homepage still ranks for some of my main keywords (based on backlinks) but apart from that the entire sites content seems to have been banned. I have contacted Google twice through the webmaster tools but haven't heard a peep. Not a good situation to be in.


 6:30 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think based on what you both have said, the problem would seem to be with the content in some way. It seems to me that Google is unsure of the content of our pages and is thus removing it from the equation. They aren't banning the pages entirely; they are banning the content.

For my part, last night when I was making some the changes I mentioned in my previous post, I found that all of pages in question had something odd about the description tags. Either they had a one word description (I had forgotten to write the description) or they had two line breaks in a row in the description.

I can't say for sure yet if this is the problem. After all, you both seem to have incurred this penalty because of duplicate content. I can't find a duplicate content problem though (neither created by myself or by scapers). Either way, at this point I do feel the most likely cause is the content.

Do y'all agree?

t2dman, you mentioned that your home page had came back a couple of times. Was that based solely on description tag changes or did you make other changes as well?


 10:29 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a 950 penalty.....there loads here about it so if you hit the first thread you've probably got about 3 weeks worth of reading so dig in for the long haul but in the mean time this should get you going.


[edited by: LineOfSight at 10:31 pm (utc) on Mar. 18, 2008]


 10:37 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

If I understand it correctly, the 950 penalty causes a page or site to drop dramatically in rank, but can still be found (usually in the 950 range).

That's not exactly what is happening to this site. The rest of the site ranks well but selected pages are not searchable for any of the text found on the page. Though the others have suggested that IBLs can still cause the page to get listed in the SERPs.

Am I wrong about the 950 penalty?


 12:00 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

As of the last 24 hours we are seeing the same thing happening on three of our sites as follows:

- Home page has PR and ranks for major search terms
- All inner pages have a grey toolbar
- Seems to be no or little duplicate content issues (except for the odd thief who steal some of our content here and there every so often but we manage that)
- Searching for unique text strings from all the inner pages, the page does appear to be in the index
- Inner pages do not rank for their search terms

I believe our internal structure is good, and we should not have internal duplicate content issues....

PS. As an aside, can individual pages suffer the 950 penalty?


 12:19 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)


What do your your description tags look like?
Are they all unique?
Do they contain duplicate text from the same page? (Sometimes I use the first paragraph of an article as the description as well.)
Anything unusual about them at all?

I'm not if sure individual pages can suffer from "the 950". My personal belief on that thread is that it has become so long and drawn out that it is all but impossible to separate the useful information from the conjecture.

As to scapers,
Scrapers have never been a huge problem with my site but there has couple of incidents in the past. I wonder if it would even be possible, after the fact, to see if scapers had taken the content of the pages in question. I mean, maybe anyone who had scraped those pages might have suffered the same fate.


 1:31 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

"t2dman, you mentioned that your home page had came back a couple of times. Was that based solely on description tag changes or did you make other changes as well? "

Scrapers had copied both meta description, and words before/including/after search phrases. When I changed my content to make it unique, the page appeared for the search phrase as soon as it was recached. This has successfully happened for a number of other website pages.

But now with the homepage recached a number of times, the page is not able to be found for unique quoted text - and no scrapers showing as yet. Internal pages are showing for unique text searches.


 3:10 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

In the early days of the "950" any changes to the page would sometimes bring it back and in somes cases still does.

Dial-D when you do do a search for your keywords in the various DC's how does it compare to the default Google?

Also what is the situation of your index page with regard to this?

If you do a search for (keyword yourdomain) without the .com how does the page rank?

Have you made navigational changes to these pages?


 3:42 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have had an entire site's "content" banned.

I am not going to get into specifics, but three plus years ago google banned an entire site of mine.

The site itself was clean and unique, but the promotion of the site fell outside of google's guidelines and it was whacked.

I moved the content to another domain name a couple of years ago, and since then it has heavily linked from social networks naturally.

The only searches it shows up on is googs .es and other extensions. it is AWOL on .com

The site has been duplicated [ ripped off ] several times, but these clones never appear in goog .com searches.


 4:44 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Dial-D when you do do a search for your keywords in the various DC's how does it compare to the default Google?

I checked 10 .com DCs and 5 different foriegn language Googles. The results are the exact same. The pages can not be found anywhere.

Also what is the situation of your index page with regard to this?

My index page does fine. It's #1 for my domain name and ranks well for a variety of phrases.

If you do a search for (keyword yourdomain) without the .com how does the page rank?

Now, this was interesting. I searched for "versions of widgets" and "my domain name". I was sure that my homepage would rank, since it has the text "versions of widgets" on it. Instead, I get a long list of pages which links to my site (and also contains the "versions of widgets"). But, none of the pages from my site appear. It would seem that not only is the content of "versions of widgets" been banned but also any chance of ranking for that term with it.

I'm not even sure what to make of that discovery.

Have you made navigational changes to these pages?

No, the design of the site has been the same for almost 3 years now.


 9:44 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

It doesnít seem like a ban or penalty especially with the index page doing well. Google now seems to rotate supplemental results in/out of the results on a 4-6 week schedule on some sites. They donít appear on exact phrase searches or the DCís but should pop back in periodically. Dependent on site size most people will never notice it going on.

On the (keyword domain) it can show if someone is copying your content. It can be well hidden. In the past on about any search like that your page would appear first. Now with older sites, in theory, being scraped more often there seems to be a penalty assessed on the same phrases being used across multiple sites. Itís somewhat perplexing.

Robert Charlton

 9:59 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now with older sites, in theory, being scraped more often there seems to be a penalty assessed on the same phrases being used across multiple sites. Itís somewhat perplexing.

I've expressed this as a theory, and it is a theory. I've also heard Matt Cutts say with a fair amount of confidence that this doesn't happen. I'm still in the undecided column. IMO, it gets harder and harder to tell who originated certain chunks of text. We don't know, of course, how much text-chunk-originality factors into the algo. ;)


 11:29 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)


I don't believe this is a supplemental index issue because none of the afflicted pages say that they are supplemental (when I use the site operator).

I searched through the results of ("versions of widgets" "mydomain") and couldn't find any scrapers so I decided to check and see if any scrapers were coping any other parts of the site by searching for unique phrases on other pages.

Much to my surprise, the entire site has been "content banned". No unique phrases on any page of the site are searchable. Apparently, the rankings I am in the SERPs for are based solely on link juice.

OK, time for some history on this site. I have a small network of sites. Last Sept. one of those sites got banned for reasons still not completely clear to me. (I wasn't doing anything black-hat that's for sure.) At the time of the banning, I had a significant number of links to the "content banned" site (they are related so I figured it was Ok to do this). Of course, I was concerned about that so I removed those links. 4 weeks later is when this site became "content banned", overnight. Now, I have always heard that incoming links can't really hurt you but I am wondering if that is really true.

In any case, what's the remedy here?


 11:36 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've got this happening today as well. Very strong pages on my site so there couldn't be duplicate content problems (1k plus inbounds to each). It's taken out probably my top 6 pages (with 60k+ indexed pages). The only common thread I've found is these were pages I've heavily promoted in the past with paid links.

My theory is my link profile is still showing too much unnatural linking patterns.

Robert Charlton

 12:22 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

PS to the above. I should have noted in my post above that there isn't a duplication "penalty." It's a filter, which is a very different thing.


 12:45 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone think buying a new domain and redirecting the old site to it would fix the problem? It seems to have worked with the other banned domain.

Any ideas how long would it take for the new domain to begin ranking?


 12:50 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

@dial_d - not sure but I just created new pages and 301'd the banned ones to them. I don't imagine it will work but we'll see what happens.


 1:14 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm baffled. I've seen the problem on various forums but nobody seems to have any consistent answers. Its like with the final filters if something doesn't match the page vanishes. It seems like anything can trigger it.


 2:02 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, there are problems with individual pages on sites even when there's no duplication and no problem with other pages on the site.


 4:42 am on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Great to have your input on this Marcia. It is interesting to hear that others have had the same problems.

We all sound like we have our heads screwed on - ie properly optimised pages, top ranked pages for high competition phrases that we have fought hard to get top for, constantly changing the content of our pages so we don't have dup content when our sites are scraped... and then finding that searches for unique text dont show our pages.

So who knows the answer? Does Google know? - I have posted several comments on Cutts blog, but had not specific reply :(

How long does it take for reinclusion requests to come through? Do reinclusion requests work for this? I am keen to hear if the 301 redirect to another page works. Not as easy for a home page - and not as keen to change the home page to another url until Google has had a chance to see via the reinclusion request.


 12:26 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>properly optimised pages

Not even "optimized" per se; just explanatory text on pages, written for users.


 5:12 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

How long does it take for reinclusion requests to come through? Do reinclusion requests work for this?

According to a Google employee, it's a matter of weeks, not months. I would think that means around 6 weeks. For my other site, I submitted one 4 months ago and told them everything I could think of. I never even got a response. Sad to say, that seems to be the norm, rather than the exception.

I would think that a reconsideration request would work for this because it seems obvious to me that this is a type of penalty.

Last night, I purchased a new domain name for my "content banned" site. Luckily, I was able to get the plural of my current domain so I doubt that most of my visitors will even notice the change. I'm guessing that simply changing the URL will not help in my case, as my entire site, has been "content banned".

As a side note, a friend of mine said that he heard of site coming out of this kind of ban by getting lots of new links to the site. Not sure if I believe it, but I thought I would mention it anyway.


 5:17 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh, I was wondering if you guys have been selling text links on your sites, either in the past or currently?

I have about 10 sold links currently on the site and I wonder if that could more likely be the cause. Initially I didn't think so but discovering that the whole site is content banned makes me reconsider that belief.


 5:44 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I haven't been selling any, but I've been buying. That's what I suspect got me nailed...sellers were flagged and then I was flagged.

I'm going to revamp my link profile and make sure it appears as natural as possible. I don't know any quick fix though, and I don't want to file a reinclusion request for 5 pages out of 60k. (and I don't really want them looking too close anyway)


 3:01 pm on Mar 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, after some experimenting I have some news to report.

I moved a small section of my site to a new domain. A couple of pages have now entered the index but they too are "content banned". Also, a new article that I put up on the old domain at the first of the month is also content banned.

This is a mess. My old content is content banned and even if I move it, the ban stays with it. (I was very surprised by that.) On top of that, new content is also content banned.

I wrote a new index page for the new domain so it will be interesting to see if it too is content banned. It hasn't made it into the index yet though. If it too get content banned then I guess that means that the ban is transferring from one domain to the next. Otherwise, it must be the content itself which has been flagged. Either way, I'm screwed.

The most perplexing thing is that I can't find more than a handful of incidents where the content of the site has been copied by anyone. I did find a few pages that were copied in their entirety. Is only a couple of copied pages likely to cause this sort of problem?

Aside from duplicate content, what else might cause a content ban?


 3:15 pm on Mar 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

My whole site is banned now, it was just the beginning of the end. Don't even rank for company name anymore.


 3:23 pm on Mar 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you still see the pages when you use site:example.com?

This 57 message thread spans 2 pages: 57 ( [1] 2 > >
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