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The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 5

#1 yesterday and #31 today

3:30 pm on Jan 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Still penalized for 56 consecutive weeks now. Domain name search swings between 33-45. However, sadly the targeted search terms I follow so closely and ranked #1 for almost all of 2005, now turn up from #283 to #950. This occurred last Friday. They used to be in the same #31-#45 spot.

We have followed everything Adam has pontificated about:

1) make your site squeakly clean. We did. On November 20 we ditched all the crap the hired programmers put up last year which apparently triggered the penalty.
2) provide unique and compelling content. 78,000 new, unique content pages in the past 21 days! Site is now 95% new, unique content--something Google says they love.
3) ask yourself this question: "...why would someone choose my site over others in the same field..." That is an easy one. We provide a unique visual search method. So we are definitely not run of the mill.
4) then file a reinclusion request. Filed on 12/14/06.
5) et al

But Adam also stated: "... it would be extremely rare for a site to be penalized for years..." Looks like we may be that extremely rare occurrence.

FYI, Google continues to crawl aggressively and has since October 5.

Lastly, while Google says that they listen to webmasters and provide communication via their webmaster central and notify webmasters of reasons for penalties or impending penalties, they can't hold a candle to MSN.

I notified MSN in August that I thought I had been unfairly penalized. They answered back in about 10 days stating that I was right, that I had indeed been unfairly penalized and that I would be seeing a return to the serps in a couple of weeks.

They lived up to their word. I did return to their index and guess where I rank and have ranked for months for my targeted search terms. #1, #2, #3 or at least page 1 or 2 for all my targeted search terms (such as <edited>). The SAME EXACT search terms I used to rank #1 for in Google.

Makes you wonder how much Google really does care about correcting an apparent error. Sure doesn't seem like they live up to their promises of communication. Heck even convicted murderers come up for a parole hearing every few years.

<Sorry, no specific search terms.
See Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]>

[edited by: tedster at 3:49 pm (utc) on April 5, 2007]

6:26 pm on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Not sure what you mean - a ploy to increase your PPC spend?

Yes, and to increase the price of a click. On certain key-phrases Google has cleared the top10 of all Adsense users (except for mega sites that use a different kind of Adsense, not showing "Ads by Goooooooogle". Maybe these are the sites that have more 10 million page views per month). By deranking Adsense users, Adwords users will get less traffic on that key-phrase, leading to higher bids per click.

On typical retail key-phrases the deranked sites (that don't use Adsense, but use organic traffic to sell their goods) may want spend more on Adwords.
In December 2005 some WebmasterWorld members reported that Google personel had invited them to open an Adwords acccount and said that would "..get you back on page 1 of the organic SERPs". This is anecdotal, but it fits the bill. The only constant factor I can discern is the PPC thing.

Also anecdotal: I noticed that some people have removed Adsense from their homepage, sometime between 6 months ago and now, giving legitimate (in the sense that it's their own business) but not very plausible reasons. They haven't been penalized.

That's Google for you. It's the PPC engine. PPC is their masterstroke, but to let it govern your SERPs, I dunno.

2:27 pm on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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5:16 pm on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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How are you doing 2 weeks after your "most detailed re-inclusion request ever" (not exact citation :-))?


Naturally, I've been following this thread for the last five months and have been trying to find some patterns in the success stories posted (few and far in between, sadly). It is hard to pinpoint similarities, of course, but one that sort of stands out was the fact that people re-designed their websites before submitting requests. That hints at interesting exit strategy: hire the best designer your money can buy and make the site look VERY Web2.0 that would appeal to 20-some years old Google interns reviewing your site. Problem is, of course, months of mediocre traffic had drained the budget to the point that it does not look all that justifiable anymore.

This dull-lookingness also happens to be the one thing on my major site I did not address yet during the five months I know about the penalty. I tried everything (other than design) I could think of - and found couple nasty problems in the process - but the site has been designed back in late 90s with tables and transparent image - controlled widths and such and it would be increadibly painful to convert to CSS now, unless the above observation is correct.

I also have a little success story of my own in support of the above theory. A smaller and less significant site of mine got out in less than a week after a nice looking header had been applied. Interesting detail though: I did not file any reinclusion requests for this particular site. Do they come back from time to time to re-evaluate?

So, am I going slightly mad or this design feature seems reasonable to other people as well?

5:37 pm on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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1script, lol.

Far from "best EVER request" as you suggest. Just another re-inclusion request following the re-inclusion guidelines. And no, nothing yet. Multiple members from various boards are attempting to find the cause of my penalty, which I truly appreciate; however, no one is yet to find an answer.

Interesting theories/observations with re-designs. It would be very suprising that this penalty would be removed after a re-design and I am sure that wouldn't be the case with my website.

I believe that all cases are specific and that there is not one cause, some might overlap or it may be a combination of more than one, however I think the majority of site are unique. Especially from the webmasters that have recovered that I have been in contact with.

If you decide to re-design your penalized site, please keep us posted and be specific (ie. graphical design, or actual things that apply to guidelines such as navigation, alt/title tags, internal linking, etc)

Keep the faith everyone.


6:17 pm on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I guess, I am not suggesting that re-design by itself will get you out of the trouble. Technical things like duplication and such will essentially play the major role. However, the human reviewer may be more inclined to take a longer look at your site before they send your reinclusion request into their trash bin. This may make a whole lot of difference, especially in the borderline cases or in the case of lesser importance as my minor site that was (probably) rounded up into the penaly because it was linked from the major penalized site.

Will I decide to re-design? I will let your guys know but it will be darn hard - it's a technical site with tables, graphs, forms etc. all written and drawn to match the 9 years old design.

I just hate to think that the only thing the intern thinks about my site during the decisive 2 first (and the only) seconds as he/she opens it is: "suckers couldn't even hire a Web designer - trash bin - there you go!"

< continued here: [webmasterworld.com...] >

[edited by: tedster at 11:35 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]

This 185 message thread spans 7 pages: 185