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This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >     
My first penalty in 10 years?
Tonearm




msg:4491530
 10:03 am on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've been on the first page for my highest-traffic keyword for at least two years, and I've been ranked as high as #3. I just checked the rank for the first time in about a month, and now I'm on the 5th page.

I've been online for about 10 or so years and I've never done any sort of link-building besides a DMOZ link. A couple months ago I de-optimized my site to huge benefit.

How can I figure out what happened? The first thing that came to mind was a competitor pointing a bunch of dirty links my way. How can I check on that?

 

netmeg




msg:4491555
 12:25 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do you have a Webmaster Tools account?

aristotle




msg:4491562
 12:39 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just checked the rank for the first time in about a month, and now I'm on the 5th page.

In that case your traffic from Google should have taken a huge drop sometime during the past month. Did you see such a drop? The traffic is the true indicator of how your site is doing.

jimbeetle




msg:4491595
 2:21 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

The traffic is the true indicator of how your site is doing.

Exactly. Throwing out the word penalty at the first sign of a (possible) rankings change is the worst thing you can do. One, gather data. Two, analyze.

Tonearm




msg:4491614
 3:34 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do you have a Webmaster Tools account?

I do have one. I just logged in and it tells me for the single-word keyword in question my average position is 9.5 and my impressions look to be pretty steady over the last 30 days.

I dug around in Piwik and now I have this info regarding Google referrers from the single-word keyword in question:

April: 250
May: 300
June: 1200
July: 1150
August: 350
September (thus far): 15

I just checked my rank and it's roughly the same on the 5th page.

In that case your traffic from Google should have taken a huge drop sometime during the past month. Did you see such a drop? The traffic is the true indicator of how your site is doing.

It's actually been the opposite due to my de-optimization. That seems to have more than made up for the loss of this keyword.

What do you guys think? Should I look into backlinks to see if there's something smelly in the mix? If so, what is the best way to do that?

RegDCP




msg:4491618
 3:46 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are you a backlink builder?
Have you been building links on (high PR) non-relevant sites?

1script




msg:4491619
 3:52 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

A couple months ago I de-optimized my site to huge benefit
What type of changes are we talking about? Not sure if you meant a benefit to users or you've actually benefited from a traffic increase (huge, no less). But since this sounds like some dramatic changes have been done, it would seem reasonable to look at those as a potential culprit. The timing is also right.

So, what did you do?

crobb305




msg:4491657
 5:12 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

A couple months ago I de-optimized my site to huge benefit.


This may the issue. To some degree, to de-optimize is to optimize. And if you de-optimized a perfectly optimized site that was already ranking well, then a ranking drop might be expected. Also, if the site was stale and you made sudden changes to the text, it could cause a ranking drop. I have personally witnessed this. You didn't state specifically if your site was stale, so I am just suggesting it as a possibility.

scooterdude




msg:4491672
 6:14 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Erm if your traffic is unaffected, and going up, tis possible you caught your ranking on a down period, rankings do fluctuate, and its unlikely that your visitors are seeing the same rankings as you

Sand




msg:4491676
 6:33 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Did your rankings drop for all keywords, or just this one? If it's just this one, that doesn't match up with what I've seen in the past when a penalty hits. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it seems unlikely that only one page would suffer.

As for checking for dirty links, there are many tools out there that you can use to check out your link profile. But I'd start by examining which keywords / pages have fallen, and what you changed when you 'de-optimized.'

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4491698
 9:15 pm on Sep 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Welcome to your new glass ceiling, Tonearm, and if you improve your sites aggregate rating (google secret sauce type stuff) you will enjoy continued success with Google.

Whitey




msg:4491718
 12:17 am on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

A couple months ago I de-optimized my site to huge benefit.

This is likely to be no co-incidence.

What's the overall traffic doing?

Tonearm




msg:4491793
 7:10 am on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are you a backlink builder?
Have you been building links on (high PR) non-relevant sites?

I've never done any link-building whatsoever besides a DMOZ link many years ago.

What type of changes are we talking about? Not sure if you meant a benefit to users or you've actually benefited from a traffic increase (huge, no less). But since this sounds like some dramatic changes have been done, it would seem reasonable to look at those as a potential culprit. The timing is also right.

So, what did you do?

I removed repetitive keywords, unlinked keywords from anchor text, and reduced duplication between the titles, descriptions, and headings of various pages.

Erm if your traffic is unaffected, and going up, tis possible you caught your ranking on a down period, rankings do fluctuate, and its unlikely that your visitors are seeing the same rankings as you

I think the Piwik data I posted above indicates my visitors are probably seeing the same ranking I am for this keyword.

This may the issue. To some degree, to de-optimize is to optimize. And if you de-optimized a perfectly optimized site that was already ranking well, then a ranking drop might be expected. Also, if the site was stale and you made sudden changes to the text, it could cause a ranking drop. I have personally witnessed this. You didn't state specifically if your site was stale, so I am just suggesting it as a possibility.

Did your rankings drop for all keywords, or just this one? If it's just this one, that doesn't match up with what I've seen in the past when a penalty hits. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it seems unlikely that only one page would suffer.

It actually doesn't seem to be the page. The keyword is "widgets". My second highest-traffic keyword is "purple widgets" and I'm currently #1 for that keyword. Both keywords relate to my widgets.html page.

Welcome to your new glass ceiling, Tonearm, and if you improve your sites aggregate rating (google secret sauce type stuff) you will enjoy continued success with Google.

Would Google implement a glass ceiling by dropping the rank of a high-traffic keyword by 4 pages?

What's the overall traffic doing?

Overall traffic is way up since I de-optimized which was shortly before I noticed the ranking drop for this keyword.

Whitey




msg:4491819
 8:52 am on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Overall traffic is way up

Well i think you're on the road to a great recovery.

What did you do differently to optimize for the keywords/s that tanked? or, put it another way, what exactly did you de optimize.

I'm wondering if you're talking about a trophy keyword ie a highly competitive keyword/s that need a lot of support [ pre Penguin ].

Maybe you went just a little too hard on the deoptimization for that keyword - have you thought of reversing a little of what you did to see what happens to the keyword.

scooterdude




msg:4491838
 10:35 am on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

OOps, sorrry I missed the piwik data :)


Who is currently ranking for that trophy keyword, a bigger brand name?

Amateur?

Ehow :)

Sand




msg:4491854
 11:28 am on Sep 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

It actually doesn't seem to be the page. The keyword is "widgets". My second highest-traffic keyword is "purple widgets" and I'm currently #1 for that keyword. Both keywords relate to my widgets.html page.


To me, this doesn't sound at all like a penalty. Rather, it sounds like Google simply doesn't think your page is as relevant for 'widgets' as it used to be. There could be many different reasons for that, but the de-optimization is likely the culprit IMO. If it's possible for you to compare the current version of the page with a version from a few months ago, that might set off some lightbulbs.

Tonearm




msg:4492202
 5:52 am on Sep 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Who is currently ranking for that trophy keyword, a bigger brand name?

It's Amazon and Wikipedia at the moment.

To me, this doesn't sound at all like a penalty. Rather, it sounds like Google simply doesn't think your page is as relevant for 'widgets' as it used to be. There could be many different reasons for that, but the de-optimization is likely the culprit IMO. If it's possible for you to compare the current version of the page with a version from a few months ago, that might set off some lightbulbs.

Thanks to everyone for your help with this. My rank has increased by 6 or 7 spots since I started this thread. I'll keep monitoring and post updates.

Tonearm




msg:4494101
 6:40 am on Sep 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Over the last few days I've seen my position shuffle around on the 4th, 5th, and 6th pages. I had hoped I was headed back to the 1st page but that doesn't seem to be the case. It seems like I should investigate this. What can I do?

Tonearm




msg:4497726
 11:48 am on Sep 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm no longer anywhere in the first 10 pages. What should I do fellas? I've never seen anything like this.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4497747
 12:25 pm on Sep 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I stopped worrying about "x keyword position" because any given page generally gets 100+ keyword combinations with none accounting for more than 5% in total. I start worrying when the traffic dips well outside the norm which means all of those keywords have been dinged at once.

ErnestHemingway




msg:4497754
 12:42 pm on Sep 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tonearm looks like new Panda Flux did it for ya. My wife's local site that was getting whopping 5-10 visitors a month is now on page#6

Nothing makes sense but you can't do much.

Search results are awesome according to Google.

Tonearm




msg:4497762
 12:47 pm on Sep 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I stopped worrying about "x keyword position" because any given page generally gets 100+ keyword combinations with none accounting for more than 5% in total. I start worrying when the traffic dips well outside the norm which means all of those keywords have been dinged at once.

Sounds like a low-maintenance approach which I like. Does anyone agree/disagree with this?

scooterdude




msg:4497798
 1:39 pm on Sep 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

See

[webmasterworld.com...]

Tonearm




msg:4498098
 6:32 am on Sep 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

If I am caught in "Google's Rank Modifying Patent for Spam Detection" what should I do? Just wait for the "target rank" to settle out? How do I know when that's happened?

sunnyujjawal




msg:4498134
 8:30 am on Sep 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

i would suggest to make list of all Panda and Penguin updates datewise and then analyze your traffic.

Get from here [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 6:44 pm (utc) on Sep 24, 2012]

jimbeetle




msg:4498273
 3:07 pm on Sep 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

If I am caught in "Google's Rank Modifying Patent for Spam Detection" what should I do? Just wait for the "target rank" to settle out? How do I know when that's happened?

Just because it's the buzzword of the moment doesn't mean that everybody is caught up in it all of a sudden. We don't even know if the technique is being used and, if it is, for how long it was being used (the patent was filed Jan 2010).

Back to basics: Your 9/12 post mentioned rankings but, again, not traffic, the only metric that is really important.

Tonearm




msg:4499167
 7:10 am on Sep 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

i would suggest to make list of all Panda and Penguin updates datewise and then analyze your traffic.

That sounds like a fine idea but Piwik doesn't seem to let me get granular beyond a monthly data point with keyword referrers. How do you guys go about analyzing your traffic in this way?


Back to basics: Your 9/12 post mentioned rankings but, again, not traffic, the only metric that is really important.

I have this info from Piwik regarding referrals from the keyword in question:

April: 250
May: 300
June: 1200
July: 1150
August: 350
September (thus far): 45

At this point I can't find my site on the first 20 or so pages of the results for the keyword in question.

Lts95




msg:4499352
 2:20 pm on Sep 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

That sounds like a fine idea but Piwik doesn't seem to let me get granular beyond a monthly data point with keyword referrers. How do you guys go about analyzing your traffic in this way?


What version of Piwik are you running? They've allowed you to create reports using a date range for a while now. Maybe you just need to update your Piwik installation.

triggerfinger




msg:4499412
 5:18 pm on Sep 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Check backlinks, maybe someone is maliciously attacking with penguin-esque links to drive your page down. (Although if "widgets" is still ranking high as opposed to "blue widgets", it would be a term based penalty, so check for exact anchor text). Usually when only one term drops it must be a term based penalty, which in the past related to exact match backlinks or over-optimization of on-page stuff (keyword stuffing, etc.)

Tonearm




msg:4499563
 6:03 am on Sep 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

What version of Piwik are you running? They've allowed you to create reports using a date range for a while now. Maybe you just need to update your Piwik installation.

Thanks, I'm looking in to that now.


Check backlinks, maybe someone is maliciously attacking with penguin-esque links to drive your page down. (Although if "widgets" is still ranking high as opposed to "blue widgets", it would be a term based penalty, so check for exact anchor text). Usually when only one term drops it must be a term based penalty, which in the past related to exact match backlinks or over-optimization of on-page stuff (keyword stuffing, etc.)

I've been suspicious of something like this from the beginning. I've never done any link-building so I'm not sure how to do about checking into this. Is there a good and free online tool, or should I subscribe somewhere?

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