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The "Minus Thirty" Penalty - part 6

1 yesterday and #31 today



9:02 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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

I was at a minus 30 for about 5 months and in the last couple of days my site has returned to position #6

Would you say that means that the penalty is removed?

[edited by: tedster at 11:34 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]


7:26 am on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My top search query jumped yesterday from "outer space" to number 50 in google serps. Maybe i'm getting out?

And by the way, don't you think that this penalty is fully automatic and lasts exactly 6 months no matter what kind of changes in your site you do or how many reinclusion requests you send?

I have seen many of my competitors sites coming out and i don't see any major changes. Poor content and blackhat seo. Just like before penalty.


11:15 am on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


"...And by the way, don't you think that this penalty is fully automatic and lasts exactly 6 months no matter what kind of changes in your site you do or how many reinclusion requests you send?..."

I haven't posted in months so I thought I would chime in. I was a victim of the -30 penalty for 13 months and finally came out January 16. So in my case, in the case of AustrianOak and a lot of others, there is no doubt that the penalty is hand-assessed and must be hand-removed.

The problem that triggers this penalty (in my personal opinion) is that you have somehow severed Google's trust factor, whether it is spamming (the most likely scenario), questionable backlinks, linking to/from bad neighborhoods, or whatever. It doesn't matter, once Google has lost trust in your site you are dead.

I have heard of sites that were doing great before the -30 penalty, that were penalized, came out of the -30 penalty, and their traffic returned to the pre penalty level. I don't believe it. If anyone out there has experienced this, please prove it.

In my personal case, although I have been out of the penalty for almost 6 months, traffic is almost non-existent. So non-existent that I don't even follow Google anymore.



1:23 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

KiepskiJohn, how does your 'domain.com' search rank, it should be #1 as a sign to returning from the penalty.. amongst other signs. Placing in the 40's, 50', 60's is the latest trend in this "minus 30 penalty".

JWC, great to see you posting, sorry to hear about your rankings not returning. I am nearing the 15th month of the penalty myself, seems only too short a while ago that your 13 months of penalty seemed unreal!

Can I have a vote of those that continue to follow this thread and have escaped the penalty, of where you rank today compared to pre-penalty status. Thanks!



1:31 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> In my personal case, although I have been out of the penalty for almost 6 months, traffic is almost non-existent.

weren't you doing great initially? It was a jump to the top almost immedialt for you if I recall correctly.


2:00 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


No, it definitely wasn't a jump to the top for me almost immediately. It took years of trust built up with Google from the launch of my first site in April 1998 to the launch of my hotel-specific site in June 2001. Then in late 2004 and almost all of 2005, the hard work paid off. I achieved #1 rankings for most of my targeted search strings.

Then, always wanting to improve my site, I hired an outside programming firm to improve my site. Although they assured me that they knew SEO and could do anything they needed, they destroyed my trust from Google by putting up an identical mirror site without excluding Googlebot. The result of whatever they did was the -30 penalty which I did not escape from for 13 months.

And now that I am out of the -30 penalty, traffic and rankings have not returned. My backlinks, which once totalled 18,500 in 2005 now stand at 329. So you can easily see what the problem is--lack of trust on the part of Google.

That is why I have moved on to another project---my dream project for 9 years now. You will be seeing it in September.


2:23 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

AustrianOak, my "domain.com" is down to #70. I think that is because i did 301 redirect due to canonicalization. I have found that google is indexing both "www.doman.com" and "domain.com" even with preferred domain set to "www.doman.com" on google webmasters tools.

My brother-in-law's website has managed to recover from the penalty last year. His traffic is even higher than before the penalty or filter or whatever you call it.

One of my competitor website is also back. I think his traffic is also ok. He is back to top 10 or even better with his main keywords that i checked.

[edited by: KiepskiJohn at 2:34 pm (utc) on July 10, 2007]


2:41 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

KiepskiJohn - do you show up number 1 for your domain no .com also?

For the sites that are out of the penalty


3:09 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I meant as soon as Goog took the penalty off you had great results.


4:01 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"I have heard of sites that were doing great before the -30 penalty, that were penalized, came out of the -30 penalty, and their traffic returned to the pre penalty level. I don't believe it. If anyone out there has experienced this, please prove it."


our experience is this
5 years of increasing g traffic until v late dec 06 - then up and down like a tarts drawers until easter (difference being 80,000 unique a day down to 12,000)

since easter complete stability - all pre 'penalty' traffic returned until this morning when we have, literally, gone back to where we were in late december.

and despite the myriad of suggestions on this forum all we have done is continue to build the site (as we always did) with original content.


5:25 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

@ chelsea

80K uniques a day is nothing to sneeze at and I can see how your site may be a target for a competitor that envies your ranks. In a complicated case like that (in-out of penalty, up-down traffic) I would look for patterns of acquiring new links, especially from unexpected places. There maybe some 301 link redirect trickery someone's playing with your site pointing some less than desirable links to your site. Trouble is - it's really hard to pinpoint this kind of atttack. Look for links to non-canonical URLs and pages that you yourself would never link to, like error pages and print versions of pages, stuff like that.

Good luck!


5:26 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

chelseaareback, congrats!

Just to make it clear you mention that the site went up and down, but was it for sure the minus thirty penalty, what symptoms did you show?

Also, did you submit any reinclusion request?

I have also heard the same thing from a few people that returned from the penalty by just adding good content, which is what I continue to do weekly. Perhaps it's just a matter of time to cross some threshold.

Thanks for your details.



7:29 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Sorry I misinterpreted your question.

Yes, right after the penalty was removed January 16, certain of my rankings returned to as high as the #5 position. These rankings were for specific webpages focused on a particular search term (e.g. cityname 5 star hotels). Most were lower. However, the traffic never returned for my targeted search terms because I have never achieved Top 3 status again.

Then within a month or so, the serps were in the 20s and are still there. And the page in the serps was my homepage (and continues to be so), rather than the specific page built specifically for that search term. This happened after G dramatically killed off a lot of links they were giving me credit for.

The only thing that can bring me back now is a return of trust. And I am trying to achieve that by getting great quality links.


7:45 pm on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

trust returns in phases IMO.


12:14 am on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey Oak!

I'm still at -30 with our 2 main sites. We have redesigned one of the sites, de-optimized added more unique content, etc, etc and now will ask for a re-inclusion. Otherwise zip for change since Jan 20th. WOW! 6 months.



1:49 am on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good to hear from you North. Keep us posted on your results, good luck!



6:49 pm on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's back on 3 of my sites. It looked like it morphed into the -950 penalty for nearly 4 months with some keywords/pages making it back to the top 10. What's different? One heck of alot of stolen content on dozens of oddball domains with adsense all over them.

Hey Google... What is the point of this penalty? Why bury the original that doesn't cary adsense and take the fraudulent copies with adsense to the top of the serps? Something is very fishy with this picture.

[edited by: tedster at 8:59 pm (utc) on July 16, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


11:17 pm on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


this is something that I find with my case as well. Dozens if not hundreds of spam-adsense filled dummy pages that steal my content, titles, etc and wow.. they rank on page one. Very dissapointing.


10:50 am on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Kinda makes me wonder if I should steal my own content and copy what they're doing on a dozen or more parked domains. I found the program many of these thieves are using. If they can do it, I guess I can too.


12:16 pm on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Reading this thread is like watching Young and the Restless, so I quick forwarded to give you my .02 cents.

-30 is a myth, there is no such thing.

If you follow Google Quality Guidelines your Website organic search results will be in first 10 to 20.

If your www.example.com doe not show up in number one you better get another hobby!

Have a nice day.


2:26 pm on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

igorberger, facts speak for themselves.

Educated yourself before posting your theories.



2:29 pm on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


stay strong. Don't get sucked into it, as you have seen many members here that have been hit with the minus thirty penalty have bounced back to pre-penalty status after a successful re-inclusion request..

The longest case I have come across is 18 months.



2:54 pm on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Oak

Over two years for our site. We didn't realise we were penalised, and just thought our ranking sucked.

Ours was lifted in November, & rankings recovered very quickly returning to pre-penalty levels.



4:31 pm on Jul 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pete, thanks for the post.

Can you give us some detail as to what things you changed, what things you think might have been responsible for the penalty and if you sent in a re-inclusion request - how long after did you bounce back?

Thanks for any help, you're aiding myself along with others!



3:54 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just an observation....

When typing in mydomain.com I'm -31 when typing in www.mydomain.com I'm #1.... This is true for all of the domains that were hit this week. I've never seen this difference before and usually typed in the non-www version to see the penalty.

On another note, the rest of the site is beyond the top 1000 results for any keyword set listed in the WMT.


11:12 am on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I may be coming out of the -31 albeit bit by bit. Over the past week I am seeing some pages come up on page one. It seems that I see one or two more each day.

I made many changes.

Generally I had let some kids use the site as a training vehicle over the years - like since 1995. It was sloppy, old, outdated and so one. I paid attention to other things.

I did not change with the times.

One of the fine folks on this board popped me in the back of the head and gave me some very general marching orders.

I am trying to follow them.

In that light:

I made all my internal link anchor text identical for each page.

I reworked my tables of content pages to make each a more tightly focused category page.

My news service has been picked up as a major news source by a couple news aggregators and that has resulted in quite a few more links to internal pages.

I took out all the nofollow. Every last one.

I took out all the target="_blank".

I was using a utility domain to redirect my affiliate links so that I could track my various advertisements. I changed all redirects to direct links to the provider.

What I did not do:

I did not take out links to adult friend finder. People did DEEP to find info that leads to it. They want it. People read the news and then chase the women.

I did not cut links to my other sites since I think they serve my visitors well.

I may have some "heavy handed" use of an iframe that I, knowing less than zero about programming, know how to lighten up, or even know if it is heavy handed.

I did not go through checking word density. What is, is.

I do not target keywords so I did not make any changes. I write and let it fly. Yahoo and the others love me.

I did not check for scrapers or any of that stuff I don't know how to do.

What I am doing:

I continue as a pure amateur.

I add a couple pages per day on topics I think would interest my vistors. Some of it is off the wall but people seem to love it.

I am focusing on my very small news service to try to create a niche reputation.

I am now going to work on my other sites to clean up what they did.

Hope that this helps a little bit.

Take care of your health. You only have one body and when you get up here, what you did then is important.

I hope I do get out. But at least I now see page one a little bit.


11:17 am on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Let me add.

In webmaster tools I have a large percentage of pages not indexed.

Have no idea how to check which or why they are not indexed.

As Frankie said, "When I fall flat on my face, I stand right up and get back in the race."

So on to the races.


12:28 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Gimp, that is excellent news. Thanks for the detailed info.. very helpful.

Can you elaborate on your reasoning behind removing all the "I took out all the nofollow. Every last one." Thanks.

Have you sent in any re-consideration requests?

How does your "domain.com" search rank?



2:07 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I had inserted nofollow tags in links to many news sources and third party sites to which I made reference. And I had no follow in some links to confirmation pages and order forms, etc.

I just decided that if an external link deserved a no follow, I just should not link to it. So since I linked to a site, it must be good. Therefore, I deleted all the nofollow tags from my site.

I sent two reinclusion requests. I do not see them as having had any effect since I am not cured yet.

My site bounces into penalty mode and out of it. Plus I still have a large number of pages that are apparently penalized.

I will sit a month or so to see what happens before I consider asking to be reconsidered again.

Please, I do not speak SEO so my words are likely gibberish.


2:14 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

And one more thing.

I posted on the "OFFICIAL" Google webmaster help board asking for anyone to see if they saw anything wrong with the site.

What a waste of time.

Google should either moderate that thing or take it off line.

Posting there is nothing more than an excercise in subjecting onself to a criminal inquistion.

Google sits back and does nothing. They ask for you to add a link to your website but for what?

I got more help from this forum, that was, incidently, torn apart on the Google forum, than from that thing.

I guess, for those who are as SEO lite as I am and are wondering how to get help, stay with this board and read.

The Google forum is a waste of time and actually something of a mockery of webmasters.

Austrian - keep this thread alive. I dig for it each time I come back to this forum. It helps.

And Google, shame on you and that board.


10:10 am on Jul 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Another good sign for me, i guess :)
On some DCs my PR and number of backlinks are back to pre-penalty level.

#1 for www.domain.com and domain.com. "info:domain.com", "related:domain.com" are returning results. Since the start of the penalty these commands returned absolutely nothing for my website.

[edited by: KiepskiJohn at 10:12 am (utc) on July 24, 2007]

This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: 201

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