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Whole site sandboxed, except three pages
SerpsGuy




msg:4552783
 4:17 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

What could be the cause of this type of penalty? Every page including my homepage is sandboxed and ranks for nothing anymore. But three pages to still rank in google on page one, all the rest are gone.

Is this specific to a kind of penalty?

 

SerpsGuy




msg:4552780
 4:13 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >


I have a website where all the pages are at least 1k words. Ranked page 1 and two for all terms. I was doing good, and I deserved it because my content is 1k times better than anyone else's out there.

March 6 2013, all traffic disappeared. I dont have any paid links, no spammy links. I have a KW domain, and everything fell into the 200 pages of google EXCEPT for three pages on my site.

I have no idea what made google rank those pages still. Nothing is ranking properly, when you search for something you dont get what you should on my site, rather it gives you a similar page. Seems like some kinda over-optimization penalty, but if thats the case then why did my homepage get sandboxed.

I am making no money right now, and have absolutely no idea why I was penalized. I dont have any ads, My site is written and coded by ME. I know everything about this website, and I know how good the content is because I personally researched and wrote it.

I am so depressed over this, it makes me want to give up. I dont even know what caused this. What can anyone do really, google is currently ranking my competitors higher than me and their reviews are one page, 400 words.

I wrote 1500 word review, and added specific content in addition, like long pros and cons lists, and detailed aspects of different offers etc...

I have never been so down before. I followed googles rules, and I got crapped on for it. Now I dont know what to do.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:33 am (utc) on Mar 9, 2013]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552784
 4:20 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

wow, that's a tough read.

Yours sounds like Panda or Penguin, but we haven't had any official reports of those running.

What's the difference between the 3 pages and the rest? Are they shorter, longer, more list, less list, different template, more links, less links, different topic, shorter title, longer title, different style writing, different or less ads?

Anything, and everything that's different at all, let us know about it, because there has to be something different about those 3 pages than the rest and it might give us thread to pull on or an idea to help you out.

BTW: Welcome to WebmasterWorld
(Sorry you had to join for the reason you did.)

SerpsGuy




msg:4552788
 4:38 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My rankings were for "Product Review" keywords, and I have sidebar page items on each of these with additional information. In some cases, Before and After pictures on a sep page.

Each used to rank on its own, now all my review terms are gone. The three that remain are;

-Product before and After Pictures (Ranks Product Review page not Before & After page)

-Product A vs Product B (Again, page is not correct, rather than VS page it ranks the Product Review page that links to that page.

-How to use Product A (Once again, rather than rank the page I wrote specifically for this, the Review page is ranking for this.

It really seems like google is refusing to rank my terms for what they are optimized to rank for. Led me to believe an over-optimization penalty, so I changed my on-site anchor text from "X Review" in the sidebar to a longer term without review in it.

However, then why did my homepage which is not optimized for any specific keyword drop out of the serps?

Its really hard to even get online to look at it, but a friend told me I should try to get some feedback on the site and if all else fails move to a new domain name. However, is that even the issue? All the websites ranking right now have very little content on them, 500-600 words according to the word count. Mine are 1500+ on every page. Does google not like in-depth content?

Some have less than three sentences in the review, and the rest are images. People really liked my site too, I got 4-10 comments a day asking me questions and I responded to them all personally. I was proud of what I built, and now it is in ruins.

epmaniac




msg:4552791
 4:46 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have the same situation as yours. My site also vanished for the terms it was optimized for, and I also had not purchased any links or anything

I had invented this microniche. I was number 1 site. Now I am nowhere

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552795
 4:55 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let me think about this some more, but the first thing that comes to mind is edit say 5 more Product Review pages to be a similar page text length, lack of optimization for the specific terms you're trying to rank for, same style of link text, and anything else that's not the same length, style, format, etc. as the Product Review page that's ranking to be the same way as they are on the Product Review page that's still ranking and noindex everything else those pages link to.

I'm sure it sounds a bit crazy, but if Google wants to rank the review page and not the specific pages so people have to click through the review page to get to the specific pages, then I'd edit a few to have the same characteristics as the one ranking and make sure that's all they could do by noindexing everything "specific" those pages link to and see if the pages I edited to be the same as the Product Review page that is ranking were reindexed.

My gut tells me your initial feeling is correct and it's over optimization, so while I was trying to figure out what to do with the specific pages and how to fix them I'd edit a few more Product Review pages to be "the same as the one that ranks" except for different products of course and intentionally pull the pages they link to from the index.

SerpsGuy




msg:4552797
 5:03 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I did change all the anchor text on the site from "product Review" to "My Experience With Product A" and so forth. I set my own anchor text to each post in the sidebar, and like to keep them short so the sidebar looks clean. That just fit, so I did change that. My permalinks are also product-review, so it may have been overkill I guess.

The weird thing is in my niche, the things ranking on page one are subdomain wordpress.com blogs, blogger blogs, and just total trash. Only the top three results are acceptable in the least.

It really upsets me that I am being placed back in the same place as the spam and trash when I know my content is so good. Its not personal opinion either, I cover things not available elsewhere because I called the company and asked questions, and did in depth research.

If it is an over optimization penalty though, why the homepage? and why on earth would I receive such a harsh punishment of being deemed spam in the back of the serps?

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552798
 5:10 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

If it is an over optimization penalty though, why the homepage?

Because the algo looks much more at "site as a whole" rather than independent pages now, and if the internal pages are penalized for some reason it can have an effect on other pages, including the home page.

and why on earth would I receive such a harsh punishment of being deemed spam in the back of the serps?

It's an algorithm, not a person looking at your site. It's relatively "black and white" and if it "finds a spam pattern" (which is basically what it has to determine over-optimization is) then it treats it as spam, even if the site is not what we as people looking at it might think of as spam if we were to visit it.

One thing to keep in mind is it's really not personal.

The determination is made by a scoring system when determining a score for your site and it determined something was "wrong" or "didn't score well" with it from an algorithmic perspective, not a "personal" perspective.

It has no clue how many hours you've put into it or how many questions you answer or how great your customer service is or anything else along those lines. All it sees is source code and inbound links and other "signals" relating to your site that are generally publicly available.

epmaniac




msg:4552800
 5:25 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

there is nothing OVER about this optimization...

the pages are just normally optimized, like the usual recommended practice... nothing over the roof

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552801
 5:28 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

We were replying at the same time. My reply was actually to SerpsGuy. I didn't see yours until I was done editing mine. Sorry it came right after yours, cause it wasn't about your situation at all. It took me a bit to "spit my reply out" so it looks later but I started before yours reply was posted.

SerpsGuy




msg:4552804
 5:44 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My fiance asked why I have been so stressed, and I showed her the search results, She runs a website as well, but its an ebook she <sells on a very large digital vending site>. Anyhow, she said she thinks it must be a temporary shift in the search results due to the sheer amount of low quality stuff ranking where I used to.

That gave me a little hope, but she knows nothing of the competitive landscape in google or about optimizing anything for search. What you said makes sense, about the whole website being looked at as a whole - however then why the remaining ranking pages. It just seems so random, and sloppy. If it was an over-optimization based on internal links, that is cleared up. I will post back if anything changes ofcourse, and I want to thank you so much for offering your feedback. It raised my hopes a little, I just hope google doesn't dash them away again.

On that same thought, have you ever seen google implement a change that negatively affected search results for a period of time, and then reversed those changes? The thing that really gets me is this hasnt been announced anywhere, and asking on the google ranking section gets me flamed and people call me a spammer and google knows everything basically and if I am in the spam then I deserve to be. Such a negative environment over there.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:13 am (utc) on Mar 9, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specifics, per Charter [/edit]

epmaniac




msg:4552806
 5:50 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

google forums are pathetic

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552807
 5:55 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

What you said makes sense, about the whole website being looked at as a whole - however then why the remaining ranking pages.

It sounds to me like that page (or those pages) aren't "optimized" as much and if it's an over-optimization penalty the rest of the site is hit with, then it actually means the page(s) not hit are actually the ones that are optimized for right now.

When I said I'd "match some other Product Review Pages" to the one that ranks I mean I'd copy and paste the source code of the one that's ranking and modify the text on it for another product, with the same link text to other pages only different product name. The same number of paragraphs and even sentences in the paragraphs. The same title except for changing the product. The same H1 except for the product. The same description except for the product. I mean I'd just plain mirror the stinkin thing for other products and noindex the rest of the pages that are linked to from those pages.

On that same thought, have you ever seen google implement a change that negatively affected search results for a period of time, and then reversed those changes?

It happens quite a bit for a small drop, but not 200 positions. When you drop that much you're in "find what's wrong and fix it" territory. A drop that big has not been a fluctuation or a temporary shift that I can recall seeing or reading about.

The thing that really gets me is this hasnt been announced anywhere, and asking on the google ranking section gets me flamed and people call me a spammer and google knows everything basically and if I am in the spam then I deserve to be. Such a negative environment over there.

I don't ever bother wasting my time with anywhere else and haven't in the near decade I've been online, and that's one of the many reasons why.

Robert Charlton




msg:4552808
 6:07 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

SerpsGuy - When did this drop occur, or was it a series of drops? The information might be helpful in identifying the problem....

Note that up at the top of our Google SEO News home page, we've got a section called...

Google Hot Topics - FAQs
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3269983.htm [webmasterworld.com]

In Hot Topics, right up at the top, we've got a section linking to various types of discussions on Google updates, including not only our monthly Update and SERPs thread, but also Panda Updates and Data Refreshes, etc. I've found these histories, which include dates and descriptions, more useful than similar histories on other SEO sites.

I recommend you take a look at your traffic stats, and see if you can correlate with dates here....


Most Recent Panda Update -
January 22, 2013
[webmasterworld.com]

Google Updates and SERP Changes - March 2013 [webmasterworld.com]

Google Update History [webmasterworld.com]

Panda Iteration Dates [webmasterworld.com]

Robert Charlton




msg:4552810
 6:16 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I did change all the anchor text on the site from "product Review" to "My Experience With Product A" and so forth.

This brings up another thought, and that's the question of whether you were making changes in response to a ranking change that Google had made previously. If so, take a look also at this discussion...

Google's Rank Modifying Patent for Spam Detection
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4486158.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Here, ranking changes you might see would be in response to changes you make... and would most likely not correlate, eg, with Panda change dates.

epmaniac




msg:4552818
 7:33 am on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Robert, thank you for sharing such useful content.

One question, from your experience, do you think this current update on 7th is going to be temporary or is there to stay?

Is there a possibility of reversal? As few people were discussing on March thread that this flux usually occurs before a big update (when they need to take few systems out to do calculations)...

netmeg




msg:4552876
 3:05 pm on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would never count on a reversal. There are always changes and whatnot, but almost never a full reversal, at least not right away. If you need Google traffic, then you have to adapt to them, because they aren't going to adapt to you.

cabbie




msg:4552907
 7:34 pm on Mar 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Every page including my homepage is sandboxed and ranks for nothing anymore. But three pages to still rank in google on page one, all the rest are gone.

Is this specific to a kind of penalty?


This could also possibly be a duplication penalty.

Take a sentence from one of the penalised pages and search for it in Google with Quotation marks "".
Does your page show up number 1 as the original source?
Does there seem to be legitimate site with the exact same content?
Do the same with the 3 pages still ranking.Are the results the same?

SerpsGuy




msg:4552969
 1:36 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

still no changes in serps. i changed my internal links, and google has crawled almost all the pages. removed archives to avoid dupe content penalty. this feels hopeless.

SerpsGuy




msg:4552970
 1:42 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also, my G WMT account stopped logging traffic on March 3rd. No explanation given, just no data there anymore.

Does that mean something?

SerpsGuy




msg:4552971
 1:47 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Googled it, apparently I am not the only one;

[stackoverflow.com...]

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552972
 1:55 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WMT is one of the buggiest misinformative tools I've found personally. I haven't look at it in over two years for the main site I've been working on, cause it's out of date, garbage, and often misunderstood or uninformative / inaccurate bs.

Personally, I only check rankings, traffic and "independent signals" to determine if something's "right" or "wrong" cause generally what WMT says isn't sh*t compared to the reality of rankings and traffic generated by a phrase, page or query.

SEOPTI




msg:4552979
 2:35 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some information in WMT can be useful but I don't like the fact they don't provide information about their nonsense penalties or re-ranking algos (sandbox, -50, -30).

Look at main stream media, all lies, the whole world is a lie.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4552980
 2:42 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some information in WMT can be useful...

Exactly, and that's the end of it for me cause there's equally as much or more information available from other sources, like the SERPs themselves.

It used to be a cool tool. Now as far as I'm concerned it's just a bunch of bs, but if people can find it useful or informative, then cool, more power to them.

I just don't get sh*t out of it I can't get somewhere else personally anymore, but it's entirely possible some do.

SerpsGuy




msg:4553000
 3:45 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

My domain name is an Exact Match for a keyword. I just searched through to page 41 in google, and thats where I sit. Not my homepage though, for some reason google wont rank the right pages for anything. Instead it ranks a random post on my site that does not have the KW in my domain name any place.

It really seems like an over-optimization penalty, but my number 1 competition also has a KW match domain name and ranks for everything just fine with less content per page, and less pages overall.

sid786




msg:4553001
 3:55 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

That was a really tough read. I feel your pain, as my main sites have lost traffic and ranking in the SERPs. I think March 6-7 we had an update -- although there's no way to confirm that.

Is your site older than 2 years? I think Google is picking on sites that are old. I see a lot of new sites popping up on the result page. Probably Google tweaked their freshness algorithm? Whatever it is, I feel really, really bad.

Sometimes I feel sh*t looking at the earnings, but I'll never give up!

SerpsGuy




msg:4553005
 3:59 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

My domain was regged in 2008. I looked at my competition and the main difference I see other than the quality of my content being superior is the linking. Both the top sites that held rank use long post titles as links, rather than custom defined anchor text links.

Can you guys look at your own websites, and your competition and tell me if that is a factor at play for you and your niches?

SerpsGuy




msg:4553006
 4:11 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you guys think I am better off just throwing away my domain name and moving all my content over to a new name? I hate to do it, because what if it recovers. But looking at the sites ranking right now, and seeing how google wont rank my correct pages, its obvious I am penalized for something and I clearly am not going to be told for what.

sid786




msg:4553007
 4:12 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Serpsguy, that actually makes sense!

Why don't you do what your competitors are doing. I assume Google believes long links are "natural" than using a two-phrased anchor text.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4553008
 4:32 am on Mar 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

but my number 1 competition also has a KW match domain name and ranks for everything just fine with less content per page, and less pages overall

So, let's forget about "right" and "wrong" or "better" and "worse" for a minute and look at what the algo is ranking better for a minute.

Is it the better site or the more concise site? What can you do on your site to match the algo better?

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
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