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penalty due to word used when naming a directory?

a word used to name a directory is being listed in google results



4:58 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have a niche product site that has been online since 1999. It has always brought in a limited but steady number of site visitors. It has #1 results for its two main search phrases. It is not a competitive area.

In Nov/Dec of 2003 it fell way back in Google. Since that time, I receive more referrals from Google Images and MSN than from Google's main search. The site doesn't actually sell the product so much as display images of the product for people who would then order offline, the point being that it is an image-laden site, hence the Google Images referrals.

After the fall-out at Google, in the past 3 years, I continued to update, albeit rarely, with new images. The site didn't lose its ranking on the somewhat obscure non-competitive phrases for which it was at #1 and I knew of no other phrase that was more competitive to check. It did, however, lose about 1/3 to 1/2 (it fluctuates) of its site visitors/stats. I presume (now) that this loss was on competitive words within phrases (meaningful to someone out there but not the type of thing that brings customers for this site) that the site was being penalized for. Maybe I was inadvertently over-optimizing.

Tonight I was looking at the site at google using site:mysite.com. Four results are listed on the first page. They are the home page and then the other 3 are listed as "supplemental". When I click on "repeat the search with the omitted results included," by the 3rd result on this page, there is the title tag listed and the next line has a word repeated 3 times, separated by commas, and then the description and so on. This word is not in the visible text of many of the web pages at all. It is a word that I named my "images" directory instead of calling it "images". It occurred to me that it's probably a competitive term on the Internet, something that could trigger a spam flag.

Has anyone else seen this type of thing? Should I rename my "images" folder to "images"? The word is an appropriate word for the site and is somewhat sprinkled within the content on the site. It just isn't as intuitive to me as other synonyms, so I didn't make a point to use the word. Being that it's used as the name of my "images" folder, though, and being that i use Fireworks with splices, etc., I counted it in the source code 58 times on one typical page.

If I change the name of the "images" directory, I will lose the Google Images referrals until the bot recrawls. Years ago this could take awhile and, in those days, I was still getting main Google referrals to make up for the temporary loss. I could do the htaccess 401 thing... (sigh...) I guess...

Here is how it looks in the Google results:

Title of Niche Page
competitive word, competitive word, competitive word. Description typed in by me starts here, bla bla bla ...
www.nichesite.com/noncompetitive-synonym/page.html - 18k - Cached - Similar pages




4:07 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Now I'm thinking that rather than this being related to the naming of a directory with a competitive word, it is a dup content filter coming into play because I had the word listed 3 times in 3 different alt tags for spacer images. Anyone else seeing this? What is a safe way to name alt tags? Best just to put in a space? I like to fill it in with something to keep it from coming up as a problem when validating pages. Formerly I put in short applicable words. That doesn't look like a good idea now.

Patrick Taylor

7:27 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm not sure about your wider issue, but for spacer gifs, alt="" is fine, with no space.


7:43 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

"Repeat the search with the omitted results included" usually means that Google is filtering suspected duplicate pages.

Does each page have unique title elements, meta description, meta keyword elements? You mentioned that the site is image heavy, do the pages have enough unique text to differentiate themselves from others?


8:38 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm not sure about your wider issue, but for spacer gifs, alt="" is fine, with no space.

I actually have been researching this, this is recommended for section 508 optimization.


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