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This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41 ( [1] 2 > >     
Can't shake off penalty: tried every trick in my book
johnnie




msg:3850681
 3:41 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wow, I am getting desparate.

A site that has been providing me with a significant portion of my business has been in the penalty-box since early january. Now, I have tried *anything* a sane human could think of to fix the issue, but my reconsideration requests just go unanswered.

First of all, I am absolutely 100% certain I am dealing with a penalty. A search for my domain (in the style of 'keyword-info.tld'), with the tld omitted will put me somewhere at page 6. Other tlds with the same domain (not owned and/or operated by me) do show up on page one as they should, but their tlds dont match the country I'm targeting. So a penalty it is. Here's a list of things I tried:

- Fix trailing slash duplicate content issue through a 301
- Fix 'index.php' duplicate content issue through a 301
- Fix 'www' subdomain canonical duplicate content issue through a 301
- Remove all defective and/or thematically irrelevant links
- Added a privacy policy
- Added a creativecommons licensing statement
- Checked robots.txt -> nothing wrong
- Checked safebrowsing tool -> nothing wrong
- Checked meta tags -> nothing wrong
- Added noindex,follow to news index and category pages
- Added rel="nofollow" to a button of a thematically relevant high-quality top50 listing
- I NEVER purchased or sold a SINGLE link
- I added 'nofollow' to my free thematic business listing, just in case G might be thinking I'm selling these positions.
- Built a couple of nice high-quality links through guest posting.
- Added new quality content on a regular basis
- Added a tagcloud to improve crawlability
- Added a great deal of relevant wikipedia-like internal linking (as per Ronburk's classic post [webmasterworld.com])
- Added noindex,follow on the individual tag-pages to prevent duplicate content
- Added the new canonical tag (yep, I am desperate)
- Removed interlinking (it was only minor anyways)

So, did I miss anything? I have to say that several external sites display one or more of my content pages. However, these pages all contain backlink to my site, signaling to Google that my site is the original content provider. Note that we are talking about maybe three of four sites that each display a single page of my content. Should I ask these webmasters to take down my content or replace it with an excerpt? I'm not really sure whether this is the culprit, since I have another site which has been penalized in the same way at the same time. This site however does not have any copies of its content floating around and is thematically completely unrelated to the first site.

As you can see, I'm running out of options. As it stands now, my site is insanely clean. On-site duplicate content is virtually non-existant and all other technical issues are ironed out (gzip compression is on etc.). Any ideas?

 

johnnie




msg:3850723
 4:40 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, before I forget. I made a valid sitemap as well ofcourse.

JoeSinkwitz




msg:3850821
 6:33 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Johnnie, look at the thread by textex; you have the same exact same ceiling penalty.

bwnbwn




msg:3850824
 6:35 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you know why your site got hit with this filter?

Sometimes depending on why it was filtered you will sit in it for 6-8 months.

JoeSinkwitz




msg:3850890
 8:08 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

The ceiling penalty has caught a lot of "good" sites, most of which are maybe guilty of unintentional over-optimization, if anything. It is a matter of thresholds, and appears to be somewhat erratic in enforcement. As to whether or not it'll go away, the test is do the SERPS look better or worse with this on? For domain.tld (minus the .tld) searches, no; for competitive searches, maybe.

jdMorgan




msg:3850924
 9:29 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some of those points are unclear.

> - Added rel="nofollow" to a button of a thematically relevant high-quality top50 listing
What was the target of this link? If you can't vouch for the site, delete the link entirely.

> - I added 'nofollow' to my free thematic business listing, just in case G might be thinking I'm selling these positions.

If you're not selling links and you are exercising "editorial control" over these links, and you know they lead to on-topic, relevant information for your visitors, then why nofollow them? Don't act guilty if you're not guilty.

> - Added a tagcloud to improve crawlability
Tag clouds are ugly junk. (Just my opinion)
Your keywords would do better in your page content, not in some messy pile of words in a box.

> - Added noindex,follow on the individual tag-pages to prevent duplicate content
What do you mean, specifically, by a "tag page?" (Sound of alarm going off)

> - Removed interlinking (it was only minor anyways)
Interlinking with what, specifically? Sites that contain relevant and useful information for your visitors?

Jim

johnnie




msg:3850936
 9:54 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

As for the reason why I got in in the first place... Its either a low-quality link page I had on the site (no bad neighborhood, just some off-topic categorized outbounds I cleaned up even before receiving this treatment) or the few duplicate pages I mentioned in my opening post. Would google really penalize a full domain (100 pages) for syndication three or four pages of content that include a proper backlink back to my site?

[edited by: johnnie at 10:05 pm (utc) on Feb. 16, 2009]

johnnie




msg:3850947
 10:03 pm on Feb 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

> - What was the target of this link? If you can't vouch for the site, delete the link entirely.

Its a list of topically relevant sites, ranked by visitor count. It gives good traffic, both in quantity and quality. The link is actually useful to visitors as well, as it allows them to quickly jump to a hub of topically relevant sites. I know top50 lists can be spammy, but this one is actually very good.

> - If you're not selling links and you are exercising "editorial control" over these links, and you know they lead to on-topic, relevant information for your visitors, then why nofollow them? Don't act guilty if you're not guilty.

Good point. Guess I'm starting to get paranoid here.

> - Tag clouds are ugly junk. (Just my opinion)
Your keywords would do better in your page content, not in some messy pile of words in a box.

My tag cloud is on a separate page, linked to from the footer. I mainly put it there to aid the SEs in crawling my site (like the good 'ole sitemap-page).

> - What do you mean, specifically, by a "tag page?" (Sound of alarm going off)

A tag page is a page that is returned when you click on a tag in the tagcloud. It contains a summary of all articles tagged as such. Its on noindex to prevent duplicate indexing of my article summaries.

> - Interlinking with what, specifically? Sites that contain relevant and useful information for your visitors?

Yes, these sites contain useful content that is in the same general topic (environment) as the linking site is. The catch is; all these site sare mine. Since Google dislikes 'networks', I figured I'd disconnect the sites.

johnnie




msg:3851569
 4:37 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ahh... I found one more culprit; I have some forum signature links of dubious quality in an old account on a worthless forum. Removed those.

bwnbwn




msg:3851579
 4:49 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

johnnie I bet you found the culprit in by promoting a number of bad sites you got yourself filtered. Some of the signature links could have been to hacked sites as well.

trinorthlighting




msg:3851665
 6:29 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is what I would do, start to create a whole new website.

johnnie




msg:3851673
 6:35 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

bwnbwn, that is simply not true. None of my sites are hacked and it was only one siglink.

trinorthlighting, throwing away a domain after two months of penalization sounds a bit too radical. I am determined to get back in. My site adds value, so it deserves to be in there.

trinorthlighting




msg:3851685
 6:43 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Way back when the -950 thread came out, some started building new sites right away, others waited and spent time trying to figure things out and were at the will of Google. The people who built new had their new sites ranking in less than 30 days in some cases. People who waited, well lets say some waited 3 months, some 6 months, some a year and others are still waiting. I still see that -950 thread part 25 pop up every now and then on Webmaster World.

A new site can start ranking in days in Google as long as you have good content and you do everything on your new site from the beginning just like you typed above. I would not worry about any links, just start with solid content. Forget all about getting links, if you write good content the links will come natuarally (Which is what Google likes)

So, you have to ask yourself, build a new site and control your own destiny or be at the mercy of Google and hope they lift the penalty someday.

If you decide to build new, do not use any content from the penalized site because you do not know what the penalty is in the first place. Start fresh and start new. Leave the penalized site alone and wait and see if it ever comes out.

bwnbwn




msg:3851712
 7:33 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

johnny I was just going by what you said
I have some forum signature links of dubious quality

You said links not link so I assumed it was more than 1. I didn't say your site was hacked I said the sig links pointing to the other sites could have been hacked or used as a means to comprimise those that click such links.

johnnie




msg:3851784
 8:31 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

trinorthlighting, wasting 100 pages of content is a bit too much for me to be honest. I put a lot of love into that site, so I'm not just going to throw it away. I'll stick to trying and playing the waiting game (and resubmitting a reconsideration request every now and then) for now.

johnnie




msg:3851786
 8:32 pm on Feb 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

You said links not link so I assumed it was more than 1. I didn't say your site was hacked I said the sig links pointing to the other sites could have been hacked or used as a means to comprimise those that click such links.
Not that I'm aware of. Sounds very unprobable in the least. Regardless, I've removed all links.
kidder




msg:3851990
 1:56 am on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

How about negative SEO by a competitor? Maybe someone purchased some links for you?

Voasi




msg:3854184
 7:43 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

A new site can start ranking in days in Google as long as you have good content and you do everything on your new site from the beginning just like you typed above. I would not worry about any links, just start with solid content. Forget all about getting links, if you write good content the links will come natuarally (Which is what Google likes)

I can never stand it when people say that. I know of several people who create excellent content and never see any traffic. You have to actively promote your content; content alone does not do it unfortunately.

1. Have you removed all site wide links to the site? I've seen more and more rankings affected because of this. Forum signatures would be one; do you have any others?

2. If that doesn't work, try 301'ing the whole site to a brand new domain and see if that lifts the penalty.

joost




msg:3855638
 8:12 am on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Since you mention 3 issues regarding links to your site, interlinking, forum signatures and the top-50 site, check your other incoming links. Do they have enough quality to justify the ranking that you just lost? Or did your site drop for a simple lack of quality in inbound links?

johnnie




msg:3855811
 2:57 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't possibly remove all sitewide links; some of them were voluntarily implemented and are thus completely out of my control. Google actively penalizing (instead of devaluing) sitewide links sounds a bit harsh, given the ease with which one could nuke one's competition using this.

Stites ranking above me have absolutely nothing going for them; so no, its not just mere devaluation. There's penalizing involved. It's clearly some form of -50, since I used to rank on page 1 and now rank on page 5.

MadeWillis




msg:3855844
 3:47 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

How about negative SEO by a competitor? Maybe someone purchased some links for you?

Buying links doesn't seem to have the same effects as selling links. (as far as being penalized)

alika




msg:3855880
 4:03 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Its either a low-quality link page I had on the site (no bad neighborhood, just some off-topic categorized outbounds I cleaned up even before receiving this treatment)

Our main site disappeared for 4 months in Google. We got back in when we deleted all the off-topic outbound link pages in our resource directory and removing our forum altogether. We decided to just remove all our reciprocal link pages, and that get us back into Google's good graces.

Start by cleaning up all outbound links that have nothing to do with your main topic.

Voasi




msg:3856067
 7:33 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't possibly remove all sitewide links; some of them were voluntarily implemented and are thus completely out of my control. Google actively penalizing (instead of devaluing) sitewide links sounds a bit harsh, given the ease with which one could nuke one's competition using this.

It sounds harsh, but they're doing it. I know extensively, as I've gotten the penalty on multiple domains. After removing a majority of the site-wides, rankings increased.

DannyTweb




msg:3856179
 10:38 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Best of luck to you.
We have been trying to shake our domain penalty for 2 years
now with no avail.
If it is a manually imposed penalty you may never have any
real feedback from G on what is causing it and thus have no idea,
on how to remove it.
That is the most disturbing feature of all, the total lack of any
answers from G. You will get insights from all the usual suspects that have you pulling out your hair trying to figure it out, yet none of the methods ever seem to have any effect.
If the powers that be at G don't like you...ie..you aren't a big name
or a big $$$ advertiser..fuggetaboutit.

DJ

SEOPTI




msg:3856207
 11:37 pm on Feb 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see the -50 as a "death penalty" for a whole domain at the moment because there is no way to escape.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 11:37 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2009]

johnnie




msg:3856244
 12:07 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Our main site disappeared for 4 months in Google. We got back in when we deleted all the off-topic outbound link pages in our resource directory and removing our forum altogether. We decided to just remove all our reciprocal link pages, and that get us back into Google's good graces.

Start by cleaning up all outbound links that have nothing to do with your main topic.

From the opening post:

- Remove all defective and/or thematically irrelevant links

;)

johnnie




msg:3856258
 12:09 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I will keep sending reconsideration requests until I either get out or find out. One every month. Can't blame me for flooding them with requests, since they (G) simply don't communicatie. If they just send me a 'fuggetaboutit', then I'd at least know where I stand and what actions to take.

johnnie




msg:3856269
 12:17 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Believe it or not, through WMT i discovered that my site has actual SITELINKS, last updated on 18 feb. There is however not a single query that shows 'em...

phranque




msg:3856293
 12:49 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

have you tried a query for your "example.com"?

johnnie




msg:3856295
 12:51 am on Feb 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

have you tried a query for your "example.com"?

Yep. No sitelinks. This is starting to get more confusing by the minute.

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