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Do we need to stop our sites from rising too high?
superclown2

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 3:16 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Recently I have noticed a number of sites belonging to other people disappear after they have got high in the SERPs - no. 2 or above - for certain key phrases. All of them were affiliate sites.

Over the last month two affiliate sites of mine suffered the same fate; upon finally reaching position no. 2 for good keyphrases both had manual visits from Google and then they disappeared to Page 6 oblivion. Both were well established sites that had ticked along nicely for years. Appeals for reconsideration were met with the same standard letter about 'violating quality guidelines' that we are all so familiar with. Neither have changed much for a long while, there are no paid links, and both contained far more useful content than the 'brand' sites that remain.

So; I wonder how widespread this is. Are some of these new staff that Google took on checking the first couple of spots for popular keyphrases, and getting rid of affiliate sites that get too big for their boots? If this is the case doesn't their claims that the SERPs are decided algorithmically ring a little hollow?

Finally, do all we affiliates have to find a way of keeping a website down to no. 5 or 6 so it doesn't stick it's head above the parapet?

 

Planet13

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 4:51 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you wern't using paid links, then do you mind if I ask whether you might have an idea why your site is penalized?

Is it only certain terms that don't rank, or is it all terms?

I don't think anyone knows if Google does an automatic review when a site rises to a particular spot in a competitive niche, but you can bet that your competition will notice and will file a spam report if they think you might be up to no good.

Whether Google will act upon that spam report or not is anybody's guess.

aristotle

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 5:19 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've long believed that manual reviews play a bigger role in Google than is commonly thought. But I think that they are probably triggered by reaching a certain level of Google traffic rather than a certain position in the SERPs. For example, any site that starts getting 10,000 or more Google referrals per day will automayically be reviewed. (10,000 is just an example -- I don't know the real threshold)

I also think that several people are involved in the review process, so that the decision isn't just left to one person but must be affirmed by a supervisor.

superclown2

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 5:38 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you wern't using paid links, then do you mind if I ask whether you might have an idea why your site is penalized?


I queried the ban on the Google forum and some of the guys there said it was viewed as just a doorway page for the site it linked to. That sounds the most likely answer to me. Interestingly, the majority of other sites on the page fall into the same category but they all sell products of their own, as well as acting as affiliates for the particular product that mine was pushing.

I've long believed that manual reviews play a bigger role in Google than is commonly thought. But I think that they are probably triggered by reaching a certain level of Google traffic rather than a certain position in the SERPs. For example, any site that starts getting 10,000 or more Google referrals per day will automayically be reviewed. (10,000 is just an example -- I don't know the real threshold)


This was nothing like 10,000, more like 150 hits a day. Very profitable hits though. Going off my previous experience and what I'd seen before I was quite uneasy when the site went from 4th to 2nd - nothing I'd done, I wouldn't know how to anyhow right now - and sure enough, a few days later it got smacked.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 6:40 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I queried the ban on the Google forum and some of the guys there said it was viewed as just a doorway page for the site it linked to. That sounds the most likely answer to me.


Huh... so when you did the reinclusion request, I am guessing it just said something like "some of the pages are still inviolation fo the terms of service" or something like that, right?

Is it possible it is more panda related than a manual penalty? I guess you were tracking the visitors since you said that you saw that it had been manually reviewed.

superclown2

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 7:02 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Huh... so when you did the reinclusion request, I am guessing it just said something like "some of the pages are still inviolation fo the terms of service" or something like that, right?


Yep, same old script.

Is it possible it is more panda related than a manual penalty? I guess you were tracking the visitors since you said that you saw that it had been manually reviewed.


Definitely manual. I checked all the visitors and each time there was a visit by a real person (real people trigger the .css script, which is how I can tell) from Google's IP range.

aristotle

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Msg#: 4351159 posted 7:14 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe someone files a spam report on every site that climbs to the number 2 spot in the rankings for your keyword and this triggers a manual review.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 7:43 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

And you checked that none of your competitors slammed you with a bunch of spam backlinks, (google bowling), right?

Maybe someone files a spam report on every site that climbs to the number 2 spot in the rankings for your keyword and this triggers a manual review.


That's what I was thinking. Would love to say that "great minds think alike," but my mind ain't great, so maybe you are in trouble aristotle...

How optimized is the anchor text in your backlinks?

And it's a review site, right? I see all sorts of review sites ranking very well in the SERPs (usually right underneath the manufacturer's site).

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 8:28 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe someone files a spam report on every site that climbs to the number 2 spot in the rankings for your keyword and this triggers a manual review.


If they did they were quick. Each time it was only 3-4 days between hitting that spot and the penalty.

nettulf



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 12:27 pm on Aug 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Strange, the exact thing happened to a couple of my 1.5 year old affiliate sites.

Something made them jump very high to position 2-3 in June, with lots of traffic as a result.

But after a few days there there were visits from Google (according to Statcounter), and the site jumped about 600 positions way back. No message in Webmaster tools, nothing.

One common thing the Apache logs revealed was that the reviewer tried to read the file "this_page_should_not_exist.fake" in the root domain of all of the sites. So watch out for that... maybe testing for proper 404 response. Or who knows what...

The sites were not even linked, except for using the same Statcounter, and also the same affiliate ID in some of the URLs.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 2:32 pm on Aug 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think Google tests how pages perform at different spots. One of the ecommerce sites I manage, the product pages sometimes start doing wild bouncing around across the top 50 spots, before settling at a particular spot - high or low - and just sticking there. I always figured Google was testing how that page performs at different rankings, and what the user behavior is, and then settles it out accordingly.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's connected to a manual review. Sometimes a coincidence *is* just a coincidence - even if it happens twice.

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 9:45 pm on Aug 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do we need to stop our sites from rising too high?


I had a long discussion with a member of this forum on this topic a few years ago. We concluded that it would appear, on the evidence available, that Google would not let certain sites be more popular ( in the sense of having high rankings ) that Google thinks it should be.

If a site reached a certain peak in positions for various phrases on a consistant basis it would get slapped back.

This would apply even if the sites reached, what I call, a critical mass.

To add to the conspiracy theories (!) for generic search terms this not to apply to large American controlled companies or sites that had big Adword spends.

For regional search phrases the concept still appplied, but the sites that did well in the SERPS rotated.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 1:41 am on Aug 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've heard that kind of theory quite a bit over the years. I've also seen websites grow in power and get great rankings. Piwik.org - the open source web analytics program which is now PR10 - is a good counterexample.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 1:49 am on Aug 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

@superclown2

How many pages your website had and were all pages focused on affiliate providing little information? Three of my sites were penalized and I think that happened because of "thin content". None of them is out of penalty yet but I know someone whose sites came out of this penalty after improving the site for users.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 4:22 am on Aug 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I view this as counter-intuitive... if one doesn't like the ball-park, find a different place to play. These days that might be another search engine.

SEOTranslator



 
Msg#: 4351159 posted 2:48 pm on Aug 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Personally I think this is in line with the stated by Google with the Panda algorithm update... that they want sites that provide added value. Affiliate sites probably don't fall under that category, so if you're not struck with the new Panda update then they probably kick you down manually.

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