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The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 4

#1 yesterday and #31 today

     
11:56 pm on Nov 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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<continued from: [webmasterworld.com...] >
< part one: [webmasterworld.com...] >

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]

12:00 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AndrewSlk,

wow reading your post, my heart started racing. Congrats on the escape.. however welcome back to the club :(

Is there anything in specific that you may think got you out of it for that short period of time? (how long was it by the way?)

Did you submit any re-inclusions requests recently?

Anything else you may feel is of value in your process.. please share.

6:13 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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TheBear, not sure what you mean.

Do I believe what my staff tell me?

Usually, yes. We use an inhouse developed project management system, which all staff and management are required to use so i am at any one time able see what people are working on, and check it. Content and programming is checked by the SEO team, for possible problems with duplicate content, links to bad sites, bad html etc,

We run a crawler on our sites weekly, and map historical pr of pages we link out to, and suspend links to page that drop more than 3 places in pr, or nofollow them. This includes links from within our content, not just from within link applications.

Lots of checks and balances in place, we are running many sites, off one system and a central data store, without lots of controls it just would not work.

Seems to be working fine, except in the case of one site.

6:17 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I remember last year that one of Google's more obscure support pages ended up with a live hidden spam link for a few days - apparently placed there by a soon-to-be-ex Google employee. Stuff can happen anywhere.

But this is all a side issue about business management, and not really related to the penalty and what to do about it. On-topic discussion from here on, please.

1:31 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Developing news...

In a Google groups thread yesterday, a poster stated that his website had gotten out of the -30 serp penalty after fixing all the problems and filing a reinclusion request. He said that he had gotten out of the penalty literally within a few days after filing the reinclusion request.

Adam Lasnik posted to this thread which gives it credence. So it does appear that there is hope after all. This is the best news I have received in literally a year.

You can find the post by going to Google Webmaster Help and searching for The -30 place penalty (again).

1:55 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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good post jwc2349. Now I am feeling hopeful.

To recap here, this is what this guy did:

Put a 301 redirect from a mostly duplicate .co.uk site to the .com site (July)

Fixed the index.html and index.htm thing (September)

Removed the printer-friendly pages, which is a shame (September)

Removed the white papers from our partners. They set-up links to the
source (us).

Checked none of the titles on the web site were the same (some had
'standard' titles because a template page had been used).

Continued to add good content.

Submitted reinclusion request (10 days ago)

Penalty lifted (3 days ago)

Says reinclusion request was key. He opines: Be really
critical of your site. It looks like the penalty is applied by
algorithm, but lifted by humans.

2:51 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Although this is "hopeful" news...

I find it most disturbing!

NONE of the infractions listed in the above post seem to be of a malicious nature. My own -30 site did not require any 301 redirects and was "guilty" of ~ 90 duplicate page titles (out of nearly 1600 pages) and links back to the home page as index.htm instead of www.mysite.com/. (all long since remedied)

These "sins" hardly seemed to be mortal enough as to elicit a penalty so harsh that it require a human to intervene to remove it.

Is there something I'm missing here?

Caryl

3:13 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If these were ALL the infractions, then it looks as though site duplication issues are the common thread and taken over-seriously by Google. My site had 700 pages scraped around the time of the penalty, and although we got the culprits shut down, it was too late.
3:18 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Edited: URL removed (but you can find it on google groups!)

I'm the guy who posted on groups, I missed you were quoting what I'd written.

This forum was invaluable to me when I was trying to sort this out.

Pete.

[edited by: pxc433 at 3:40 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2006]

3:36 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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pxc433: that's what they are talking about above. I don't think we can post urls here.
3:50 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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On 11/13/2006 I found a site that was scraping mine . Not only that but they were pulling my pages into frames on their site and stealing my bandwidth as well!

I was able to determine that they had started doing this way back in April. Just prior to my site's falling into this "plague". Coincidense? Maybe - Maybe not...

I emailed the webmaster and ordered them to cease and desist immediately. He complied and said to "let him know if I found anymore pages of mine on his site". I replied with - "You search your database for ALL referrence to my site and REMOVE it ALL. If I find one more incidence of your site in my referere logs, the next notifying I will be doing is to report you to the search engines for content theft!

Perhaps it was THAT incident that elicited my "penalty" from Google? Perhaps now that he has removed my site from his (He was doing the same to countless other sites) mine will resurface?

What I find most disturbing is that it seems that now days there are a plethora of ways to quite easily sabatage a competitor, if you were so inclined - no?

3:58 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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dangerman,

If these were ALL the infractions, then it looks as though site duplication issues are the common thread and taken over-seriously by Google. My site had 700 pages scraped around the time of the penalty, and although we got the culprits shut down, it was too late.

Have you ever filed a re-inclusion request since that scraping incident was resolved? How long ago was it resolved?

Caryl

4:04 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well I got the site scrapers shut down in May (penalty applied April 26) and has made no difference in terms of having the penalty lifted. But, because of the timing, I believe they were the apple that tipped the cart.

But has got me thinking that duplication could be a pivotal issue here. I am a Yahoo partner and include about 3 or 4 ads at the bottom of each page of content. This is an XML feed so it is recognized as part of the page. Shouldn't be a big deal. Yahoo is obviously a G competitor and that could be another story. But duh! theses ads are syndicated so any internal Copyscape-type tool Google site analysers may use could easily be flagging my pages up as containing duplicate strings. Will bring back in via an iFrame from another domain and see if that makes a difference.

4:07 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How about 5 reinclusion requests. Each time after having carried out a swathe of site modifications. Have been through everything except the above, which I was loathed to do as those 3 Yahoo ads / page are the main income from the site. Gentle dissuasion to move to AdSense?
4:36 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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dangereman,

Not to incite any conspiracy theories or nuthin...

BUT I also happen to be a Yahoo partner!

Caryl

4:46 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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...a marriage made in hell. Ok, 2 common factors: (1) severe external scraping incident occurring just before penalty (2) Yahoo partner feed. Both involve duplicate content. We both got rid of (1), but still have (2). Could be the key.

[edited by: tedster at 7:34 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2006]

4:52 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hmm people are popping back.. seems we have 2-3 real cases now. Well it's been about 3-4 weeks since my last re-inclusion request so here goes!
9:55 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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i am seeing -50 penalty's also
10:49 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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AustrianOak

Go for it!

11:39 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks avalanche101! You never know.. perhaps there will be some wide spread cheer this holiday season.. <fingers crossed>
1:14 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I posted in the original -31 forum regarding what attempts to correct the problem were, here's a rehash:

Deleted keyword sitewide links
301'd the entire site
Wiped out all outbound links
Made all urls complete
Deleted old pages (Some of which were designed for infoseek and the like)

I detected robots in a directory containing an entire copy of the site (Used to track PPC) and I placed a NOINDEX tag on all the pages in that directory.

Yesterday I requested a reinclusion with everything above listed and also included an explaination regarding the use of "text-link-ads" and when I dumped them.

That's all I could think of in the what "might be wrong dept". The site has been dead since April. Right now we are ranking in the 30-70 range for almost everything except some keywords with searches "keyword" or thiskeywordhasnospacesbetweenthewords. There we rank in the top pages.

I'll let you know if this has fruit to it.

2:37 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A little off topic but I had a site about a year ago or more that was penalized with a PR0

Like James45 I pretty much deleted the entire site. It directories with doorway pages, links to bad neighborhoods etc.

I added a few image galleries and submitted a reinclusion request.

The site never came back. It's a shame because it's a killer domain and a site that I've had almost 10 years.

I imagine the penalty was not lifted because someone looked at it and decided there wasn't anything special or unique about the "new" site.

It's a catch 22. I'm not going to pour a lot of effort into a site until the ban gets lifted. Google won't lift the ban until the site is worthy.

My new philosophy with banned sites is to forget about them and build new ones instead.

2:45 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to post twice however I just did a search for mydomain.com and suddenly I'm #1 on that search for several domains that I have been working on. My webmaster tools are still showing positions for 30-70. I doubt google reinclusions work this fast . It may mean that google no longer makes it so obvious that a domain has a penalty.
2:46 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It could be that your site is recovering?
Domain goes to number 1 first and then results in regular searches come through, its what I saw with another site that had gone 31.
3:08 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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James, keep us posted! Usually you hear with the few cases we've seen that it comes back after a few days. If indeed you have been let free.. amazing! Keep us posted please..

But one thing is for sure.. if you were -31 and now are 1.. wow!

After half a day since re-inclusion.. sitting at a healthy #48 :) Let's see if anything happens after a week or so. Sadly at this point.. after 6-7 months.. there is nothing left to "fix".

[edited by: AustrianOak at 3:11 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2006]

3:12 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Interesting.

The site I think has a -30 is at #28

I have another site that went awol for the past couple of weeks for it's domain but I just checked it and it's now #4. I'm not use if the cause was the -30 penalty though.

7:54 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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MrSpeed.. yes sometimes #28 happens. But nothing every comes of it.. atleast in my case.

[edited by: AustrianOak at 7:56 pm (utc) on Dec. 1, 2006]

11:42 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My sites back doing well today. Touch wood it sticks as it looks like a new data refresh with good fresh dates on listings and A OK looking results compared to the last few days.

When this happened a few days back, I removed 2 site wide links that were pointing to the site. For reference, I also purchased some Adwords advertising to supplement some of the traffic during the potential down-time.

Very happy for now and will be taking more pre-cautions on this not happening again!

11:50 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> When this happened a few days back, I removed 2 site wide links that were pointing to the site....

too soon for goog to see the changes but congrats!

12:45 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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wow.. congrats! Encouraging yet very depressing at the same time :)

nuthin, to be more specific, what exactly will you be taking precaution with? What in your eyes was the reason for your site being penalized then returning? Did you submit a re-inclusion request recently?

Thanks for any much needed advice!

[edited by: AustrianOak at 12:49 am (utc) on Dec. 2, 2006]

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