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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.
Even a few affiliate pages that go to those CJ, LS links. Remove them!
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.
Excessive anchor text (using same anchor text) about 1000 times.
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.
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.
>>>>>>>>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
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]
There are several threads on other forums about the -31 penalty, so it is obviously a known phenomenon for webmasters. But the other thread on Google Groups ( search on "My Site, Your Site and The Minus 30 Penalty" - include the speechmarks) features a bunch of affected webmasters trying and failing to elicit an acknowledgement and panacea from Adam Lasnik.
Appi2 it is a fair point you make about moving to another domain. Let's imagine darkly that another 18 months have gone by and we are still all languishing, having wasted more time and daily hand-wringing. We'll be going " jeez why didn't I move it off bustedsite.com eighteen months ago?"
It's a bit like holding on to a plummeting stock in the hope that it will rebound and make us some money. Except it's not quite as bad because we can do both. We can hold onto our old site, maybe not spend so much time on it. All the while we can rewrite content to a new site. I'm the first one to admit that is a nigh impossible task as I have about 20k pages. But fortunately I have an old domain that has been sitting around doing zip for 6 years with a couple of pages of content on it. It's not a great name but what can you do? I have already done a couple of things with it.
1] Added pages very similar to bustedsite.com in content, but have been reworded. This is tough and have only managed about 30 pages so far.
2] For a test, I cut out a section of busted site.com and grafted it on to newsite.com - about 100 pages.
Both seem to be producing pages that are getting spidered quickly and already are above #31
But as you say Austrian Oak, apart from the obvious graft, there is the small matter of rebuilding links, and that is harder these days, so getting back to previous positions is going to take a long time.
joined:Dec 29, 2003
problem solved, right? Webmasters complain of a minus 31 penalty...make it a -35 ;)! I am in the same boat as well, and at this point, I seriously thinking about a noindex tag on that domain. Move the content to a new established one and live happily ever after.
Until someone can say this is where you have violated them to anyone suffering from this affect then the best thing is continue with your site - in my opinion.
Time to re-read the trial by Kafka I think.
joined:Dec 29, 2003
That might NOT have been it...unless you explain a bit more the free ads that people posted. Even then, did G have time to index /rank them? As the saying goes: Correlation does not mean causation.
We changed You Can Post "FREE" Ads Until 2007! to (Post Free Ads For a Limited Time!) to extended the free posting, do to our industry seasonal ups and down's, we needed to change that term in 6 sections of our site.
This was not the first time that this site was moved to the 31st spot it came back in 3 weeks when we changed to (You Can Post "FREE" Ads Until 2007!) time lasted about 5 weeks when we did that minor change.
joined:Dec 29, 2003
I am trying something new this week: I will put a no index on every page that is supplemental and see what happens once that is seen by google.
1) One more more Amazon affiliate links on the page. Please note that mine is not a purely thin affiliate site. It has some added content, images + product comparision tools etc.
2) Around 100 of 1000 pages are giving 500 Internal server error due to a bug. I still have to fix this bug. Google Webmaster tools have these pages listed in the error section.
3) Outdated XML Sitemap in Google. I thought that Sitemap didnt have any effect on the page rankings/ indxing whatsoever so I stopped updting the sitemap since last 6 months.
4) Adding a DHTML + Ajax "Tooltip" on product images to give more information about the product. Does google consider this as "Hidden Text"?
5) Using a dynamically generated Tree view component where the + and - images of the Treeview also have a non-organic hyperlink. The end nodes of the tree have organic hyperlinks.
6) Duplicate Anchor text in TreeView? Like Brand A would appear in CatA and also CatB in different Nodes. The Anchor text would still say Brand A but URL would be different.
Please let me know if someone has similar site and got penalized.
I think a lot of our meta tags sucked, these have been cleaned up over the last couple of weeks, a lot hadn't been changed in 5 years.
Did you suddenly acquire a lot of backlinks?
We did, but that was about a month before the -30 hit and was due to some sites doing sitewides.
I have some metatags like "ProductA Reviews, ProductA Images, ProductA Accessories" and so on where productA is being repeated. Do u think that is hurting me?
Someone told in the comments of a german SEO blog that he got this information from a Google employee: It is a manually operated ranking penalty for little misdoings. It will end through a timecode. This penalty is only for short periods, because it is only for little misdoings. In his case the ranking penalty should be last circa 30 days."
I'm also getting the impression that it might be caused by either a) suddenly getting a ton of backlinks - but they say there is little that another site can do to hurt you!
b)Being a "thin affiliate" - what does this mean?
c) Not on topic links
I'm not seeing much about on site issues that could cause this.
If I find anything more I'll post it here.
If it's a manually applied penalty.. and expires after 30 days.. interesting. That would be great if it expired once the issue that Google didn't like was discovered.. seems I can't find it clost to 8 months.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.. I guess it's time for more tweaks and waiting for 30 days to go by? But it's pretty much a needle in a haystack..
wow.. now I am getting beat down like there is no tomorrow.. sitting at spots #49.. #50
Long live the minus 30 penalty :S
[edited by: AustrianOak at 3:50 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2006]
Say for example you sell airline flights and hotels.
You should see the major corporations , ie... Hilton, Marriot, American Airlines, Delta, etc... in the serps first. (Or so google thinks)
Basically the definition of "thin affiliate" is a reseller. Especially if the manufacturer or corporation sells directly on their own corporate site.
.. I also don't think that it is a 30 day expiring penalty.
.. if this is a manually applied penalty I believe google should be obligated to notify us. If some person actually goes to the trouble of manually reviewing our sites, manually forcing a penalty on it yet not banned the site.. then they should notify us of it. By giving us a penalty rather than a ban, that to me shows that google doesn't think we're doing things worth removal from teh index.. that they feel that it is minor things in their eyes and give us a chance to fix them, in teh meanwhile crippling our sites. If they really want to give us that chance, then give it to us.. notify us. Don't send us to the webmaster guidelines that most of us have gone over dozens of times and follow (so it seems to be based on the threads).
[edited by: AustrianOak at 4:34 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2006]
This may or may not be true.
I've read so much rubbish along the way as well, but I thought this was interesting, hence posting it here.
Thanks for the info on thin affiliate.
We don't run an affiliate site, but I can see how affiliate pages may well be useful such as providing more info on the product, customer feedback etc.
So the logic of always having the retailer, manufacturer come first in SERPS is a little flawed I think.
If I am going to make a hotel reservation I want to read some reviews about that hotel and not hotel propaganda.
I prefer to see the reviews up top and not the primary vendor.
joined:Oct 27, 2001
Whenever I search for a product, vacation, whatever.. I always looks for consumer reviews because that's where the truth is. Not on the manufacturers website where they're product is ofcourse the best in the world.
Google isn't a shopping guide, so there's no inherent reason why a search on "widgetco wc-1 camera" or "hotel widgetville" should rank a review higher than widgetco.com or hotelwidgetville.com. In fact, it's likely that the person searching for either of those terms would prefer to see the relevant manufacturer or hotel owner's page in the #1 spot. In practice, however, reviews often do rank higher. (Maybe Google has a "-10 Flash penalty" for manufacturers and hoteliers who deliver info as Flash aimations or use Flash splash screens!)