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Ten year site is now banned - should I remove interlinking?
drall




msg:3938578
 3:50 am on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

We have a handful of sites that are interlinked on every page with a stock listing of our sites. We had this in place pre-google.

This network graph does not use seo anchor text or anything like that, just purely a cross promotional method of showing users on site A our other websites.

We have been debating removing this site graph after extensive reading.

My question is how should we go about this. I mean every page on hundreds of thousands of pages has this graph. Should we do it all at once or slowly?

Some of these sites have become very popular and I think the interlinking may be leading to undo drain on those sites and may have lead to one of the sites being banned in Google recently even though it was like this before Google came around.

Thanks for any advice

 

tedster




msg:3938898
 5:00 pm on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure this change makes sense. Why do you suspect this interlinking is a "drain"? Are rankings and search traffic falling off?

drall




msg:3939134
 11:13 pm on Jun 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the response Tedster. Traffic and rankings are solid as ever. We are just concerned because this is the only questionable thing we found on a site recently banned after 8 years.

tedster




msg:3939241
 5:24 am on Jun 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Traffic and rankings are solid, but the site was recently banned? I don't understand how those two things can both be true - can you explain further?

drall




msg:3939459
 12:47 pm on Jun 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry about that Tedster, the traffic and rankings are solid on every site that is interlinked except one that was banned recently.

The only thing we could find possibly wrong on the site that was banned was the interlinking to our other sites via a site graph showing our other websites.

Even though we had this in place pre google and is meant to be purely a way to show our users our other websites I wonder if google viewed it as a way to increase/manipulate our pagerank.

tedster




msg:3939678
 6:45 pm on Jun 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

When you say the site is "banned", do you mean that site:example.com shows no pages at all?

drall




msg:3939988
 2:25 am on Jun 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes Tedster, totally removed.

tedster




msg:3940010
 3:18 am on Jun 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

A total ban sounds much too extreme for the kind of situation you described. I would suggest you dig deeper rather than remove 10-year old interlinking which was placed there for your visitors. At most you might add a rel="nofollow" attribute to those links (but odds are that Google already treated them as nofollow anyway).

I'd start looking at your backlink profile for serious garbage backlinks, and also look at the site itself for any possible server hacks [webmasterworld.com].

Have you checked in the WebmasterTools account for information? If you don't have one, I'd set it up right away to help deal with this issue.

drall




msg:3940169
 12:04 pm on Jun 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster, we do have a WebmasterTools account setup. I had our security guy pour over the server and he confirmed its not hacked so we ruled that out. Hand checked all outbound links and all lead to good neighborhoods. SEO is very vanilla. Site has thousands of pr5-7 inbound links.

I found the plex in the logs and they reviewed 4 pages and came in via one bigtime serp we naturally have ranked well for and then poofta the site was gone from the index 1 hour later.

I have gone over the WebmasterTools info with nothing really sticking out except one cluster of 500 garbage links (5% of the total) pointing to our root from what looks like some kind of link ring or something. We do not advertise the site so it wasnt us that joined it.

Could someone get us a slew of junk links just to get us banned?

tedster




msg:3940437
 7:07 pm on Jun 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

It rarely does these days, but still it does happen sometimes. Put that list on a separate url and send Google a reconsideration request with a link to that url and an explanation of what you found.

drall




msg:3940446
 7:31 pm on Jun 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok will do, thanks Tedster!

lethal0r




msg:3940906
 12:50 pm on Jun 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

drall does said site load fast? or is it slow / been slow recently?

i have seen a reputable PR5 site completely disappear from google in the same way yours has. it takes ages to load.

one of my sites "penalised" in the june 17th~ serp changes had some very slow load times too, although it wasnt completely banned.

anecdotal stuff I know but it makes me wonder if google is taking load times more into account, like they have started doing recently with adwords.

tedster




msg:3941254
 8:30 pm on Jun 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

lethal0r, the same feeling here. It makes sense that Google wouldn't want to feature a site for their searchers if the user experience would be really poor.

cooldar




msg:3941316
 9:46 pm on Jun 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

add a no follow to it?

drall




msg:3950282
 7:10 pm on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi fellas, sorry I didnt get back to you all sooner. The site loads very fast so I guess I can rule that out.

Something else is strange, in the last couple days Bing has removed the homepage as well.

So Google removed the website a few weeks ago and now Bing has removed the homepage as well. Pulling our hair out over here trying to figure out what is going on. The odds that both engines decided to completely remove the site within 30 days after almost a decade of no problems seem impossible.

Something must be going on that I/we dont fully understand yet.

Here is what we have checked so far

- Server comes back clean, not hacked, security intact, no parasites
- Page loads are extremely fast
- Tens of thousands of backlinks still in place
- Header check comes back perfect
- Proxy check comes back proper
- DNS comes back perfect in all regards
- No changes to site design in 7 years, very vanilla light onpage seo
- No user inputted data to site, it is all static
- OBL's all manually reviewed and all to good neighborhoods
- GWT shows no access problems besides the site being removed
- Manual review of all code and all pages line by line, page by page

Any ideas fellas? This is very disturbing because I just cant see what we have done wrong that would deserve a penalty let alone a outright ban.

tedster




msg:3950310
 7:58 pm on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have you tried browsing with the user agent set to googlebot? There's a Firefox add-on called User Agent Switcher that will do the job for you.

drall




msg:3950345
 8:43 pm on Jul 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster I have not tried that yet, going to check that out tonight.

RedCardinal




msg:3950667
 3:03 pm on Jul 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Drall one other thing to check for - has your robots.txt been inaccessible at any time? If googlebot receives an ambiguous response for robots.txt they will de-index the site.

Similar to Tedster I doubt the interlinking is what caused it, and the lack of any message in GWT would tend to indicate this is either technical, or they've fingered you for something they see as fairly bad. Even if you had been hacked they generally realise this and often send you a message.

You can also post your URL over at Google Webmaster Support Group, and if you're lucky JohnMu might see it and take a look.

fargo1999




msg:3950674
 3:51 pm on Jul 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do you have Adsense set up on the website?

rj87uk




msg:3950677
 4:20 pm on Jul 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Question about the OBL's:
Have you added in any new out bound links reccently it doesn't matter if you think they are good or not just a question of when?

One more:
Are all the other sites in the network still in Google's & Bings index OR any movement on traffic at all?

Suggestion:
Have you tried searching for snippets of your content in quote marks it might be someone has copied your data and done some black hat stuff.

Server:
Shot in the dark here and shouldn't result in a total ban but are you on shared hosting or do you have your own? I'm thinking along the lines of another website if your on shared that has been hacked / doing black hat and you may be temporary penalized? As I said shot in the dark with that one.

drall




msg:3979819
 3:26 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just a quick update, we did eventually get the website reinstated. We submitted a reinclusion request pointing out something someone had done that made our site look as if we had been trying to manipulate rankings and they made it look like it was us doing it.

We pointed out thousands of clear examples of this. I know someone went to great length to make this happen. It's hard keeping track of IBLs on a site with hundreds of thousands of them but through countless hours of work we finally found out what happened.

One question has come to our attention with all of this now. Even though the network of sites interlinking wasnt the issue we have been debating the value of having the network interlinked anymore.

With each page draining pr out to the network of sites but google basically discounting that interlinking for ranking purposes because thats what they say they do then isnt the interlinking just draining pr per page for no real reason beyond sending our own visitors over to other properties we own?

If we de-interlink what would be the best approach in doing this?

Lets take site 1 as a example

Would the removal of 250,000 outbound links on site 1 that have been there the better part of 10 years cause penalties on site 1 or trip some form of filters?

Wouldnt site 1 retain a substantial amount more of pr juice that was getting drained out via those 250,000 outbound links thus increasing the rankings/traffic to site 1?

Should we de-interlink slowly on site 1? Dropping off say 16,000 outbound links a week for a couple years to avoid some crazy filter being tripped?

Are there any filters/penalties for removing mass quantities of OBL's overnight?

Any feedback/insight would be greatly appreciated.

tedster




msg:3979822
 3:50 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Would the removal of 250,000 outbound links on site 1 that have been there the better part of 10 years cause penalties on site 1 or trip some form of filters?

It's very likely. If you dig into Google's Backlink Patent [webmasterworld.com] you get a close up look at the factors they are monitoring.

but google basically discounting that interlinking for ranking purposes because thats what they say they do then isnt the interlinking just draining pr per page

Just because same-owner linking is worth less than independent linking doesn't mean it's worth nothing at all. In other words, "discounting" doesn't mean ignoring completely in this case.

My take on it is more like this: Google treats interlinked same-owners sites somewhat like "one big site", and the link juice that flows cross-domain in those cases is more like internal menu linking within one site.

MLHmptn




msg:3979829
 4:47 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

So what was done to your site to make this happen? Spam IBL's or what? Inform us please.

CainIV




msg:3979858
 6:10 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Just a quick update, we did eventually get the website reinstated. We submitted a reinclusion request pointing out something someone had done that made our site look as if we had been trying to manipulate rankings and they made it look like it was us doing it. "

Please elaborate if you are comfortable, inquiring minds want to know.

On a related note: The bartender last week did something to me at the pub that "made it appear" as though I was trying to manipulate alcohol to my advantage, and I pointed this out to my wife, but the reinclusion request with her did not work. :)

MrSavage




msg:3979866
 6:49 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think I'm the cynical one here (obviously) so sorry to interject with out of the box thinking.

You have a competitor online. Google loves handing out penalties. Throw a stick into your competitors spokes. Take them offline for a while. With penalties being a dime a dozen I think in fact it will create a new online playbook. Not sure that is what happened here, but think about it. Google tells us what can get you in trouble (for the most part), so some clever minds certainly might get a leg up on their competition. I'm not saying it's anything I would promote or do, but I know money, competition and rankings do funny things to people. Why should the internet be any different? If you don't think sending Google off to do your dirty work won't become commonplace, then think again. When it comes to money most people don't have morals. If Google want to be very reactionary to penalties, then it will simply become a new game online where you can mess with competitors. I think there is a new playbook being written on this as we speak.

--Just my opinion.

MLHmptn




msg:3979893
 7:51 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)


On a related note: The bartender last week did something to me at the pub that "made it appear" as though I was trying to manipulate alcohol to my advantage, and I pointed this out to my wife, but the reinclusion request with her did not work. :)

Nothing like a teaser aye CainIV?! LOL. This story was like getting the hottest chick in the bars phone number only to find out it's been disconnected.

Please explain Drall! :)

internetheaven




msg:3979910
 8:46 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

The only thing we could find possibly wrong on the site that was banned was the interlinking to our other sites via a site graph showing our other websites.

Surely if it was interlinking that was the problem they would have spotted your other sites instantly and banned them too?

I think there is a new playbook being written on this as we speak.

I never thought I'd have to do some of things I've done this month - that's for sure.

drall




msg:3979996
 12:32 pm on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster for the feedback, I see what you are seeing as they view the sites as a single site. Since that is the case then the deinterlinking would result in no pr increase per document on site 1 and probably trip some crazy filters.

As to what they did to our site getting removed I spoke about this in another thread with Tedster recently. I really dont want to give out a play by play because I am sure many savvy yet ruthless people will be reading this.

Here is my advice, make sure you hand review every damn IBL you have. If they are using this technique on you it will not be hard to spot.

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