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The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 2

#1 yesterday and #31 today

     
1:49 am on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

Hello All.

After some time after my site was affected by the -30 penalty, and after reading the latest posts left after my last message I did some research on my own site and site of my competitor which was affected by this penalty in the same day with my site.
I'll try to summarize all of our latest thoughts on this topic and real data from our sites and SERPs.

1.

Even a few affiliate pages that go to those CJ, LS links. Remove them!

As I said earlier, my site is a 5-year old resource directory and consists of 5 pages.
Top ranked was always ONLY Index page. No other page was shown in top SERPs ever, and
this Index page was penalized.

The Index page has 84 links to external sites, 4 link to internal pages, and 9 links to affilliate sites.
The second content page has 161 links to external sites, 4 links to internal pages, and 0 affiliate links.
First Information page has links to 30 product pictures, 3 links to internal pages and 11 affiliate links.
Second Info page before penalty had links to same 30 product pictures as on the first page, 2 links to internal pages and 8 affiliate links. (To avoid dup. content issue I had yesterday replaced thease 30 links with links to other, different product pics).

Each and every link from our site, regular or affiliate is highly relevant to our site's subject and SE keywords, with no exceptions.

And after I had looked over all this data I see only two potentially thin affiliate pages on my site:
First and Second info pages. But honestly, I'm not sure can thease pages be classifyed as thin affiliate pages or not.

Okay, perhaps we found one potentially reason for -30 penalty, but IMHO it's not a reason.

2.

Excessive anchor text (using same anchor text) about 1000 times.

Which exactly anchor text? Anchor text on my site for outbound links or text of the links to our directory from oter sites?
If outbound links - there are only 2, maximum 3 combinations for each SK phrase in anchor text on the Index
page and 8 repetition of one of the main keyword for this phrase. (97 links total on the page).
Is this excessive anchor text? I'm absolutely not sure.

About inbound links - I don't think It can be the reason. If it could be, then I can downshift my competitors site in SERPS just if I'll add hundreds of links to his site from different pages on different domains. I don't think G can be so easily tricked.

So, my site is not overloaded with excessive anchor text, but it still penalized, so perhaps it's not the main reason for this type of penalty.

3.

Also, if there is in fact a -30 penalty that is manually applied, it could be something as
simple as - Writing a script to list all the top 15 sites for a previously specified selection of
search terms. (could be generated via another program, or by hand) Then, remove all sites that fall
into #*$!x parameters. (could be shopping cart based, or whatever. Pick your poison) The ones that
are left are used to fix the natural search... just in time for the shopping season I might add.

Not so simple. There are to many parameters. One site is about literature, other is about car tuning,
third is about history of art.
How to define what each surfer want to find? If I'm searching for "antique literature", it's does't mean
that I want to buy such books, maybe I'm looking for online texts or history of some books? If I
searching for "red cars" it doesn't mean that I want to buy them, perhaps I just want to find some
kind of online catalog of thease cars, or want to read about work process and how thease cars where
built. How can G knows what is inside of my head. If they run such algos, they incur to much, and finaly -
they can not make it just due to human nature. Of cource this is IMHO.

4.

>>>>>>>>But the content is not exactly what user may want to see.... like page made xyz-pictures
has no pictures in it instead it has content which say xyz-pictures etc.

And finally as I think very interesting idea.
As I said, our site is a DIRECTORY. It consists of descriptions and links to other sites higly relevant to our narrow subject. In other words, we actually do not have on our site "red cars", but we exactly know where they are, and surfer can easily find them in our directory. But our directory is all about "cars", we have info where to find "cars", we have links to sites only about "cars" e.g. site is highly relevant to this SK, BUT site hasn't "cars" on it, and perhaps this is the possible reason for penalty.
More, my competitors site which was penalized in the same day with my own site, is the Directory site too, with the same subject and the same "problem". It has only links to SK's, but not the SK's by
itself.

BUT. As I can see from current SERPS, there are enough directories with our subject left in top SERPS, and they are not penalized due to it's nature. So, the truth is out there..... :)

[edited by: tedster at 1:54 am (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]

12:02 am on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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8 months and counting.. I too would love SOME kind of response from Google after 6 months of penalties while following guidelines..

Each day is a new day.. but with some in the 11th month I see little hope.

1:00 am on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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About links.
All this is not so simple.
As I said, my site is a directory and has many inbound links from sites icluded in our listing. As I see from Yahoo site explorer there are 1100 inlinks from other sites, Google reports only 46 inbound links when I'm doing link:www.mysite.com search. And I'd like to say, Yahoo report is much more closer to reality than Google.

Okay my site is penalized. I have 1100 inbound links from related sites, and I never bought even one of this link. All this is a free link exchange. My competitor's site which is also directory and which is also penalized has 30% more inlinks, so from first look it is a common problem on two penalized sites.
But. When I'm looking at current high position sites in Google SERPs for our keywords, I see other directories with related subjects with the same amount of inbound links as our penalized sites, but they are still ranking high despite all this factors.
So, again, there are no clear common problems on penalized sites which can be found on all of them, and which can potentially be the reasons for "-30" penalty.

1:09 am on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Andrew,
low trust rank and "fishy" links will do it IMO. For example, CNN will be fine if they got another 48000 backlinks tomorrow.
11:43 pm on Nov 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Some strange movement past few days. On domain search in google.. from spot #31 (-31 penalty..) I was sitting at #27 for a day.. then today #37.

All words are still ending up at spot #31 or worse..

Still no word from Google what causes this and why it's not covered in the guidelines in any way.

Will keep you all posted on events..

1:02 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good news! On the 11 month anniversary of my -30 serp penalty, there has been movement. The bad news: the movement has been downward. I am now ranking from #34 to #50 for the targeted search terms I have checked thus far.

But that, IMHO, that is a big improvement. At least now there is flux---I am not hitting up against the #31 wall that Google imposed. Now the competitive game is back on, not the unfair penalty obstacle.

FYI, no notification or acknowledgement from Google. However, sadly, none was expected.

2:42 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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JWC, good to see I am not alone in this observations.

However, I have not gone below the #31 spot.. just above.. so hopefully it changes direction back to page one where it was before all this mess..

EVERYONE please chime in where you rank currently..

[edited by: AustrianOak at 2:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 13, 2006]

3:03 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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from #34 to #41 all Dc's.
5:40 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi AustianOak, I remember your posts from earlier this year. I got hit on April 26th when an algo change battered a whole swathe of webmasters.

We were one of the first to recognize the minus 30 pattern. We had hundreds of search terms on the top page, now the whole site is languishing at 31 or worse. For the last 4 months I have meticulously recorded Google positions for myuniquedomain.com and myuniquedomain. Both had been at No.1 for about two years.

They almost never waver off position 31. They occasionally sway with the DC wind a few rankings downwards. But they always float back up. Same with the hundreds of search terms I used to have on page 1. They stick pretty much at the same number, 30 ranks less than they used to be. They sometimes drift down but never above that 30 ranks less position.

Google search people do not give a rat's a@%$. I and my team have spent hundreds of hours picking the site apart, all 18000 pages or so. We have identified certain aspects of the site that could be viewed as less than whitey white from G's point of view and corrected them (though never anything blatantly or deliberately wrong). We have removed a few pages that were not on-the-button subject matter-wise. The site actually is whitey white now and we have even paid another SEO firm to double check. We posted reinclusion requests, emailed G, emailed Adwords reps, everyone except Mr Schmidt.

We want to make our site better. We do not want to create a different interface for users and Google robots. We want to comply with the 'Webmaster Guidelines'. We want a dialogue. But the silence from G is infuriating. I pray for the day they get knocked off their perch, and though I am not holding my breath, I will be there on the sidelines cheering.

6:55 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I pray for the day they get knocked off their perch, and though I am not holding my breath, I will be there on the sidelines cheering.

If the day should ever come when Google holds 25% of the search market, and Yahoo has 25%, and MSN has 25%, and the other 25% is spread out over all the minor engines out there, then the WWW will be a far healthier place to do business. Can't happen soon enough for me.

................................

7:05 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I manage a site that has not been ranking above 1000 for it's business name plus 2 main keywords since before I redesigned the site last April (it does rank #1 for it's business name without the other two words).

The original site had too similar descriptions and all product descriptions were identical so it may have been under a penalty but this was fixed last April--7 months ago. The owner had AdWords running until July when he stopped it due to a lack of income from the site.

The owner just restarted Adwords again 5 days ago out of desperation due to no relevant Google traffic and the rank for those 4 words started at #329 and is steadily climbing about 6 spots per day.

It has been about 7 months since the duplicat content was removed and if it's true that duplicate content issues result in a 6 month penalty, that may be the reason for the rank coming back HOWEVER it is highly suspicious that rank anywhere above 1000 returns within 3 days after AdWords is restarted.

7:11 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> Good news! On the 11 month anniversary of my -30 serp penalty, there has been movement. The bad news: the movement has been downward. I am now ranking from #34 to #50 for the targeted search terms I have checked thus far.

Could it be that you rank at "whatever it would be without the penalty" + 30? If you would rank #1, Google adds 30, so you appear on #31. If you were to rank at #10, google adds 30 so you are at #40.

7:17 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's good to check where you rank when you search on your domain name (put www.example.com in the Google search box.) If that search first shows your domain position #31, it's the best sign that you are suffering from the exact ranking problem this thread discusses.
7:37 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How can every penalized site rank at position #31?
7:45 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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dangerman, good to hear from you.. and great post.

I truly hope that google realizes the extent of their damage sooner than later..

[edited by: AustrianOak at 7:45 pm (utc) on Nov. 13, 2006]

7:55 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Lorel, the search is for a unique domain name not keywords.

That is how many sites could "rank" at position 31.

9:02 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Still at 31 for domain name :S

Glad to hear it might be looking up for others though.

9:05 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks TheBear. I figured it out after I posted. I should talk to myself before posting.

I just noticed the Google Groups has some kind of penalty for replying to your own posts. I submitted a query re the site I mentioned above on Oct 23 re it's missing pages and a few days later because no one had replied to it I commented again, and again today (Google is ignoring it) and it's nowhere to be found.

9:22 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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LunaC, I wouldn't call it anywhere near as "looking up". Just back at #31 again for myself.. and as far as possible from a solution as is imagineable..

If there was a flux back to original position on page one or whatever it was then I would see it as progress.. but moving to ranges in the +30-50 spots is going in the wrong direction.

I remember Adam on here posting that it's very rare or impossible to be under a penalty for a year or more.. some of us are at the 11 month mark for this PENALTY..

[edited by: AustrianOak at 9:27 pm (utc) on Nov. 13, 2006]

9:22 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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LMAO!

They have penalties for double posting.
They'll be issuing little orange jump suits soon for all webmasters that have broken their rules and then quite possibly all those that will break their rules in the future - although the webmaster doesn't know it yet.

In fact maybe the minus thirty penalty is for an infraction to the guidelines that we're going to make in 2009, but the penalty is applied now.

9:27 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"In fact maybe the minus thirty penalty is for an infraction to the guidelines that we're going to make in 2009, but the penalty is applied now."

Get them writs filed with da Judge, no jail until convicted , no conviction until trial, and no trial if not yet a crime. Here element backwards thinks me.

9:33 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"In fact maybe the minus thirty penalty is for an infraction to the guidelines that we're going to make in 2009, but the penalty is applied now."

That is perfect.. actually made me laugh out load. Thanks!

9:56 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> I remember Adam on here posting that it's very rare or impossible to be under a penalty for a year or more.. some of us are at the 11 month mark for this PENALTY..

assuming the problem is not "fixed", I don't see why the penalty would be lifted--short of an algo change. Maybe Adam assumed that problems usually get fixed to G's satifaction in a relatively short time.

10:09 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Walkman,

I have fixed things that didn't even need fixing and there has been absolutely no improvement in 11 months. The only thing I can figure is that the programming firm I hired last year screwed things up. Things were going fine until I hired those bozos.

Since I am not a programmer, I don't know what they could have done to screw things up. If Google would just tell me what irked them, I would fix it immediately. As it is, I am totally lost and and penalized unfairly.

To update my earlier post about the serps changing, well they have changed back. Everything is now back at #31. So the flux didn't last very long.

10:24 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> I have fixed things that didn't even need fixing

Jwc,
without knowing your site, or what needed fixing, it could be that google still doesn't see it fixed; remember they decide when the "guidelines" are obyed.

I am not being a smartass or picking on you, I am merely pointing out another possibility. My site has suffered for ages as well. I have "fixed" and changed it so many times with no results for over a year. I am extremely frustrated, and I have even thought to move the content to another domain and take my chances there. I update the site daily, and everything is entered by hand.

10:54 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I hear you guys..

I am near the point where nothing CAN be 'fixed' except the way google applies it's penalties and hoping one day they release an algo to 'fix' their errors. It's a shot in the dark, but hey that's how easily the penalty arrived.. without warning - without reason. (for my site atleast, I can't speak for everyone)

*fingers crossed - 24/7*

11:28 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One thing I haven't fixed is the existence of 8,140 webpages in the development site the bozo programmers I hired last fall put up. I have heard some horror stories regarding the URL removal tool so I was afraid to make matters worse (as if that were possible).

Background: The bozo programmers used a mirror site named [dev.mysite.com...] to test the programming but did not exclude Googlebot. G caught the dev site and began crawling/indexing in November 2005. The dev site was taken down 12/28/05 when the new hotels page went live. I have been penalized since 12/13/05. I notified Google of this in March but didn't get a response. All 8,140 webpages are supplemental.

Questions: 1) Could this still be tripping the filter? (I thought duplicate content expired after 3-6 months per Brett Tabke.)
2) Is the URL removal tool a single URL specific or can I use it to wipe out the entire dev.mysite.com?
3) Is the URL removal only good for 180 days?
4) Are there any other safer ways to get rid of this garbage?

5:34 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Guys what about a scenario such as mine, I was ranking #10 for my targeted keyword phrase, this after I bought two IBL packages offering 250 IBL each. I have a G sitemap account and it was obvious that G was seeing these links but link:mysite.com returned 0 IBL until a few days ago and showed just 1.

However last night I uploaded my second website with 71 pages all linking back to my first site home page and poof from #10 to #121. I immediately removed the site wide links this afternoon from my new site as well. But I have not seen the changes back in Google yet. What the dickens has happened. And in all honesty how long does G take to see that I have made changes to the new site and REVERSE THE PENALTY and not penalize the first site that brings me loads of traffic.

PS: My site is actually 8 mnths old.

10:00 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Re"However last night I uploaded my second website with 71 pages all linking back to my first site home page and poof from #10 to #121."

That seems a little fast to me, google is a monolith now, very slow to react but with devastating consequences, for us and it.

It normally takes a few days for the links to be acknowledged etc, especially from a new site.

I would look for something else that has caused this.

11:34 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone who is suffering from this minus 30 penalty noticed, that if they hit related: in their sitemaps consol they only get pages from their own site?

This has happened a few times for ours, but then it resolves to the usual 31 misfits that relate to our site. Otherwise it only shows 3 pages from our site.

Is this a penalty or has the algo gone nuts?

11:48 am on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If one was held against ones will for interminable lengths of time, with no way out. In a place where the guards did not care or were indifferent. Locked in a cell, not knowing exactly what it is you'd done, not knowing when or if you'd ever get out. No recourse to law, just arbitarily targetted by some random person or regime, then where would you be?

Is this penalty that very place of the internet for suspected Google terrorists?

What % of us are guilty I wonder?

What can we do to protest our innocence when our captors refuse to listen or acknowledge our pleas? Has the Google theocracy lost its liberal arm?

Maybe it forgets nor cares for the voices that helped build and promote and make it what is today. When did it decide to become this seemingly pitiless, gluttoness, soulless monster?

Its propogandists just carry on along with their cheery little missives geelfully followed by their cheery little adherents - kafkaesque it is.

Maybe we all need to wake up to the fact of an uncertain future where we too may join the myriad of binary skeletons of now vanquished site owners, businesses obliterated through sheer lack of access, destroyed by an unappointed unrelenting guardian to the gateway of the internet, condemned to search purgatory by some faceless arbitary decision. No notification, other than one of "look dude, you are at pos 31 for your number one kw or site name, yup you might as well be banned, and no we couldn't care less"

Whatever happened to that expression that I so foolishly bought into of 'do no evil'? How is this 31 penalty anything but the obverse. Somebody, tell me, please.

Give me those old penalties of yesteryear, any day of the week. This is just banned without being so.

"No, look, really, you are not banned, a site: search shows you see..."

"Um but, I can't rank for jack"

"We at Google safeguard the integrity of our index with great blah blah blah"

Yup, I'm peeved, can anyone blame me?

Better for getting it off my chest though! :D

This 151 message thread spans 6 pages: 151