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Google Penalty

What to do?



12:30 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello All

I have gone throught the archives here and found mention of the penalty my site seems to have "attracted". But it is not clear what to do, and if Google will actually lift the penalty. I should add, I do not know why my site was penalized, I just know it has been. I get a white PR bar on my browser now :-(

First, do you think I would have attracted the penalty for this: I run a forum that is a .org and has been totally no sales for ages. But I added some sales links partly because I wanted to finance a major redesign of the site, and partly because my forums were being abused by affiliate sales people. So I decided to have a suppliers page, and then realised it made sense to use affiliate commission links with those that offered them. Do Google penalize for a .org doing this?

Second, I have emailed Google several times asking them to advise why they have done this. My site is listed in ODP, Yahoo, etc., so I could not understand why they would have such a thing against my site. They never reply, and nothing changes. It simply is not fair, as my forum is the only one for its subject where there is no commercial moderation. There are even sites that claim to be forums, but are not.

I have checked the few people I link to, and can find only one site that is also a white PR bar. But I doubt they are considered the "bad neighborhood" I read about elsewhere here. And I can not remove their link, as I offer links to all members of the forum.

Does anyone have any suggestions at how to lose the ban or have Google remove it? I am at a loss, and am really just about to give up, as members are leaving what was a once busy forum due to not being able to find us anymore.


2:24 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Welcome to the board, Rebeca. How do you know you're penalized? How long has the site been up, and how long ago did it lose PR and rankings?


5:10 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Marcia, bless you.

The site has been running for 18 months now. And I had a PR5 on my Googleometer. Then I changed the html. I was really careful, I even paid for a developer to remove the php session codes, put the Javascript into a separate file, and allow me to name the title, description and keywords used on each dynamic page (well, the main pages). You see, I have a ubb board, which returned the same title for virtually every page - it had two different titles, that was it. I made navigation a lot better / simpler, and I got rid of the really ugly html I was using that only looked good in IE6 800 pixel browsers. I mean, I *really* improved the site, and it was not so much about SEO, but making it easier. So if anything, I should have distanced myself further from the penalty line, not closer.

The forum paths remained the same, so the link structure just grew, not changed. Shortly after, and I do not know if it is connected, Bam! A gray Google bar and then a white one. My friend said I must have picked up a penalty for something, but he is at a loss as to why as well.

I have emailed and emailed Google, but they just ignore me. OK, I added affiliate sales links to the additional supplier pages I put up, but so what? The forum is still the same. And it is the *only* one in the industry I am in where the owner (me) allows the users to self-moderate! I was doing so well, then crash!


5:19 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you renamed the files then the PR is with your old files. Restore a backup of the old site at an off peak time and see if the PR comes back.


5:22 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I believe that you shouldn't worry too much about the toolbar being white or grey. I recently changed the structure and code for some of my pages and since then, some show PR0 and others show a grey bar. The toolbar indication is quite unreliable for now and there's not much you can do about it.
My PR0/grey bar pages rank quite well, up to #1 for some keywords. What about yours? Do they still show in the SERPs?

If they do, you're not penalized, for sure! Simply suffering from the temporary toolbar glitch :)



6:30 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you have changed the names or the endings of your files it is pretty normal that the toolbar shows a white PR, because Google hasn't got those sites in the index, it has only the old sites with the old filenames in the index.
If you only changed code but not the filesnames, then don't worry, too. Toolbar was really crazy the last days.


7:19 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are pages on sites showing PR0 and still ranking well. It's not at all uncommon now for fairly newish pages only a couple of months old or even brand new. We're just not seeing what we've grown accustomed to seeing with that toolbar and right now the less we look the better off we are.


7:24 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

From the wise GoogleGuy: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"... er.. something like that.

[edit]watch your referals from google, not the toolbar[edit]


8:52 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>A gray Google bar and then a white one.

I wouldn't worry about that.

A white bar is not always a penalty. PR is unreliable at the moment anyway. If it's the site in your profile, it's still showing 18 backlinks which is fine. Could haven been inaccessible when Googlebot visited and fallen out of the index for a short time (gray bar) and now reviving (white bar).


4:32 pm on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Rebeca.

As it has been said, the Toolbar is not the best way to know your pagerank. You will get a better aproximation if you look for your page in the google directory. Currently, the sites where I'm working show a grey or white bar in the toolbar, but they have their habitual value when i look for them in the directory. And even so, the directory is not a 100% true value. It's an aproximation, like the toolbar, but with some extrange things, like the "special" pagerank value that google has, as discussed here:
[webmasterworld.com ]

So don't care about the toolbar. Care only about your position in search results and, above all else, your traffic: SEO's goal is to get well ranked to get more traffic. If your traffic increases, you don't need too much SEO.


9:51 am on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Everybody Again

Thank you *very* much for your help and advice :-)

I do not think I will put my old pages back, even for a test, but will wait it out I guess. I have also seen a fall in where I was ranked before, but thanks for looking at my site (yes, it is the one in my profile) and putting my mind (more) at ease. That this is hopefully temporary. You would think Google would do more for .org sites, but I guess that is expecting too much as they are free and have to make money somehow.


7:19 pm on Jul 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey there,

Glad I found this thread; it's reassured me a little bit.

Still, forgive me for being paranoid, but, uh, I am anyway ;)

I was working on my site last night, adding a new section, and just for fun, I checked my page rank on a bunch of site areas. No new PRs. Sections ranged, as they had before, from PR 3 to PR 5. Not stellar, but not too bad for what is largely a personal site. The brand new section (/blogs) was understandably gray-barred.

Though I'm usually NOT obsessive over PR, for some reason I checked my 'scores' again this morning. /blogs was still gray (of course), but to my dismay, the PR of nearly all my other sections had dropped; in two cases (/travel and /funny), I now have a white bar, and I'd never had that before. As of last night, /funny was at a PR3 AND I could find snippets from it in the index. Now it's invisible to Google.

Ironically, just a couple of days ago, I moved my (homegrown) text ads on each page from the top to the very bottom to help reduce scrolling for my visitors, and I added new (original, non-affiliate) content.

So may I assume that the PR readings are completely bogus right now and that they'll be restored to their former levels soon? Or should I investigate the possibility of having somehow offended the GoogleGods?

I'll be blunt: While I'm not making a ton of money from this site (ironically, the money making pages still have good PR!), I *DO* use it as a resume of sorts for my areas of interest and my writing. I'm guessing most companies won't really care about my site's PR, but I know at least one of them will likely check it first thing... so there's possibly a job at stake here.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Adam, who usually has silently snickered at those who've obsessed over PR from day to day... oh, dang, what a hypocrite am I at the moment :¦


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