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help needed - google dropping our pages

pages dropping



6:04 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hello everyone,
having lurked around here for the past few months, i've decided (been forced to) to write a plea for help.

I work for a company as a web designer/it support /online marketing person. Since our start, (6 mths ago) we have launched around 15 sites. Each site deals with a specific product in its sector of business (same sector for all sites). Since our launch, we have had no problems with google or any other search engine. I have read a ton of tutorials and gone through a ton of stuff on this site researching proper marketing tactics in order for us to get good rankings. Needless to say, my effort has paid off quite well and I have managed to list almost all sites on page 1 for the targeted keywords. I have also had a suprising number of position 1 rankings, which was very good indeed and i was quite chuffed with myself.

Anyway, having abandoned the periodical reviews of our logfiles and online marketing for a months or so, i have come back to a total apocalipse.

Almost 75% of these targeted keywords that ranked well (with their pages) are nowhere to be seen now. THey havent moved down a few places/pages, they have totally dissapeared! If i include my company's name next to a keyword, obviously the page comes up, so it is in the index somewhere.

To further clarify things i will try and recollect what i have done with the sites since this change happened.
Site structure is simple, its basically a small webring, having one main corporate site which then linked to all the other sites.
This has changed since, as i have interlinked each site with each other, so now each site has a small menu with links to all the other company's sites. (im thinking that this might be the main culprit to google dropping pages, as i cannot find any other changes i made to sites except this - but how? isnt good ranking achieved by linking relevant sites together? i thought this would boost my PR!) For the last month or so the only thing i did was to modify metatags here and there, and try to keep things tidy, added a few H1 tags to headings, etc. As i am saying the only other major change was adding those links which link up all the sites together. COuld this be the culprit? If it is not this i am hopelessly lost as i haven't a clue as to how to find what the problem is.

All of these sites have an ending of our company name + a keyword specific to the product being sold for that particular site, so considering that our company is called

our sitenames are as following:



Why is google penalising me all of a sudden?
Im willing to post more info on here if it helps, or if something is unclear.


[edited by: pageoneresults at 6:24 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2004]
[edit reason] Examplified References [/edit]


6:21 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If your not using hidden text or anything else that will get you a penaltie then you have probably tripped a filter in the new algo.

This could be excessive optimisation on your pages and incoming links.


7:13 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yep... Sound like an "OOP" (Over Optimization Penalty), papachumba.

Make sure you haven't over used keywords in text content; as far as I know, filling in alt tags and title tags is ok;
any comments from our more knowledgeable members?


7:17 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Did you do internal linking with your single domain or with many of your domains?

If you crosslinked many of your domains you can trash the domains, that's a Google algo trap and it won't recover.


7:19 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

During initial austin udpates keyword URLS seemed to get automatic bump in serp rank, now they're going through an optimizing this based on content, links, pr and such.

I've seen it before..

Another infamous one that is biting people is _naming_all_of_your_urls_after_keywords.html :)

Watch out. Don't play the optimization game as something you can with without effort and change.


7:33 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Keyword URLs have no negative impact on ranking.


7:42 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>Another infamous one that is biting people is _naming_all_of_your_urls_after_keywords.html

May I point out this is good web design practice. Why not name pages after relevant words that describe the content?


8:54 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sound like an "OOP" (Over Optimization Penalty)

I don't agree with above

Probably the reason for disappearing from the SERPS is a some Google bug.
1. Check your Google cached snapshot
2. Check your inbound & external links.
example link: www.example-product1.com

3. instead of crosslinking use a site map page


9:16 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sounds Like the "Florida" or "Austin" update to me.

Hate to say this, but , Welcome to the club papachumba



9:32 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Take a look:



9:54 pm on Feb 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

FYI folks,

I'm seeing NON linked and NON content related sites using url keywords such as

"my_blue_widget.html" or [myblue-widgets.com...]

get DROPPED on all of the 10 or so major keywords trees i use on my 10 different websites.

With the first florida update these were boosted BIG time but have now since fallen through the roof.

Just my experience.

If you well linked, have content and not just linking to dictionary terms you don't have much to worry about, however if your just filling fluff for keyword sake see ya later!


12:49 am on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The phrase "the blind leading the blind" comes to mind. In fact, it hits me like a hammer reading this thread.


1:09 am on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Who mentioned an OOP penalty? - Come on, own up, absolute nonsense, and you know it.

Even if such a thing exists (which many doubt) it could not possibly lead to a total lack of inclusion.

Blame it on a new algo with unusual features that are only just being figured out (even by Google!) / and some unusual crawling difficulties.

Google isn't the search engine it was. Don't get paranoid.


2:01 am on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Bravo Marmalade and Chelsea ....

Completely to the point.

Honest answer guy - nobody has the first clue what is going on - and *that* is the only truth you can hang your hat on.

I have heard a lot of opinions - over optimized sites -keywords in the URL's - parked urls on top of active sites - and some *seem* to have *some* bit of truth in them. But if you look - I'm sure you will find examples of sites that do *ALL* of these things - yet are still rating high.

At the end of the day - it's the blind leading the blind right now. Just the honest truth.

By the way - I have a PR8 site similarly affected to yours. I can list the symptoms. But I don't know the cause yet.

I have a friend who is a professional webmaster - he dropped 2 sites in Florida that have since recovered, and lost 4 more in Austin. Still too soon to recover.

Another friend had 6 sites of PR6 or PR7 status. 5 were unaffected. 1 got slammed. Nothing notably different on the one that dropped, than the 5 that didn't. Obviously *something* is different - but even he doesn't know for sure.

The Google Dance has become the "Rumble". Nothing else to say really than that.....


3:24 am on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Even if such a thing exists (which many doubt) it could not possibly lead to a total lack of inclusion.

Ahh, methinks I hear a skeptic..

Trust me, and a host of others who've "got the T-shirt".. The OOP is alive and lurking, although few (if any) know exactly what the parameters are;

Some of the sites that formerly dominated the relevant SERP's that I personally loaded with keyword-rich alt tags, title tags and text are now (often) nowhere to be found;
Google has become almost "paranoid" when it comes to spam-related SERP manipulation.

If you're still the doubting Thomas, sticky me and I'll give you some hand wrenching examples.. ;)


1:13 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

phew, finaly managed to find this post i thought i lost it....

wow thanks for all the replies i wants expecting so many!

now back to the issue:
i have links to other domains (our webring), they are featuring other products so i thought it might be good for the customer to be able to go straight through to those products.
So the menu comprises of links to internal pages within the domain and then other products are listed and they just link to the homepage of the relevant domain.
We still didnt get round to linking to other sites outside our company or tried to get someone else to link to us.

I hardly see how i would be done for OOP as there really hasnt been that much optimisation in the content. Content is specific to each product featured and is informative rather than written specifically for SEO. Each site is very tidy & simple in terms of navigation, there are no doorway pages, no repeating content, etc.

If i removed the links to other sites withing the webring from each individual site would that help at all? Maybe just link back to the main "gateway" site or something like that?


1:34 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


as for this comment:

Yep... Sound like an "OOP" (Over Optimization Penalty), papachumba.
Make sure you haven't over used keywords in text content; as far as I know, filling in alt tags and title tags is

In my content, I give a product, but every chance I have I start off with the key word. i.e.

The Blue Widget is perfect to keep racoons off your porch. The Blue Widget is a mat that "says no,when you can't".

When the Blue Widget is positioned in the area where you dont want racoons and the racoons step on the it, the Blue Widget than sends a strong signal that this is off limits to the racoon.Most racoons quickly associate this unpleasant experience with the location. To avoid similar static sensations from the Blue Widget they begin to avoid the area.

Other reasons why the Blue Widget works:

Hopefully you can see what I am doing. Is this an OOP?



2:10 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Personally I don't believe in an OOP.
papachumba I would concentrate on the linking structure. Google does not like and has never liked these crosslinking structures from the smae IP-Ranges. I would not link from every page of one domain to all other domains.
Put up ONE linkspage per Domain and put your links there.
My advice: Remove the crosslinking, get more links from other IP-Ranges (=other sites)
I think links from outside are the most important thing, cause I believe Google may ignore links on one IP-Range completely.


4:53 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

a_chameleon said to sticky him for evidence. I did.

He told me about two of his sites that have dissapeared from the top of the serps. The first one had a ton of stylesheets in the head and loads of javascript image rollovers in the body. I thought optimizing a site meant reducing stylesheets and needless html/javascript and stuffing every nook and cranny with keywords. There were so few words on this site that I'm surprised that it ranked on the first page of the serps for anything.

His second site was down due to a script error so no surprise that its not in the serps.

Although I suspect a certain character will be along in a moment to tell us all that there isnt a problem and how fantastic google is, I stand by what I said, its the blind leading the blind.


6:18 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

To further add to the confusion I have some examples, but no answers myself. I oversee 8 active sites for the company I work for. Five of these sites are related to fairly competitive keywords and phrases. Three sites that had been number one for two years (both even weathered Florida without budging) now appear on page 16. Another site that had been worked, reworded, poked, and prodded just would not move. It had hung around page 7 for two years for it's primary keyphrase. With this update it moved to second place. Sites four and five have not budged a bit.

Now as far as an SEO program goes. I actually keep a file of things I think effect Google and how - fairly detailed with around 40 parameters. Whenever we do a site this list of parameters and solutions is followed strictly. So all of the sites motioned march in time to the same drum with approximately the same number of external links and all have a hyphenated keyphrase domain name. Another is different. Yet, some have dropped to a point of absurdity, others have done nothing, and one has shot to the top.

Now I have heard all the theories of OOP, conspiracies, and the like. I am with the others that say we are all clueless. I have enough sites to compare and as of yet I canít even put my finger on what could be influencing the SERPs.


7:12 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Post Florida there was some evidence to suggest an OOP. But those who suggested this were shot down in flames as 'conspiracy theorists' e.g. me :)

It's amusing that now I have dispensed with this idea, I am classified as a 'skeptic' :(

The Google algo is trying to be clever with words ('tokens' is the buzz word). But it just doesn't understand the connections between words yet - which is why it was so irresponsible, and mind-blowingly gung-ho, for them to launch it on the general public.

Don't de-optimise - this is Google's problem, not yours.

And for the armchair semantic logicians out there - optimisation isn't cheating, it is simply doing your best.



7:53 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The OOP thingy is just an urban lengend promoted by those that can't see no fault with Google.

Your site got dropped? You must have over optimize your page and I don't see any other reason why it got dropped...yeah right :)

Check for 1 word keyword that are highly competitive and check the sites that are in the top10....keyword stuffing, multiple repetition of the same term, keyword density to the roof.

Ohh and they are not over-optimize. I wonder what people mean of over optimize page then?

Geez, any more theory about bad webmastering?


7:54 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>> blind leading the blind

Too funny.

There is such a thing as over optimisation and if done to an extreme or badly your sites may suffer.

Forgot to add;

misleading the blind (Much better), there's a lot more to optimisation than the number of keywords on a page.

[edited by: Symbios at 8:08 pm (utc) on Feb. 10, 2004]


7:59 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Either OOP is alive or I was being penalized for my keyword meta tag.

Had 45 pages in top 1 or 2 position for their 2 word phrase for 2 years. All disappeared with Austin. I had all possible keyword phrases (2 and 3) covered in meta tag, some in content.

I changed keyword meta tag to include one each of 10 keywords and rearranged order of keywords in the title. Moved some text within the page, but no other changes.

That night 6 of the pages were indexed and the next day all were back in positions 2 through 5. Last night google started a full index, so I know about the others soon.


9:18 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I wanted to look at my meta tags to test your theory.

I found that one of my pages that was dropped had
no meta keywords.

How does this qualify as OOP?



9:25 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

OK, if you cant beat em...

Did you use the "comic sans ms" font on your site? I heard that google has a filter that looks for this now because only poorly designed sites use that font.


9:35 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I searched my site for the term - comic sans ms.

Your search - comic sans ms comic OR sans OR ms site:<mysite> - did not match any documents.


9:35 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I didn't mean to say OOP was the only factor. I think when comparing two sites, If all else is equal between the two then Google takes that into consideration along with many other factors.

Mine and my competitors sites are both relevent to the keywords, contain relevent links and I think conform to most conventions. However when comparing mine with the first 5 sites, the key word meta tag and title are the first thing I noticed.

Changing them made a difference. Possibily too many or none could be bad. The next changes I'm making are to anchor text and using my index page to experiment. First result with adding one new keyword to anchor was a move from obscurity to the bottom of page one for that term in compination with two others.

I'm making changes one area at a time to see what works, then will apply them to the other pages.


9:52 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry, If i sounded snappy I am just so frustrated
at my current google position.

I am willing to look at any suggestons, and have been closely analyzing my site ever since Austin.


10:09 pm on Feb 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is such a thing as over optimisation and if done to an extreme or badly your sites may suffer.

Big difference between 'may suffer' and site dropped. May suffer is always a risk that SEO have to go through. But totally dropped is a different scenario at all...so to promote or 'hint' that OOP is the cause os site being drop is like perpetuating a myth without further clarification on which part of over optimazation was it penalized.

there's a lot more to optimisation than the number of keywords on a page.

Pardon my non-expert-seo perspective but I thought we only optimize for keywords. Perhaps, I'm missing some tricks here :)

Would a 'I love you Google' text make my site rank higher? ;D

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