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Help Appealing to Yahoo

     
7:31 am on Jul 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone know if there is any appeals process with Yahoo for an unknown penalty that has been levied against our site?

I've corresponded with Yahoo_Mike and made him aware of our situation, but haven't heard anything back from him for over a month so I assume he's been busy. I'm still very hopeful that he'll follow through on his word though and check into this situation to help get it resolved. I've also written to the webmasterworldfeedback address and have been told that the status has not changed. For what it's worth, the webmasterworldfeedback individual has been very prompt in replying and has been extremely polite which is appreciated during this unfortunate situation.

It's really very strange - for the past 5 years, our company has been the well recognized leader in our industry and has always ranked #1 for related terms. We've got 10x the amount of valuable content than our closest competitor and deliver a good, solid experience for our visitors.

Just today, we were featured in a magazine cover story about how we lead the pack in online activities within our industry. As well as our primary business, I have also given speeches to heads of Fortune 500 companies concerning online activities and am a regular technology magazine columnist. Not to toot my own horn, but these things certainly don't happen by having site content that's not 'up to standards' - In fact it happens because our site is 'the industry standard'.

Yet, after all of this, Yahoo decides that our content no longer meets their guidelines. This just really makes no sense.

At this point I'm frustrated since it's overly obvious that virtually every magazine, manufacturer, etc. within our extremely large industry knows we deliver quality, yet Yahoo feels we're no longer relevant. How can these viewpoints be complete opposites?

Does anyone have any ideas for an additional appeal to Yahoo besides those we've already taken to help them to 'see the light' and no longer penalize us? This is a two way street - Yahoo needs great search results for their business model to work and for users to return, and we need search engine traffic for ours to work. It's a win-win situation, but not without both parties taking part to ensure this happens.

I would greatly appreciate any ideas or suggestions.

Have a great weekend!

BPPilot

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 5:22 pm (utc) on July 13, 2004]
[edit reason] Removed off topic remarks [/edit]

3:49 pm on Aug 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>>>Thanks to Yahoo-Mike<<<

1. How did you know your site was really "penalized"?

2. Why are you certain this so-called Yahoo Mike had
anything to do with penalty removal?

6:43 pm on Aug 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Having about 35,000 pages of good content our site does VERY well on Google. In the past we did very well on Yahoo/Inktomi. One sad day, we we're removed from Inktomi (didn't much care at the times as Yohoo was serving Google rankings). We worked with Positiontech... who told us the reason for our ban- too many subdomains. We worked to cut them back by about 80%. I then sent a note to Yahoo Mike, who was quick to respond. He got us in the review pile at yahoo and we received an automated reply saying they would review it. About 1 1/2 months later we reappeared in Yahoo.

I guess it had nothing to do with a penalty or Yahoo Mike...

6:49 pm on Aug 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Too many subdomains?
7:04 pm on Aug 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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had ~1800, cut down to about 350.
7:38 am on Aug 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Four pages in yahoo.com results yesterday and eight today...fingers crossed for more.

Anyones guess as to why we are back in but we did grit our teeth and NOT change our site. It does also appear from our results now that Yahoo! has cleared out some of the wierd listings caused by redirects.

I only received one response from Yahoo!search as follows:

Deleted email quote, TOS [webmasterworld.com] #9

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 9:02 am (utc) on Aug. 14, 2004]

9:40 pm on Aug 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A lot of folks in this thread has asked about what Y! find acceptable and what it does not. If you look at their PPI program you will find:

Things they Like:

* Original and unique content of genuine value
* Pages designed primarily for humans, with search engine considerations secondary
* Hyperlinks intended to help people find interesting, related content, when applicable
* Metadata (including title and description) that accurately describes the contents of a Web page
* Good Web design in general

Things They DO NOT Like:

# Pages that harm accuracy, diversity or relevance of search results
# Pages dedicated to directing the user to another page ("doorway pages")
# Pages that have substantially the same content as other pages on the web
# Sites with numerous, unnecessary virtual hostnames
# Pages in great quantity, automatically generated, with minimal content or of little value
# Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking
# Pages with text that is not easily read, e.g., text that is too small or is obscured by the background of the page, or is located in an area of the page not visible to users.
# Cloaking or stealth; a technique used by some web sites to deliver one page to a search engine and a different page to all other users
# Excessively cross-linking to inflate a site's apparent popularity, including participation in link exchanges or "link farms"
# Pages built primarily for search engines or pages with excessive or off-topic keywords
# Misuse or inaccurate use of competitor or brand names
# Duplication of content, either by submission of multiple pages with same content, submitting the same content from multiple domains, or submitting the same content from multiple hosts
# Pages that rely heavily on content or links to content created for another web site, such as affiliate content
# Pages that use excessive pop-ups, interfering with user navigation
# Pages that seem deceptive, fraudulent or provide a poor user experience (Descriptions that are not relevant to the page content)
# Pages that result in a 404 error
# Content, domains, titles, metadata or descriptions that (i) violate any applicable law or regulation; (ii) infringes in any manner any copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any party; (iii) breach any duty toward or rights of any person or entity including, without limitation, rights of publicity or privacy, or have otherwise resulted in any consumer fraud, product liability, tort, breach of contract, injury, damage or harm of any kind to any person or entity; (iv) are false or misleading; and/or (v) are defamatory, libelous, slanderous or threatening.
# Online Gambling Sites: Online gambling sites are those that have gambling as their central theme, including those that accept wagers or require payment in exchange for the chance to win prizes, as well as sites that offer both information and links related primarily to the promotion of online gambling.
# Prescription Drug Sites: Prescription drug sites are those that sell prescription drug products, as well as sites that offer information or links related primarily to the sale of prescription drugs.

I check and use a lot of different SE's and I've noticed that many of the websites that have previously ranked well have relied on some methods such as, link exchanging, internal linking pages together for anchor text benefit and not user experience, sites that spread content across multiple domains, sub-domains, etc. and many other techniques to gain an extra edge over their competition and rank better in the search engine.

I'm not saying that all sites that are or are not ranking well, or in or out of the index do, or do not do, any or all of the things listed above.

10:02 pm on Aug 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So what category does travel.yahoo.com, and it's tens of thousands of "doorway" pages fall under?
3:20 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<<<So what category does travel.yahoo.com, and it's tens of thousands of "doorway" pages fall under?>>>>

It falls under the "Do as I say and not as I do" factor

10:38 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have had the same problem with penalties from both Inktomi and Yahoo Search and am still hoping to hear back from Yahoo Mike or Tim someday...

Maybe they plan on using google results again (since they own so much of their stock now) because I really dont see anything new going on with Yahoo Search like they promised.

My websites have great content and I see lots of duplicated content, junk, and redirects from other websites that stay in the top Yahoo & Ink/MSN rankings.

3:48 pm on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I had a site that was doing very well for a very good term dropped recently from Y! search too. I was sad until I read about all the miserable company I have!

Sent an email to the webmasterworld feedback email and did receive a quick reply - the usual yes there's a penalty, you did something wrong but you have to figure out what it is. Saw something this time in the email that I haven't noticed on a post here before:

One of the possible violations mentioned (in the email) was:

- Use of reciprocal link programs (aka "link farms")

Since when did reciprocal links and link farms become synonomous? Yes we do use reciprocal linking but only to and from on-topic websites, which really do have some, however nominal, value to our site visitors as we only list links to site that have complementary content to ours, ie our visitors might be interested in these products/services as well as ours. We don't even automate it but manually approve and add each link.

As I understand it a link farm (aka "freeforall" link sites) have tons of random links that correspond to no particular topic and have virtually no other content on the site whatsoever.

All that said, I think that we don't have enough original content and are too affiliate focused, so my suspicion is this is the real reason for our penalty, and I have other sites with reciprocal linking that aren't banned (yet?). I just found the above description alarming.

4:04 pm on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Aren't
reciprocal link programs
link farms? :) It's clear Yahoo doesn't like something about your present linking strategy.

<added>Think link exchange co-op, not link exchange software.</added>

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 4:56 pm (utc) on Aug. 17, 2004]

4:11 pm on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps in the Yahoo algo's analysis "reciprocal links and link farms become synonomous" as it would require far too much filtering to unravel what boils down a semantic difference between the two.

Linking in all forms has been heavily abused to try and influence search engine results and now appears to be being heavily penalised by Yahoo!.

Always remember that if you use any particular tactic with the primary hope of influencing SERPS it is likely to be penalised sooner or later.

6:40 pm on Aug 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<added>I also just got the significance of the word 'programs' - i.e. software programs! Aha!</added>

DaveatIFG,
I hear ya, and in fact that's absolutely the approach I use with all sites, I try to walk the line of building incoming links while also providing a resource diretory that will hopefully benefit my site visitors by being compelentary, linking to useful content sites, etc.

In retrospect I think its the lack of unique content that did it. Its an affiliate site, but a value-added affiliate, ie we send 'em to another site to conduct the transaction but still provide customer service, more of a traditional off-line affiliate/reseller relationship than the pure online model. We had tons of content about the products, but not enough 'unique content' about the value-added service we provide. A competitor that is #1 on G and Y! has exactly the same content as us, but they have lots about themselves too. Also they have a robust reciprocal link program, on-target just like ours too.

Bottom line is a) I don't think it was our link directory (we're cleaning it a bit just to be safe), and that b) the message from Yahoo is more about the completely random, software-generated link-farms than an on-target, industry- specific resource directory that happens to employ reciprocal linking as a means to build it. And yes I'm probably being redundant, link coop sums it up nicely. :)

ps - they gave us this email address to request a re-review: ystfeedback@yahoo.com

9:44 pm on Aug 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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At least you got an email back from Yahoo - I have emailed them at Spam email and WW email plus asking Tim and Yahoo Mike...

and No Response.. its been months.

10:28 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We have also had a reply from Yahoo in addition to being told that the Australian site was banned because it was deemed to be part of a "Link Spam Network."

Our contact cannot give specifics as they don't give specifics or everyone would know how to get around their rules. I don't want to know how to get around their rules but what to change on our site so as to be considered for re-inclusion.

We have reason to believe that the following Yahoo guidelines are the one's our site is considered to have violated:

- Cloaking (showing crawlers deceptive content about a site)
- Massive domain interlinking
- Use of affiliate programs without the addition of substantial unique content
- Use of reciprocal link programs (aka "link farms")
- Hidden text
- Excessive keyword repetition

As these guidelines are open to interpretation I am trying to find out exactly what Yahoo means by them, especially the terms "link farm" and cloaking. We most definitely do not have the server show different content to spiders and users so do not understand the reference to cloaking. Any information or examples would be a huge help.

9:27 am on Sept 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yahoooooo anyone out there :)

Has anyone heard anything back from yahoo or on who to talk to?

8:17 am on Sept 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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At the risk of sounding stupid and naive - which, as a newbie, I almost certainly am - I would like to propose the following so that I can learn from the responses.
SE's appear to want to give quality to their customers, and are tired of being manipulated? As long as they spell their rules out, webmasters will rush to their sites 'optimizing', defeating the object of fair assessment. Maybe their ONLY recourse - seeing that spidering and ranking is automated - is to allow confusion to reign, so that after a while webmasters will have no choice but to just simply design sites for functunality and content, and let the SE decide whether it likes it, without manipulation. It will force better quality sites. Long-term maybe the only way to improve the industry.
It appears that SE's are taking control back as to what they want in their SERPS, for as long as web designers know 'I have to weight KW density to x%' etc. it will mean they will manipulate the SE's. Already the right message seems to be trickling out from a few - design good quality content-rich sites with natural search terms and you will be ok.
Am I totally off track? Or confused? or maybe old....
9:05 am on Sept 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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OlRedEye
I think this probably sums up everyone's frustration.
I have a contact inside of yahoo and it's not exactly a tight ship over there.

Manipulated? I'm sure they would like to present quality results, but read that quote again. Maybe they are top-heavy, or understaffed, or... who knows. What we're observing here doesn't appear to be about taking charge of the results - but more about not being able to to that.

7:47 pm on Sept 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Our site also has a similar problem. We are a B2B site which has been around for 7 years. The site has good traffic from google but no traffic from Yahoo. We rank #1 on very good terms for Google but nothing from Yahoo. When i search for links, we do appear to be indexed on Yahoo but do not have any rankings.

It would be very welcome if Yahoo comes up with a clear process for review of sites and feedback why a site may have been banned and what we can do to correct it.

9:36 pm on Sept 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It would be very welcome if Yahoo comes up with a clear process for review of sites and feedback why a site may have been banned and what we can do to correct it.

one might hypothosise that if they actually wanted banned sites or wrongly banned sites back they would have setup a pay-for-appeal system long ago. In fact even if they didnt want them back they could have setup a pay system that simply confirmed the rejection. The implication is clear.

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