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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]

1:22 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm a little late jumping into this because I didn't think I had this problem. However a few weeks ago I was working on one of my sites that appeared to have a penalty. It wouldn't show up for "domainname". I didn't check past page one. I just checked today and I am at #31.

When I was trying to fix things a few weeks ago I remembered that at one time the site was part of link-vault. It hasn't been a member for many months now.

My site is a directory site of musicians and singers.
Each page has many outbound links with descriptions (depending on the artist) along with 5-10 links to a poster affiliate.

I filed a reinclusion request a few weeks ago and googlebot seems to be crawling my site rather well. I suspect my problem is a lack of real content with too many outbound links.

I forgot to mention the site is dmoz listed and I have about 300 inbound links mostly from dmoz clones but there are a few quality links too.

I was always concerned my site had a scraper footprint. I'n not claiming it deserves to be page 1 but I actually kind of like my site now and I think others would too.

Has anyone else posted detailed analysis like AndrewSlk in post #3144463?

I think it has to do with the IBL/OBL ratio and if you host images etc on your own site.

*Edit*
I just checked another site I have that is almost identical to the one above...just a different topic. It does not appear to have the -30 penalty.

This site 4 subdomains listed in DMOZ. These subdomains are totally stand alone sites and do not link back to the main domain. Also this site never had link-vault on it.

[edited by: MrSpeed at 1:28 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]

3:02 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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mr speed when did your site go to 31 for url site search and what do you think caused it?
4:08 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just out of curiousity, how many sites with the -30 penalty are either:

Travel
Hotel
or something to do with tourism/travel...

4:13 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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not mine.. many of those types of sites are thin affiliates in my opinion.
4:17 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Mine is travel/hotels and is not affiliated.

[edited by: Alex70 at 4:19 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]

4:47 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sorry Alex, didn't mean to judge! :) All the power to those that have travel/hotel sites and not for a profit.. but actual info for a change.
4:48 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Not mine.
I don't think it's industry specific.
6:27 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Austin Oak

A company have a travel site and be for profit and not be affiliate.

6:43 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Gimp, no need to clear that up I am well aware of it. Thanks! :) Most (not all ofcourse) travel/hotel site DO function on a commission basis by linking to the respective booking agencies.. hence they are affiliates.

avalanche101, I agree with you.. this penalty is most likely not industry related.

[edited by: AustrianOak at 6:46 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]

7:47 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AustrianOak
Since you were hit with the -30 have you acquired any backlinks from related websites?
I'm wondering if this is more off page rather than on page.
8:06 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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avalanche, yes.. other sites link to me at a rate of probably 2-3 a month. Then again, I also get 100's of spam sites linking to me, farm linking, etc. Alot of casino, viagra spam sites.
8:14 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My problem seems to be a -31 changing to -41 depending on the day.

I guess this is better than -800+ that my sitemap controls were reporting 2 weeks ago.

Perhaps the changes I made over the past few weeks are paying off.

I dumped the keyword links footer.
Deleted pages that I haven't touched in years.
Made all links with www. ( I can't change the 301 redirect with MSfrontpage)
Removed over a hundred dead links (This occured when I switched to full urls in the links)
Notified google of the preffered "www.domain.com"
And finally I wiped out any outbound links.

Only time will tell if the bug in googles' digital A$$ is gone. This punishment/penalty on my site has been going on since April.

1:01 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

MrSpeed looks like we have similar sites with similar problems. :)
Your site is a third penalized resource directory known to me.
As I see from your post, our sites have a very similar layout.

My site is a directory site of musicians and singers.
Each page has many outbound links with descriptions (depending on the artist) along with 5-10 links to a poster affiliate.

Absolutely the same, except subject and # of pages.

I forgot to mention the site is dmoz listed and I have about 300 inbound links mostly from dmoz clones but there are a few quality links too.

Yes, we also listed at DMOZ OD, but we have around 1000-1100 inbound links, and at least 200-300 links from highly relevant sites. (It's a links from sites included in our directory which I'm checking regulary).

I think it has to do with the IBL/OBL ratio and if you host images etc on your own site.

I'm not sure. We are hosting some pictures and ads videos but as you can see it's not good enough for G.
About IBL/OBL ratio I'm also not sure. Let's imagine, what if you are having only 10 good outbound links but evil spammers added 1000's of inbound links to your site from varios free hosts. If IBL/OBL ratio is important thing for G, this site will be penalized forever, but as you can see, there are enough good sites on the web with 1000's of inbound links which are good placed in G's SERPs.
And as I remember, someone from G's team (unfortunally I didn't remember where I've read this) said about link purchasing for rank improvement "Not the buyer of such links will be penalized, but the seller" In that message it was spoken, if a high PR site will be selling a links to a non related sites, it will be penalized.

Now is my thoughts about our problems. Perhaps, (only suppose, not sure!) this penalty may be aplied to a site due to insufficent content related to SK for which this site is high ranked in SERPs.
In our case, there are a lot of descriptions and links to SK's but not SK's by itself. Perhaps this is a new G politics - "G now is the only directory - all others must have content, not links to content."
And only because our sites are clean, related and old enough, they are still included in G's index, not throwed out.

The next thought is inspired by G sitemap reinclusion tool. I noticed one sentence in their terms: "In general, sites that directly profit from traffic (e.g. search engine optimizers, affiliate programs, etc.) may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reincluded."
Perhaps, In some cases such directories like ours can be classified by G like affiliate programs. Perhaps, it could happen if site has not enough the unique content and has some critical numbers of affiliate links (In your case you have "5-10 links to a poster affiliate" and in my case I had 8 affiliate links on my index page in different spots to the ONE affiliate site). And perhaps this is also the part of the reason for -30 penalty.
And BTW, now I think that 8 identical links to one afilliate site from one page also was not very good for my G rank.

1:06 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I dumped the keyword links footer.
Deleted pages that I haven't touched in years.
Made all links with www. ( I can't change the 301 redirect with MSfrontpage)
Removed over a hundred dead links (This occured when I switched to full urls in the links)
Notified google of the preffered "www.domain.com"
And finally I wiped out any outbound links.

We made absolutely the same things just a few days before a -30 penalty was applied to our site. :)

Again, I think this kind of penalty is not caused by site layout, inbound/outbound links, and other on-site factors. IMO this is something about relation between SK and site content. It's little bit other thing which is distinct from all others which we saw earlier on G. Perhaps It something connected with value of our sites for surfers from G for defined SK's.

[edited by: AndrewSlk at 1:23 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

8:59 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi,
what do you mean by this:
"Perhaps It something connected with value of our sites for surfers from G for defined SK's. "

and what does SK mean?

9:17 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just out of curiousity, how many sites with the -30 penalty are either:
Travel
Hotel
or something to do with tourism/travel...

Mine is in a totally different sector. Several thousand pages. Used to have hundreds of high ranking terms. All top positions are now at #31, others are below. Beeen like that since April 2006.

As the thread on Google notification of penalties has now moved to this thread I will put my 1 cent worth down and say that Webmasters must really rank way down in Google's list of priorities. Wherever we are, their communication with us is dire. I have made untold corrections and adjustments to my site to conform to their guidelines. When I submitted my first reinclusion request after the first 'round' of changes, I got a an automated reply. The second time I got zilch, zero. If there is an Adam or a Matt listrening out there, please prove me wrong and send me a sticky do I can show you a site that (imo) is WC3 compliant, full of content and does not break any other Google LAWS. Perhaps you can explain why I am still being suckered with a -31 penalty?

12:34 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Its movement Jim but not as we know it:

Search for our URL is no longer coming up at 31, can't find it anywhere!
Also, most results were we were held at 31 are now much lower down.

1:16 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AndrewSlk
What is SK?

I think google views my site as a MFA (made for adsense) or scraper. It has a url and then a 50-200 character description. I'm also concerned that I may be linking out to bad neighborhoods without knowing it. I just may make all of my OBL javascript.

I will be out of it for the next day or two but if anyone wanted to PM me their URL I will do a 10 second objective review and see if I think your site is worthy to be higher than 30.

I suppose my site does not belong higher than 30 since almost all of the information on it can be found elsewhere on the web. I'm ok with that.

However I would like some assurance that I would not be wasting my time to start writing content and trying to make the site better.

That's why we really need some clarification from google about what the heck is going on.

4:44 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've just noticed today that a couple of sites I monitor that are hit by the minus 30 penalty are showing signs of movement (downwards)
These are sites that have been in position 31 for all the things they should obviously be no. 1 for.
Anyone else noticing something similar?

Sorry, just noticed avalanche101 has posted the same thing 2 threads above

[edited by: sim64 at 4:47 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

4:45 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yep, downward spiral today.
4:50 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Weird, the sites I am seeing effected have beemn no.31 for everything for about 12 months now all of a sudden they are moving.
4:51 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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-39 now for URL search - impressive.
7:34 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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haha.. wow! #48 right now.. hmmm yea that accurate google.. there are 47 sites out there that are more significant of search for my domain.com then MY OWN DOMAIN.COM.

I hope Google fixes this bug.. penalty.. fast. I can't imagine they'd let this go for almost a year as it's been if it was people search for "google" and their site didn't come up till page 5 :)

Update!

I check 10 minutes later and am sitting at #35

I truly hope this is some tweaking going on before we get a new algo / release update that fixes this penalty / inaccuracies

[edited by: AustrianOak at 7:45 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

7:50 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How about everyone else?

[edited by: AustrianOak at 7:51 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

8:12 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AndrewSlk
What is SK?

Search Keyword
8:38 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi,
what do you mean by this:
"Perhaps It something connected with value of our sites for surfers from G for defined SK's.

Perhaps, G is now deciding that some sites are not enough valuable for surfer using some unknown algos or even maybe manual review.
For example, someone searching for SK "muscle cars". Let say there are a few high ranked sites for this keyword. First site is a resource site with description and links to auctions with such cars, second site is a site of a seller of a such cars and third, is a site with photos and history of "muscle cars". In the past, all thease sites where on top positions in SERPs, but now, perhaps Google trying to make their search results perfect and penalizing first site because it havn't content directly related to "muscle cars" just links and indirect content. All this is IMHO, but who knows...

[edited by: AndrewSlk at 8:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

9:33 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Very and very interesting post was started here [webmasterworld.com ]
It's not about -30 penalty, but about manual adjustment of some top ranked sites in G's SERPs. I think our problem, the -30 penalty has very similar nature as the problem described in this post. I recommend to all affected by -30 penalty webmasters to read and analyze this post, maybe we can find some new common points for reasons of this kind of penalty.
Also, perhaps it could confirm that -30 penalty is applied manualy.

[edited by: AndrewSlk at 9:37 pm (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]

10:00 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AndrewSLk, yes everyone should read that thread - really enlightening!

Thank you.

10:53 am on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've been #3 for a few months.
Last night, -31.
Today, -15
Right now, back to #3.

Could someone explain this madness?

11:57 am on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Snatches back the tinfoil hat.

How long did you think big G was going to allow people to say hey -31 for my domain.

Slight tweek -X, now people can't say yeah we got the same problem.

I like this hat.

This 151 message thread spans 6 pages: 151