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Sorting Out Possible Penalty - traffic down 80% since July 8
imbckagn




msg:3951207
 1:48 am on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have been reading through a lot of recent threads here about recent penalties. I would like to pick your brains if you don't mind.

Website Information

1. Ranks #1 for [example.com]
2. Ranks #1 for [www.example.com]
3. Ranks #1 for [example]
4. All pages are still indexed
5. Google showing same backlinks in WMT and using link command
6. I'm showing no errors or messages in WMT
7. Don't have any duplicate content it's all 100% unique
8. Main keyword phrase bounces from 4th - 11th on a daily basis
9. PageRank is till the same on all pages

The Problem

Website traffic is down about 90% since the July 8th. All of my inner pages have lost their SE rankings dropping approx. 50 to 500 positions. It's very random and I can't find any pattern.

Some of the inner pages are no longer indexed. I receive zero traffic to my inner pages from Google. This website is using WordPress CMS so all the inner pages are using exactly the same layout.

The day before the sudden drop in SERP's I changed one keyword phrase in the title of the home page and changed the website layout slightly. The change consisted of moving Adsense blocks around. Upon noticing the huge drop in traffic ( next day ) I reverted back to the previous title and layout. I really don't think it had anything to do with these changes.

Link building has consisted of blog comments and web 2.0 websites such as blogger.com, wordpress.com, webs.com and so on. The day before the SERP drop I submitted to DMOZ which I know should be unrelated.

Check List

1. Duplicated content - OK
2. Obvious site/server attacks - OK

....this is where I am open to suggestions if anyone has any but I fear this is the same penalty many others were hit with.

Thank You

[edited by: tedster at 1:51 am (utc) on July 13, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it cannot be owned [/edit]

 

tedster




msg:3951272
 4:47 am on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm a bit confused because you say "4. All pages are still indexed" and you also say "Some of the inner pages are no longer indexed".

How do you check to see if a page is indexed?

imbckagn




msg:3951290
 5:25 am on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry I should have been more clear. 95% of the websites pages are still indexed. A small percent of the inner pages are jumping in and out of the index.

To check the indexed pages I copy the URL and search it using Google's search box. I then also check the Google cache and it may not be cached any longer.

The only keyword phrase that is still ranking well is the main keyword phrase. The website has dropped significantly for every other keyword phrase for the home page and all inner pages.

Below is an example of where the website was ranking previously and where it is now for several phrases.

9 to 692
9 to 152
10 to 665
11 to 510
12 to 207
14 to 590
16 to 346
19 to 78
25 to 75

...and so on.

tedster




msg:3951326
 6:52 am on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

The only keyword phrase that is still ranking well is the main keyword phrase. The website has dropped significantly for every other keyword phrase for the home page and all inner pages.

That certainly does sound like a penalty - but it's the reverse of what many people suffer. It's more common to see rankings fall for the main keyword phrase.

Link building has consisted of blog comments and web 2.0 websites such as blogger.com, wordpress.com, webs.com and so on.

This does not sound like a very diverse backlink profile. I'm not saying that is definitely the cause of the lost rankings, but I'd suggest taking a close look. For example, is the anchor text natural - that is, not a high percentage of "keyword1 keyword2"? Is there any pattern you can see between lost keyword rankings and those keywords in anchor text?

Also, are there at least some freely given "editorially placed" links - backlinks that are not obviously arranged and coordinated by you?

vero




msg:3951528
 2:20 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Something similar happened to me. Suddenly no referrals from Google at all. I did two things. One, checked every external link and removed any that were slow loading, had gone dead, etc. The other was to remove some copy that had been added at the head of each page - it was fairly lengthy, so perhaps Google saw that as duplicate content. Also, I know G doesn't like changes in the titles of pages, but one word shouldn't be the issue. Good luck.

Rugles




msg:3951595
 3:50 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

backlinks that are not obviously arranged and coordinated by you?

It seems that G can now spot a "paid" link from a mile away.

I bet that is what happened here.

imbckagn




msg:3951659
 4:58 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the responses.

There are ZERO paid links none at all. Backlinks were created using a wide variety of anchor text and about 20% of them are natural. I didn't mention this but the backlinks come from article marketing and press releases as well.

I have zero external links from this website. I have checked the source code the best I can and didn't see any obvious problems.

[edited by: tedster at 5:17 pm (utc) on July 13, 2009]

imbckagn




msg:3951682
 5:23 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

One more thing I didn't want to add until I was confident it was happening. I mentioned my website was bouncing from 4th position to 11th for my main keyword phrase since the penalty.

Every time the website has gone from 11th to 4th position was literally minutes after I posted a new article to the website. The website will stay in 4th position for about 20hours then drop to 11th again.

I have done this 4 times now with the same exact results. When I created my message above I was in 11th position. I just added a new article about 6 minutes ago and bam I'm back in 4th position for a very competitive keyword phrase.

It just doesn't make sense and I'm positive this is really happening.

Rugles




msg:3951685
 5:28 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Backlinks were created using a wide variety of anchor text and about 20% of them are natural.

I would focus on the 80%. If they are not "natural" they are likely the source of your problem.

Just sayin' .... Google frowns on links that are not "natural".

imbckagn




msg:3951688
 5:39 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree Rugles but it's crazy that inbound links can harm you. It's becoming very apparent that you can take out your competitors with incoming links now.

Rugles




msg:3951785
 8:23 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, for years they said not to worry about incoming links hurting you. Now it seems that you can indeed wipe out your competitors just by taking out your credit card and buy a few dubious links.

I would love to hear them clarify exactly how they are going to prevent this problem and if any innocent sites have been wiped out yet.

imbckagn




msg:3951857
 10:34 pm on Jul 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ok, here is a positive update. A couple keyword phrases for my home page and one inner page are coming back. The inner page is ranking higher than it ever has before.

Traffic is still way down but things seem to moving in a positive direction. Hopefully everyone else that was having a problem will start to experience the same thing.

LostOne




msg:3952326
 4:12 pm on Jul 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

age of site?

imbckagn




msg:3952338
 4:30 pm on Jul 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Domain is about 9yrs old and website is about 2years old now. Theme of the website has not changed for 9 yrs.

EDIT: For the 5th time now 5 days in a row when I post a new article my website moves with in minutes from 11th to 4th for my main keyword phrase.

LostOne




msg:3952508
 8:11 pm on Jul 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Being only two years on the web I can see why it's bouncing. Good strong permanent links would give it more stability in my opinion.

imbckagn




msg:3952546
 9:26 pm on Jul 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm positive that is not the case LostOne. The domain was never dropped only the content changed and it's still the same niche. This is either a penalty or Google is testing some type of new filters. A website just doesn't loose 80% of it's traffic from normal SERP's bouncing around.

krikomoush




msg:3953076
 4:57 pm on Jul 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

When reading your penalty I thought you were talking about our site.

The same exact thing happened to us:

1) Penalty happened July 8
2) Pages all indexed
3) Showing up for domain, domain name, and main keyword
4) Dropped to 50-600

However, we made HUGE changes to our site.
1) Change IP & Server
2) Complete layout changes
3) Redirected 301 thousands of links (made some errors here)
4) Changed titles
5) Lots of new content

I feel it was our 301 redirect issue that caused it, turned out we had duplicated subdomains of every page of our site, in essence we had like 10+ versions of every page of our site.

Now I feel maybe there may be more to why we got the penalty?

I have submitted a reconsideration request and got a response back saying they have reviewed my site, so I'm hoping the site should bounce back soon.

rowtc2




msg:3953203
 7:33 pm on Jul 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

How many links do you have searching on yahoo ?
How many unique domains have links to you? (count 1 link when you have 5 links from differents pages from the same domain example1.com )

It looks like a link profile penalty.

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