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




msg:4565700
 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.

 

SEchecker




msg:4565718
 6:38 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

On our main site we lost quite few rankings on around 100 keywords including word xxx in last 14 days. As our site is mainly about xxx, all pages (titles) mentioned it got nuked down. G asiggned a new set of keywords what is performing well but no xxx any more. The xxx term is major important to us! I think the reason for that is that we did mention xxx to often on our site and pay now the bill for it.

I still can not get it in my mind HOW TO MAKE THE USER INFO WITHOUT MENTIONING XXX as the XXX is a major part of business! Does G want us to imagine words?
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:46 pm (utc) on Apr 17, 2013]

backdraft7




msg:4565721
 6:44 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

SE - YES, I think Google DOES want us to imagine words. They seem to like sites with made up, nonsense words, just check the page one listings for examples - what's the difference? a word is a word. This is a lot like censorship and not many of us are diggin' that.

I found some additional, possible issues - linking to my main site from my blog. A few webmasters have advised that this would HELP, but it appears to be hurting. So, I can't write a blog post about some extended aspect of my product application then link the blog back to a related page? That's nuts, the monster sites are doing in en masse and now rank to the bank!

Martin Ice Web




msg:4565724
 6:52 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

@backdraft, as i know your site, i would think that your main problem is DC and structure and your site is to targeted. So you are a source but sources are disliked or seen as spam fro pan-pen-google side of view.

seoskunk




msg:4565732
 7:03 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wait a while , will probably bounce back!

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.


I doubt that

backdraft7




msg:4565734
 7:06 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

All great thoughts, but when Google tells me "No Manual Penalty" yet I'm penalized, that makes zero sense.

I'm not sure how I can offer several variations of my widgets without mentioning widgets at all. I think they've lost their minds. Maybe I should make up a secret code book that user have to download then name all my products some random collections of letters. Words are verboten!

seoskunk




msg:4565736
 7:10 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

..........depends

do you need to say

Blue widgets
Grey Widgets
Pink Widgets
Orange Widgets

Or should you say

<h2>Widgets</h2>
Blue
Grey
Pink
Orange

Difficult to comment without viewing the site.

driller41




msg:4565743
 7:40 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

What date did this happen on?

Spend a week looking for clues then I would just leave it alone and move on, I spent far too long messing with my nuked sites to no avail, when I started with a new site I had rankings within 4 weeks and started to make money again.

I just dropped the emd and tried to apply the lessons from the nuked sites to my new work.

backdraft7




msg:4565773
 9:23 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

driller - it started two weeks ago and hit hard today. Odd thing is, I still hold a few keyphrases, but the site is dead. Found several pages on page 9, but not all.

speedshopping




msg:4565786
 10:45 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Might be worth comparing notes we've been 950'd since December and have removed 90% of the site and still no recovery...

tedster




msg:4565882
 3:34 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

when Google tells me "No Manual Penalty" yet I'm penalized, that makes zero sense

I think Google has automated many demotions that we previously considered manual. So when they say "no manual penalty" the person who is examining your site's record has looked for a manual penalty flag and they don't see one.

As I understand it, the new message doesn't even use the word "penalty" but only says "no manual action". They are changing their language, much to our confusion.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4565892
 4:56 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think Google has automated many demotions that we previously considered manual. So when they say "no manual penalty" the person who is examining your site's record has looked for a manual penalty flag and they don't see one.

I think I remember reading something along those lines that was "semi-official" (from a former employee or someone in a position where "not believing" what they said seemed like a bad idea) so I think you're right, but I can't find the source, so it's possible I'm mistaken. What you're saying sounds accurate to me though.

1script




msg:4565901
 5:43 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think Google has automated many demotions that we previously considered manual.
I don't believe -950 was ever considered manual. There were different theories about it, starting years ago with duplicate content (is this still an issue?) and now I don't even begin to comprehend what other infractions it may be handed over (bad choice of word? Automatically "handed") for. There's soup of various site ills that seem to reinforce each other and when this positive feedback loop gets to its highest value, just before an actual manual action happens, you get pushed to the very end. Automatically. I think we can call it pre-manual penalty err.. action.

It may not technically be a manual action but it's designed to feel like one - basically, it's designed to give you an effect of a manual action without wasting precious human time on actually giving you a manual action. Hope this makes sense.

Call me crazy, but it sometimes seems like it's easier to break some straghtforward but reversible rule (badly KW stuff ALL your pages, style it to be white on white, cloak, that sort of thing) to tip the 950 into becoming a real manual action. Then remove the bad code and submit an RR.

conroy




msg:4566021
 2:34 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Read this thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]

It's basically overoptimization. It can be on page, off page, or both it seems.

If your navigation looks like this:

red widget
blue widget
green widget
orange widget

Then you are going to get penalized for "widget" overop. You still rank for your main term because that is seen as your "brand name" or "company name"

It can also be due to offpage linking overop. Basically you would just try to water this down.

Not many guarantees here and without a big effort it is very likely dead.

netmeg




msg:4566044
 3:52 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

The last time I worked on a site that had been 950'd (and it was a few years ago) it was fixing the overly aggressive anchor text / linking that pulled most of the key pages out. I haven't seen your site and all I know about it is what you've posted here, but that's my experience with the 950.

tedster




msg:4566061
 5:13 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't believe -950 was ever considered manual.

I think you're right on that score. Seeing an "end of results" drop (or -950) is basically a scoring method and not necessarily one that always has the same cause. That said, my experience in the past was the same as netmeg's - diversifying internal anchor text repetition made the difference.

backdraft7




msg:4566081
 6:07 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the replies so far, the help from this combined group is nothing short of amazing. I see alot of problems now that weren't problems in the past, my EMD, my
red widget
blue widget
green widget
orange widget
navigation structure, my mess of a blog (which is now removed), missing H1's and more. I continue to work on cleaning it up and aiming for the state of the site around 2010, right before the decline started. The site has great unique info and it's been helpful to literally tens of thousands of customers.
Sadly when I search for it now, all I get is a swarm of neat, tidy useless photo sites. Not sure I'll ever win that battle or even be a contender in a niche I pioneered. One thing is certain, I'm not ready to give up just yet.

randle




msg:4566089
 6:48 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

All great thoughts, but when Google tells me "No Manual Penalty" yet I'm penalized, that makes zero sense.

"No Manual Penalty", means you have been penalized, it just wasn't of the extremely rare kind.

Your case may be unique but most under this scenario when they file the re-inclusion request ask, "was my site penalized?". Theres only two grammatically correct, and accurate responses to that question, "Yes" or "No".

If you get something like this:

"We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team."

It means you did not get a "manual" penalty, but thats not what most ask, and if thats not what you asked then the answer is not a complete and truthful one.

If your response goes on further to say;

"Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users."

Now that its been established that you have not received a manual penalty comes the part where they try to explain how something changed in the middle of the night that caused a page that for 13 years was deemed by the Google algorithm to be the 3rd most relevant result to suddenly now be the 950th most relevant result.

some fluctuation in ranking can happen

A drop of 947 places is not a fluctuation, its the result of a change in the algorithm that specifies that sites with this, or these characteristics, are to be placed as far back in the results as possible, and yet still appear.

Anyone, who doesn't think thats a "penalty" probably saw some merit in Bill Clintons thoughts on the definition of the word "is".

The road forward?

diversifying internal anchor text repetition made the difference.

If the site is an EMD, "anchor text" - internally, externally, and every other way - most often (not always which is the real beauty of these things) is the cancer.

backdraft7




msg:4566131
 9:36 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If the site is an EMD, "anchor text" - internally, externally, and every other way - most often (not always which is the real beauty of these things) is the cancer.


For Google to penalized my site as an EMD after 13 years is pure insanity. Can you imagine what it will cost many sites to change logos, merchandising items with your URL, letterheads, not to mention the monumental task of moving and changing your domain name AND worst of all, the complete cessation of all income for weeks if not months (or forever)? It's simply criminal, and they are accusing ME of doing wrong.

What am I supposed to used for a domain name? use something not related to my product? Again, total insanity. I guess they just couldn't come up with any more reasons to promote their genocide of long time online small business owners. I hope they sleep well...with no conscience, I know they will.

I challenge anyone to justify the logic of the EMD update, particularly on sites that should be grandfathered around this ridiculous rule. The new wave of made up, nonsense names is just one more step in the dumbing down of our world. It's a cancer diagnosis alright and we know it's name. Thanks, now I've really lost all hope.

topr8




msg:4566140
 10:07 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@tedster
>>diversifying internal anchor text repetition made the difference.

you mean even if you are using a template (like almost everybody) and your header and nav links, link to the home page with 'example keyword example keyword 2'

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566141
 10:15 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If the site is an EMD, "anchor text" - internally

I'd go with this and not worry about the external references/links for starters, because there's really no reason I can think of to have the phrase in the links on an EMD, except for search engines. The visitors know what the site is and what it's about so repeating the "key phrase" in anchor text to pages is really only for search engines, and that's where I'd start removing it personally.

tedster




msg:4566145
 10:57 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I challenge anyone to justify the logic of the EMD update

It's not a penalty against an EMD, just an attempt to make sure the domain name itself doesn't give the business any special edge in the rankings.

you mean even if you are using a template (like almost everybody) and your header and nav links, link to the home page with 'example keyword example keyword 2'

The cases I worked with had footer links that repeated the main keyword in several different phrases. I'd also say that "example keyword example keyword 2" is a lot of text for the main navigation.

backdraft7




msg:4566147
 11:12 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ TOI and tedster - thanks for the clarification. So in my specific case, I have products with model numbers, it would be better to link internally with the model number than on the product name, because in my case, the product name can in many cases (most) include one or both words in the domain name.

I'll tell ya, this really would really floor me if it's something that simple, and that it went "un-penalized" by G for this long. I really don't link internally like that but I'll check it over.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4566162
 11:39 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

So in my specific case, I have products with model numbers, it would be better to link internally with the model number than on the product name...

I think that's what I'd do, especially since "surrounding text" is taken into account.

I'm not sure about your specifics, but maybe "Manufacturer - Product Number" would be better? One other thing I'd also make sure of, and this is an "obscure one", is the HTML is algorithmically understandable to be a list of items and not keyword stuffing.

Here's an example of a super obscure, haven't heard about it before in all my years online penalty: A site I used to work on and stepped away from got hit by a Panda update. When I say hit I mean from 10,000+ pages indexed to 1 page in the index and 0 traffic.

It got smacked and I was asked to take a look at it again before the owners just threw it away. On a whim, I rewrote the HTML to be more semantically correct on about 80 legacy pages that had always ranked well. Meaning I switched lists of terms a person could understand from <p>term<br>term 2<br>term 3<br>sub-term<br>sub-term 2</p>, to actual lists displayed inline (nothing much changed as far as the display or content of the text, only the HTML) and within a week the site was being reindexed.

backdraft7




msg:4566167
 12:03 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, I double checked and I removed any internal "key word" type links long ago. So scratch that.

diberry




msg:4566176
 12:57 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Backdraft, I don't think it's that your domain is EMD. I think it's that it's EMD *and* your use of those words in your navigation structure. It may be Google's changed something about how it weighs EMDs, and suddenly what's been fine all these years looks like overoptimization.

If netmeg's had experience where changing the anchor text in the navigation helped this type of penalty, I'd think it's worth a try. Removing the EMD words from your navigation links ("widget" in your example above) should be a pretty quick and easy fix.

As for the slider images, I don't know how Google looks at image meta. But sliders can slow down a page load, and that might count against you - somewhat. I don't remotely think that alone would account for your penalty, but I'd check Pagespeed to see what it says about your site speed. I don't go batty trying to score 100, but sometimes Pagespeed reveals a simple change I could make with an hour's work that will bring it up 5 points or so, and I figure those changes are always worth making.

backdraft7




msg:4566180
 1:11 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

@di- I've search all over my site and I can't see anywhere really that I over link internally or otherwise with my EMD terms. If I'm missing something please feel free to elucidate. The one page with the 60 photo slide and associated atl & desc tags is gone. I turned it into a youtube movie, and asked a close blues guitar friend of mine who I do his website for free if he'd let me use his bands music for my videos. So now it's a little livelier and I can monetize it, plus G gets their cut. Win/win/win, you'd think, but I'll probably get dinged for some other stupid over seo reason...."you wanted to improve your page" BANG! YOU'RE GONE!

backdraft7




msg:4566185
 1:45 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

BTW, here was their exact reply

Dear site owner or webmaster of XYZ,

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider XYZ for compliance with Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

We reviewed your site and found no manual actions by the webspam team that might affect your site's ranking in Google. There's no need to file a reconsideration request for your site, because any ranking issues you may be experiencing are not related to a manual action taken by the webspam team.

Of course, there may be other issues with your site that affect your site's ranking. Google's computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users.

If you've experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site's content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you've changed the URLs for a large portion of your site's pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.

If you're still unable to resolve your issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

backdraft7




msg:4566209
 3:04 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

For several pages I am now seeing a minus 40 penalty. very relevant & useful pages that were previously at #1, now #1 on page 4. Anyone remember what that one was for?

I just wanted to add that I have NEVER paid for a link, EVER! In fact, I've never thought much about links. I did find several links from nasty #*$! sites placed there by a competitor who runs an MFA version of my site. He is an SEO "company" "owner" too. Black hat SEO I'm guessing. Just wondering if this guy is at it again and what's the best way to discover bad links.

One page that was 950 the other day in now -10, top of page two and hanging there. It was always #1 or 2.

Nichita




msg:4566320
 12:19 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was affected by this penalty in the past. What I've done:

- checked the content of the pages (I've found 2-3 paragraphs in entire site copied by mistake by my content writer). I've deleted them;
- I've modified the internal links structure (very stuffed) - every page with about 15-20 links to other pages;

After a month, no effect in SERPs.

I've decided to change my domain -> redirect. I've changed the website theme, I've minimized once again the internal links (the sidebar and 4 related links at the end of the article).

I've performed the redirect and the positions have returned to previous ones.

So far (5+ months) everything looks normal and the website performs good.

This penalty is not determined by links (I am almost sure about that), is determined by an internal problem of the site (copied content / internal keyword rich anchor texts etc.)

This 73 message thread spans 3 pages: 73 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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