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Google Punished two of my URLs - for specific keywords
atlantis76




msg:3937685
 12:45 pm on Jun 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi All

"Punishment" for a specific URL for a specific keyword might have been already discussed here, if so - I'd love to see where.

My case:

Two URLs, each on mysite.ccTLD (FI, ES - in this case), used to be well ranked for certain keywords, in the corresponding local Google. One URL is the index page, and the other is an inner page.

When searching these keywords now both URLs are no longer coming up for the corresponding searches. Sometimes, other URLs from that sites do appear in lower positions for that searches.

One keyword that was punished is of high competition, the other is rarely searched for.

When searching other keywords: business as usual.

Rounding up the usual suspects, my link building strategy is based of getting not only relevant, on-topic link. Do you think this was what messed me up here?

Thanks
Assaf

 

cangoou




msg:3937822
 6:42 pm on Jun 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have a look here: [webmasterworld.com...]

It seems a lot of people (me including) are suffering a kind of "my domain is gone but only for some keywords"-thing. I'm seeing exactly the same as you do: The urls that ranked good on these keywords are just pushed -100, -200, -400 and so on and so sometimes other pages of the same domains do rank better then the pages which are relevant.

It seemed that no one really got a glue for that and that there seem to be no pattern at all behind which pages dropped and which stayed. Since much rubbish has been flushed to the top, some suggest that it's only a kind of test or unfinished algo-update.

arizonadude




msg:3937883
 9:16 pm on Jun 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I hope Google pulls their thumb out of their backside and dials the knob back. It's taken out perfect content rich white hat sites.

tedster




msg:3937900
 10:02 pm on Jun 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

my domain is gone but only for some keywords

This is probably the most common kind of penalty you will see from Google. They can penalize either a domain or a page completely, or just for certain query terms. They can also remove the ability to vote link juice for an entire domain, a page or even just one link. But penalizing one url for just one (often high volume) search is quite common.

One thing I'd suggest is discovering whether your url is completely "gone" for this search or whether it's just been pushed way down. If it's completely gone, that may a temporary bug in the data, or a sign that your server was acting up when googlebot tried to spider. It's more common to see the previously high-ranking url sent way down in the rankings, even many hundreds of positions.

The common reason for a lost ranking on one keyword is over-optimization - or what we originally called the minus 950 penalty [webmasterworld.com]. Note that the original name is a bit misleading - we soon learned that the penalty mechanism can be for almost any amount.

I suggest you take a step back and look at your page - and especially its internal backlinks and anchor text - as objectively as you can. Have you gone a bit over the top in "optimizing" for this keyword?

aristotle




msg:3938386
 7:27 pm on Jun 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

By implementing this type of penalty, Google is demonstrating that it is willing to sacrifice the quality of its search results in order to punish site owners who "over-optimize", either knowingly or unknowingly.

mirrornl




msg:3938475
 9:44 pm on Jun 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tedster
I suggest you take a step back and look at your page - and especially its internal backlinks and anchor text

you mean concerning the incoming links?

tedster




msg:3938477
 9:47 pm on Jun 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry that I phrased my answer ambiguously. The kind of penalty I'm talking about apparently can come from overusing a keyword in internal anchor text that points to the penalized url or any other url on the site. At least, I've been involved in several cases that regained rankings after lowering the frequent repetition.

<added later>
Did your site have more than one page ranking for the same keyword?

cangoou




msg:3938607
 6:13 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

So its not from overusing a keyword in external links pointing to my site. It's from overusing a keyword in internale linking from page to page inside my site?!

tedster




msg:3938619
 6:55 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you have too high a percentage of external links where you are obviously controlling the anchor text, then that can also cause a penalty. But when you are penalized for manipulating backlinks, in my experience at least, it's not usually just on one search term or on a specific URL. It's more likely to be a sitewide penalty - such as minus 50, or something along those lines.

I'm only sharing my experience here - you may have a situation that I haven't experienced. They come up all the time and I just keep learning by the new experience.

I just re-read your first post. I was forgetting that you are also seeing a problem for a "rarely searched for" keyword on the same urls. That is not usually part of the picture I was thinking of. But the fact that the rest of your searches are still doing well still makes me think it's more likely to be internal over-optimization.

If the problem was not also occurring on the rarely searched keyword, I might suspect human editorial input - but the raters don't tend to be askerd to review rare query terms.

flanok




msg:3938668
 9:06 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have issues in the past with URLs bought to match a search term. I found I needed to vary the incoming anchor text a lot more that for a brand name URL.

Th domain always helped me in the early days, but when a substantial amount of links went to the site, I found I lost ranking because too many key word rich links went there.

I obviously had told Google I have bought the URL for rankings rather than it was the best URL to represent my business.

atlantis76




msg:3938764
 1:07 pm on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot.

tedster: yes, my site had more than one listing for these keywords.

I did several changes on the site, just for the sake of avoiding any change of over optimization. I also took off a link I had from .CO.UK site to my FI site, just in case..

Do you have any estimate as for when I can expect seeing my site back up for the keyword in penalty? (this site is crawled daily)

Love2Blog




msg:3947336
 1:41 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

@ Tedster
Can you specify your opinion on the actual percentage you believe of recurring anchors that can trigger a penalty, I have always followed 25% of all anchors with exact keywords to be safe, for example if my sitewide main KW is Big Blue Widgets and it occurs 25% of the time in my home page backlinks.

But I would love to hear your input.

Thanks

tedster




msg:3947368
 2:53 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Specific percentages are not the way I think this ranking demotion works - especially not for internal anchor text. Instead I think it's a more complex semantic analysis, along the lines of the phrase-based indexing patents [webmasterworld.com].

As to estimating how long any recovery might take, that's a challenge I'm not willing to take on. Situations are so varied, and experiences have ranged from a day or two, to a gradual return being phased in over weeks or months - and of course, the chance that the penalty's cause has not been fixed and there is no recovery.

As much as we all crave a degree of predictability, it's just not there. Every time I'm working with a penalty situation, my anxiety level goes up, as I'm sure happens for almost everyone. We only know a penalty can be lifted after it happens.

Love2Blog




msg:3947374
 3:04 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

@ Tedster
About the anchor text issue, is this also relevant on the internal site linking structure? Or is this only an issue in external backlinks to the site? I always use the same anchors in my internal link structure, which is the H1 tag of the requisite page when linking from one page to another within my site, never thought this was bad?

tedster




msg:3947379
 3:16 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

You're right - that's almost never a problem unless the anchor-text/H1 phrases repeat the same keywords in many, many cases.

Love2Blog




msg:3947384
 3:32 am on Jul 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Tedster
Thank you!

Timetraveler




msg:3949040
 8:30 am on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tedster - Your comment "I suggest you take a step back and look at your page - and especially its internal backlinks and anchor text - as objectively as you can. Have you gone a bit over the top in "optimizing" for this keyword?

I suffer on a keyword for this exact same problem. It's happened before, but what I did to cure it was simply change the Title text, which in a way could possibly be de-optimizing it enough to where google doesn't give it the -950 penalty.

Do you suggest changing the onpage (s) anchor text to de-optimize as the best solution? I'm pretty sure this is the case for some reason but I do vary it quite a bit.

cangoou




msg:3949113
 10:48 am on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hm, on my sites the keyword is exactly once in the title: Is that already too much?!

tedster




msg:3949401
 5:32 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the same keyword appears in many, many links (even on the same page) that may cause a problem - I'd consider some gentle changes if that's the case. I haven't seen such a problem from keywords in title tags, but I'd guess it could happen.

One of the problems for those who have been building sites for many years is that in the old days, you need lots of repetition to get your relavance message through to the search engines - it was like yelling a keyword over and over at top volume to make Google hear you. With the Florida update that habit began to cause problems, and ever since then, the instinct to heavy repetition can lead us astray.

[edited by: tedster at 6:27 pm (utc) on July 9, 2009]

cangoou




msg:3949435
 6:00 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi tedster, thanks very much for your reply, I appreciate your help and think your opservations are accurate. Years ago it was only keyword, keyword, keyword, and this is now striking back.

The question is, what can you do about it? If you have control of a lot of servers like big SEOs probably have, you can easily change the anchors in a safe amount of time. But small or hobby-SEOs don't have that kind of control. For example I know some sites which where kicked back that have about 700 entries in directories from years ago with only 1 or 2 different keywords - so it's a big task for them to get a better variety in their anchors for only a part of their links.

tedster




msg:3949458
 6:29 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Did the ranking problems for those directory pages just show up now?

cangoou




msg:3949475
 6:50 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

It was one december 08 and one at the beginn of june 09. They have other links of course, which seem to be more powerfull but less in quantum. So perhaps it would be enough to try to change the "big links" in a gentle way since I assume the directory-links are not much worth nowadays.

cangoou




msg:3949491
 7:25 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

By the way: What would you suggest? Using "good widgets", "nice widgets", "widgets in all colors" instead of widgets? Or should there by even more variety like not mentioning wudgets at all?

tedster




msg:3949500
 7:53 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The decision needs to be tailored specifically in each case, to be sure that the user's choices are clear. But going with a plan something like this for navigation:

= TYPES OF WIDGETS =
good
better
metal
colored

...is usually the best general goal. On a widget site, you use the "widgets" keyword in so many ways that having constantly matched anchor text on top of that can be overkill, and even lead to -950 style penalties.

cangoou




msg:3949501
 7:58 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I didn't mean for onpage content or navigation but for the text in anchors of external links pointing to my site.

brinked




msg:3949506
 8:01 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

one of my clients sites were penalized for 3 keyword specific phrases to his homepage. He ranked top ten for

"free blue widgets" - is now ranked 4th page
"widgets" - is now ranked 12th page
"free widgets" - is now ranked 8th page

He had purchased a good amount of sitewide links (mostly on blogrolls) for these keywords and I believe that is what has gotten him penalized. I advised him to remove as many of them sitewides as he can and wait a few weeks to see if theres any movement.

Love2Blog




msg:3949520
 8:15 pm on Jul 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

@brinked
Do you know how many sitewides he bought, the exact numbers, I am trying to get a clear picture on what is too many, my sites has 19 over a year's period, is that too many?

BTW, they are not paid, but as far as Google goes I don't think that matters it triggers some filter.

brinked




msg:3949641
 12:19 am on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

i doubt theres a magic number. Its never that simple, its most likely a ratio kind of thing like if 80%+ links for a given anchor are sitewides then it might seem paid.

In his case, they were mostly blogrolls so that does look suspicious.

claaarky




msg:3950607
 10:39 am on Jul 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tedster, you are the man!

Our site suffered some -somethings (-20, -32, -56, etc.) on a few pages for competitive two word terms. Long tail continued to rank nicely, suspected inbound links from one of our other sites and, after reading your post, anchor text in the menu.

Changed the inbound links for one term, changed the menu anchor text for another.......two days later the page that we changed the menu anchor text for recovered from position 81 to 31. Everything else has remained the same, so my conclusion is our site wide menu has caused over optimisation on that two word term. We were position 10 before June, so hopefully we'll see further improvement over the coming days.

Now going to change the menu anchor text for the other pages hit by this to be more generic and hope to see those recover very soon too!

cangoou




msg:3950663
 2:44 pm on Jul 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Changed the inbound links for one term

What did you do here exactly?

This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: 64 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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