Been there ... done that! My purely informational site which took 9 (very long months) to write got hammered by Google too. Its a complete loss. It was NEVER optimized from the get go and is as pure as the driven snow! I just wrote whatever came into my head and never looked back except to correct spelling.
Go figure? As far as I'm concerned ... other than serving a community service, it was a complete waste of time. However, it kept me from going mad for quite some time while I worked on my business site. I thought I was actually "achieving something" while writing it ... and that helped.
Even the "community service" part of producing that site ended up ,being a waste of time because nobody believed I did it out of the kindness of my heart ... WHICH I DID! It was a massive waste of time and energy. However, to this day and as a result of producing that site, I know more about the BVI than most BVIslanders! So all was not completely wasted! :)
Couldn't agree more! Build individual sites for each and every engine. Grab your traffic where you can. Use different hosts, different owner names and completely different content. Its the only way to survive these days ... IMHO!
And Google's results aren't full of spam? Would you like a few hundred real examples? I'd be happy to point out a few! How about some sites with keyword density in the 35% to 45% range which use frames and have yet to be detected by any of Google's filters?
I thought I was a sinful spammer at just under 5% in the most extreme case! Hell, some of my pages with 3% density have been relegated to the bottom of the pile! Those in the 2% or less density are "seemingly" doing O.K. ... for now anyway ... but who the hell knows where all this will lead?
I figure my time over this Christmas season is better spent making a photo gallery for my customers Its the one thing I don't have on my site which I am constantly asked about.
I truly don't care if it helps or hurts my site one iota. I am doing it for my clients and to keep myself occupied while Google does whatever the heck Google is doing.
My time will be better spent doing something constructive rather than trying to figure out what Google are trying to accomplish. I'll leave that part to you folks. I don't have a clue and am not smart enough to come close to the ultimate answer.
I have been driving myself crazy with worry trying to figure out where next month's rent will come from ... but I'd rather just get on with my life and pretend for the next 6 or 8 weeks that what Google has done won't affect me in the long run. Its the only way I am able to keep functioning with any semblance of sanity.
After 10 weeks ... if nothing changes for the better, not much will matter. I will be out on the street again. Google doesn't owe me a damned thing. WebmasterWorld, Brett, Dave several other members here and Google made my life a lot easier for a couple of years ... and for that I will be forever grateful. Its been a wonderful experience.
In the meantime, I will do what I can to add quality to my site, throw up a few smaller and more targeted sites for some of the other SE's and see what happens.
If that isn't enough ... oh well! Its not like I didn't try and that I didn't have a lot of help from a lot of wonderful people. WebmasterWorld is the cats pajamas! It kept me from being homeless and hungry for a very long time. My time may have run out ... I certainly hope not. But we'll just have to wait and see.
If worse comes to worst, I think I could find a job here working for someone else. That wasn't a possibility a few years ago when everyone at WebmasterWorld first got to know me. Now at least, many more people in my indutry know me here, so all is not lost.
For the rest of you, I can only keep my fingers crossed that you are much better at this game than I and are able to hang on through the rough patches longer than I can. This search engine thing is a very stressful way to make a living. I'm not entirely sure it was meant to be ... for me at least.
Any sugar daddy's out there who want to learn to sail in the most wonderful climate in the world? I am a very patient instructor and I never, never, never yell!
I might whimper now and again ... but yelling is not my thing! :)