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My site just got a minus fifty penalty
curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 3:07 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my sites is 11 months old. It got minus fifty penalty. I checked. For all keywords all pages are ranking from 5th to 8th page. Site can no more be found with sitename( without .com). It happened all of a sudden. I need help to understand what we did to get this penalty.
In terms of backlinks i did not find anything wrong.Rather i am too afraid of google, i never baught any links. On site we have made lots of changes.
1. On 18th June i made thousands of inner pages noindex.
2. On 5th of July we changed the css, color scheme, site navigation and added google maps. There is not keywords stuffing or anything like that.
Please help me understand what went wrong.
I have read many threads in this forum today and found most of people talking about backlinks as a possible cause for this. But our backlink sources have not changed in last 3-4 months. They are from the same sites.

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 5:08 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd strongly suspect those changes to site navigation - you may have broken something critical for PR circulation, or the changes may be so extensive that Google needs to throw your site into the "trust sandbox" for a while.

Are your URLs still the same?

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 4:44 am on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your response.
Yes all URLs are same. As google was indexing my listings pages more and city pages less. I put all those listing pages in noindex. and put surrounding cities in right nav in each city. I Had earlier done this on one site got most pages indexed.
Please help me to understand what kind of penalty is this?
My site is not appearing before 6th page even for sitename.
If this is some kind of trust sandbox then when can i expect the site to come back?
Should i something to get out of this?

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 6:23 pm on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster,
I was checking today in my webmaster account and i was surprised to see that google has today added sitelinks to my site. I typed in google mysite.com and i found sitelinks to different sections of site. And site is still ranking 6-8 page for all keywords including sitename without .com. And with .com google is showing sitelinks as well.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 6:33 pm on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

What can I say - it happens. In the early days of sitelinks you needed a real powerhouse of a site to see sitelinks in the search results, but it's not that way today. What you are reporting is another sign that you may have a penalty - and you already suspect that anyway. It will be good news for you if the penalty gets removed.

This kind of ranking loss after major sitewide change (but keeping the same URLs) is pretty new - in fact, there are just a couple reports on the forums right now. So as far as I know, there's not enough of a user history to give any prediction for how long it will continue for anyone.

In fact, this kind of report is so rare that I am reluctant to say we have understood your situation. If I were you I'd keep going over all the technology and reports with a fine comb to be sure that something else isn't the real problem. And yes, most big penalties are related to links.

Are you using a CMS? Are you sure your server hasn't been hacked?

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:01 pm on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your repsonse. I am not usign any cms. server has not been hacked. Site is based on php and mysql. very simple design and structure. I am trying to understand whether this situation requires any steps from us or we should just wait for it to recover on its own.
After this penalty during last two days indexed pages of this site have gone up from 850 to 1430 and google has started showing sitelinks.
What is the possibility of site recovering from this after few weeks or months?
I put deep listing pages in noindex on 18th June. Can that be a reason for this? Should i try to remove that noindex?

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 8:54 pm on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just noticed one thing. We put google maps on our site on many pages using google API. Just few days before the penalty i added links in info window of markers in google maps. These are actually javascript links. When you take your mouse over a location, it shows info about that point and we also added a link to that location page in that info window. And we did this sitewide.
Is it possible that google may be considering these mouseover links as hidden links or something like that?
Should i remove these links from info window?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 9:11 pm on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

If this is considered a hidden link, then that would be a mistake by Google - they don't normally consider anything hidden if it can be made visible by onmouseover or onclick.

However, that many new outbound links could have messed some things up. If your site is as clean as you say, I would seriously consider reaching out to Google, either through a reconsideration request or on their forums where you can get a site review (if you're ready for that kind of thing).

Jane_Doe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jane_doe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 1:01 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you have a copy of the site the way it used to be before the latest changes? If so, you might want to back out the changes. Then if your rankings return you can re-apply the changes in very small, closely monitored bits.

ChrisWilson



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 2:19 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would say to soon to back out of the changes, especially if you think the changes are beneficial. Hold out, at least two weeks.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 3:06 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

On site we have made lots of changes.
1. On 18th June i made thousands of inner pages noindex.


I think you've outlined the likely reason already and if that's not it you won't know it until these changes propagate fully which can take months.

In the mean time I'd suggest not making more changes until at least a couple of weeks go by, a couple of months if you can wait. When the dust settles you can evaluate your previous changes and either make more or undo the ones you know didn't help.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 5:35 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am also thinking of going back a little on few things.I feel we should try to undo most of things which may have triggered this filter.
1. Even if they are not hidden links, I have deleted those links from google maps.
2. I am going to remove noindex tag.
3. I can not change new site navigation. As new one has less links on pages and we deleted useless links from nav.
4. As I found on this forum, most of the time this kind of minus 50 penalty has to do with links. For our site, we did not get any spammy links but google did find our most of links in May and June. Many of them dated back to 2009 but WMT started to show them in May and June. So google found most of our links( gained over a period of 10 months) in six weeks and it may have tripped some filter.. I suspect it may have to do with speed of links. I can get rid of more than half of those links if it may help us get out of this filter.Rather i have started working on it. We will try to undo most of the things which happened during last few months except the site navigation. Because i think new navigation is much more user oriented, puts less links on pages and there are no sitewide links in any nav anymore except few links in header and 3 at footer( contact, privay etc.).

maximus12

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 4:45 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Toodler,

I had a similar situation. Back in June, a client of mine asked me to make a few modifications to his site. Please keep in mind that this site was untouched for 2 years and had all the same links pointing to a site my client marketed for. Navigational structure was also never touched. It had 1st page rankings for allot of good keywords for at leat 4 years.

He wanted me to changed 25 links to another url. The site he marketed for had a new product with a unique different URL and wanted him to oint links to their new URL.

I did this and 4 days later BAMMMM -50. So I am sure that this was the cause of the penalty. The site was not moved one inch for 2 years!

I am very sure that the problem was that I did not add no follow tags to the URLS. Which is a must nowadays

Adding no=follow is what I am about to do and then submit a recon request. But my experience has told me to wait at least 60 days before submitting a recon request.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 5:09 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks maximus12,
But i did not added any links to another site. All the changes we did in navigation were for our own internal pages. From your experience also i feel more inclined to beliieve that this -50 penalty is automated. And when you undo something which caused penalty, site should come back without submitting recon request.

maximus12

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 8:31 pm on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

So you did not add any external links to other websites?

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 3:21 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Major changes to internal navigation can trigger this sort of penalty as easily as suspicious back links and I suspect that in both cases the answer líes in the anchor text.

From what you have written, you have reduced the number of links in your site wide navigation, has the anchor text of these internal links changed significantly? Especially the anchor text of links to the índex page or important catagory pages?

If so I would look to this as this as the source of the problem and
reverse it.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 6:35 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

No maximus12, I did not add any external links. I just changed the internal site navigation and even reduced links on page. In earlier site design we had too many links in right and left nav to almost every section of site. After many months i realized that we our both nav were too much of a templated content for each page. So we got rid of unrelated links and rather got rid of one nav, reduced no of links in nav to just 15-20 related links to that particular page.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 6:37 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster,
Should i remove noindex from internal listing pages?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:10 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

You've got to decide on that for yourself - I wouldn't say a definite anything without doing a full analysis, which I'm not available for. Sometimes reversing a change that seemed to cause a problem is the best thing - and sometimes is just stirs up the muddy waters so they take longer to settle.

Why did you give those pages a noindex robots meta tag in the first place - that is, why didn't you want to see them in the search results?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:22 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Major changes to internal navigation can trigger this sort of penalty as easily as suspicious back links and I suspect that in both cases the answer líes in the anchor text.


I almost overlooked your wise words, conor. I most definitely agree and suggest that curious take a good look at internal anchor text to see if it has unintentionally gone into warp drive instead of just doing what it needs to do. Google is no longer "hard of hearing" and can react poorly when a site yells at it too loudly.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:34 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thnaks Tedster,
I did change internal navigation a lot. But it was meant to get rid of all unrelated links( we had so many templated links in right and laft nav on each page which became irrelevant on product pages).
We did not change the anchor text. We kept the anchor text same.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:39 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tedster,
I need to know one thing. If we undo most of changes we did during last few months. We get rid of links google found in last two months. We remove noindex( we put our deep internal listing pages in noindex as that as mostly duplcate content posted by ownsers of listings). Though we did not change anchor text in internal links. We still try to deoptlimize all pages and their internal link text( for example for blue widget page you can remove widget and keep the blue).
Then can we expect the site come out of this filter after few weeks or months.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:47 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

@curios Could the anchor text of links to the index page have changed at all ?

If you totally reverse the changes (and they indeed were the cause) then 2-3 months should be enough for the penalty to subside

If the penalization was caused by inbound links then the same time period applies providing you can identify and remove the offending links and add strong de-optimized inbounds... but its is likely to take you longer to find and get rid of them than it would to roll back your site

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 7:53 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

No anchor text to home is still home.Only link to homepage is from first link in header through the site and word is home.
For backlinks if may have to do with speed of backlinks.
I am willing to get rid of half of backlinks also. But the only thing i want to keep it is internal site navigation. Because that is more relavant and user friendly. We have removed all possible use of keywords from not just internal links ( removed widgets from blue widgets)but from content of site as well. And for this we had to never remove more than 3-4 words from any page.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 8:03 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

We get rid of links google found in last two months.

If the inbound links are OK, why get rid of them?

Why did you give those pages a noindex robots meta tag in the first place - that is, why didn't you want to see them in the search results?

We discussed this question at length in another thread...

PR Sculpting Doesn't Work and Internal NoFollow Can Harm Your Site
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4161726.htm
[webmasterworld.com...]

I never got a clear answer to the question either. Initially I believe it was intended to increase crawl budget by getting pages duped on other sites out of the index.

The OP raised the question in his 1st July 1 post, msg #4162660. It's my feeling that noindex by itself shouldn't have caused the problem, though who knows what so much simultaneous change to so many aspects of the site might do.

curioustoddler's feedback is inconsistent on the effects of noindex, first suggesting that the technique was successful and the number of indexed pages increased...

...my indexed pages have gone up three times after putting those listings in noindex...

...and now thinking this was the cause of a -50 penalty.

I will say that whatever you do, curioustoddler, do it carefully and systematically. Try one thing at a time and give the changes plenty of time to take effect. Evaluate the effects of each separate change before going on to the next. Also, have some idea yourself of why you're making these changes. Eagerness to try stuff is not a good enough reason.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 8:10 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you can get rid of half of the backlinks (just the fact that you can makes the quality questionable and doubtful that they were editorially given) particularily if they are run of site, repeating anchor text and low quality you should and even more so if they could look they were paid for.

But its also important to concentrate on getting some (just a few could be enough) quality IBLs with not that optimized anchor text to inject a bit of trust again.

Just changing the bits on the new site that you think are the problem may not be enough.... Rolling back, letting the dust settle and taking a hard look at the new changes then carefully reapplying the changes that look safe one by one is probably the way to go

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 8:54 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Robert,
Yes you are right. we put those internal pages in noindex to get better indexing for other pages and it really worked. But now gettting out of this penalty is our urget priority.
Conor, anchor text in backlinks has so much variety that it took 10 months to get ranking even for even secondary keywords. I was so afraid of keyword repeatition.
Site was not getting even 100 visits a day. I just want to get rid of many backlinks and changes just to rollback any changes google found on our site.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 9:23 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Curious

A friend has a large site that got hit with a similar penalty in a similar situation over a year ago. Like in your case they were agressivley adding links (un paid but looked pretty paid) and had just made some major sitewide navigation changes when the penalty hit.

They removed the questionable IBLs but for buisness reasons ( Google was responsable for 70% of the traffic but only 20% of the revenue and the site upgrade included much needed usabilty improvements which increased conversion) they rolled back most of the changes and cleaned up everything that looked even a little manipulative but kept the new navigation in place.

A year on they are still penalised ...

Rolling back and carefully adding one change at a time, slowly and systematically and monitoring the results really is the way to go if you want to get this lifted.

curioustoddler



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 9:36 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Rolling back and carefully adding one change at a time, slowly and systematically and monitoring the results really is the way to go if you want to get this lifted.


I am a bit confused here. Rolling back is what i am doing. And after than should i add one change at a time even before the penalty is lifted or should i wait for penalty to be lifted to add these changes.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4175375 posted 9:55 am on Jul 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Roll back totally, wait and then add changes singularily and monitor

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