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Have I been penalized by Google?
dropped 60 places in serp
goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 9:14 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi,
I'm an amateur with a (commercial) website that was developed last year, bit by bit whenever I had time. I noticed that after a year, it still didn't rank in the top 350 in google. No surprise as I haven't really been marketing it. So I decided to be serious about it. During the past 3 months I have been getting backlinks (no paid ones), mainly reciprocal ones, at a steady rate of 4-5 per week. I soon appeard around 300 in google, and a few weeks later I was around 70. I steadily moved upwards until I was 29th (12/4). The following two weeks I retreated somewhat, being in the 40s and 50s, being 41st 2/5. The day after I was 101. Now a couple of days later, I am in 106th.

A few things changed just before this big drop:

1) I made a major update of the index page, making it more detailed (from 300 to 600 words), containing more keywords (but still no more than the average density for my main competitors which rank 1-5). I can't see why this should be penalized.
2) I had requested the dmoz editor to change my site title from BlueWidgetStuff to Blue Widget Stuff. My request was granted (I know, sounds amazing to those that still are waiting to be included 1 year on...).
3) Logging on to google webmaster tools (which I sadly haven't done for the past few months), I see "URL restricted by robots.txt" for links.php and links.php?show=more (links.php?show=more was last disallowed 20/4 it says). It turns out that there is a slash missing in my robots.txt. My directory "link" is disallowed, but so is also links.php and links.php?show=more. This is where I have all my outgoing reciprocal links. What is odd looking at it now is that google found links.php?show=more, as it is only linked to from links.php, which was disallowed.

So 1) doesn't look likely (correct me if I'm wrong) to be the reason fro the drop. I don't know about 2). What about 3), would google penalize for hiding outgoing reciprocal links?

If I search for BlueWidgetStuff (my url - .com), then I am no1. Does that mean that I have not received a -60 penalty? If so, why have I dropped so dramatically, and how can I fix it?

Comments?

 

Excellira

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 9:55 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Random thoughts:

1. The robots.txt error would not be the cause though correcting it could be.

2. Page and title tag changes often create ranking fluctuations for a short period prior to stabilizing.

3. Look for other methods of link building rather than reciprocals (see link building forum on WebmasterWorld).

4. Algorythm updates occur frequently which may cause some of the fluctuations you are seeing. This or #2 may have resulted in a temporary boost (the 29 being the anomaly) and subsequent settling to the "proper" position (~100 mark).

I'm out of time but I'm certain that others will have further insight.

goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 8:42 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm getting more and more convinced that it was the robots.txt. Google had a peek (though shouldn't as it was disallowed) and many inbound links suddenly appeared reciprocal and devalued.

Which leads me to #3... Other methods of link building. Ideas?

Excellira

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 3:02 pm on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

#1 could be the culprit but there are a number of possibilities. As for link building there is good content here: [webmasterworld.com...]

goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 10:33 am on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another thing... I just had a look in "google webmaster tools", and under "Pages with internal links", only a fraction of my pages show up. I'm quite sure they were all in there in the past. Why would they be gone now?

Excellira

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 2:20 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

That metric provides you with the pages on your site that are linked to from other pages on your site. It does not indicate the number of pages included in Google's index.

To confirm the number of pages in Google go to a Google search box and enter: "site:mydomain.com" without the quotes.

goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 2:34 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, but why does it seem to have dropped a great number of pages? I'm almost dead certain they all appeared there before...

nealrodriguez

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 2:37 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld, goinggoinggone!

Logging on to google webmaster tools (which I sadly haven't done for the past few months), I see "URL restricted by robots.txt" for links.php and links.php?show=more (links.php?show=more was last disallowed 20/4 it says). It turns out that there is a slash missing in my robots.txt. My directory "link" is disallowed, but so is also links.php and links.php?show=more. This is where I have all my outgoing reciprocal links.

your link partners may have found out that your outgoing link directory is not indexed and removed links pointing back to your site.

"Pages with internal links", only a fraction of my pages show up. I'm quite sure they were all in there in the past.

a change in internal link structure may have also caused a drop.

take a look @ google's tips on requesting consideration if you think there are issues a request can fix:

Google search quality group gives tips on reconsideration requests
[webmasterworld.com...]

Excellira

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 4:21 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

"your link partners may have found out that your outgoing link directory is not indexed and removed links pointing back to your site. "

I'm not certain that this applies because the OP is referring to internal links rather than external in Webmaster Tools.

"a change in internal link structure may have also caused a drop."

This is quite possible. @goinggoinggone have you changed your navigation or internal linking?

goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 5:53 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

"This is quite possible. @goinggoinggone have you changed your navigation or internal linking?"

not at all. all is the same. the only changes are the ones mentioned in the initial post, which was not about internal links or navigation.

goinggoinggone

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 8:19 pm on May 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have submitted a reconsideration request now. I hope it will make a difference.

RickGlaser

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906972 posted 7:55 pm on May 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think you would have gotten penalize. How many reciprocals did you have? If it was in the 1000's then yes. But if it was a limimited number than you should be ok. Where were the reciprocals located? All on a links page, or a homepage? Try and shy away in the future as there are many other ways to gain some quality links.

A few reciprocals make sense. A huge list just for search rankings is never a good idea.

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