lizardx - 2:19 am on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
tedster, it's not a site penalty, as you suggested above, we have a clear example of one site, top 10 ranking for most money key words, bad seo done on it (not my doing, others) targeted anchor texts, very poor quality link placements, shockingly low when I finally was forced to examine the problem due to the horrendous advice client was getting from seos. I do however agree that it's almost certainly a machine learning algo, which is now being taught to do crude emulation of spam detection via patterns that are sadly going to make black hats laugh very soon in my opinion. Machine learning has always been a joke though, but google persists and will do it through sheer computational power, just like they did in the end with their translation stuff.
Studying the matter, which was made easy because we had several sites in the top 10, only one of which was hit, two of which had same seo firm working on it, I realized: site still ranks for moneyword + keyword1, which was not anchor text targetted, totally gone from rankings for moneyword +keyword2, which was anchor text targeted. My personal guess is bad seo, bad link farms, bad anchor text generation, with highly probable negative seo campaign by two total scum sites, reeking with black hat seo in their link campaigns, to an absurd degree, maybe used black hats to dump higher ranking sites, like ours, which was no innocent maiden in this game sad to say. Also that site had least natural high quality organic inbounds, which weakens it substantially.
In other words, as some others here have noted I believe, the penalty is anchor text backlinks to site+search phrase, not site alone. Which helps explain why penguin cannot run live it's too complicated to do that much calculation live. Almost certainly only adwords type phrases too, probably drawn from adwords I'd guess, which is why the -amazon.com trick worked, that bypassed roughly the filter. Which means the phrases are what are thrown to the algo, which then must flag each site based on some scaling thing or filter or penalty, but only per phrase, not the site itself etc, I still can't figure it out exactly, but it's along those lines.
Just for what it's worth, but there's no way a site penalty was applied, this site was hit by penguin one and then even worse in penguin two, may 25, and it was still ranking for that high value money phrase, only thing was, it had not been targetted. Now dipping out of rankings, am wondering if black hats are negative seoing it, or if our dumping backlinks is making normal algo lower it naturally until next penguin update.
Very difficult one, proves to me what I've always believed, the only people who benefit from black hat are the black hat seos themselves, long term anyway, though short term you can pump sites up, or down, sadly, much as google is pretending that negative stuff isn't possible, it is, clearly, if our main money terms were knocked out by our actions, why not someone else doing the same thing, or helping us because of our sloppy seo work, plus lack of quality inbounds in the first place, left us vulnerable? Food for thought, I think google has some thinking to do here, or take down the don't be evil plaque and just admit they are another media company striving to be rich as possible.
To make it even more complicated, google deindexed huge link networks as well, which also causes natural drops due to links just being removed. All in all, google has been thinking on this one, but they have made mistakes, that's obvious to me, they may have gone too far, probably have, driving sales to adwords is sadly, to their advantage, and they are a business.
For the record, I strongly dislike gray and black hat seo, and had ignored their part of the site for years, deciding to just not deal with it, but my feeling was always, scum in, scum out, long term anyway, and that is precisely what we have experienced.
As more blackhat seo forums have noted, however, negative seo only works on pages and sites that do not have strong natural organic backlink presences, such as our site. Which means, as usual, long term, quality sites, quality content, for all the flaws and weaknesses, it's the only chance out there, and it is just not that hard to do, but it does take commitment. I know black hats laugh at this, as well they should, in a sense, since they mess with the serps day in and day out and know full well that's just not really true (certainly isn't in our site's case, the site that beat it reeks top to bottom of pure low end black hat link work, some almost comically black hat when I examined some), plus they actually copied our layout roughly in some ways, and just updated some parts of their site to copy our core product when they jumped to top ten and we were out. But the point is, the only way to generate quality inbounds is by having quality product or content, and if that's not happening, you're just going to bob up and down with these algo and seo developments, bad strategy for any business.
Good to see leosghost, hissingsid still making good sense, glad some things don't change.