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70 plus websites all almost all gone

crosslinking got me banned



4:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I designed 70 plus websites all for outdoors related industry. All had their own separate domain names and hosting. All linked to each other. All were doing EXTREMELY well in Google. Last month all but 2 were went to the bottom. It so happens that the 2 that did not get punished did not link correctly because I had done the links wrong on them and they just had a bunch of links that did not work.
Observation: It is interesting that Google would rather have a website with 50 plus DEAD links than one that linked to pages they thought violated their cross link rules.
Question: I wonder if they sites will ever be able to move up again or will they be bottom dwellers for life. About the only they show up now is if a person does an "exact Phrase" search or is extremely specific. These websites are still listed but just way way down.
I have redone 12 of these websites and will monitor but would be interested in hearing from someone with similar experience to find out if sites that get moved to the bottom (all are 0pr but not greyed out) can be revived or any other ideas or input.
Just for further info I am a website designer and I designed these series of websites to sell ads on (<snip> could buy ads that linked to their own websites) and as incentives for <snip> to use my web design services. In other words if you let me design your <industry> website I'll give you free ads on some of these other websites.


9:26 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

>and Yahoo agreements..

Oh? And what agreement is that!

Anyway - Google is correctly trying to pick up cross-linking. Why did the starter of this thread cross-link? Apparently to get the sites in to Google. It failed - sites got banned - learn the lesson!


9:26 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

Chicago, you are missing EuropeforVisitors main (excellent) point.

As a form of media Google must have a relevant useful search project to bring in the eyeballs so people will then see the ads! If the New York Times compromised the quality of their writers and columnists work by inserting advertorial or sneaking in disguised ads in between the paras they would lose circulation very quick.

Same for Google

I see absolutely no evidence that Google is in financial trouble or headed for it. Adwords are increasing exponentially and average CPC is heading up (at least in my areas :() Apart from this they have many revenue streams from leasing out their database to appliances to a new possible ad network. These will ONLY work if they dont compromise the value of their main draw, and PFI would do that no matter how you tweak it.

As far as medium term to long term development on the shoulders of innovation (including ad management) i think we are seeing strng evidence of it in google. From their major existing competitors like Y! and OV so far (most) of what we have seen is changes in packaging and around the edges - certainly little evidence that noone is innovating as fast as Google.

We await the next big thing, something as big as google's approach that first revolutionised the SE industry and changed all the rules. It is inevitable, but fiddling around with PPC placement or PPI will not cut it. Look for something that we have not even thought of yet. It may come from G's existing competitors, new players or Google itself.

[edited by: chiyo at 9:39 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2003]


9:39 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

macneil, this would be far outside of most search engines' guidelines. For Google, the relevant guideline is "Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content."

I am not trying to be argumentative here. I am only stating my experience. These websites are doing EXTREMELY in almost all the non-Google controlled search engines and have been doing so for quite some time. You will likely now say "well, it's just a matter of time" and you are likely right but for now the websites are doing EXTREMELY well in the other search engines. My plan is to let many of them expire at the end of their first year but I am gonna keep at least a third to half of the best (most currently active) ones up and running to see what happens. My plan is to change some of them (I have completely redone 14 of them to be fairly different). If those should reappear in the Google searches then I will redo all the others one at a time. If they do not I will still keep the active ones there as long as they do good in MSN, Jeeves, & various others. Also a major consideration that I am monitoring here is that they still are in the Google search engine, they have just moved down very low. If people do a specific search string or an EXACT PHRASE these websites do come up in Google.
I do not like to make mistakes but since I have already "spilled the milk" I'm not just gonna light the kitchen on fire. Not yet anyway.
I'm gonna try different things on different websites and watch what happens. Some I'll just let expire but some I'll change one way and some I'll unlink and change another way and some I'll leave be and I'll see what Google likes / doesn't like.
Most of the websites are still getting great traffic from the other search engines but since Google knocked them down the hits are approximately half overall what they used to be. That's not good but it's better than not having them at all.
I mean to learn as much as I possibly can from this as I possibly can. I'm tracking and taking notes along the way. This whole thing is at a stage now where it's kind of funny: It's like I'm filming my neighbor's kid on his new bike and he is headed right the mail box and I am not sure if I should put down the camcorder and yell or to keep quiet and keep filming so I can send it to TotallyHiddenVideo.
Bravo to Google for being so good at what they do.
Shame on me if I don't do everything I can to optimize this learning experience.


9:44 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Marval said:

GrinninGordon...Im sorry to put it this way, but Google has no responsibility to anyone but themselves....

They're not 'forced by law' obviously, but for everyone's sake, it is a good thing if they do what's best. And I would say they're quite good at that :)

ghostMonkey said:

We'll have to agree to disagree, then. Sure, companies make decisions that cut profits - in the short term, but there's always a financial reason behind it if you look hard enough. It's simply an investment in the future.

And a lot of them probably love what they do too - to make the best search engine, and yes (shock), even to make people happy :) (however indirectly)
Don't think for one moment it's entirely money based. Also, money will naturally come to them as a 'side effect' if they are skilled enough anyway (which they are).

[edited by: dwhite at 10:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2003]


9:48 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Makemetop, what are you talking about. Last time I checked Google was the default search for Yahoo.

Chiyo, I disagee. If that was so, why the last acquisition.

Anybody see Google's press release today: ANY QUESTIONS?

Google Builds World's Largest Advertising and Search Monetization Program

Company introduces automated content-targeted ads; Advertising customer base surpasses 100,000

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - March 4, 2003 - Google today announced its online advertising program comprising more than 100,000 advertisers worldwide is the largest and fastest growing in the industry. The company today also announced a new content-targeted advertising service that extends advertiser reach and makes web pages more useful by replacing untargeted ads with relevant sponsored links. This results in an improved user experience and increased revenue for website publishers.


9:52 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Now if that is not the Euphimism of the day.


9:55 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

macneil ... you have the right approach going from this day forward, I would caution against only taking a snapshot of todays serps and acting on just that ... you say you have great rankings at other search engines (i'm guessing msn or fast) ... play through the likelihood of some different scenarios, like yahoo switching from google to inktomi

I've mad a few posts asking if anyone knows the % of searches that are made directly at google, vs. those made at aol or yahoo etc, no one has answered ... BUT If that were to happen you could potentially be cured overnight

There are a lot of things "currently in play" in the search world just don't take too short of a look at it.


10:03 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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

>>Chiyo, I disagee. If that was so, why the last acquisition. <<

I dont know what you are disagreeing with Chicago. If you are saying that Google needs to make money and the new aquisition is part of it, there is no disagreement. I dont agree however that there are in trouble. Acquisition, diversification and development are natural strategies for companies whether they are in trouble or not. It all just extends their brand of "finding stuff on the web" without in any way compromising the product which made them famous.

But perhaps i have misunderstood what exactly you are disagreeeing with.

[edited by: chiyo at 10:06 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2003]


10:05 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Jeesh! What planet are you from? ANY company with a normal, stable individual in charge is NOT going to do anything to reduce profits. The best any sensible company could hope for is to do some good AND make a profit, but trust me, they are there for only 1 reason and that is making money.

What's missing from this perspective, and is supplied by europeforvisitors, the time frame for profit.

If you are selling double-glazing or encyclopaedias then you can rip people off almost as much as you like -- they were never going to be repeat business for you anyway. That's why sales staff in such organizations have a reputation for unethical behavior and short-term profit taking.

If you are building a long-term relationship with a customer -- maybe someone who comes back daily in the case of Google -- you take extreme pains to ensure that customer gets what *they* need in an enjoyable way, Otherwise you lose them.

Do you want to make a large one-time profit from me, and never see me again? Or do you want to generate an un-interrupted revenue stream from me, and know that I'm directing all my friends to you too?

Google uses this second model because it works for their business. It may not be the model for everyone, but it does seem the better model in most cases for long-term survival.


10:13 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Chiyo -

First I want you to know that I have watched you and find you extremely informed and a pleasure to read.

As far as my disagreement, you said that in Euro's post that I am missing the point, that having the search property is necessary to generate additional revenues to view ads.

This is what I disagree with. Google just made one acquisiton for new property to show ads, and this will continue, likely at a rapid pace.

As far as being in trouble. I said nothing of the sort. I said that if they didn't start innovating and looking more to profits they would die because it will be too costly to manage the infrastructure and operations of 75% market share when you provide free listings.

I just created a new thread to continue this conversation as it is not exactly germain.

troels nybo nielsen

10:27 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

> Shame on me if I don't do everything I can to optimize this learning experience.

Good attitude, macneil. Learn, learn and learn. That's what life is about.

Interesting thread. Some members show very clearly what kinds of people they are. I wonder what the visitors to our websites will think of our moral integrity if they find this thread next month. And personally I wonder what my oldest son will think if he finds it in a couple of years.

Que sera sera.


10:28 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Am I in trouble?

I don't honestly know. My biz is widget communities. More like widget collectors. My plan is to make my brand THE brand of activity for widget enthusiasts in the US. "widget brand Collectors Conventions" and "widget brand travel packages"

I have two domains, WidgetCollectors.com and WidgetCollectors.info
They look very much alike, sharing a brand name logo appended with the .com or .info

The content at the .com site is online community stuff, BBS, chat, articles on collecting widgets,etc.

The content at the .info site is local, events listed by state, along with a travel section to find and travel to widget collecting events hosted around the country.

The sites are cross-linked, I think, if that means you can hop from the .info page with your states widget events to the chat room on the .com page and back. My intent is to divide the content into online activities at .com that support the offline activities at .info, but the same FAQS and articles may be displayed at either site.

Am I inherantly evil? Or am I probably ok, being as it's only two sites and won't result in pages of SERPs? Or is "cross-linking" a whole different thing?

Dian :)

troels nybo nielsen

10:39 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Dian, forget about search engines and think about your human visitors. Then look at your websites and ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the structure natural?
2. Is it beneficial for the visitors?
2. Are the links relevant?


10:53 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is an extract from the Google FAQ:

The best way to ensure Google finds your site is for your page to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. Google's robots jump from page to page on the Web via hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more likely it is that we'll find you quickly.

Let's hear that bit again...

...lots of pages on other sites...

Not lots of sites, but lots of *pages* on other sites. And where are the words "relevant", "quality content", etc. Now, is it any wonder people are confused about x-linking?


11:07 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


You are fine.

A recent poster with significant experience said it earlier in this thread..

"For Google, the relevant guideline is 'Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content'."

You should only be concerned about the "substantial" word. If what you are saying is that you have only a couple of redundant pages surrounded by plenty of unique content, you have nothing to worry about with cross-linking the site.

troels nybo nielsen's questions are also good and accurate... and I think you pass such test easily.



12:17 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The whole google spamming thing reminds me of taxes & the IRS.
Fudge a little (many or most do) =no problem.
Next year, fudge a little more =no problem.
Next year, a little more. Get caught & audited. SCREAM BLOODY MURDER!

google TOS & tax codes a little similar,
Detailed yet vague at the same time :)


12:34 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>I built one website of approximately 50 pages. I then copied it 70 times. I then went back and changed the front page of each of the 70 websites. I then changed the name that appeared of all the interior pages (just the name that viewers see but the "title" stayed the same.<<

So then, you got dropped because of duplicate content - not crosslinking.
Changing the file names or titles of the pages does nothing if all the text content of the pages is the same.

The title of this thread should correctly read:
"70 plus websites all almost all gone
duplicate content got me banned"

Add unique content to each of the 69 other domains, and they will come back slowly but surely.


1:12 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Important Point that needed emphasis, TWhalen, thank you.

Does this then nulify the issue of cross-linking altoghter, in your opinion?

If not, please define cross-linking in a manner that doesn't take into consideration duplicate content. Does such a definition exist?

And if you are really in the mood, could you take a crack at defining "substantially similar content"? As it is the most oft cited phrase of those in the know.

I really think that this would be very helpful to many of us. Thanks


1:37 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ghostMonkey...that is a very good point as the whole ranking schema for Google is pages...not sites. It would be very difficult to come up with a fair crosslinking algo which is why I have to agree with everyone about this being a case of dupe content. For that matter I have yet to see a real case of crosslinking getting a penalty, as Google in my eyes really promotes this behaviour. The concept of linking they started with applies today and that would be to provide good results and ranked based on the amount of crosslinking that occurs to that page. Something to think about...if crosslinking to ones own sites is a no-no in Googles eyes why are Yahoo and CNN doing so well in the rankings..they're crosslinked across hundreds of thousands of their own pages.


5:15 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

70 copies of the same 50 pages?

I hate to say it but I'm sorta glad you got the boot. Imagine how many legitimate sites with original content you were keeping out of the top spots by spamming so much.



5:50 am on Mar 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"I hate to say this"

My x-wife started every other sentence with that phrase.
I'm sort of glad you got the boot

sort of glad? Why "sort of"? You obviously read the first post of this thread and nothing in between there and here so as long as you are going to take an uninformed stand why don't you get on one side or the other?
Don't waste your time saying things you "hate to say" ...... Life is too short.
Don't just be "kind of glad" I got the boot ....
There is a good chance that if my 70 websites got the boot that one or two of yours has moved up microscopically and you should be dancing in the streets.


7:54 am on Mar 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Now that the flury has died a bit - you can recover from this macneil.

Since the web sites are doing extremely well in other search engines -- the domains are not that disposable.

In addition, you have a pretty good case study -- lessons learned, and something to teach others who are much less fortunate than you -- they're still not aware of the potential damage that can be caused by having a little bit of information, knowing lots of hype but limited knowledge...

Sounds like a good seminar to me. ;)


8:11 am on Mar 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah Macneil ..Thank you.

I was able to use your thread as an example to another
naive webmaster who was thinking of doing the same thing.

I feel for you.. I really do because it sounds like an honest mistake.. but can you imagine how hard it would have been for you to do so well if Google allowed everyone to do the same thing, ust because they didn't know any better? I mean sometimes people have to think.. if something is sooo easy .. and the internet is sooo big.. why isn't everyone else doing it?


8:30 pm on Mar 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello Macneil,

I find your post very informative. Your technique for business ideas is new and expanding as I see others doing the same sort of entrapunerial ideas.

Maybe because each site was hosted on a different server with a different IP caused you to really be considered as a spammer because those are spammer tactics.

Do you think if all your sites were on the same server and IP it would have made a difference.


8:51 pm on Mar 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There's nothing new about this, upcountry. A few years ago this was the number 1 spamming technique, although macneil says he stumbled on it in all innocence.
You can put your resources into content, SEO and advertising or into techniques which - whether you are aware of it or not - are spamming. The latter may yield quick results but - to use the analogy someone did earlier - like cheating on your taxes you are probably living on borrowed time.


9:54 pm on Mar 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I understand what you are saying Bobmark. I read a post were he(SEO) divided the company products into different web sites and they are doing quite well. Now even though the web site looks the same and the products are different, the about us information and other miscellaneous info would be the same.

What I'm trying to say is how many of the 50 pages would have to be Unique to not be considered a spammer, because the about us and other general info would be the same.


9:59 pm on Mar 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Marval wrote:

Something to think about...if crosslinking to ones own sites is a no-no in Googles eyes why are Yahoo and CNN doing so well in the rankings..they're crosslinked across hundreds of thousands of their own pages.

Internal and external crosslinking are two different things.

It's natural for a site's pages to be crosslinked as part of a navigational scheme.

Crosslinking between large numbers of separate domains is more likely to be artificial (and therefore suspect in Google's eyes, as it should be).

This 147 message thread spans 5 pages: 147

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