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Last month Google reported my backlinks as over 8000. I believe the exact number was 8301. Now after the last update a few days ago, my backlinks has dramatically been reduced to about 1000. There is no way I lost 7000 links in one update cycle. As a matter of fact, I actually obtained some very good links over the last month. I doubt that sites linking to me can hurt me, but something certainly happened this update…
My site is still ranking well for most of the search terms I usually do well on. However, my site used to appear top 10 for 100's of other keywords relating to specific models of widgets. After the last update, my site can not be found anywhere in the top 100 pages for a specific widget model. Sites w/ much lower PR are actually doing a lot better than my site.
I have not made any dramatic changes to my site or layout. I did add some iframes to increase functionality to my site. Also, I do have an affiliate links box on the footer of every page (like many sites). Could the iframes or off-topic affiliate links be hurting my SERP so dramatically after the last update?
My page rank has stayed the same (PR 7), but I now do terrible for many of the keywords that I used to do well on over the last few months. I certainly am not doing anything spammy, or illegal in Google's eyes. I am very confused, and would welcome some ideas.
Did I manage to trigger some sort of penalty or Google filter? Can sites linking to me hurt me in any way? I checked all the sites I link to, and most have a Toolbar PR of 3 or above. So, I am not linking to any penalized sites or bad neighborhoods. Frankly, I have not done much to my site in terms of SEO in the last few months, as I was doing pretty well. Now I am in oblivion, and I am at a loss... How did my site go from doing well w/ Google to doing very poorly when I changed nothing on my site?
Could someone have written a negative email to Google to affect my SERP? One of my competitors? How can I find out if this is the case?
Also, when searching for a specific widget in the past my site would come up as "domain.com/page.html", but now the only listings I see are "subdomain.another-domain.com/page.html". My actual domain name is not found in most of the listings for obscure terms I used to do well for (specific widget names). Rather, I see a link to a subdomain for my hosting company that links back to my site.
To wrap it up, I am not sure what to do from here. I mean If I was penalized, wouldn’t my PR have dropped?
Also, why is my site ranking so poorly for a lot of keywords I used to do really well for? I still do rank good for some 2-3 KW phrases that I have done well with in the past. It’s strange that I do very well on some phrases, but non-existent for some of the very specific KW phrases I used to do well on; there are literally 1000’s of these.
What happened during the last update that affected my site so dramatically, and where do I go from here? Anyone, please help; I am at a loss…
[edited by: Marcia at 6:37 am (utc) on Mar. 22, 2004]
The thread (and all the others on the same subject) is actually about the millions of dropped pages, lost backlinks, PR, etc. It would be nice if someone from GOOGLE could comment on this. We are witnessing a really serious problem that surely justifies an explanation.
I may be overplaying it but I don't think so. Has anyone any evidence to the contrary?
1) You had a links directory on your site linking out to sites that perhaps your users may not have been interested in
2) You had more than one site on the same topic
I think that's what got us into trouble.
It is a technical reference site with inbound links mainly from other sites that are involved in some kind of maintenance or reliability engineering.
Are your pages template-driven / of a standard design
I don't think that's a valid point, as I still see tons of yahoo/dmoz directory listings (i.e. serps pointing directoly to a category) showing up in the serps.
Further, we have one site that is curently ranked in the top 3 for it's major jeyowrd, and it has a template-driven design, yet another site (with a much higher PR) on a completley different topic thayt is also template-driven has gone MIA (dropped about 90k pages, etc.)
So I don't think a "computer-generated" filter is the problem. After all, what's wrong with having a standardized design structure for both ease of use, and branding purposes? Not a thing.
I'm just chalking this up to some kind of glitch (granted, one that's costing us about $200-$300 per day in lose revenue), not unlike the one a few months back that sent a bunch of index pages MIA for awhile.
They are not template driven (just straight html) They do not have fake directories (if google was filtering for that, what a great way to blow your competition away)
All of our sites are for local nitch, but all over the country. So, "keyword city state" use to deliver our sites right on target. Now it delivers garbage unrelated to the search.
joined:May 28, 2002
I don't think it's a penalty, there's just too varied sites affected by this and the only common thing happening is the drastic disappearance of backlinks (solicited/unsolicited) and eventually the loss of PR.
But since gguy is mum about this thing, I could only surmise that it is just another G glitch...an aftershock of Austin.
All the content on my pages (about 80) is different and some of them have lots of text providing detailed, technical information.
I have 23 links on my links page most of which are reciprocal. Alltheweb currently reports 158 inbound links, many from authority sites.
OTOH, I'm looking at over 40 sites, some stable, most down but all built in a similar manner. Some by hand, most not. No recip links. All sites PR 4-6
The ones which are still doing ok have diverse incoming links from off-topic high PR sites and manual optimisation.
Many people have had directories hit. Directory pages usually look the same and are generated by a computer. Our sites that got hit are similar.
I've no answers here btw, just trying to figure this out.
Once I did that the next step was to work out how to improve rankings. I had done both those things and I have had a reasonably successful year for my efforts.
Now my PR has virtually disapeared. I wonder how much quality control Google has done in order to see the effectiveness of their changes? And I wonder, apart from the feed back of threads such as these if they are aware of the effect it is having on the small..and fat ..business man such as myself.
I would just say as well that you can have a great informative, useful service, beautifully visual site, but if no one can access it or find it then youre all dressed up and nowhere to go. I suggest people put their spanners and slide rules down and get vocal.
I am quite happy to start a new thread in order, hopefully, to provoke a larger discussion but it might have a little more kudos coming from a longer standing member with a better grasp on the technology and jargon.
Lost 1000's of Backlinks - Same PR
I would actually be glad if SERPs disappeared altoghether and I could concentrate on getting the best bang-for-buck on ppc.
Right now it's just too tempting to try to get free listings!
Anyway back to the topic under discussion.....
Well, I hope you are one of my competitors then ;)
Put your site in your profile then we'll know whether or not we are!
Let's be honest about this. If you have a site that sells something commercial (and I stress commercial) then PPC or Adwords may be appropriate but there are many of us who are not in that position. If you are one of us trying to scrape a living from the Internet then you will know what I mean. Would that I could even consider this.
Just lost a bunch of sites thanks. (Politely declines offer)
Just wanted to reiterate that our lost sites fall into the following category:
1) PR on Home page but 0 on all others
2) Pages have NOT lost Google cache or description
3) 95% of backlinks vanished in the last update
4) Not in top 100 serps - but Google seems to know who we are and often groups our sites together in clusters when lower down in the SERPs.
Our possible crimes:
1) Had/still have a human unfriendly links directory with many reciprocals. I'd say most of our pagerank came from cheesy link swaps. Which I hate but see as a necessary evil to get ranked in my niche.
2) Each lost site was a backup for another main site on our topic. Stressing here: There was NO duplicate content, no similar IP, no linking between sites on identical topic, and no identical WHOIS data. A few of the sites were on the same ISP with radically different IPs.
3) We cross-linked our home pages for sites covering same topic but different city. I don't think this is a crime, but I'm throwing it in for discussion. One of the sites in the cross-linked network (the oldest one) did not get the penalty.
This was because they had redirects set up such that when anyone searched for Widget Statename they found a site by that name but got channelled into the main Widget site. This was just a directory of Widget suppliers. Not exactly original but effective until recently. They got caught in the filter and so they should have.
"So what's your point caller?", I hear you say.
My point is that a few of us in this thread have been chewing the fat about stuff on our sites that could possibly have warranted a penalty. The example that I gave is an obvious offence but is it not the case that if we have to search for problems on our sites then they most likely don't exist? Which leads us back to the Google is broken conclusion.
What kills me is do I throw these domains away and start again or do I wait for the next PR update and see if we can come back. Meanwhile my business is in limbo.
1. Register a new domain name.
2. Transfer content from the old domain name to the new one.
3. Discontinue the old domain name.
Of course, you need to get rid of the suspicious links before trying to do the above.
It is only a theory. Any experience with this?
Yes thought about that one. I Might dulicate the site and ban googlebot from one set of sites that are now listed #1 everywhere on yahoo. Then with the new domians start the laborious task of getting links again ( thank god I have staff to do that)