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So for example, after both Jagger and Big Daddy, these sites fall out of the SERPS entirely and get zero (0) traffic from Google.
I happen to be one of these Webmasters and wanted to trade insights with others. Our main speculations currently are:
1. sites are filtered out because of non-www url is not 301'd to www url
2. sites are filtered out because they feature vanity domains (2nd, 3rd domains that point to main domain) and thus create duplicate content.
3. other algo "violation" that compounds with 1 and 2
Traffic to my main site dropped 90% on Dec 27th 2005.
Blackhats have now been on top of the serps (in my area) for almost 4 months now and I doubt Google even cares.
Blackhats are making some major cash in my sector and they will continue to, Google seems to like them!.
I share all the points you mentioned, i have suffered the same issues as you and i narrowed it down to the same 301 and duplication issues.
When i run the site command my homepage is only ranked 112 out of 441 pages. It is slowly creeping up as we make minor changes to the site, but it isnt really good enough. My site totally dominates msn and yahoo, i know google is a different search engine but being on page 7 for google and page 1 for the others highlights some drastic differences. The drop came at a time when i was making no changes to the site.
If you want to sticky me with your site details i will send you mine and we can try to create a timeline of what happend on each site and when. lets see if this is permanent or if things will iron out!
I am up big on 1 site and off the map on the other. I optomize each exactly the same.
I have seen a similar effect. Before BD, I had two sites that were doing quite well in Google. Both sites are cross-linked with each other, use the same exact template and use the same SEO techniques.
Yet, two weeks ago one of them dropped off the map on Google. All pages are indexed but it has dropped 100's of positions on every keyword (even for 4 word keyphrases that no one else is targetting). The especially odd thing is that the site is an authoritative site on the subject and easily one of the 10 best sites on subject.
A while back, I did discovered an odd thing about the site. For days after the site dropped in Google, doing a link:www.example.com would return results but link:example.com would return none. Eventually, it quit doing that and the site did rebounded slightly. But, I still recieve less than 5% of the traffic I was seeing.
It feels to me like BD is broken. The SERPS in my sector look like crap.