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Penalized: PDFs considered duplicate content?

Site still in Google but only for limited topics

5:26 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 13, 2003
votes: 0


Since the “Allegra” update many of pages have been removed from Google’s search engine results. The site itself is still in and shows up with the correct info for site:mydomain.com. I’m still in the results for “keywords” that are not very popular or only understood by a very small segment of people. But not in for any keywords that where a part of my affiliate online store. They are all gone.

I emailed help @ gooogle.com and received an email back basically stating that my site hasn’t been penalized.

About two years ago I stopped looking through Google to see where my site ranked as it drove me crazy. So I simply worked on my site everyday (6 to 7 days a week) for years.

Currently the site had over 6000 pages listed in site:mydomain.com, and 250 back links (but I’m certain there are more). The site has been in the Google since 1998. Up until Sept 2004 or so the site had a PR of 6 for a while and now is at a 5. I could care less about this and don’t think it means much in my case.

In the affiliate store I had downloaded the various products PDF manual and had them available for download. At the time I thought this was OK (I paid for the bandwidth) and that linking to the manual on the manufactures site was NOT ok. I did not present these files as my own and had a link to the manual next to my original review/content about the product. I also had a link to the manufactures product page. This was done in order to help people figure out what the product was really about and if they wanted to buy it.

I’m thinking that the PDF files are now considered duplicate content and have been penalized for it. Though I haven't been penalized offically.

Another possibility:
In Dec 2004 I had moved servers 3 times because of hackers continually breaking in. There where 3 different IP addresses in Dec 2004. None of the IP addresses where bad and were located in either florida, texas, or virginia.

Yet another possibility:
For the past year I tried using Adwords but found that out of the many many “Clicks” I paid for didn’t increase my sales and usually ended up taking out most of my profit. I suspect click fraud had something to do with this. I really haven’t participated in the Adwords campaign as much as I would have liked to.

I’m not blaming Google for this. Upset about being kicked out? Yes but it is their search engine etc… I have nothing against the company. I’ve made a lot of money from being listed in their search engine.

I would really like to know what exactly I did wrong so I don’t do it again.

Any helpful ideas would be appreciated.

9:53 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:Nov 18, 2002
votes: 0

Hello, Samwise, here are my ideas regarding your problem:

Regarding the lowering of PR, periodically Google will re-adjust the levels for PR, which will cause your site to drop, even if nothing externally had changed for your site. Remember, you could have been a PR 6.01, and have now dropped back to a PR of 5.9. On the other hand, if you lost a link from a high PR site that was targeted and on topic, this may have made some difference.

With regard to the PDF dup content issue, I dont' think this is your problem, unless most of the previous traffic to your site was through links to the PDF pages. Google may recognize the PDFs as duplicates, and as a result they will rank lower than the manufacturer's originals, but I don't think this will affect the rankings of the product pages. If you want to be sure, you could always use robots.txt to disallow indexing of the PDFs.

You said that the pages on your site still show up with the site: command. Unless the pages are showing up as supplemental results, which might mean that G tried to spider them but couldn't get through, I don't think your hosting changes are the cause of the problem.

Finally I don't think that your participation or lack of in Adwords has anything to do with your problem. If you had been talking about conversions and not rankings, that could be a different thing.

I know I didn't answer the ultimate question, "Why did I drop?", but this may get you thinking along some other lines.

11:41 pm on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:June 1, 2004
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As I've mentioned in other threads I have been having a similar problem with site disappearing from most google search results.

I also got the same email from google indicating my site was not banned or penalized.

In my case I'm 90% sure I am having a problem with duplicate content.

What I've done is use the meta tag noindex on all pages marked as 'supplemental' and used the google removal tool to get them out of the index. (until I can add/rewrite the content.
I also had several pages that were url-only in the site: search. These were pages that I had renamed 4 months ago. I again used the url removal tool to get rid of them.

Soon I will have no 'supplemental' pages and no url-only pages. All this affected about 40 pages (12%) of my site but also affected my homepage which I think was the killer problem.

I was lead to believe by google support that if those were the problems then it might clearup in the next 4 weeks when they do the deep crawl.

6:27 pm on Feb 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 13, 2003
votes: 0

Hi jonrichd and sailorjwd

Thank you for your reply(s). I've been redesigning the site to make it more user friendly and removing old pages that aren't relevant anymore. I have/had some pages that are duplicate content (text) but just removing them as I go through site. I think the reasons for being removed are different for everyone. Hopefully I can get back in.

We'll probably have to wait and see.

Thanks Again