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I am debating cleaning house and asking for reinclusion...but wanted some of your throughts first.
1/ Some terms still do well, but a lot of terms I have been focusing on for years have really dropped...from page 1-2 to page 5-10.
2/ We do link exchanges (have a links page) but all very related content.
3/ We write a lot industry help articles in which we submit to article sites to get spread out online which link back to the site.
4/ We do directory submissions.
5/ We do have a set of landing pages (for seo, customers and even PPC). A lot more information about certain topics than the navigation pages on the site. These are links in the footer.
6/ Google is still indexing all of the pages in our site, we have a Pagerank of 3 or 4 on most of our pages, including our landing and links pages. Google is also still counting our backlinks.
If there is a penalty, I am thinking it could be the following issues:
- Links Page?
- Landing Pages?
- Directory Submissions? - I actually found this week that out of our 2,500 backlinks from Google Webmaster Tools, 2000 of them are from two directories I submitted to back in September. Possibly fast increase in backlinks?
My question is if I should remove all landing pages and remove the links page? I have already got my site off one of the problem directories, working on the other. After that, explain what I did and ask for the penalty to be removed?
That directory submission that gave you 2,000 backlinks does sound a bit funky, but I can't see it causing a penalty unless there's a lot of "bad neighborhood" activity going on there beyond a simple directory.
What you describe as landing pages sounds like they offer the visitor real value - but the fact that they are only linked from the footer may be at least part of your problem.
How about your own site's outbound links - have you checked them to make sure they all point to the sites you thing they do? Have you checked to make sure that no one hacked in to use your pages for parasite hosting of hidden links to bad neighborhoods?
Do have a webmaster tools account and if so, any insights there?
This will quickly help me see where my links are going and if there are any bad-neighborhoodish links.
Tedster - Most main terms have taken plunges. The one term I have been working on the most dropped from page 1 to page 6 over the last 4 months.
The 2,000 backlinks came quickly and they go to multiple pages on my site (all my main terms) and main keyword phrase, which is why I am worried about that.
I used Google's Webmaster Tools to find those 2,000 directory links. I will start looking at where my site is linking to, but all should be industry related links.
I will keep you updated.