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Penalty to a Trusted Site - a site with Sitelinks?



6:37 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As so many others, I'm looking out for help here before I go mad trying to understand what has happened to my site...

My site is relatively old (3 years) and has a decent amount of external links, many of them from quality sites.

After the usual and regular period of getting the site to be known (and obtaining the necessary links), the web started to rank quite well in Google for most of the right keywords (both one word and "long tail" searches)

However, after a year like this, the rankings just tanked (similar to a 950 penalty) for all related searches except for:

1. "example.com" (or www.example.com) where the site appears first and with some of these extra links (which to the best of my knowledge indicates a trusted site by Google)

2. "example" (and it is not a generic word but a brand which puts together 2 generic words) where out of 10,000 results, my web appears in page 3 (not at he end as in all other searches, nor at the top as in domain.com). Other results in this "domain" search are either links or references to site (95% of them) or other sites where the two generic words that form my domain appear together in a sentence

Anyway, I've been like this for months and do ot have a single clue of what to do. I have de-optimised in terms of keyword density, have gooten several new links with different anchor texts and from trusted sites in the industry...and still nothing...and apparently it is still a trusted site as shown by the extra links in its first Google position for domain.com

Any help anyone? even craziest ideas are welcome...I have nothing to lose now (as I get nothing from the site now)

Many thanks

[edited by: tedster at 6:57 pm (utc) on Sep. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it can never be owned [/edit]


8:25 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Not sure having sitelinks equates to being "trusted", at least not as far as being impervious to drops, I'd take a close look at your internal/outgoing links.....


8:46 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my sites that I use to test things is 'downgraded' for certain terms - and that has sitelinks.

Receptional Andy

9:18 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sitelinks and trust may have been a reasonable equation when the feature was limited to a handful of sites - the group chosen may well have had a higher level of trust.

These days I figure it as a simple CTR equation - if you get a high enough CTR for a keyword or phrase, sitelinks are likely to appear. But IMO the threshold is so low for a site to get sitelinks these days that it can't be used as a measure of trust.

I second the advice to look at links. The one common thread I see in all algorithmic Google penalties is a backlink profile that is insufficient to 'save' a site from what can sometimes be very negligible issues that trigger large performance decreases.


1:02 am on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Alos check all your outbound links to see if you point to any bad neighborhoods. Sometimes good sites get sold and change their nature, sometimes another party has worked on the site and done things the owner doesn't know about, and sometimes there have been hacks that went unnoticed and placed hidden parasite links.

So do your link check digitally and not with your eyes. That way you'll find any that you don't know about.


6:16 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What tool can I use for this check of the quality of outbound links?


8:42 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have exactly the same problem.

My site is also three years old, and has sitelinks. All SERPs were lost on 18th August and the site only appears for www.example.com and site: searches.

I was told by someone at Google to consult the Webmaster Guidelines on linking and have spent the past month literally tearing my site apart - 20% has been removed and many small issues have been addressed.

Based on everything I have read and been told, the penalty for a bad linking profile usually lasts six months or so.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to the site before submitting a (second) Google Reinclusion Request!


8:48 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Dear Cristinita,

I saw same thing with a website. But instead of 950 penalty they have 150 penalty. I wish google comes up with a system where they let us know whats going on. Otherwise in no times entire seo industry will become anti-google.

They are such a big company, they have the capacity to come up with rules that are more Just and Equal for everyone. As they say in french

"You can get Good rankings in google but it will stay only for 1 year if you use back hat SEO technique,
Good rankings in Google will stays for entire 12 months if you use white hat SEO technique"

To get good ranks in Google it takes 1 month if you use black hat. If you use white had and if you work very hard it will take more than 1 year of hard world to get good rankings.

But both of the rankings stay for same duration then why anyone will go with white hat.

There should be some incentive for those who use white hat SEOs.

[edited by: Mbwto at 8:50 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2008]


9:00 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Google generated site links for my 6 websites. So having site link wont count you in google trusted list.


10:55 pm on Sep 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey JackR,

Were you involved in buying back links? Can a person do a re-inclusion, even if she don't know whats her fault?


[edited by: Mbwto at 10:56 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2008]


11:48 am on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, backlinks were bought back in 2006 - more than two years ago. They were all cancelled within months - two years ago!

I made this clear in a Reinclusion Request, but still no reinclusion three weeks later ...

Currently working on other potential problems before submitting a second request.


3:41 pm on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey JackR,

Is it possible that your website is not getting hurt because of the links you bought 2 years back, but it is some thing different?

This may be an issue with Google algorithm. Or they might be doing an A/B test. we don't know.

Hopefully we can figure it out soon. One way to get the answer from Google is to ask big name bloggers to start talking about it. If a few of big name bloggers start talking about it then Google will take a look at it.

Looks like Google is becoming bureaucracy. We need a Google's competitor, to make this market grow. Monopally kills the industry.

Website disappearing from the Google hurts a lot to the owner of the website, because all his business plans depends on these Google ranks as they have 71% of all the reach.

Lets see what we can do on our own. On my side I will do some more research and i will keep you updated. You can read a few more threads on this form, which are talking about the same issue.


5:52 pm on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's an interesting question Mwbto,

I'm not sure whether it's the old links or another issue. Therefore I've embarked on a huge renovation programme - 99% of the outbound links have been removed and the few that remain have the nofollow attribute.

It's been extremely useful to have a lot of feedback from the Google Groups and I've taken the criticism constructively and made many, many changes.

The site is almost ready to be relaunched now and is technically perfect:

1. The correct use of h1ss, h2s, h3s.
2. The correct use of META data
3. All Status Codes are reported correctly.
4. A custom .404 page has been created.
5. The addition of alt tags that were missing from images.
6. Keyword density revised from around 4/5% to around 2%.
7. All footer links removed.
8. No outbound links on the homepage.
9. Unique page titles and descriptions for almost 400 pages.
10. The addition of new content

I just hope Google will agree and grant my (Second) Reinclusion Request!


6:21 pm on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Today I was told by one of my SEO friend, that all those who are affiliated with Amazon are getting hurt by this mysterious Google update.

The reason I was told was that -
Amazon is doing a 301 redirect for affiliate links it is getting from thousand of affiliate, to gain page rank. Google algoritm has started treating these links are paid links.

So all those who are giving "paid" links to amazon are getting hurt.

Can you please see if you are using amazon ads anywhere on your website?


7:09 pm on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

that all those who are affiliated with Amazon are getting hurt by this mysterious Google update.

That is easy enough to disprove just by looking at the serps. There are many sites with Amazon affiliate links ranking just fine.


7:53 pm on Sep 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Jane_Doe you are right. There are many sites with Amazon affiliate links ranking just fine.

Then what is this mysterious Google update all about.


4:43 am on Sep 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My 'trusted' site lost half the traffic on 12th september, it ranks for around half of the keywords, for some keywords it was in top 3 for months, now lost..can't find it...

My site traffic was way up recently, (a week ago) that i had a hosting overload, now the traffic is 50%...still most traffic is from G.

I made no changes to site lately, what could be the reason?


11:59 pm on Sep 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thaparian do you do much link building with the same anchor text?


4:05 am on Sep 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I done the link building like a year ago, for homepage lot of backlinks have same anchor text.

I didn't knew about this back then.

But the thing is, only half of the pages lost rankings, i have no idea, on what basis..


8:28 am on Sep 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We've had the same problem..

Does anyone think if we were to 301 redirect to a new domain this would help? Anyone tested this?


3:15 pm on Sep 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Before you do a 301 redirect, please wait for a while. So far There are 5 different thread running for this forum which talks about similar issues, I was not able to find a consensus on single reason that is resulting in decrease in the traffic from Google. One of our client is having same issues.



2:14 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Mbwto, I'm pretty sure of the reason for our drop in SERPs and we've been down for 2 months now so my question was to those whom may know if a 301 is a good idea. I might start testing.

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