DannyS1951 - 10:16 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
Still clutching at straws. I thought that Chinese scrapers may have been responsible for our demise, but the more I look at it it may have been me unknowingly pushing a self-destruct button back in August last year. The damage became visible after the late September Panda update.
During that August I built some RSS feeds into Google Books. Google Books is one of those products that Google has almost abandoned. There wasn't a real good reason to build the feeds except that I wanted to add a lot more fields to our website's mysql database of the books we sell. This would have given me a database that we could use on some of the larger bookselling sites in the US as well as making our website easier to use schema.org microdata tags on. The RSS feeds to Google Books was another way of using this extra data and Google Book pages still turn up in the search results.
Google books needs separate feeds for each country it supports. These country specific feeds have to include prices in the local currency. This was not a problem as we have already set up our cart software, Oscommerce, for multiple currencies. All it meant was that the feed links to the book pages had the currency code tacked on the end as in "¤cy=AUD". We did this for five country/currencies and put about 300 books into the lists. (Not all the feeds have the entire lists as some had only a few French or German language titles in. Google Merchant saw this as about 1000 new items in the combines lists.
Two days ago on a Majestic SEO timeline of new links to our site it shows a sudden jump of about a 10,000 discovered links in August. When I look at incoming links I can't see any link farms just mainly organic links because the site has been around so long. Google Webmaster did say it could see duplicate titles on the site because of the added currency codes so last month I programed in a canonical statement in the page head to point everything to the clean book pages.
The thing is have I really been punished for my RSS feeds into Google Books being seen by Panda as suspicious linking? Is it that the feeds produced the impression to Panda of duplicate pages? Or is it nothing to do with the Google Books feeds of course? I do wish I had never built the feeds now;-(
What should I do now? Remove the feeds or leave them in the hope that Google corrects the algorithm? How can I inform Google that this is maybe a problem?