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Well, fellows, what can I say.
As you remember, my site (www.mysite.com) was in -30 penalty,
and also there was my competitor's site (www.my-site.com) which also were hit by the same penalty. 2 weeks ago BOTH of our sites, in the same day returned to #1 pos for domain name search and restored high positions for other serch terms as they were before -30.
But few days ago (perhaps after recent data refresh), again, BOTH of our sites have lost high positions in SERPs and now they both in -30 penalty again.
What can I say. During period of my -30 depression, I checked and rechecked all my outbound links for its relevance and availability, I have counted all links on the pages and was made "no more then 100 links per page", I removed those few duplicated links to the same URLs but with different anchor text, all other work was done long time ago, (removing duplicate content, cleaning HTML, removing text with font size smaller than "2" and so on).
But when my site lost it rank again, I didn't do anything, my site's cache on Google now is the same as it was before penalty, and I think, -30 has much more off-site reasons than on-site.
Someone here, after analysing sites affected by -30 penalty told, that there was 2 different sites with the same names in meta description. I think it's interesting, because my site and my competitors site has URLs www.mysite.com & www.my-site.com BUT in meta names both sites has first word - "Mysite" and it looks like - "Mysite - bla-bla-bla-bla...description"
Perhaps, both our sites are the reasons for each other's penalty. I'm not sure, but who knows.
[edited by: tedster at 3:49 pm (utc) on April 5, 2007]
"I believe that Google is the only search engine that will confirm to webmasters that their site does have penalties. No, we don’t confirm penalties if we think it might clue in web spammers that they’ve been caught. But yes, we do try to confirm penalties if we think a site is legitimate or has been hacked. You can read more about how we confirm penalties in this previous post."
But what if they are wrong? Nothing is 100%. What if they assume that the site is not legitmate or is spamming when the opposite is the case. I believe that after say 3 or even 6 months of a penalty.. and there is evidence that the user has explained him/herself in reinclusions, that the user has done everything in their power to fix things that they have no idea are even broken in the first place, etc, etc. THEN there should be communication instead of further accusation.
My two cents :)
I reiterate that I have fixed everything that could even have been marginally perceived as spam or whatever. To my knowledge I have done nothing wrong, although I acknowledge that we have found and corrected several things the outside programming firm I hired last fall screwed up. But we should not continue to be penalized because of outside forces, especially now since all their crappy work has been deleted.
If Google had just taken the time to notify me of what they found offensive, it would have been rectified within minutes. Now if that isn't the statement of a "legitimate" website owner, I don't know what is.
It makes me wonder if they did comment on it it really would have a serious impact on how the algo works and could be seriously compromised.
The other alternative is that it isn't in fact a penalty, but some facit of the algo that produces these spurrious results under certain special circumstances - of course all we want to know is how to make things go back to the way they were, i.e to start with ranking number 1 for a domain search and then ultimately enjoy the very high rankings we once did.
I think at some stage someone from google with comment on this in a more constructive manner as the "problem" does appear to be increasing.
This is either due to webmasters only now noticing this due to the air of publicity we have been giving it, or that it is spreading/being more widely used.
I checked the Alexa ranking for the site that seems to have come out of the -31 penalty last week. Here it is:
1 wk. Avg. 396,045
3 mos. Avg. 1,173,035
Reach per million:
1 wk. Avg 2
3 mos. Avg 0.6
Page Views per user:
1 wk. Avg. 12.2
3 mos. Avg. 5.1
It's amazing how much the effort over the past month and the reinclusion request have changed this websites outlook. I just wish I knew exactly how to fix several other sites without overdoing it. My second site seems to be suffering from under-optimization after the changes and reinclusion request. I'm a bit timid to reinstall anything such as keyword laced internal links...
It does feel good to know the sites are apparently free of this issue.
avalanche101, anything? Still nothing here since my last re-inclusion request and basically the final change I could have done to my site.
Anyone seeing any movement?
Of course it would be great if Goog processed the changes fast enough--assuming they are adequate :)
A really rarely updated site is doign so much better for me. I'm totally surprised, so I started to update it.
Good luck to all
Funny to see them all refering to this thread though!
Didn't realise WebmasterWorld was such a big cheese, but there again the info on here is first rate and the members are a lot more civil than elsewhere.
Anybody got any other ideas as to what could be at the route of this penalty?
Where can I find the reinclusion request form? It's not where it says on Google Webmaster tools?
Please note this kernel from Adam:
"...We don't accept completely anonymous reinclusion requests; everyone who submits a request does so now through our Webmaster Tools (when they're logged in). Basically, there's no harm in filling one out if you feel your site's presence or ranking in Google has been adjusted due to guideline violations..."
[edited by: jwc2349 at 12:42 pm (utc) on Dec. 7, 2006]
If you upload a site map, on the page in sitemaps that shows your sitemap there is a dropdown list on the right, from which you can select to enter a re-inclusion request. (this reminds me of my tech support days - "its over there next to the icon at the top of the page under the logo, near the nav menu...." ha!)
Although it sounds to me that you do not need to.
Have you been through the checklist:
1) No duplicate content
2) No linking to "bad neighbourhoods" - I think this can be seen by checking the site but also doing a url search of the site you link to, to see if it comes up less than no1.
Forgive me if the above is tedious, you probably have been through them, like me.
If there are other possible causes could you list them?
There has to be a rational cause for this.
Also, I think its more wide spread than people think. (see recent posts of people dropping)
I have done several searches and found many many sites than are not ranking number 1 for their URL - they aren't -31 yet, most are between 10 and 20. But they are not ranking for all of the keyowrds you can see they are chasing, just a few now.
So because they do rank for a few keywords they probably don't realise that something is going on.
Thinking back to Nov 3 when we got hit, for a week prior we slipped a little on a range of keywords. Maybe if we had done a domain search we would have seen the same effect - slipping down to -10, -20 for domain.
Our domain search results in anything between -28 and -44 at the moment.
yes I have gone over those two items. In regards to my links out.. my links page still has a cache of March. So therefore Google is still using my old links page that DID have some bad outgoing links on it. Seems that there are quite a bit of pages for me that are cached March and early April (right before my hit on April 26th).
Any progress for you?
However for you, would it be possible to submit another re-inclusion request and mention the links page.
If you have removed the bad links it would be very unfair for you to be penalised because they haven't updated the cache and therefore think you are still linking to bad neighbourhoods.
As mutt cutts said, submitting re-inclusion requests can't hurt.
Time to check the cache on our bad links.
Here goes again! :)
I have gone over all those pages with the old cache and tried to find differences between those sites and ones that get current-recent cache dates and there is none. I have made sure that all the old cached pages do pass the 'checklist' that people have been putting together about the penalty
Might be a coincidence.. might be some pattern.. only sure thing is right now I am sitting in the spot #56 :)
I've just tried this and there are a few others that aren't ours and when you clikc on the link you get re-directed straight to our site, even if you click on the google cached link.
Intro: we have a number of property web sites using the same database so there was some duplication of property between them.
We tried to remove duplicate content almost immediately and filed a re-inclusion request but with no success.
Read all the forums, our site even got a comment on Matt Cutts blog. Looked for common themes of "minus 30" penalty....
So we took the following steps:
a) A complete re-write of the web site (including siloing and LSI principles) - making sure that title tags were unique, almost eliminating all links to our other property web sites (in case they thought we were spamming), and used robots.txt to stop indexing of pages that might be construed as duplicate content (rss news feeds, blog feeds), add new unique content. Use re-directs in .htaccess for old pages. Create new site-map; submit to Google.
b) On our regional property web sites we implemented robots.txt to prevent indexing of duplicate properties, and removed site-wide links to the main property site.
c) 2nd re-inclusion request
Within 24 hours - back to page 1!
Just hope it holds now!
As a side issue, it certainly focussed our attention on looking at other issues, such as - once we get a visitor to the web site: can they find the information they need, can they contact us easily; ie try harder to get the client on board! We also looked at Adwords - we implemented conversion tracking. We looked at the other Search Engines and how we could improve rankings in the alternative SEs.
Hope this might help other webmasters.