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Looks like I have been penalised but I'm not sure why?
Sagaris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 3:27 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I am suffering from what appears to be one or more Google penalties/filters applied to a website that we have kept completely white hat and played (to the best of my knowledge and judgement) completely within the Google TOS. What I would really appreciate is a few ideas/techniques I can use to diagnose the problem(s) and hopefully rectify the situation.

The website is approximately 130 pages of unique, quality content and the website has existed for well over 6 years.

The symptoms we have seen that has lead me to believe a penalty/filter may have been applied is the sudden drop of 30 to 300+ places across almost all non-brand keywords. A very competitive 2 word generic phrase which we used to rank 2nd for behind Wikipedia is now slumped at position 340!

The brand name is a 3 letter acroymn which is used in the names of numerous other businesses. The website had consistently ranked 2nd for the term for the past 18 months or so, but now the name is middle 2nd page. Again this drop happened almost overnight about a month or so ago.

Areas we have already looked at from researching the issue.

- We have not done any link buying AT ALL.
- Webmaster Tools has been on the site a good year before these issues arose, and WMT doesnít report anything out of the ordinary.
- There doesnít appear to be any signs of malicious behaviour / hacking - we have checked the site and logs and canít find any evidence of this.
- The pages on the website have been optimised, unique titles, headings, meta description, descriptive link text, keyword rich text etc. I have always used the rule of thumb of asking Ďif search engines didnít exist would I still write a page like this?í to judge levels of optimisation. I honestly donít think I have overstepped the mark in this area but I could be wrong!

I doubt it is dodgy links given our strong no buying stance, so that leads me to think it might potentially an over optimisation problem? If so which areas would be best to start changing or investigating further?

Also in your experience is it worth filing any sort of re-inclusion request with Google through WMT, we canít explain how we have fixed the issues with the site if we donít know what they are to fix!

Apologies for the rambling post guys

 

Sagaris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 10:23 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

A few extra bits of information that I forgot to mention in my first post.

The drop off looks from Analytics to have happened from the beginning of August 2010, other users are reporting drops and fluctuations on this thread [webmasterworld.com ]
but none to quite the extent that I am seeing here.

With regard to site searches the site is returned first for domain search and site:[domain] searches.

Another nugget of information that may be worth noting is the fact that entering in a very specific query for example [our company name] [unique widget name] that should really return the specific widget page first (or at least very highly) returns only results for external sites that link to the specific page on our site. Our page is nowhere to be seen yet it is indexed and returned if you search for the URL of the page.

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 1:34 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have you checked your pages in Copyscape? Has your content been scraped?

How competitive is the business area?

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 4:27 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

There doesn't appear to be any signs of malicious behaviour / hacking - we have checked the site and logs and canít find any evidence of this.

Have you used the "Fetch as googlebot" tool in Webmaster Tools on your key pages - to see if there are any parasite links now placed on your key pages that are only visible to Google?

louieramos



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 4:55 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it only happening on just that 1 keyword? How's the rest of your keyword ranking?

Robert Charlton

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



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 6:09 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it only happening on just that 1 keyword?

As I read it, the OP is saying... "the sudden drop of 30 to 300+ places across almost all non-brand keywords."

louieramos



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 6:30 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

As I read it, the OP is saying... "the sudden drop of 30 to 300+ places across almost all non-brand keywords."


Sorry I missed it when I skimmed thru his post, reason I asked is because I have a client with a penalty problem but for just 2 similar high traffic keywords (dropped 100 spots), the other 8 high traffic keywords are still steady in the top 5.

Sagaris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 9:06 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your input so far guys

Have you used the "Fetch as googlebot" tool in Webmaster Tools on your key pages


I have run half a dozen or so of our top pages through Fetch as googlebot in WMT and they are all clean.


Have you checked your pages in Copyscape? Has your content been scraped?


I checked the most popular pages and no signs of scraping, I had done this to an extent searching for quoted excerpts from the site but that Copyscape tool is really useful!

How competitive is the business area?


I guess if I was rank the competitiveness of the keywords we did previously ranked highly for (generic terms to describe a type of service we offer but also taught as a subject at Universities and so with more competition for those specific keywords) then this would probably be 5-6.5/10, the industry as a whole would probably be a 4-5/10.

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 1:20 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have you checked to makee sure the server hasn't been down for say a couple days or off and on for a period of time?

rowtc2

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 2:37 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even you didn't buy links, how is your backlink profile? Did you got a lot of links quickly?

Did you modified anything on-page (seo structure,navigation)?

networkliquidators



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 8:29 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

My homepage dropped to 100+ in rankings, but I found Google crawled that actual page name of my homepage which was default.asp. The first time it has even indexed it in 8 years lol.

I renamed the default page and requests the default.asp page be removed from its index. the default.asp has been in my sitemap for years and just now decided to index it. Hopefully, I revert back to my ranks for my homepage. All other pages are fine and traffic overall is growing.

Sagaris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4201669 posted 9:41 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have you checked to makee sure the server hasn't been down for say a couple days or off and on for a period of time?


We check the site regularly, so a substantial outage would have been noticed. Will double check with our hosting company though.

Even you didn't buy links, how is your backlink profile? Did you got a lot of links quickly?


Our backlink profile is reasonably diverse and largely from industry and on topic (relevant to the landing page at any rate) around 250 links in total, links are mainly attracted through interesting PR (we are lucky in that we have some quite interesting projects being worked on), so I guess our new links do tend to appear in lumps. The crazy thing is that we put a whole new section into the site and sent out some PR around it which resulted in some decent links a few days after rankings started dropping so I can't even blame that!

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