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The price of losing links
realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 4:29 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

A client of mine was hit hard by Penguin, from 80,000 visitors per day to 40,000. On the surface, nothing made sense. They don't and won't buy links. While looking at their BL profile, only -1,000 questionable links were established, all from junk spammy websites, but that didn't come close to the hundreds of thousands of genuine links they actually had from everything from personal blogs to tabloids inc BBC News, CNN etc.

This is an established website, since 1996 and an authority in it's niche. Nothing made sense.

During a recent upgrade to their message boards, I found that whoever performed the last upgrade (pre penguin), created a double 301 redirect from all old urls, to all new urls to accomodate a change in url structure.

As you know, Google only follows 1 redirect and then gives up, meaning that none of the link juice from the past 10 years was being counted. Suddenly it made sense why despite their seemingly perfect link profile, they were hit by Penguin.

[edit] My theory is/was, the link juice lost from the double redirect, was causing the ratio of spammy to good links to rise. The bad links were all pointing to the main website, therefore not effected by this issue. And the majority of good links, were pointing to threads in the forum, all of which were effected.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this up, as it's something that literally didn't cross my mind to check and while asking for advice from friends in the field, none of them suggested it either.

I resolved the issue about a month ago and now waiting for a refresh.

Cheers

[edited by: realmaverick at 5:18 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2013]

 

Andy Langton

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



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 4:36 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google only follows 1 redirect and then gives up


That isn't true, unfortunately. Google don't give out a specific number, although this Matt Cutts Video [youtube.com] suggests "one, two or maybe 3" redirects would be fine, "4 or 5" not fine.

You're still wise to go for one hop, but I don't think this would explain all of the issues you're seeing. Remember that Penguin is an 'anti-spam' update, so that wouldn't correlate either, even if the 1 redirect only rule was accurate.

[edited by: Andy_Langton at 4:37 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2013]

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 4:37 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

That sounds like a technical problem, not a Penguin problem.

goodroi

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



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 5:03 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is a difference between the Google crawler following multiple redirects and Google applying link power over multiple redirects.

Based on my first hand experiences, rankings suffer when links are channeled through multiple redirects. Recently Matt Cutts has stated that some pagerank is lost through a 301 redirect, so maybe you are losing more pagerank by having multiple redirects. Either way its easy to recover from.

realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 5:07 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Andy, I wasn't suggesting the multi redirects were causing Penguin. Let me explain myself a little better. The site being hit by Penguin didn't make sense. There were 1,000 bad links, among hundreds of thousands of genuine links. So the ratio of bad links, didn't appear to be anything to cause an issue.

However, if 10 years of good links from the forum had been lost, suddenly those 1,000 dodgy links become a greater issue. i.e less good links to dilute the bad.

However, you stated up to 3 redirects is fine, from a, to b, to c, is contrary to everything I've read on the subject. But thanks for a link to the video. So perhaps this mystery is still wide open. How the #*$! can less than 1,000 bad links, cause this issue. They 100% have never ever paid for a link, asked for a link or even done any kind of networking. They are quite head strong about it.

@Martinibuster yes, of course it's a tech problem. Hopefully the above will explain my conclusion. However, I am now baffled that Google allows up to 3 hops? Hmmm

*Edited main post, so that it hopefully makes more sense.

[edited by: realmaverick at 5:19 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2013]

realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 5:10 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

@goodroi, So perhaps not all link juice is lost from a double redirect, but double that of a single? hmmm

Andy Langton

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



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 5:22 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would agree with goodroi that there is loss over multiple 301s. But I'm confident that the loss over 2 redirects is not 100% of link value.

My point generally was that this loss would seem unlikely to trigger an anti-spam algo, although I suppose it's possible. Regardless, hope this fixes the problems!

realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 5:27 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Andy.

I will report back on the next update. Although we've done a ton of work, getting these dodgy links removed etc, so even if it recovers, we'll struggle to truly know which of the changes helped.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 8:44 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

this loss would seem unlikely to trigger an anti-spam algo, although I suppose it's possible

From what I've seen, multiple, chained 301s are more likely to trigger a manual check. However, I have heard Matt Cutts talk about an automated rule for certain types of 301 chains. In fact, the rule was informally named for a relatively well known early SEO who was leveraging the possibilities of 301 chains in a clever way.

1script

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4549017 posted 10:18 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

In fact, the rule was informally named for a relatively well known early SEO who was leveraging the possibilities of 301 chains in a clever way.
What's his name, I'd like to look him up :)
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