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Suddenly 950'd... what to do?
backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 5:54 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi guys - I need your trusted, professional advice, fast!

After 13 years of sailing along fine, and after what I'd now consider only a few minor bumps along the way (in the last two years) - my site looks to have finally run aground, got struck by lighting and is now on fire! (yes, I know many of you are cheering burn baby burn)

I still rank for a handful of key phases, (and I MEAN a handful) but most of my good pages are now sittings at exactly page 9 or 10. I would think a total 950 would remove my entire site, but it seems only select pages got clobbered.
It's as if it's a selective 950. I'm hoping it's not the death penalty I now fear.

On suspect is the EMD, but come on, I registered this domain in 2000. Funny thing is, one of the only remaining terms is the EMD match term.

I've been combing the site for obvious web spam, but can find nothing.

I submitted a re inclusion last week and they already cam back saying "NO MANUAL PENALTY"

The only issue I DID find was this:
A few month ago, in an attempt to improve accessibly I replaced all my Flash image slideshows with CSS / javascript based code. It's better for my Apple I-pod visitors. The introduction of the sliders coincides with the start of my recent rapid decline.

The images use the ALT and TITLE tag and I had those both set to the SAME thing for each image. Might that be considered SPAM or duplication perhaps? It was certainly not intended to be so.
I have since cleaned that up, shortened the alt to a concise description of the image and pretty much left the title to the longer useful description shown on mouse over.

The other issue may be length of the slide shows.

The main page slider is 20 images, but one on a sub page is 60 images. Would this be considered spam?
I'm tempted to take the 60 image slider, import in to Camtasia, make it a movie and feed it to Youtube then embed it on my page. Playing Googles game as it were.

My other (highly paranoid) thought is that some Googler's have tracked my often candid & crazy comments on here and busted me for personal reasons...but if that were the case, 90% of use would be 950'd and that would just be downright evil ;^D

Your thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.

 

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 1:13 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that Fred, it certainly is thought provoking.

Just wanted to report and verify that yesterday WAS indeed an improvement over past weeks decline and edged out the past Sundays back to March 24. It only beat out last Sunday by about 10 visitors, but it was an improvement, especially when you consider my blog traffic (or boat anchor) is now gone. It's not a victory by any means, but perhaps the bleeding is under control...for now.

That said, it looks like traffic today is lower than dismal. 1 hit every 5 or 10 minutes, (which doesn't even pay the light bill) whereas yesterday was seeing relatively decent volume (considering the circumstances) of 10 to 15 at a time...in spurts. I suspect many of those are my returning customers.

On Google, the site is down to page 1 results on about 6 keyphrases...from a max of 19,000 last year.

Str82u



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 1:29 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft7 - You aren't planning on masking that forwarded domain are you? I don't speak to many people in our field so my terms and definitions might be off. I've had negative results forwarding too many domains (301) to another and also with masking where two or more domains appear to have the same website (did this to see if G would pick a preferred domain for me).

In all the times I've done any redirecting, the only time it doesn't seem to affect a site is when moving one TLD to another and adding a "Change of Address" in GWT. One site saw increases in SERP and traffic every time I stopped forwarding but in that case there were 12 look-a-likes pointing to one (not cloaked). I don't feel any kind of way about that either, don't think I'm losing any traffic from misspellings.

EDIT: I also read your posts on removing the blog; do you really think that's a hindrance to the site or can you hold on to it and just reduce any link "focus" throughout the site (if you have 3 links to it per page reduce it to 2). I'm almost unwilling to remove content, if it goes EOR, so it is. For example, we have a section of widget photos without much else on page, just 15-20 photos of widgets. Those typically end up 950 for some term or another (mostly the EMD or a variant) but the truth for me is that users want to see pictures of widgets and G wasn't meant to supply direct traffic to those pages anyhow, that's a "rehash" - "Now that you found what you were looking for, wanna see something scary?".

JesterMagic

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 2:00 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I used to cringe to see my competitors ranking near me, now I miss them dearly, cause they are gone too!


So true. In my niche some of us (my competitors and I) got hit more than others but I am not the only one suffering. Sites in our niche only seem to rank well on certain related keywords but not others any more.

I use to worry about only 3 or 4 competitors beating me which resulted me in improving the site content and improving the overall visitor experience by adding new features to keep a step ahead.

Now when I look at the SERPs in my niche I see crappy sites (different sites for each keyword) that just rank for one or two keywords in the niche but have bumped my site to page 2 and beyond. it's like I now have many more competitors if you take all the related keywords into account

I find myself worrying less about content and more worried about what little thing or 2 is wrong with my site that the Google algo doesn't like.

Never recovered, no matter what I tried.
I believe that was due to every page having an internal menu with same anchor text.


This was one of my worries to but Matt Cutts said in a recent video [youtube.com ] that internal links with the same anchor text doesn't effect a site's ranking(unless taken to the extreme). Google understands that a lot of sites are template driven and things like menus and breadcrumbs with the same link text will appear on most pages.

JesterMagic

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 3:01 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've had the same problems with canonicalization. The funny thing is Google would warn about duplicate meta tags in WMT, but not those pages that were canonical related problems. I wonder why Google fails to report this in WMT when the meta tags are duplicates? Weird.


That is a good question. They should add more of these type of issues, like duplicate content within your own site, to HTML improvements.

I want Google to spider and understand the flow of my site better. Let them rank me on content and not because I unknowingly missed up something dealing with the architect of the site.

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 8:28 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

@fred9989,

I conclude the deadly trio are a meta title too similar to the H1 heading, and a ludicrously low level of acceptability for the keyword phrase. (0.8% ? Come on....)

Do you think that having a meta title (or title tag) and h1 that are too similar is being considered over optimization?

Can you tell me what you mean by low level of acceptability? Does that mean that the keyword phrase that you are referring to needs to have a keyword density lower than 0.8%

As an experiment,I changed the anchor text on the inlinks (it was pretty well over-optimised) and left them alone.

I think that inlinks means external links to a site, but I just wanted to ask.

Thanks.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 8:36 pm on Apr 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today serps in my vertical continue to gyrate around a few big name, 900lb gorilla sites. The stuff they are listing is so thin it's (still) laughable. Single page results with one photo and maybe one sentence.

Google's algo is already creating a mass exodus away from them and moving people over to Bing. I am now using Bing for my personal searches simply because I want to find relevant results, not ad ridden answer pages. I ran a poll of my users and 80% say they don't like Google. 90% say the never heard of G+ Wow!

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 12:40 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you think that having a meta title (or title tag) and h1 that are too similar is being considered over optimization?

Whether it gets you an OOP or not, it will almost certainly get you a title/description rewrite in the SERP, because there's no way having a title and description that close makes for a good user experience.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 12:56 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today serps in my vertical continue to gyrate around a few big name, 900lb gorilla sites. The stuff they are listing is so thin it's (still) laughable. Single page results with one photo and maybe one sentence.


If the SERPS are that bad, and your competitors have lost their ranks too, I would be very cautious about making any changes. Sometimes I think Google just shuffles the deck to cause anxious webmasters to react. When Google then passes out everyone's hand again, those webmasters that made major changes are often nowhere to be found.

Host crowding is more prevalent in the industries I am involved in. It's the typical players that dominate most product based keyword queries. It's one thing to give these 800 lb gorillas the top organic rank, but it's an entirely different story when Google gives them the top 3 or 4 positions. Diversity gives consumers choices they would not otherwise have if host crowding was not so dominant.

Good luck

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 1:27 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

tc - not too concerned with that issue. I'm doing everything now to attract traffic from offline and social (FB) channels...Goliath is too mean & nasty to deal with anymore...whatever happens, happens. Funny how they seem to get and do the opposite of what they desire and claim...maybe that's why they seem so vindictive, at least from where I stand.

taberstruths



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 1:47 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Reading this thread has made me thankful that I figured out that googliocks was not going to ever meet me at the altar of internet bliss. I gave up caring about keyword rankings and serps and just built my own audience via social media and syndication. Now lo and behold, 1 year later the fickle woman must be feeling jilted since she is trying to get my attention again by sending traffic my way. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice? Hah!

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 2:10 am on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

tt = +1

because there's no way having a title and description that close makes for a good user experience.


I was hoping original, interesting, informative and most of all USEFUL content would trump title and description for a quality user experience. The whole title, description, H1 relationship seems no different that the old title, description, keyword tags - open and ready to be abused...again.

gouri

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 2:05 pm on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Whether it gets you an OOP or not, it will almost certainly get you a title/description rewrite in the SERP, because there's no way having a title and description that close makes for a good user experience.

@tedster,

I agree with what you are saying about the similar title and meta description being rewritten in the SERP.

Do you think that having a title and h1 that are close will get a rewrite in the SERP? Is one of them more likely to be rewritten?

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4565698 posted 3:36 pm on Apr 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

10 days later, no noticeable change in the SERPS for my EMD. Traffic anemic to say the least. Doesn't help that my dedicated server is getting clobbered with web bots, so bad that at 3am this morning the server went down for 5 hours. When it rains, it pours. Maybe it's time to close the door, lock it and run.

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