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This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >     
Google.com SERP Changes - July 2008

 4:22 pm on Jun 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

Has anyone recovered from June 4th catastrophe?

[edited by: tedster at 5:43 am (utc) on July 1, 2008]



 6:19 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Neither uses AdSense; one used AdWords, but I think all his campaigns are paused. That's a good thought though - maybe if I unpause one just long enough it will kickstart googlebot.


 7:01 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

maybe sounds a little newbie, but a old problem could maybe also be a reason, the 0 filter, have any of you found your sites with omitted results on and looked at the last page if your site is there.

Remember you dont build a site for the users but for google, if you add to much of the same text or links on each page to help a user find what they need you get filtered for dub. pages


 8:52 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have had 8 sites gone from Google since the end of January and they are still not showing with a site query. No explanation from Google or anything even after I submitted a reinclusion request.


 9:01 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

jackson, are those websites set up in a Webmaster Tools account?


 9:07 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>even after I submitted a reinclusion request.

How long ago was that? And was one request sent in for all the sites, in Webmaster Tools, or one request each?


 9:13 pm on Jul 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Ted yes they were all there at the time. The last crawl shows Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page on Jan 12, 2008. I sent a reinclusion request for my main site at aproximately March but still nothing.


 3:20 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've been a reading a few Italian forums and many webmasters (myself included) are reporting 80% drop in traffic around June 26.

some common things:
- all seem to be "normal" sites, no silly blackhat stuff
- if u search for domain name, all show up in 1st position in serp
- some lower traffic keywords are ranking as usual, but the ones that brought higher volumes have seemed to completely disappeared
- site:domain returns usual results as before 26 june

anyone else experience this? any idea whats up?

[edited by: tedster at 7:04 pm (utc) on July 8, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 7:35 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

The kind of changes that you're talking about, baaa, began cropping up on June 4 for some people and then, a new and biggger wave appeared toward the end of June.

If members here would like to work to analyze this situaition more deeply - maybe figure out what is triggering these falls in ranking - we need to "give it up" a bit more. Defending the "white hat" nature of your site doesn't help - clearly the algo thinks something is not good, whether rightly or wrongly. So, without posting any information that helps people find your exact site, let's talk about the factors that your penalized site shows. Maybe we can find a common thread.

So what about it - do these penalized sites show any particular character that might be the common factor? How many total links on the Home Page? How many characters long is the title element? Do you use any forms on the Home Page? Do the other sites on your SERP that were not penalized show something that your site is missing?

Were the ranking drops all around -100 - or more? - or less? Is the penalty position relatively stable, or does it show a "wave" or "yo-yo" character, going up and down like a roller coaster?

Except for a few cases, it doesn't look like this problem is going away any time soon. It started a month ago and it has mostly grown. So let's put on our thinking caps and let's brainstorm.


 8:03 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

baaa, I have had this same thing happen to one of my sites. For 2 years it was slowly growing in visitors then steadied out for the last 6 months, then on June 26 it dropped by 75% due to google rankings. The site is experiencing exactly what you describe above. The last change I did to the site was change the wordpress theme it was using.

[edited by: tedster at 8:06 pm (utc) on July 8, 2008]


 8:17 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just had another thought - touched off by this new thread [webmasterworld.com]. Do the penalized sites target local search? Or do they make heavy use of subdomains?

Also, do these apparently penalized sites make use of many backlinks from other domains that the site itself controls? How varied are the backlink profiles? Are you making use of paid ads, especially text ads or paid blog posts, that are transferring PR? How about running your own affiliate program with tracking strings in the links?


 8:23 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I did have links between my sites for the ones that were banned.


 8:23 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

no local
no subdomains
no backlinks from same c block or same whois info
extremely varied baclinks
no paid ads, no text ads
some P**D blogs, no real pr (i think a pr2)
yes affiliate programs with tracking links in the url


 8:29 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

tedster - I dont understand why you so quickly say that its a Penalty, I still dont think so, I think 80% of us all will be back in rankings within 2 weeks.

Also have a look at [google.nl...] I saw some changes there today.

I believe this is just a dance nothing more, you must also see it from Googles site, such a dance can get webmasters to make there sites more white.

I still wont touch a font on my site.


 8:32 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

no backlinks from same c block or same whois info

Google can see domain relationships through many other avenues than these. The "nodes" that related sites create in a webgraph jump out as statistical anomalies, and Google has a ton of statisticians on the payroll.

Also, while the questions I asked were some that occurred to me, please feel free to list any other charactersistics your site has that might put it "on the edge".


 8:32 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

What I do not get is if my sites are banned than why in hell is Google still crawling it?


 8:39 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I dont understand why you so quickly say that its a Penalty

You're right zeus, I may be jumping the gun a bit. But something started as early as June 4, and that's a long time. The phenomenon has only grown, not shrunken.

I don't have any domains under my oversight that were affected, so I'm at a handicap in trying to help. I plan to look at some SERPs to see if any competitors may have been caught up in this change. That might offer some clues.

My best guess. from all the reports here, is that this is some new kind of penalty. As often happens with new things, it's also catching some edge cases and they are collateral damage. We certainly can hope that the edge cases that are truly not up to anything dodgy are soon returned. And in the mean time, we certainly can look for common factors among the affected sites. Who knows, we may find something - we have before.


 8:45 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

of scores of sites we have only one that was affected.
the affected site does have a couple of affiliates, one of which (new site) puts this site itself in a frame on their site.
I have a difficult time thinking that this could be a problem since then anyone could sabotage their competitors by buying a new domain and cheap hosting and framing their competitors.


 8:45 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

well I have 2 sites affected, but I see on google . nl they are back to old ranking, so Im not sure I then can come with anything, if im back, I can say this I have NO exchange links.

Damn I really see changes now, also on .com if this is not the case for some of your other i maybe know some tricks, we have to wait and see, can maybe also just be a dance


 8:58 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I read on the penalty thread that Tedster said sites got banned when the webmaster clearly knew what they did wrong but mine were banned and I did nothing wrong and have no clue why they were banned. I do not do any black hat. Just because it's an affiliate site doesn't mean it should be banned. I wanted to post this in the penalty thread but didn't see a post reply option.


 9:00 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Had this happen to my site on 6/28. All our serps tanked and the site doesn't come up for it's name or unique snippet of text.

My SEO had 3 of his other clients with the same thing happen around the same time. We have both spent quite a bit of time analyzing the situation and we are both pretty convinced that it has nothing to do with on-site factors.

Since Google has obviously been spending quite a bit of time tweaking it's algorithm in an attempt to nail paid links, it seems far more likely that some of the links that we have acquired lately are tripping a new filter that was just put in place. Some of the links that we have acquired were on blogs that looked clean at the time we got the link but have since sold several more links and now look like obvious link sellers. We are going to systematically go through all of our incoming links and eliminate the ones that look "fishy" and hopefully will nuke the one(s) that have tripped the filter.

I know that the prevailing wisdom has always been that Google won't penalize your site for buying links because then your competitor could hose your site, but I think that wisdom is now out the window. I think that they have decided that they want to deal strongly with those that purchase links and that if some innocent sites get hammered that the collateral damage is worth the gain.


 9:02 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

What's the ratio - or percentage - of content (text) on pages, compared to the number of links on pages?


 9:24 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just because it's an affiliate site doesn't mean it should be banned.

Right, and that doesn't happen. Do you offer uniqe information and services compared to similar sites? Or are you flirting with being a thin affiliate [webmasterworld.com]? If you are the central site and you have authorized affiliates under you, are they up to anything sneaky?


 9:38 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

we are EXTREMELY niche and offer great information


 9:45 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

dossent any here seen big changes on .nl even .com, if not try a europe based server, my whole site is back, ranking fine


 9:55 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

A few sites of mine have been hit hard, and correct me if i'm wrong, but i think that there are 2 factors that are in common and those two are:

1) Sites with affiliate links
2) Sites that depend on reciprocal links

Number 2 is not always as easy (especially in the market where i'm in) to avoid, but number 1 is probably easy to fix if i put javascript links instead of using regular outgoing links (nofollow or not, it makes no difference is my exprience).

But.... if i change my outgoing links to javascript links (or any other suggestion Big G can't read and follow) am i going towards blackhat?

Tedster? anybody?

[edited by: ray19833 at 9:59 pm (utc) on July 8, 2008]


 9:55 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Ted:

I basically do price comparison for the most part. The thing that gets me is all the sites were banned at one time. Some of the sites even had extra stuff added like text written by hand. If anyone has a contact email for Google or something I can try writing to them as well. No sites are under me. I don't think Google bans for being a thin affiliate site that is usually a penalty not a ban I thought. I'd have no problem with being penalized. It's the ban on 8 sites at the same time that irks me. This of course brought our income to a big zero.


 9:57 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ray that seems awfully complicated to me. How does Google expect the average webmaster to know that stuff? How does having affiliate links differ from what Goole Products does lol


 10:02 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

we have no reciprocal links on the affected site


 10:03 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

The 'fix' for too much dependence on reciprocal links is not to hide them, but to get a wider variety of inbounds altogether so your backlink profile is more well rounded. Also, consider whether you might add some 1-way outbound links to resources that would be valuable to your visitors.

And the mere fact of afiliate links is not a problem - but if the site offers little difference from what other similar sites offer, then that can be.


 10:05 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

ray19833 - google can read Java now, you could use nofollow, google also follow those in another way, but I dont think affiliate links is the trouble if google would ban or filter site with affiliate links, who should want to offer free informations, pictures, reviews,....


 10:05 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

@jackson992: I'm seeing big changes in my niche, and imagine sites that have a frontpage with 50 unique content "blogs" but with no deeplink to the article attached to it, but only fresh content on the frontpage. I have a few of those sites and they used to rank very well for years.

The competitors have a frontpage with fresh content and duplicate content pages all over it. The only difference is, that they include the product in the site itself (iframe) and don't link to external pages (with the affiliate url in it).

I'm only expressing myself with my thoughts, because i keep seeing over and over the same pattern.

As Tedster stated, let's brainstorm and give as much information here so we maybe can lay our fingers on the "exact" problem. :)

This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 > >
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