We have had some considerable positive ranking improvements over the last few months going from #12 to #2 for one of our primary key phrases. Over the weekend, we dropped down to #12 and now are sitting at #10. My initial gut is that there is a penalty of some sort in place? I'm concerned because I am now seeing hundreds of invalid links in Webmaster Tools for this page that ranks well. The URLs of these invalid links are all tied to a highly popular dynamic ip service with close to a dozen different unique domains being used.
Has anyone seen anything like this? I'm guessing that it might be a competitor trying to hurt us? Any suggestions?
I have contacted the dns service in question and they have said that the owner was blacklisted last week and the domains were taken down but they could not give me any more details without a subpoena.
While it's possible that some kind of "penalty" is in play, it's not very likely, IMO. And the fact that those domains are now blacklisted should mean that you have no future worries. I'd say that IF those links were the problem, then within a few days you will bounce back.
But be prepared that this may have been a true ranking change and not a penalty. I've seen sites with thousands of disruptive backlinks aimed at them, but it had no affect. If this is the case, then seeing those bad backlinks go away will not give you a ranking boost.
the attack continues with more of these dynamic domains. i am also now seeing another site that was in the top 3 being pushed back to number 6 or 8. So both our site and this competitor both seem to be experiencing a -5 position drop (is this a penalty of some sort that we are being hit with because someone else is attacking both of us)