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Minus 3, 4 or 5 page penalty

Anyone here still suffering as well?



6:45 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Checking in to see how many of you have been penalized by the 3,4,5+ page penalty? (When your former results were page 1 and now are on page 3,4,5 and beyone for unknown reasons)

I am. Was hit April 16th, June and July as well. White hat site following google guidelines 100% since 1998.



9:08 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

yes check past threads. Its very common. I wonder if this is caused by juggling the top results using click thru data to further refine future top 30 results... i wonder if this is the part of the algo that gets freshed every couple of weeks...


10:06 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

its this policy of googles of pushing pages back due to over optimization - or rather if you call a page what it is and title the page correctly on an authority site lets hold it back in the serps whilst we push forward the spam sh@t that has coppied text from your site and others that has a lower keyword density and has called their page "Bluish type of widget" rather than "Blue Widgets" as per your own site, and has split the keywords up on the page to out rank you!.

Google rewards the cr@p whilst bashing the quality - the serps were not broken last year, since BD they are worse than ever imo

Frankly, Google has lost the plot, its not a war on spam its one on webmasters to buy more dam adwords and it anoys the hell out of me - rant over!

[edited by: RichTC at 10:08 pm (utc) on Aug. 4, 2006]


10:29 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, I have witnessed this as well, and there is one reason, and one reason only that honest sites have plummetted: S-P-A-M.

There has been a proliferation of scraped site (both new domains and subdomains), and this proliferation is now out of control. Nothing is being done. Often these cloaking/spam sites also include AdSense advertising (read MFA), and this apparently enhances rank as well.

This is real bad news, and to me, it is the beginning of the end for Google, unless they really get their act together. No one stays on top forever, especially with these types of practices.


10:30 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey guys, yes I am well aware of it I've been one of the first victims.

I am not sure if it's any algo that updates every few weeks since I have been suffering from it since April 26th.

RichTC, I feel your pain man. I've noticed hundreds of spam/link farms that have stolen my content, text, everything.. it's a shame google can't realize what they are doing wrong.. or fix it.

Anyone else here RECOVER from the page 3,4,5+ pushed search results?


10:40 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Further, it is the proliferation of these sumdomain link farms from "trusted" domains (e.g., the freeware domains).

My initial reaction was that it was algo tweaking from 6/27 and 7/27 updates. But, upon closer inspection and analysis, I determined the main impetus behind dwindling rankings are these SPAM sites (who scrape away without being caught), who continue to outrank me.

I consistently report problems to Google via their spam report mechanism, but I see this as nothing more than toilet that gets flushed, every time I make a deposit.

Google is doomed to failure, unless it fixes some of their core problems and issues; spam site inclusion and click fraud being paramount in importance.


11:15 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello all,

This is my first post here, but this is the first thread about EXACTLY what happened to my website on July 27th, 2006. I have tried to do as much research as possible, and it seems that no one really has a direct answer.

It appears the answer that is common is sites that are over optimized are being affected in the serps. I have a site that has ranked #1-5 for all my top 50 keywords for close to 1.5 years now. All of a sudden there is a big drop, and none of the pages on my website will rank higher than 30.

Even when I type my website's name in, I rank #31 & 32. If over optimization is the problem, do you all think that the solution would be to under optimize the website? For example don't use H1, H2, H3, and other meta tags.

Iím noticing in my niche the current tops sites aren't doing that, so maybe Google has added some sort of addition to the algo which penalizes over optimized sites.

I may be way off here, but I have been reading and doing research about this for the past week or so. I have a strong belief this is what we are facing. The competition for the 50 keywords I was ranking top for doesn't know much of anything about SEO. They know it exists, but not how to really implement it on a website.

That is the reason I assume this is what we are experiencing here. Again, this is just my opinion I could be completely wrong. At this point I don't whether I should just wait it out hoping Google will fix this or if I should turn down the optimization on my website. What are everyone elseís thoughts?


11:37 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I don't believe it has anything to do with over-optimization. Not on my site atleast, I have been doing this for almost a decade and have not changed anything from the start - clean site always. I do however believe that it is on googles end.. which is unfortunately out of our control..

THAT is why I am trying to see if anyone has "re-bounded" which would shed some light/hope on google correcting some mistakes.

[edited by: AustrianOak at 11:39 pm (utc) on Aug. 4, 2006]


12:08 am on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A lot of these issues are to do with over optimization - ref matt cutts video on the subject.

The problem is, what Google class as over optimized?.

For example our clients have sites about widgets with pages marked as "Blue Widgets" Heading tags that say "Blue Widgets" and on page factors that mention "blue widgets" - they are an authority on Widgets and have a quality site about blue, green, pink widgets - this is what they know and they call a spade a spade - The end user likes pages marked up correctly, nice and clear

This authority has been hit with this penulty.

Meanwhile ranking above it are sites with low on page factors, sites with stolen text, spammy sites that should be removed.

Gawd knows its easy for spammers to just produce pages with high, low and medium keyword density, use of tags/ non use of headings tags etc etc. Spammers produce a range of sites to fit most areas so why google is picking on this factor gawd knows.

I see directory sites that stuff paragraphs with different or associated keywords, that run own affiliate PPC advertising with the links going via a cgi bin and they are also cleaning up.

I see a directory with no own original content that has one paragraph of text on its page about the keywords 1% density (which is taken from one of my own sites) and it features a link to our site on it(via a no follow cgi bin) and google ranks this page high in the serps. Meanwhile our dediated authority page on the subject doesnt rank despite it being the most relevent on the net!.

This over optimization penulty is a joke, the spammers are cleaning up and i refuse to re-do pages and down grade the on page factors and spoil the quality to the end user just to satisfy google!

Rather than say what the page is and


1:17 am on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, I agree some of these scenerios may have something to do with over optimization, but many many many do not.. it will be interesting to see if anything pans out.


1:42 am on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello again,

The other thing I failed to mention is that I have seen a like of sites with matching url's and 1000s of anchor text from link farms with the exact same texts. Those sites are being penalized in the same way. For example:

A website name www.bestpaper.com
It has made a page here: www.bestpaper.com/best-white-paper.html
It has 100s or thousands of links pointing to that page with the anchor text as "best white paper".
It is a highly optimized page.
It was ranking #1, now it can't rank over 30.

This means either google is making some changes to the algo which is having a side effect causing the penalties or google is targeting these types of websites and pages.

Since older authority sites are being effected as well, more and more its leaning toward Google making some changes and its just affecting quality websites. Again I could be completely wrong. While it sucks for all of us, I do feel a little comfort knowing that my website is not the only one going through this.


5:59 am on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sadly I have been hit in this way too -one site a few months ago and another in the last month. I see lots of irrelevant sites that have scraped content from mine and are above me in the results, when searching for my unique site name.

One interesting symptom is that my home page does not come top within my own site in this search either. Can't help thinking there is a bug in Google.

Sites have been around over 3 years,cover different subject areas, had good but not top positioning, have exchanged links but only on topic, no black hat.


8:06 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

site: doing a bit better.. now instead of a number 10x my actual page count it's 1/2x of my actual page count.

Still zero recovery from April 26, June and July google mishaps.


5:53 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think it has anything to do with scrappers IMO. The scrappers rank higher than you because Google, for a reason or another, has devalued all of your links. With that done, even a cheesy scrapper has more juice than you, thus they rank higher. It has happened to me, and my main site is under that spell. This is my theory: Google thinks your /my links are suspect, and your site is classified as spam.

It's ironice as I have personally begged many sites to remove sitewide links to my site just not to fall victim to this (I think linking has to do with it), yet it still happened. Now I have to spend a lot of cash to advertise, and will never, ever again make the mistake of asking a site to remove their links to me.


5:54 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

when you do a site:domain.com, does Google list your index page on top?


9:35 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I know how to fix this for all of you.

1) Are you being truthful here? Do you have another site in the SERPS that is similar in content, hosting IP addresses etc? If yes you are on page 3 because of this.

2) have you been getting links from only links pages? If so then links dir and not doing as well as they used to.

Now if this is your ONLY site and the content is unique, then go and buy some links. Try a sitewide, see if that works as that would be the easiest. If your site is unsanboxed then it may work. But really the best IMO is lots of links from different c class IP's. Pay some bloggers to write about you etc. Do not stop until you have enough. Gathering links to quickly is not an isssue if you are unsandboxed.

There is really no cheap way out but I can guarantee this works from page 3/5 back to page 1.
Now for those of you who beleive the drivel that google feed you,do not listen for a minute. They tell you not to buy links because links work.

I know on this site now a lot of people are going to pick holes in what I say because a lot of you are in the dark. But what I have thrown you here is truly a nugget and it is up to you whether you are game or not.


12:34 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I must agree with Crush that this sounds a lot as if this is a matter of too few, or not good enough links.

But I would rather advocate the pursuit of real, quality links from single pages on lots of domains. The kind you get when having the kind of site people like to link to naturally.

The reason spam pages temporarily can be doing better than your pages, is that they have the resources to simulate these natural links. But remember that Google is doing lots to keep them down in SERPs as well. In a couple of weeks or months, these particular sites are pushed down by some tiny filter change, which won't affect clean sites with lots of good incoming links (no matter what the PR of those links are).

It's my firm belief that time is on the good guy's side.

Also, when I see threads like this, I can't help but wonder what more specified, two or three word searches look like for the affected sites.


12:52 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yes search phrases I used to show up on page one and sometimes #1 are buried on page 3 or lower. I no longer have any search result better than page three.

when you do a site:domain.com, does Google list your index page on top?

No, my index page is buried very deep. It is all of my minor low PR pages that are showing up first.


12:52 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

walkman - my page shows up as #3 spot now.

crush - 1) Yes I am being truthful, otherwise I'd be wasting my time. I dont' complain, I just try to find solutions, hopefuly with the help of people in the same situation. 2) I have maybe 5% of my links from link pages, most are from legit - theme related sites that I have built up over the past 4-5 years.

nikke - "It's my firm belief that time is on the good guy's side." I am with you on that one.. that's why refuse to join the spammers, etc for a quick few month boost. Hopefuly in time my quality and legitamit site will prevail.

Everything is legit. That's the problem. I have been caught in some google algo-tweak.. and penalized for reasons still unknown.

[edited by: AustrianOak at 12:54 pm (utc) on Aug. 13, 2006]


1:25 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I asked whther the home page shows first, because this was happening to me too. That changed in the past week or so: I now have domain.com at#1 for a site:domain.com, but my rankings are still no where to be found. This gives me some hope that this will be fixed in the next ranking, but then, I know of several sites that have been punished for ages and domain.com shows at #1. Ah google, goolge...

Make no mistake that this is an automated penalty of some sort. I have hundreds of links from all sources, so showing up for "domain.com" should not be be a problem. In fact, I have a "verygenericname.com" that has ZERO links and just one holding page, yet it's #1 for "domain.com."


1:55 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have watched a site thats affected, thats has been affected since last year. Itsa city widgets site. Heres the silly thing. While those city widget pages are full of information the page ranks nowhere or the 3-5 page drop. When those widgets are renamed those older page are removed of content with just a link to the new name page. Once the information is removed the page ranks again. So remove content and overcome the penalty. Its hard to find the logic in that other than that the onpage content counts for little but the filter that content can trip is very significant.


2:24 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

do you remove the content on ALL pages, or just a few to test the rankings? It's my impression that even if you put Bill Gates' will on a such domain it will not rank before the issues being solved. Maybe if all the pages are without the content, then we're talking ;)


3:52 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

the content wasnt removed as a test. its an observation. The content was removed because the widgets got rebranded. So a new page with the new branding was made. The old page has all content removed except for the link saying THIS RED WIDGET IS NOW THE BLUE WODGET GO HERE FOR INFO. That page that ranks first page for the search it used to be nowhere for. Of course its not much help as a way to improve rankings only for pointing the anomaly Google now poses.


11:21 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Are you suggesting that whatever pages we used to have ranking on page one, we should entirely change the content on that page?

My website that will not rank higher than page 3 on google.com has about 40 pages full of unique and original content. Are you saying I should take a few of those pages and change the all the content on that page, let google index the new page, and that page should rank again?

I ranked #1-5 for just about all of my keywords, but now my highest ranking is #24. If this is what you are suggesting please let me know, I will try it.

The index page for my site I almost never updated it with new content, is this a possible problem for "filter" some of us are experiencing? Or is it simply lack of links? Thanks all.


11:29 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I was running some searches last night that we usually rank ... well .. at least the top 10 last night and found that the top 4 sites that came up were blatantly cloaking. Sad thing was .. one of them was a very big company. And yes .. I reported them all through the sitemaps.

It sucks to be one of the good guys.


12:22 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm curious about one thing , how do your sites rank with yahoo?


12:42 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my sites have been effected ever since the so called "data refreshes" have been taking place.

All of the scraper sites popped up in my area on the 27th of Dec 2005.

The guessing game will only continue..................


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