Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Message Too Old, No Replies

Is Google Using a Position #6 "Penalty"? - part 2



10:57 am on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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

Hello guys,

One of my sites got hit.

Background information

1. One year old website
2. Niche terms with low competition and been number #1 for 2 terms for more than 6 months

In mid december my #1 got to around #6 position but fluctuating sometimes back and sometimes around #6 and now got stuck on #6


* I have keyword in the domain - e.g. www.keyword.net and that term got hit (+ some deep pages optimized for terms)
* The site is misspelling site - the site is ranking on mispellings of very competitive words. On these misspellings there is very low competiton and mostly forums/old sites which are not optimized for the misspelling at all.
* The site was entirely ranked on SEO. No PPC budget and no brand recognition
* Site was still getting some back links but the quality could be questionable - paid links but relevant
* All 3 terms that I was ranking for had lots of links with the same anchor texts and only small variations were present
* All the traffic went down, not only these 3 terms. Also my brand name - which is generic name ranks on #6
* I am using Google Analytics and other google products heavily. The site was interlinked with other of my sites but these have not been penalized.
* The homepage was changing constantly in last months and there have been relevant outgoing links to my other sites, which have not been hit.
* One of the deep pages that got hit, have been redesigned about 2-3 weeks before it got hit, with new content and template

[edited by: tedster at 6:05 pm (utc) on Jan. 5, 2008]


12:31 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here are some thoughts

links is where i'm looking at


The idea of newly "released" supplementals is interesting, but in the examples I've looked at, the new results at 1-5 were not previously supplemental. They've been on page 1 all along and just moved up.

could there be a new influx of links valued to these site from the immerging supplementals. where it could be the profiles or even the quality of links to the sites that haven't dropped. causing the flux


Just trying to put some pieces together here...
We know that Matt is saying he didn't know about this (it was not intentional) and since he would probably know of a penalty, then we might be safe in assuming this is not a penalty of sorts.
Going back to the unintended consequence theory, it's not so much that the results were previously supplemental, it's the fact Google is treating everything as one big index now. So perhaps this tweak in supplementals twisted rankings elsewhere enough to pop some sites into higher positions (again, the unintended consequence theory).
I know we are seeing a lot more traffic (+45% on Google and 120% increase from AOL) especially on long-tail searches (4 + word phrases) than we were before, so something has changes for us.

also recently sub-domains are being treated slightly differently are you guys/girls that have dropped linked heavily from this section of the web or maybe the sites that haven't dropped are linked heavily from them? Was it the first week of December Google mentioned the change.

For people who are experiencing #6, what are your internal links like?

this might be what Marcia is thinking about?

just thoughts i was getting while reading the thread.


As an added are the sites affected from proxy pages? home pages are normally where they start the crawl.

[edited by: Vimes at 12:35 pm (utc) on Jan. 3, 2008]


1:26 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

on a lighter note and please don't take this the wrong way if you've been affected I'm sorry but I'd like to call this "penalty"

Can we call this one the "The Prisoner Penalty"


"I am not a number, I am a free man!"


4:35 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My affected site has always been presumed (by me) to be out-hitting its link popularity owing to its open directory listing. I'm certainly aware of affected sites which aren't dmoz listed, however I also notice that dmoz listings aren't showing up in back link queries that I've made where they used to prominently.

I'm not suggesting that the DMOZ listings are the whole story but rather an important subset of a set of links that have been downgraded in value. I'm still of the opinion expressed earlier that the positiion six is actuallly a "transitional relief" extended to sites badly affected by the changes, but i'm aware no-one else seems to buy this.


4:37 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The six penalty is across the board for me too. I have very little now ranking above six except two specific terms still at one that we focussed on heavily in anchor text.


5:46 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What might be interesting is how anything would explain recovery on two of my websites, I have changed nothing on any of my websites (as I believe this is a ceiling counter that is reset in some fashion)

No change in incoming links
No change in any aspect of the website


7:09 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have had a long standing top ranking site vanish on the 30th from hundreds of keywords

This was an active site with fresh content 4 times per week that also added backlinks agressively

My assumption is they are monitoring the backlinks...but how to verify this? as there were maybe 30 added in the past 30 days, but similar keywords..

Sent a reinclusion request today to see if they will dislose why this occurred


7:48 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

loannet - you say "vanish"? this post is about the #6 rank. where are you ranking?


7:56 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sent a reinclusion request today to see if they will dislose why this occurred

Good luck with that. I can't recall anyone ever getting a reply that actually disclosed why a site was hit. Anyone?


9:34 am on Jan 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Are you sure its a permanent across the board change?

I have seen my site moved back from #6 to #1 last week for 2 days but I think the results were coming from some old datacenter and then it went back to #6.

[edited by: tedster at 6:07 pm (utc) on Jan. 5, 2008]


10:55 am on Jan 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

if google was to up its use of user clicks and actions within the algo i wonder how it would look at sites that become demoted via algo relevance changes but have formerley proved themselves in the wild. Perhaps one solution would be to use safety net levels that were occupied by sites proven to be selected by users when given the choice in the past, but now not ranked well in an updated algo that say has re-weighted backlinks and anchor text penalties. Could it be then that a fall to a safety net position #6, #11 etc is not a penalty but a safe landing spot.

<disclaimer>i have no evidence that this may have happened, i just put it out as a scenario not yet explored and may be a logical step down the road anyway</disclaimer>


2:52 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

A reinclusion request because you rank #6?



3:58 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

It is now called a "reconsideration" request, indicating that it can also be used for urls that are indexed but may be unfairly penalized. At the same time, I appreciate that a complaint about an "unjust" #6 ranking is quite likely to fall on deaf ears at Google. If Matt Cutts "isn't aware" of any algo feature that would create this behavior, it's unlikely that the troops who monitor the requests will know more.


4:21 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

The reason I'm asking about internal linking is because of something called visual page segmentation. What brought it to my attention just since this last TBPR update is the peculiarity of the PR distribution on a particular site of mine.


5:30 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Oh, another thing comes to mind that can't be over-looked.

Some of this may be based on query analysis. For pages that have been in the first 4-5 results or so, above the fold, if those pages have received fewer clickthroughs when compared to other pages listed within that set, it can cause a bit of a drop in rankings. So a drop to #6 in those instances could be a very real possibility and wouldn't be a "penalty" as such. It would just mean scoring bit less than other pages for that particular metric.

[0057] According to an implementation consistent with the principles of the invention, one or more query-based factors may be used to generate (or alter) a score associated with a document. For example, one query-based factor may relate to the extent to which a document is selected over time when the document is included in a set of search results. In this case, search engine 125 might score documents selected relatively more often/increasingly by users higher than other documents.

Kind of gives thought to how snippets are generated from pages, and/or how to improve them.

[edited by: Marcia at 5:53 am (utc) on Jan. 5, 2008]

This 193 message thread spans 13 pages: 193

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month