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|Anybody had a -50 penalty that was later removed?|
Please share your story with us if you believe that your site was once subjected to a -50 penalty and the penalty appeared to go away at a later time.
Please provide details about how long the penalty was in effect, was the removal gradual, what you believe the penalty was for and what you did that may have fixed the problem (as much as you're willing to share). This could be inspiring for those facing this issue.
Gorf, I have recently been hit by this as well. Although WMT has changed considerably of late (for the worse), the backlinks that do show through WMT (and they are a lot fewer than what the old version of WMT showed), indicate that I've had quite a few one-way directory links added for my effected site.
These haven't been added by me, and no doubt, have been added either by my competition or through automated searching/scraping practices. These sites do offer "paid link" services. It is impossible for me to tell whether someone paid for these or not, but I can definitely tell you that they are one-way, and pointing to me.
Other than that, I've only added content to this effected site. I haven't done any sort of on-site SEO for quite some time.
Not sure what Google is up to these days, but things seems to be quite out-of-control on their end. And moreover, the bunk that Google PR team hands us, about inbound links not being able to hurt ranking....well, that's pure garbage rhetoric, as far as I'm concerned.
Interestingly, my rank has improved on this effected site, on both Yahoo and Bing. I'm inwardly hoping that Microsoft comes out and crushes Google, with their new renewed committment to Search technology.
I have a similar situation (many unasked for links from bad neighborhood sites ... between 5% and 10% of total backlinks according to WMT, depending on how you count duplicate links from one domain), but I'm still not convinced that that is the problem (although neither would I rule it out).
My ranking is improving on Yahoo and Bing as well!
1) Did you try a reconsideration request with a list of all bad/unapproved one-way links to your site and an explanation that you didn't pay for them and that you requested to be removed but to no avail? I am in the process of contacting sites with unwanted links. I plan to document this, create a web page detailing it and then submit my reconsideration request with a pointer to the page.
2) Did the number of links to your site increase rapidly over the last couple of months before your rankings dropped?
3) How long has the penalty been in effect?
While your information (and info about my situation) is definitely of value, I'm hoping to hear from someone who successfully got out of the sandpit.
Yes, just had a minus 50 penalty removed. I figured out why the site was penalized and fixed the issue ... can't go into details, sorry.
But the penalty seemed to be removed in 2 stages. Or it could be that the penalty was removed as I was fixing the problems.
This site is a very large ecom site, long established with thousands of legit natural backlinks. So there really was no reason not to put it back where it belonged in the SERPS once the issue was solved.
Luckily, I figured out the reason for the penalty by reading through WebmasterWorld! So there is always a chance you will find the solution to your penalty right here.
Answers to your questions:
1) No, I have not ever submitted a reconsideration request.
I am contemplating doing so, but I like to save my
bullets, and am still investigating things, before doing
so. I think your formal documentation approach, is a
2) Based on Yahoo stats, the # of my links has increased
about 1-2 % over the last month or so. Google's WMT
is very unstable IMO - links that appear one week,
disappear the next, only to reappear the following
week. Also, as stated above, the "new" WMT doesn't
nearly show the same # of links that the "old" WMT
did. So, from a Google perspective, things are hard
to judge on the delta of backlinks;
3) This -50 penalty is about 4-5 days old now for me.
I've continued to slip down another few positions
today from where I've been. Of note, my keyword
phrase for this site (which generated the most
amount of traffic to this site), is the major one
effected. Other long-tail terms that generate a
smaller percentage of traffic, have been uneffected
so far. My domain .tld is still # 1, so it hasn't
been a "global" downgrade of my site. Nevertheless,
I have taken a huge hit on traffic, as per the above.
I didn't mean to chime in an dilute the purpose of this thread. I too, am looking for clues to get out of Google Hell.
P.S. to Rugles, thanks for the tease. Your post is of zero value.
Thanks Rugles ... there is a dim light at the end of the tunnel.
|I figured out why the site was penalized and fixed the issue ... can't go into details, sorry. |
I completely understand. If you feel comfortable, can you give any non-specific information/hints/category of problem? If not, no prob.
|But the penalty seemed to be removed in 2 stages. Or it could be that the penalty was removed as I was fixing the problems. |
Can you elaborate? Are you saying that your site went to -25 first then finally back to normal? Or are you saying that some of your keywords popped back and the rest later?
How long did it take to get back where you belonged (both stage 1 and stage 2)?
|Luckily, I figured out the reason for the penalty by reading through WebmasterWorld! |
I have been reading WM and many other blogs and discussion groups non-stop. I believe that I have uncovered and fixed the problem and have asked for the site to be reconsidered, so I'm hopeful.
>>>P.S. to Rugles, thanks for the tease. Your post is of zero value.
You are quite welcome, but the answer lies within this site .. at least for our issue.
|Can you elaborate? Are you saying that your site went to -25 first then finally back to normal? Or are you saying that some of your keywords popped back and the rest later? |
How long did it take to get back where you belonged (both stage 1 and stage 2)?
It was more of a -50, then a -10 penalty then no penalty. There was about a months time between the last 2 stages.
I do not want to say exactly what happened or what I did to fix it. I could be wrong and I don't want to give out false hope, nor can I disclose exact SEO methods that I may or may not have used. For all I know I might just have a temporary reprieve and tomorrow it will be back to the -50.
[edited by: Rugles at 9:07 pm (utc) on July 2, 2009]
|I believe that I have uncovered and fixed the problem and have asked for the site to be reconsidered, so I'm hopeful. |
So you might be exactly where I was about 6 or 8 weeks ago. Lets hope you figured it out. I never asked for reinclusion, because I was still taking lots of traffic, just did not rank as high as I normally do for some competitive terms. The long tail keywords still provided the bulk of the traffic during the penalty phase.
Thanks for sharing Rugles.
To clarify ... the jump back to -10 took about a month?
|.. just did not rank as high as I normally do for some competitive terms. The long tail keywords still provided the bulk of the traffic during the penalty phase. |
The long tail keywords still had high rankings? If so, this sounds like it wasn't a full site -50 penalty like I am experiencing.
I hope your reprieve is permanent.
|The long tail keywords still had high rankings? If so, this sounds like it wasn't a full site -50 penalty like I am experiencing. |
I know, that was the weird part. We really only got punished for our most competitive keywords. Luckily, its the long tail keywords that are the revenue drivers for this website.
But we were knocked down almost exactly 50 spots, so it must have been some sort of -50 penalty. Which means there could be several kinds of -50 penalties.
|To clarify ... the jump back to -10 took about a month? |
Almost forgot to answer.
Yes, it was about a month from when I noticed the trouble, did the research and made the changes to seeing an increase in the rankings to page 2 of the SERPS.
Like Rugles, I too, have only got punished for my most competitive keyword. Unlike Rugles, most other long tail keywords were unpunished, but the punishment competitive keyword is my main revenue driver.
Update Today: For my punished competitive keyword, I am bouncing between -25 and -50, from my normal spot in the SERPs. I am going to sit tight over this long weekend, and not do a thing, and see where I wind up in the SERPs on Monday. Whatever Google is doing, should settle down by then, one would think. I continue to gain in SERPs in both Yahoo and Bing (which has become my new default search engine, since its delivery of results now outpaces that of Google, in the sectors that I watch).
This is not very conclusive, so I hesitate reporting anything, but I may be seeing a gradual return. I do not notice much changed with my search position yet, but I am tracking referals from Google.
x = daily Google referrals before -50 penalty
2% of x = Google referrals on day of penalty
6% of x = yesterday's Google referrals
10 to 12% of x = trend for today's Google referrals
This is extra encouraging because yesterday and this weekend should typically be slower than average days due to the holiday.
This may be because Google tracks clicks, and my rankings are gradually rising as users who make it all the way to the 5th page are clicking on my "highly relevant" link that stands out from the others in the vicinity.
I will follow up in a later message if the trend continues or it ends up going away.
P.S. to Rugles, sorry for my comment of "zero value" before. That was uncalled for, and I think I was reacting more to my recent misfortune in rankings, than your post. I wish you the best with your "fix".
No offense taken Doughayman.
I have. Remember to look at *everything*
Could you provide more details? Did you ask for reconsideration? How long after you fixed the problem did you notice a change in SERPs? Was the change gradual or did things just pop back to normal? Was one potential reason for the penalty very obvious to you or did you have to try to change many things in the hope that you fixed the problem?
Today, I noticed that some of my long tail keyword rankings are rising back up but the listings now show "http://nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn/page" (IP address) instead of "http://www.domain.ext/page".
Anybody seen this happen as part of their -50 recovery?
We had our -60 penalty removed recently. It took 2 months for us to get back into Google results. This penalty is more to do with buying or selling links. There can be other factors too but its 90% to do with Buying/Selling links. Make sure you don't have un-necessary or strange out going links on your site without nofollow. Same way if you ever bought links remove them and then ask Google to reinclude you.
We submitted a well detailed reinclusion before our site came back to rankings. It took 45 days after reinclusion for our site to come back. I will tell you don't expect to recover unless you removed all your bad links and explain in detail to Google guys.
So I guess theres nothing stopping me from buying links or blog spamming links with no keyword diversity to penalise my competition.
Welcome to the forums, WB.
Most of the time buying links for your competition will not hurt them - and it often helps. Google is getting more sophisticated and subtle in how they identify someone as a link buyer. Unfortunately, they sometimes seem to penalize an innocent party for links their competition buys, but you certainly can't count on it.
I agree with Tedster, we can keep fighting that Google can penalize competitor sites by spamming your competition. But the fact is No, Google is much more sophisticated in identifying potential link buyers and link sellers. As far as i know Google has 99% success rate with its link buying/selling detection algorithm. Its very rare for an innocent site to get penalized unless they really have very abnormal link pattern and sudden huge boost in links from potential negative areas.
I was very recenly involved with one site who apparently was a victim of this kind of attack - many new backlinks showed up on spam blogs, parasite edu sites and so on. At least that was the only reasom we could see for a penalty - and all the important search terms had fallen about five pages down.
So we documented the details of what we found on a private URL, and submitted an overview message plus that URL through a Reconsideration Request. We can't say for sure that these bad backlinks were the cause of the penalty, but within three days of submitting the Reconsideration Request, the rankings were back to normal.
|Unfortunately, they sometimes seem to penalize an innocent party for links their competition buys, but you certainly can't count on it. |
And there in lies the problem with the state of Google these days. Before, there were always a few innocent people caught up in the net but never really enough to cause a stir.
This time, the PHD sophisticated thinking has over reached and instead of wiping out just a few innocent sites, it wiped out a large number of innocents and made a mess of the relevance of the returned SERPs in some areas and angered a large number of Google supporter who have now jumped ship on their loyalty, myself included.
With Bing returning just as good or if not better results, they picked a bad time to start fiddling with stuff again.
No matter what Google does, somebody will always be able to figure out a way to get a better ranking. They have lost site of going after the spam and are now actually going after innocent people who are just trying to better their rankings the so called "white hat way".
This is the problem with having only PHD types working together. Nothing against them, there are some very briliant PHDs out there, however most PHDs I know tend to overthink and over analyze because that's what they do.
Will Google go by the wayside, of course not but they have given MSN a huge gift.
I may be an innocent caught in the paid backlink algorithm. We never pay for backlinks, but there are a bunch of spammy links to our site.
|So we documented the details of what we found on a private URL, and submitted an overview message plus that URL through a Reconsideration Request. |
I am in the process of documenting all the spam links as reported by WMT and will submit a Reconsideration Request, as you did in that situation.
So far we have identified 12% of our inbound links as being outright spam, but coming from only 1% of all the domains linking to us. 28% of our inbound links are in the headers or footers of relevant/legitmate blogs or other sites, so they appear multiple times from the same domain.
|within three days of submitting the Reconsideration Request, the rankings were back to normal. |
Completely back to normal in three days! Wow! That is great. For me, five days after my request and there has been significant progress (today one main keyword that was at #6 and dropped to #51 is now at #14), but there is still a way to go to be back to normal.
Tedster: Do you remember what the ratios of spam links vs. total links were in that situation ... by link count and by domain count?
|So far we have identified 12% of our inbound links as being outright spam, but coming from only 1% of all the domains linking to us. 28% of our inbound links are in the headers or footers of relevant/legitmate blogs or other sites, so they appear multiple times from the same domain. |
If this truly is the case, everybody now can take out their competition and cause them grief.
I'll be watching this thread closely because I have a few competitors to my clients that need to be taken down.
Thanks Google :)
"(today one main keyword that was at #6 and dropped to #51 is now at #14),"
Looks things are coming back to normal to you or even it doesn't look like a penalty at all to me. In very rare cases -60 penalty sites come back unless you submit a reinclusion request or wait few months for the penalty to fade away. Also from what i have seen -60 penalties seem to be a combination of manual and automated reviews. So i believe Google might defend its decision to penalize sites with this type of penalty.
"This time, the PHD sophisticated thinking has over reached and instead of wiping out just a few innocent sites, it wiped out a large number of innocents and made a mess of the relevance of the returned SERPs in some areas and angered a large number of Google supporter who have now jumped ship on their loyalty, myself included. "
My site was penalized and recovered but still i am a Google supporter :-) . You should understand in Google point of view they have justifiable reasons to penalize sites due to the amount of aggressive link buying and selling happening out there.
|Tedster: Do you remember what the ratios of spam links vs. total links |
First, we used several sources to collect the backlinks report - Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer, the site's server logs, and some private spidering.
The site involved had good backlinks from about 300 solid domains. In the past that would have completely protected them. In fact, they are a rather well known brand in a very competitive industry and they do significant offline advertising as well as online. Essentially they've got a good reputation, by many different measures.
However, we found something like 2,000 assorted types of spam backlinks, and many of them had off-beat anchor text as well. It wasn't just one particular spammy link network it was several, plus parasite hosting on abandoned edu sites, goofy blog comment signatures - a whole pile of malicious junk.
They just told Google "we never asked for these links, we don't want them, and we'll be quite happy if you set their effect to zero - we just hope we aren't being penalized."
There were other smaller but potential issues in this case that the site cleaned up at the same time. So I cannot 100% say the spammy backlink attack was the cause. However, the whole episode was very suggestive.
|My site was penalized and recovered but still i am a Google supporter :-) . You should understand in Google point of view they have justifiable reasons to penalize sites due to the amount of aggressive link buying and selling happening out there. |
I completly understand their point of view. However, I've supported them since they started, have always followed their rules, and lost count of the people I turned on to Google, yet in their attempt to get the spam, they have destroyed years worth of solid white hat work. Don't get me wrong, they didn't take out all my sites and I've actually seen a pattern to the ones they did that are related to age and whois info.
Now, if what Tedster is a saying actually turns out to be true and all it take is to get some foreign SEO firm to effectively Google bomb your competition with bad links, then I have to say Google has completly failed. They should be getting better, not worse at filtering out manipulation attempts and worst of allowing others to effect your rank via spamming, is not a step forward.
In the overall scheme of things, I'm actually glad this took place. It opened my eyes to the fact that Google has actually become a greater evil than MSN and while they are not going to fold, I don't think their hold on the search market is going to remain so dominant and that is a good thing for all of us in the long run.
| This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 (  2 ) > > |