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Got sandboxed (penalised) because of too many inbound links.

What to do?

   
11:06 am on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi everyone.

So my new site got sandboxed/penalized because of too many incoming backlinks in very short period of time (bought links and my own links from my other sites).

How is it usually fixed?
- Just wait for the penalty to expire (6+ months)?
- Remove inbound links?
- something else?

4:45 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Are you sure this is the problem?
5:19 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi Jessica,
It happened to one of my websites too. When I launched a new blog, I added the url on several other blogs that I manage with the same anchor text (for a very competitive keyword). Within a week or so all hell broke loose. Luckily, I had no choice but to ride it out for 90 days and everything came back as if nothing happened. Google punishes you when you get a lot of inbound links too fast esp. if they are not from a major website.
5:34 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Google sometimes gives a new site a "honeymoon period" of decent rankings which then disappear, even without articifical growth in backlinks.
9:20 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google punishes you when you get a lot of inbound links too fast esp. if they are not from a major website.

Not sure this is the case, as google states you cannot be hit for things outside your control, and links in is outside your control

11:25 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi everyone.
So my new site got sandboxed/penalized because of too many incoming backlinks in very short period of time (bought links and my own links from my other sites).

How is it usually fixed?
- Just wait for the penalty to expire (6+ months)?
- Remove inbound links?
- something else?

Either I or the SEOs who told you these things have been living on the moon the last few years.

Usually I can let go of my urge of having to reply but this post was so confident on so many things that are so detached from SEO reality that I had to pop in. The sandbox, timed penalties that expire by themselves and penalties based on timing instead of link pattern analysis are not SEO. I don't know... how else to say this, but these are not SEO.

Luckily, I had no choice but to ride it out for 90 days and everything came back as if nothing happened. Google punishes you when you get a lot of inbound links too fast esp. if they are not from a major website.

You either got more links to dilute the same anchor text overuse, links aged to pass more TrustRank to let you into the index at all ( you were included before by the fluke Tedster mentioned ), or lost some of the links, again to normalize the percentage of same keyphrase anchors. If there was anything like "too many links too fast" no news would make it to the index. Hype would KILL a site.

That's not the case.
It's either too many links from the same site, or overuse of same anchor text. Or the combination of these. There are more unique, much more interesting penalties but let's start with the obvious.

...

The problem may be most likely either of the following:

- Google finally realized those were YOUR links ( ie. same server ) that it got you ranked for so well so fast. Yes, there may be a delay like this sometimes when you get spidered in between refreshes. If it is so, it's not that you are penalized, but Google coming to senses.

- You bought a sitewide link and with it a penalty for the given phrase because of the quantity was unnatural ( ie. 4000 incoming links saying "buy widgets" from the same domain - set up overnight - with nothing else in the linking profile so far... gets a flag. For this is called spam. )

- You bought off-topic links. They were devalued the past few weeks. The end.

What you can do:

- If you really did buy links that were sitewide, get rid of them fast.

- If you bought off-topic links, guess what, get rid of them fast.

- Keep your own links. Unless they are sitewide or off topic.

- Get a web 2.0 junkie with some skills in networking and viral marketing for a daily fee of $40 and a filled up cookie jar, and start spreading the word about your site. If it is unique enough.

If not... then build one that is.

Sorry for this post...

[edited by: Miamacs at 11:31 pm (utc) on April 25, 2007]

12:03 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"Not sure this is the case, as google states you cannot be hit for things outside your control, and links in is outside your control."

Unless they are reciprocal ^_^

8:38 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Miamacs, thanks for your extensive post.

So if my site is ranking in positions 750-800 for 3 main keyphrases, what kind of penalty is that and how do I fix it?

10:25 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Unless they are reciprocal

Which of course is within your control

10:39 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"Not sure this is the case, as google states you cannot be hit for things outside your control, and links in is outside your control."

If you own the site doing the linking as well, then that too would be under your control.

11:49 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"Not sure this is the case, as google states you cannot be hit for things outside your control, and links in is outside your control."

Unless they are reciprocal ^_^

I assume that was a joke, right? But it's a dangerous one.

There's no penalty for reciprocal linking. If there was, no websites would show in Google. Reciprocal linking doesnt equal the FFA / automated / doing it with anyone link exchange directories. That's 1% of reciprocal linking.

There are penalties however for being linked with the exact phrases too many times, and/or from mostly off-topic pages, and/or from on-topic pages from sites that do not have trust on that theme, meaning are basically off-topic with artificial relevance ( no off-page factors indicating their theme ).

For that is spam.
Or a bought link.

Or a website having a directory for its "I'll exchange links with anyone" program, full of themes out of which it is only relevant for one at most.

So if my site is ranking in positions 750-800 for 3 main keyphrases, what kind of penalty is that and how do I fix it?

If those keyphrases are listed above a high TrustRank threshold - probably two, three word phrases, in other words competitive, and those positions are near or almost the last that are displayed at all, take a merry tour - and your time - to read through the -950 thread(s).

In short though:

- Get rid of off-topic links
- Get rid of sitewide inbounds
- Get rid of off-topic sitewide inbounds
- Natural on-topic links vary in anchor text
- That's not always an exact match to your TITLE and CONTENT
- On topic and a close match is good
- Don't link to your site/internal pages with high hopes for near relevant competitive words
- Use a navigation worded along the same lines

Cleanse your linking profile.

2:45 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would go with the over use of link text theory as it was widely noted that Google stopped people being able to Googlebomb.
4:33 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google does penalise for excessive number of links in a short period of time.

Try waiting...

4:59 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm in the process of testing this out, but I think I have found a flaw in how Google is counting links and/or preventing Google bombs. If you have a high PR site (PR7 for example) and you link to a normal, non-authority, PR3 site, you can take that site out of the SERPs for the particular keyword or phrase. I just tested it on one of my sites that I don't care about and now I am going after some competition to see if I can get them to tank as well.

If this works, the key to moving up the SERPs in Google will be to just take out the people on top of you 1 by 1 by getting tons of spam links pointed at the with the same keywords that you are targetting. Once you see some downward movement, you can give them the death blow by buying a high PR link (off topic of course) and pointing it at them.

Of course, this will not work on sites like Wikipedia or other authority sites. I've only seen this work on sites PR5 or below (again, I'm still testing).

5:03 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Very interesting report, errorsamac. By any chance did the url you targeted go to "end of results" -- as in what people call the "-950 penalty"?
5:51 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Yes, I just checked and both sites are hit with the -950 penalty.

Site 1 (which fell in the SERPs a few weeks ago) is one of the last results that show up around # 950.

Site 2 (which fell yesterday) only shows up if I also show omitted results. When I do that, it shows the -950 penalty as well.

This might be more suited for the -950 thread, but as far as I know, there is no known way to recover from this (other than to get good links to offset the bad links). Since it's much easier to get bad/spam links than it is to acquire good links, it seems like an easy way to take out the competition?

Right now I am testing this out on a site I don't own. While it's un-ethical, the more people that know about this (and the more that complain!) will hopefully get Google to fix this problem. IMO, it's complete bullsh*t that someone can negatively affect your ranking in the SERPs.

3:43 pm on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I think that one of the sites that I manage is being hit by what you are describing in your post errorsamac!

Noticed groups of 20 to 30 unsolicited links from pages on same domain pointing to the same url(on affected site) with same description slightly on topic.

Result, probably guessed dropped on the bottom of the list on top search key phrases.

Question here; Does PageRank going to be affected by this? (nothing happended yet just start noticing this).

And the obvious; How do we recover from this? Besides waiting as it was suggested above. Seems to me that it's being going for a while unnoticed by SE.

5:45 pm on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Its called Google Bowling, and it has worked for some time, Google has simply ignored this and only helped very few sites get out of it. Its very hard to prove.
 

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