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Is there a -200 google punishment?

 9:09 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)


I have a new site - new domain about 5 weeks old now.

I paid up for about 40 links to get the site crawled and indexed (not mass spamming or anything - I normally do this to get things moving)

I sent links to the root, and to three sub-pages of 6 subpages in total - with most links hitting the root.

The site came in on page 9 - so about position 85 for its two word phrase.

Alas - it is now at exactly position 200 for its phrase.

Its a great site and I know customers will love it when they get to see it - its clean cut pure HTML start to finish - pics - buy now paypal buttons - plenty of 100% original info (although they are products which are on other sites of course - so I modified the descriptions somewhat)

I havent been hammered by google for using this particular paid link network before - so I am confident about that (anyway hows a guy to get a site going without begging for links whilst lying on ones belly in the street these days)

So - if anyone knows - is there a -200 hammer?
Could this be to do with the recent farmer update?
What would you guys do in this situation?

Thanks in advance
Mr Fewkes



 12:08 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a new site - new domain about 5 weeks old now.

Pages on such a young site can have a lot of big up-and downs in the SERPs. They can bounce all over the place. You should give it more time


 10:22 am on Mar 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Aristotle - thanks - I just havent had a site go that low from the off before - I think the lowest I ever dropped a new site to was around page 5.


 11:45 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Got an update on this one - I think for research its best to try and show the moves a site makes over time.


When I wrote this - about 3 weeks ago - the sites index.html page was at 200 for its phrase - this is now gone. I checked upto pos 900 and got bored. Its nowhere.

At the time it was at 200 - it had a double listing on page 1 like this

Wordabc Productname
description etc.

Wordabc Genericword
description etc

You will notice that the index.html page is shown after the ranking product subpage. The index page links to the subpage using the subpages target words in the anchor.

Now - the index page has dissapeared from this listing aswell as dissapeared from its own position at 200.

I bought another 30 links or so to the index mainly - these are placed on a network which is doing excellent on other sites I have bought links for.

Its a sad day for consumers who are missing out on this site - it sells its product at 1:7 - yes - you got it - 1:7
which I think you will agree is rock solid in terms of sale:visitor ratio.

But - there you have it - google knows best - not.
This is clearly the consumer experience at its worse from google - but what to they care?

Yes - I am angry at them.


 1:41 am on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

MrFewkes, you do not buy 70 links in a month for a new site, that's so easy to spot. To get indexed link from your other sites and submit a sitemap


 1:53 am on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

So, you went and blatantly disregarded their guidelines and now you're angry at them for enforcing them? [google.com...]


 10:54 am on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

70 links - theres people out there doing xrumer blasts with 70,000 links a week - 70 in a month.

How many would you say is good per month - 3

70 too many? Thats bull - ive done hundreds and never got this before - from the same link network.

Yes - I blatently disregard their rules - because I think asking for links is begging - and I think natural linking is dead. There is no choice.


 1:31 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

ive done hundreds and never got this before - from the same link network.

theres people out there doing xrumer blasts with 70,000 links a week

Just because it worked before, or for other people, or other niches, doesn't mean it will continue to work.

I hear ya that it seems silly sometimes how often they let crap work, but they really don't intend massive link campaigns to work.

And I believe they are getting much more sensitive about blasting new domains with too many links. Have been having that same problem myself.


 2:21 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its all relative, depending on the number and age of existing links and their perceived naturalness.

With new or upcoming sites, a link building flag can easily be raised for later manual site inspection, consequently if its found to be obvious egregious link building then you will then get hammered with a manual penalty (regardless of the fact that other established sites may be doing the same or on a much larger scale), this may last 3/6/9/12+ months or indefinetly, it is also be applied in different forms of severity, typically known as -30,-50,-60,-100 etc etc, and can also be applied as a negative factor *3,*5,*6 etc etc.

Established (trusted) sites are nearly totally impervious to this, competitors cannot hurt their rankings (caveat: without extreme effort and resources to do so).

Whereas, anyone with no morals can easily and perhaps indefinetly hurt the rankings of any new entrants to their niche.

Typically, the link building campaign as described just provides a short benefit, most of which Google can later remove/devalue, and not actually result in any penalty.


 3:18 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

You can find people to do the xrumer thing for 25 bucks and they point to what ever site you choose. If Google is still using a mass influx of links as a penalty flag, then there you.

It is very easy to take out a competitor for very little money.


 6:09 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd say Google's use of backlink spikes will raise a flag (as in an alert), but it certainly does not automatically generate a penalty. Of course it would be stupid to automatically assign a penalty, and Google engineers are not stupid.

Once the flag or alert is raised, a lot of other signals need to line up to make a penalty actually occur. Many times there can also be a simple ignoring of questionable backlinks - in fact, that's the most common effect.


Is there a penalty of exactly -200 positions? I'd have to be a Google engineer to know for sure - but certainly rankings can fall by that much, and more. All kinds of possible numbers come into play. But to say there's exactly this or that amount for different types of infractions gets way beyond what I have data for.

I've heard a rumor that Google changed the deep penalty types - to make it harder to know exactly what is going on. In other words, there are no more exact number drop penalties. From recent reports we are seeing here, I'd say that rumor looks true.


 7:27 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes - I blatently disregard their rules - because I think asking for links is begging - and I think natural linking is dead. There is no choice.

My point was: Don't get upset when they enforce them, then...

It's the Internet, and you can do anything you want, including buying links, but it seems fairly [I'm not going to post the word I think it is] to go and violate a company's guidelines wrt buying links, then complain about not ranking in their search engine ... If you're going to buy links, not having rankings increased because of those links, or even possibly decreased has to be determined to be an acceptable risk, and you have to know it's possible you're not going to receive a benefit and could possibly receive a penalty.

Really, if you have a 'submit your site' page on your site and it explicitly states to not submit inner pages or pages that redirect, and I submit an inner page that redirects how much room to I have to complain when you just delete my request to have my site added? That's essentially what people are doing when they go buy links and the links either don't help or hurt, then complain about it ... It's ridiculous, imo.

You knew the rules. You took a risk by buying links. Don't complain when they don't do anything for you, or hurt you ... Keep this in mind: I'm neither encouraging nor discouraging buying links, what bothers me most is when people do it and then complain because their site doesn't rank from them.


 7:43 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Plus, there's buying links and buying links.
Privately or with easy to spot networks?
Decade old site or week old domain with 4 dashes?
Maybe a link or two bought or dozens of sitewides?
Discreet or with text like "F U Google I am buying a link for [my keyword]"

When a new site comes with 70 links from different domains in a week something will click, and if there's a manual review, expect no mercy. But if you have an old and decent site and they see it, they might just ignore those links.


 3:22 pm on Mar 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ok - I do appreciate the replies

Interesting how I still rank though with one of the sub-pages........ also linked to from the paid link network.

Seems like the penalty is definately therefore page by page basis.

I'll just have to hit this term harder now - with 40 or so domains targetting the same keyword. I am going to get it no matter what - I have to - its my business.

I'll clarify - it was 70 a MONTH not per week like someone said. Thats like what ? 2 or 3 a day!

I knew that buying was naughty in googles eyes - but hmmmm - I still see it as the way to go (the only way I have to be honest) and I will carry on - but diversify my purchases more.

On another angle - just for info for anyone reading.

This site
No affiliate links
No outbound to offsite links
Inbound links all purchased (just added some from my own sites though)
Paypal buttons
Stocked product
No --- in domain name
www dot keyword1keyword2xy dot etc
No adwords
No adsense
Not WMT listed
Has contact, phone, company reg no, email etc
Fast loading
Pure HTML - no php or anything
1 index - 6 subpages
About 10 products

Totally on the level - apart from the links.


 3:53 pm on Mar 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Totally on the level - apart from the links.

Two quick questions:

1) Is the content original and helpful? (I know it sounds like it is an ecommerce site).

2) How competitive are the keywords / products you are targeting?


 4:19 pm on Mar 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

All content is hand written unique - descriptive informative and therefore helpful.

hmmm - competition - I dont think anyone is actively seoing this term. 8000 exact match UK per month.


 7:50 pm on Mar 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

hmmm - competition - I dont think anyone is actively seoing this term. 8000 exact match UK per month.


I wonder if google has less tolerance for things like link buying in less competitive niches?


 8:36 pm on Mar 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I dont think anyone is actively seoing this term. 8000 exact match UK per month. "

So why did you buy links then, 70+ too? If true, it was a pretty dumb thing to do.


 1:04 am on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google engineers are not stupid.
That's debatable.

There are many degrees of stupid. I've worked with some of the smartest engineers only to find when it came to certain things, they really had no clue.

Sometimes, high level thinkers cannot think forward to a real world situation because they over think it. Google thinkers are all numbers and code. We've seen it time and time again where the collateral damage of a change is extensive.

A while back I ran a test to see what a massive influx of targeted links would do and low and behold the site was banished to the -50 penalty. It was a direct result of the massive links. There was no question those links were being taken into account and the account targeted could not be traced to me. So, any competitor could have done the same thing and Iím very sure that type of stuff is still going on.

One of the biggest mistakes a newbie will make is to send a max influx of links into their site with no variation in the anchor text and totally targeted to that sites titles and page content. Just watch how quick that trips a filter.


 7:28 am on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just dont see 70 links as too many.
Well - I didnt anyway. Dont forget they were dripped in over 1 to 2 months or thereabouts - is that not important - a mitigating factor perhaps in my defense against being dumb?
No worries - we live and learn - and ive learned on this one - but my retaliation against google will be complete for this phrase.


 8:13 am on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

No worries - we live and learn - and ive learned on this one - but my retaliation against google will be complete for this phrase.

There goes Google. Gonna buy links from p*rn sites and point to their site, google.com :)?

It takes google a few weeks to gather all the links by spidering and then maybe a week or to put them in context, so a month or two is nothing.


 2:41 pm on Mar 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

:) walkman - no - im just going to write 40 domains - all different and get 1 to 10 slots with all my own sites for the same words.


 11:54 am on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think another thing which makes me mad - is fair enough - ok - I tripped some "unspecified link filter" or something - yes - i was wrong.

Then to add insult to injury - google have the gall to basically deny me traffic but use my images quite high up in their image search.

Yes - two of them from the shafted page.

So its a case of

Hey - you - website - we are shafting you but we still want your images.

No - im sorry - but I will never agree that this is anything other than barefaced cheek and scum tactics.

Hit my site because I made a mistake - hands up - fair cop. But dont go then using the bits YOU want for YOUR benefit.

They even have my site logo in there.

Maybe the site will come back and this is a good sign? Any thoughts anyone?



 5:41 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, I don't have any thoughts on how to get out of the penalty.

But if it were me - and if you haven't done so already - I would at least make sure that my URL appears in the images that google is using in image search.


 5:44 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think you will probably need to change something about your business model. Now that Google has penalized your site for artificial link building methods, you're not likely to repeat the site's past success with the same approaches.

Right now you are writing as if Google owes you something. They don't, and that's the way it is. Their programs evaluated your website and this is what they currently have to say about it to their users. As I've written before, Google's primary job is not to run a ranking contest for websites, it's to serve their own visitors with results that they will find useful.

Image search is a problem for many site owners - and also a major challenge for Google. It's a tough technology problem that we talk about here from time to time. If you want to avoid the whole thing, you can block your images from crawling. Or you can work with the situation, if you see some potential value.


Philosophy Time:

There is a mistaken (but very natural) state of mind when we think about any big company. We tend to think of the company the same way we think about "a person". We unconsciously assume that all their actions are coordinated and somehow make up one whole, intentional process, just like it would be with the guy down the street. At the scale of Google, that just isn't true a can't be true. There is no "person" there, and there is no real unity across Google's many activities.

Not only that, but Google has taken on a challenge that has an immense scale, and it's a challenge that never existed before the web. Clearly they are meeting that challenge better than any other organization has so far. But it's certainly a work in progress and it has many, many rough edges. I expect that rough edges of some kind will be with us for a long while. After all, this is just the ground floor of an entirely new and quite revolutionary human venture.

So our own mental model of how Google works needs to adapt to all these realities. Either that, or we will continue to be aggravated and unhappy, because we are looking at the situation through lenses that have the wrong prescription.


 6:29 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm just going to muddy the waters here, since you are focused on the link aspect... but have you taken a good look at your content as well. I am just sharing something that I feel worked for me.

I had a recent launch (Oct 2010) go sour after 3-4 weeks and noticed quite a bit of in-and-out of the SERP's. The generic sitename would rank in positions #1-3 one day, then nowhere in the top 300 on other days. It was like Google was "testing" my site for stickiness or something.

What I **THINK** (the key word being "think", since I did several other things to improve the site) caused my own issue was over-optimization for a small group of specific key-phrases at the page level. (high saturation, high same-text-anchor links, etc)

I made several changes to the site over a 4-6 week period and after pages were reindexed, the site has climbed out and never looked back!

- MORE Onpage content (I went from 400-500, to 1200-1500 words per page)
- MORE related words within the content (searching google with the tilde is your friend! Ex: ~keyword)
- MORE Variables in the anchor text!

Other things I did during that time...

- Dedicated high speed server.
- Minimized code and images for faster loading.
- Obtained a few high-value inlinks
- NEVER stopped adding high-value content, and updating the content pages!

I fully believe Google still uses a sandbox/aka/age filter of some sort as well. Its this point in time, the downside between weeks 4-?, that most people just walk away from a website and consider it a failure... so if you continue to improve the site, continue to add content, continue marketing and just go on with life "As If Google Does Not Exist"... when they DO come back, it will simply be a bonus! Treat your website the same way you would, if you had 10k daily visitors...



 6:42 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

im going to study these posts in an hour or two.

but there is one thing for sure - I know google owes me nothing - I have known this since the florida update - so no worries on that front.

I owe them nothing either - but they are happy to take.


 5:29 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I owe them nothing either - but they are happy to take.

True. It is google's world - we just rent space in it.


 2:05 pm on Apr 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi - I wanted to keep this one going a bit just for info.

The situation stands that the sub-pages do not appear to be under penalty - so I am 100% sure that if any penalty has been applied it is only to the root index.html page which is the one with the most links.

I get the sneaky feeling that I may have not tripped a penalty regarding link aquisition rate - rather that I have tripped one regarding the using of the same anchor text (about 90%) of the links.

Would this trip a penalty? I suspect so but have no proof.

So - I have just purchased another 16 links - each of which goes to the root page - will be added over a month to the internet - and will diversify the inbound anchor somewhat (each link of the 16 is a new uniqe string)

Im hoping this will be enough - but if the index does not come back - I will add another 16 - and so on until I reach about 30% same anchors and the rest unique strings (with some unique ones not unique if that makes sense!)

Should be interesting for me anyway to see what happens.

Will keep you posted in the hope it helps someone with a similar problem.



 6:43 pm on Apr 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

The situation stands that the sub-pages do not appear to be under penalty - so I am 100% sure that if any penalty has been applied it is only to the root index.html page which is the one with the most links.

Does the home page appear get any entrances through ANY keywords at all? Not the ones you are targeting, but does it rank at all for keywords that you AREN'T targeting?

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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