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Google's 950 Penalty

What do we know about it, and how do we get out of it?

   
2:05 pm on Jan 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've read a lot about Google's -30 Penalty, where pages on a site drop 30 positions, but most of the comments about the 950 Penalty, where pages on a site drop to the very bottom or last page of the search results, have been comments made in other topic threads.

What do we really know about this penalty, what causes it, and most important of all, how do we fix our sites to restore normal rankings?

4:22 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I requested but no answer.

Just wondering if I should do a complete rebuild tear down 5 years of work and drop the affiliate program.

Has anyone recovered from this penalty? Any luck with test pages or directories?

other option...back in the real world working.

oh hummmmmm.

4:23 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



southernmost, Did you click on the link for
'repeat the search with the omitted results included' That you find on the last page of the regular search? I found that is the only way I could find my missing pages. So the pages are not totally missing but severly penalized.

johnhh, I don't think there is any point to doing a reinclusion request as your pages are in the index. Reinclusion would be more for a site that has been banned.

4:31 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"Any luck with test pages or directories"

No luck at all with the tests we ran/running - any page well ranked remains well ranked - any page down in the depths ( which is most of them ) stays down in the depths.

This result applies even if the page is redesigned...

4:31 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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southernmost, Did you click on the link for
'repeat the search with the omitted results included' That you find on the last page of the regular search? I found that is the only way I could find my missing pages. So the pages are not totally missing but severly penalized.

Yes, if I do the search with the omitted results included the full 999 search results come up...and I'm then at the very last result (#998 & #999)...unbelievable.
If this is a penalty, it is tremendously misplaced and unfair. This is a very legitimate, white hat, semi-authority site.

4:49 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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dazzlindonna has confirmed that regional rankings are good in other countries, confirming my suspicion that there may be an error with Googles regional filter.

Can anyone else confirm this PLEASE!

5:27 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



protalker, interesting theory. if you are correct, then this gravy train is coming off the tracks and i guess that a lot of us are hosed - and so is the web. watch the content that we update constantly go stale, watch authority sites go offline... because what is the point? MATT? ARE YOU THERE? TURN THE DIALS DOWN! THE WEB IS AT STAKE!

ps can you post a link to the rest of that thread?

[edited by: PhattusCattus at 5:30 pm (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]

6:18 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Well, its been exactly three weeks for us and the ď950 PenaltyĒ so the theory that thereís been some sort of algo error and things will get sorted out is diminishing rapidly. Itís been our experience that when that does happen the fix tends to come sooner rather than later.

We have been through some strange happenings with Google over the years, certainly Florida was like waking up in the twilight zone but we have never, ever experienced anything like this; 7 year old high end sites just sitting there in position 995. Iím sure thereís a reason, but its just surreal looking at it.

7:23 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Well I hope you're wrong

I have a completely white hat shopping site that is dropping from existance. Google traffic down 90% in last week.

9:39 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



It's so depressing to have not only scraper sites with my web page info on them but even pages of complete gibberish ranking ahead of me.

I see that MC is back from vacation. I sure hope he will take a look at this thread.

Are people finding that more and more of their pages are going down or does this seem to have stayed pretty stable?

9:49 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have two large sites and all pages went down to 35-48
3 days and counting....
10:00 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I thought a few sections of my site were gonna be ok, but they are also dropping off today.

Why google want to tank a real company is beyond me
not very encouraging so far

10:00 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It happend to me as well exactly on 15.01 and suffering from this penalty. I followed whole threads and still cannot figure out what is really wrong in my site. Should i contact Google and ask them why it happend?
10:03 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Remember the page that is ranked just below mine on the search term I mentioned? Well, a friend clicked on the link with his computer set for full attack mode: nothing gets in without being disinfected first. The page title is Women (doing a normal body waste function).

When you click on the link, it takes you to a worthless page that has a link on it in HUGE text with anchor text of the search term I've been watching. Click on the link, and it takes you to a totally WORTHLESS directory of sites with that search term. Yes, my site is listed on that pile of you know what page. With a scraped snippet, of course.

Thanks, Google. I'm so glad my original on-topic content which is part of a larger site that is part of a theme, and full of unique content, rates just slightly better than a site that is totally worthless spam.

10:25 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Optimist:

A regional issue may be an issue. I am located in the NE US. For search terms that were previously in the top 10 in Google.com -- stil appear in top of SERP in Google.co.uk.

However, in other regional Google engines such as Google.it, Google.es and Google.ca, I still have have the same page missing issue.

[And my big complaint is that these pages all contained original content.]

11:08 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



"Maybe this should be called a 'last page penalty'."

That's not accurate either because pages are usually fifty or so places from the last result, so even if you have prefernces set at 100, the penalized pages may not be on the literal last page.

There has never been anything regional about this penalty. You are either dead or not... but again there seem to be several similar 950 penalties so how things are for one page may not be how they are for others.

Today's data refresh seems to have rescued some pages.

11:21 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No rescure yet for me
can someone call me an ambulance
11:24 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I saw some pages recover today but only very temporarily.

When checking SERPS against Analytics, I came in #1 for one of the keywords that showed most improvement, but results for other keywords that Analytics showed with traffic were back on last page by the time I checked.

Overall google traffic remains down by about 80%.

After 160 posts in this thread, I feel that we are not much closer to understanding what is going on.

And why the deafening silence from google guys?

11:34 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What concerns me is at this point, there are usually a few common denominators with the sites impacted. Not so this time.

Age of site has nothing to do with it.

Overoptimization doesn't seem to be an issue, either.

Authority sites in niche areas as well as in more general areas have been hit.

Sites with affiliate links and without have been impacted.

AdSense and no AdSense as well.

Commercial and personal sites have been hit.

Sites that have been in trouble for years, and sites that have ranked well for years are penalized.

I'm surprised this isn't a bigger issue than it is. Is it just a handful of sites in the big scheme of things, or have people just not recognized that their site has been hit, since not all search terms are affected?

11:38 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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reminds me of "Florida" ....but much much worse.
12:24 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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-->thedigitalauthor

Did you check for copyright infringement or multiple duplications of content from your site in the UK?

In your INURL: site search are there numerous Proxy Sites listed with your title and URL?

One thing I did notice is that only one region will have good rankings. In your stats, do you get a decent amount of traffic from the UK?

The regional is only one possibility, but I cannot figure out why I would have top 10 rankings in another region than where I should be, unless the filter is only running in some regions, but I would assume the UK would be hit early as well.

1:29 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)



Hello, I am new to WebmasterWorld although have been keeping up with the thanksgiving update, bad data push and now this 950 penalty. I have one question for everyone that 950 penalty has affected. Do you use Google sitemaps? Well all of the above has happend to me. I came out on thanksgiving update to high rankings, I got hit with the Dec 20th bad data push but came back in a couple of weeks and I got hit with the 950 penalty. This is what I did to come back from the 950 penalty within 12 hours. I just simply deleted my google sitemap. My site did not get crawled by the bot during this period at all. So I think the sitemap is one way of the plex to have there hold on us. Also most know that the sitemap team is very aggresively going after spam sites. So just try deleting your sitemap and see if it works. It worked for me and I do not think it is a coincidence at all. Its googles way to have all of our info and just simply turn the dial one way or another.
1:48 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



James, There are some of us with this penalty that don't have Google Site Maps.

>>pages are usually fifty or so places from the last result<< I wish, in the searches I've done my pages are like 3-5 from the last. <sigh> Not that it matters since you are sunk either way.

I spent some time today trying to figure out if the page will show up well on searches that relate to something on the page but are unrelated to the search phrase I suspect as being the problem. Earlier I had thought it was totally phrase related but now I'm not so sure.

It seems to me that somehow a phrase has caused the problem but once that occurs the page is penalized no matter what the search term. But it looks like when you use a search term other than the phrase the page results are a little higher but still penalized.

Would some other people experiment with this and share what you find?

2:27 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Optimist (and everyone else):

I just went back to Google UK to do some poking around as you asked to see why I was not affected there - but guess what, now I have been penalized there now as well.

3:12 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Now I have to take that back. I just searched with the two search phrases that I suspected with both in the same search and the page popped up as the number one results.

I'm so confused! :o There is no doubt that if you hit on the right search the page still comes up high in the serps.

3:18 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You are either dead or not... but again there seem to be several similar 950 penalties so how things are for one page may not be how they are for others.

That is what I said. I believe there is more than one cause of this penalty. In fact, I think that one of my site's has been the victim of this penalty since 2003.

And my current site suffering from this penalty, well it was back on top for about 5 days and is now back in the can. Other pages are starting to go as well.

[edited by: jtoddv at 3:19 am (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]

3:18 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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annej, did some more testing...although i was skeptical of this, there does seem to be a regional factor...my site is located in a latin american country...i searched using a keyword fairly unique to a page in my site, using the google.com.mx site.

the keyword is included in the page title, anchor text linking to the page, headlines, etc. and the page came up #1.

I then searched for an exact phrase match, WHICH OCCURS ON THE SAME PAGE. This phrase is also in the anchor text, page title and headlines, together with the keyword i search for first. The result? Dead last.

When i search for these keywords on google english i am consistly at the bottom of results.

i am not sure what this means except that this is the most b-s penalty ever. why on earch would the same page rank #1 and dead last, when searching for text that appears in the title? makes zero sense.

3:46 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am seeing some results in the SERPs get a bit more relevant. I hope this is the beginning of a return to some normalcy. My own theory is that this has lots to do with dupes, but I think they turned the dial down recently as to what is acceptable dupes and nonacceptable ones.

If you guys have any identical pages, which is very easy to have unintentionally with auto generated DB content, I would dissallow the less important ones on robots.txt specifically for googlebot. Also, when submitting you sitemaps to Google, I would not list every single page that you have if you have like 100,000, especially, like the "back", and "forward" (aka 'bookmark") pages where you display x amount or results per page.

3:55 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It just keeps getting stranger.

First of all, when my site first got the penalty, there was no Google Sitemap at all. Never had been, but I've added a text one since then just to see what would happen. So far, no changes.

I checked my search query report from Google Webmaster Tools, that shows one of the exact search terms I've been monitoring at #9. My site is hosted in the U.S., has a .com domain, and according to the downloaded report, my search term is #9 on Google.com!

There is no way, I've been checking this term daily, using multiple C-classes. This really makes me feel like Google thinks a search term is at a particular position, when in fact it is not - it is buried at the bottom of the SERPs. When we had that little blip earlier this month, my pages all popped back up to the top of the results.

I'm beginning to lean more toward Google having a problem that they either don't know about, don't want to fix, or can't fix. And this is because I'm getting information from Google about my site that I know is incorrect.

4:02 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



PhattusCattus
I then searched for an exact phrase match, WHICH OCCURS ON THE SAME PAGE. This phrase is also in the anchor text, page title and headlines, together with the keyword i search for first. The result? Dead last.

Is that anchor text link on the same site or from an external site? And is that link from an on-topic page?
4:06 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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the keywords in both cases are in intrasite anchor text..the same link...with totally different results...

[edited by: tedster at 4:25 am (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]

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