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Google Time Penalty?

Google just won't rank me!

     
10:51 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing something strange happen with a number of different sites that I look after.

Say I have a site - I decide to optimise the homepage for "widgets", which is a relatively obscure term. I have external links with link text "widgets" to my homepage.

Google has cached the homepage with the optimisation, and has cached the external links. Doing a search in Google for "widgets" returns less than 100 results, but I don't appear there.

The optimisation has been there for more than 3 months, and I still don't show in the SERPs.

Initially I thought this was just a random act of weirdness on the part of Google, but I'm seeing the same thing happen on more and more of my sites.

Is anyone else seeing this? I know about the sandbox, but my sites that got hit always ranked somewhere (albeit badly). With this, it looks like Google won't rank me at all. Is there a new factor to the sandbox, whereby it won't include you in the SERPs for a certain period of time?

1:06 pm on Sept 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Anyone? I'm seeing it a lot.
9:24 pm on Sept 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It takes us 6-8 months to get rankings after a site is indexed.
10:12 pm on Sept 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have had no problems getting new sites indexed, even in full, but since this spring, a few sites, developed for customers, have had the same pattern of rather quickly showing up in good positions, just to slowly start their descent.

After gaining enogh quality links, they start rising again.

For a few sites (of my own) trick I have used to avoid this, is to link to a site as soon as I can. Even if it only has one single page (or maybe two or three pages) targeted to the subject. Then I wait for a few months until I even begin developing the site. After this 'grace period', and when I actually see the site ranking for accurate keywords, I will start working on the site with Brett's 26 steps in mind.

Originally, I did this as a precation against the sandbox effect, but it actually seems to work, even for avoiding the time dump effect.

The problem is, when making new sites for customers that don't already have a domain, or need a brand new domain name, you never have those 5-6 months. They want fast results.

1:09 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>>Then I wait for a few months until I even begin developing the site.<<<

Nikke...that IS the sandbox you are waiting out..5 or 6 months. And imho...it's filled with kitty litter...not sand..HAH!..new name for it...the litter box!

1:45 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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364 days for one site. Tomorrow is its anniversary.

Somebody kick the box down at the 'plex.

1:52 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've seen people claim they are ranking within 3 months, I was in the box for 13 months.
3:22 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Google has become more and more anti-seo. This is different from what they used to be. In the past, they woudl just ignore webmasters. As much as the principals of SEO still apply for rankings (as SEO often happens naturally), Google sure seems to be doing a lot of random things on random time scales when it comes to sites properly ranking.
10:21 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Actually, for one of my newer sites, I didn't have the time to wait. This site was launced with 3 pages on June 28. As always it had one pretty good IBL from day one.

I've been really careful not to add more than one page per day to it, sometimes just 2 or 3 pages a week.
50 % of the pages have outgoing links to similar sites.

Since week 2 the site has been in the first position for it's main keyword, and just yesterday it has started the descent.

It's now #5, and I actually expect it to keep sinking for that particular keyword. Since there is time for an update, I actually expect it to vanish completely for a time.

It is still ranking well for 2 and 3 word phrases, and it ranks really well in MSN Search, so it won't loose all it's traffic.

My plan is to now, carefully start finding more external links to it. I think a surge of sitewide links would lead to sure death of the site, so it's a matter of a meantion here and there. The hardest kind of links to find in my oppinion. I've never been into link trading, so it's more a matter of spreading the word to related authority sites.

11:11 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites took a year to come out, all clean etc. Now has #1 matches all over google.

Frustrating, to say the least, but the thing to remember is that nobody but the site owner cares about the sandbox

11:20 am on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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nobody but the site owner cares about the sandbox

With the exeption of a web developer or two, your absolutely right.

And if it wasn't for the fact that I do make a living developing sites for myself and for customers, I would actually really like it...

Now, I have to cope with it, make my best to avoid it, that's all.

1:58 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Nikke,

Your comment is the first I have heard that Google pentalizes for many pages being added to a site in a short period of time.

2:17 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've seen people claim they are ranking within 3 months, I was in the box for 13 months.

I think the more competitive the keyword the longer the sandboxing. I've waited well over a year for sites to rank. However, it's not like everything is right after a year. SERPS are sporadic, messy, fluctuating, switching all the time. Google is full of clutter.

If you have a long established site ranking well DONíT play about with it. I have a 3 year old site sitting pretty in first position for a reasonably competitive term, dupe content coming out of itís a**, havenít touched it since launch day. Iíve seen the following 10 results fluctuate non stop for years.

Other sites Iíve made that contain original content, faultless clean code and genuine value are no where to been seen one month, ranking kind of well the next, then gone again, then backÖ.. the traffic G sends is off topic and silly, it doesnít convert to sales.

3:58 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't think this is due to the sandbox. This isn't just on new sites. I'm seeing it on old sites where I add new optimisation.

If I add a new page to my old site, and optimise it for Widgets (where a query in Google for widgets returns less than 100 results), I don't appear in the SERP, even after the page has been cached by Google for more than 5 months.

It's as if specific optimisation on my site has been kept out of the index, while other parts of the site continue to get traffic and rank well.

4:16 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If I add a new page to my old site, and optimise it for Widgets (where a query in Google for widgets returns less than 100 results), I don't appear in the SERP, even after the page has been cached by Google for more than 5 months.

I can put a new page up and within a few days get decent ranking out of it and I don't particularly pay much attention to SEO, although it's in the back of my mind as I type. I tweak the code later if needed.


It's as if specific optimisation on my site has been kept out of the index, while other parts of the site continue to get traffic and rank well.

My site is highly optimized and I rank on 1st page for most of my keyword phrases (and I use the same techniques on 30+ clients) so I doubt there is a penalty for optimization.

Perhaps there are technology blockers on your site preventing search engines from reading your content, i.e., Flash, frames, dynamic pages, ASP, image maps, etc.. I stay away from all of the above and a lot more and do quite well.

10:23 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"but the thing to remember is that nobody but the site owner cares about the sandbox"

Nonsense. Everybody cares when the best resource that answers their query doesn't show up. The users may not know what that "sandbox" jargon is, but everybody cares when they don't get the best results.

My sandboxed site with its birthday today has a lot of five (or so) word page titles that when enclosed in quotes are the only result shown, but when taken out of quotes rank in the 700s. That doesn't mean other pages in the top ten don't answer the query in combination (look at three sites to get the complete answer). But it does mean in many cases Google is deliberately wasting users time.

goaman

10:48 pm on Sept 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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my site got crawled with 176 hits a month ago and still no sign in search results. even after typing domain name. dont know what to make out of this.