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My questions are does this suggest a penalty and if so does it look more manual or algorithmic?
I want to be more certain about possible penalties before making any changes, onsite or offsite.
It wasn't a back links problem for us, it was internal links.
The affected pages all had one thing in common, their menu link text had competitive two word terms. We changed the link text to just one word in each case and within 48 hours our rankings are being restored on all the affected terms......and some other positions we thought were unaffected have improved as well !
So it was a simple fix, just change the words in the menu to be more generic and traffic comes storming back.
I just checked and we're now 7th for the two word term we went down to about 80th for around the start of June. That's actually better than we've ever ranked for that term. Be interesting to see how far we could go!
Our other terms are also improving every few hours and some three word terms including the affected phrase that we already ranked well for are also improving. Quite amazing to see.
Now I'm wondering how many phrases we might be under performing for just because our internal linking has gone over the top. I think I have a week of experimentation ahead!
Interestingly, on one of the affected pages we were also demoted for the three word term we used in our H1 heading, which was basically a longer version of the two word term used in the menu anchor text. That returned to page 1 from page 5 yesterday as well.
I'm also wondering if changing our site wide menu to a more traditional expanding menu might have solved the problem without changing the anchor text. That would also have the effect of descreasing the number of internal links on the terms in the menu. I might test that theory on another, less vital site. We are top for most of the other terms in the menu so I'm not sure I want to risk it. I'll see how the changes I've made pan out over a more extended period first I think!
When this happened to a site of mine 2 years ago, I determined that I had stuffed too many keywords in the content. I cut those in half and the page resumed the former ranking withing a few days.
I just tried that. My rankings fell 40 places and have not yet recovered (just over a week now).
I'd like Google to stop giving PENALTIES for various kinds of backlinks.
Ah ... a dreamer ... but then how would I be able to drop the rankings of my competitors? All that time posting them to via-gra website's link exchanges would be wasted. Please don't change how you work Google, it makes my job much easier!
However, it's most often a -50 drop, rather than a -80. Maybe you've caught something new.
It sounds like you just got a penalty. That kind of drop is usually related to backlinks that Google considers suspicious in some way.
Absolutely. Most times this particular penalty seems to also move the business name back to around position 50 for the exact business name. It is almost as if Google wants the business to 'see' the effects of the penalty right away, especially for genres with much smaller search volume, where position effects might not be as evident depending on the previous positioning and keyword type.
On that specific page I did some changes two days before the drop. I have updated my affiliate link on it. I always use to have affiliate link on it but I replaced it with link coming from famous "Affiliate Network" the old affiliate link was not from a Affiliate Network but it was direct from merchant. do you think this is the reason for penalty?
joined:Jan 26, 2004
Now I have a small "dilemma" - I paid for the link for 2 years in advance. I can edit the link myself and change the content myself.
I'm thinking what I could do is to pick one of my competitors and give them the penalty. Or I could even buy a few more links on that forum and eliminate my competition within a year. I think such "reverse link building" is much less time consuming and costs less than building links for my own website.
Of course, I'm not malicious and I won't do this to my competition, but there are many people who would and will, especially that it's so easy to do...:(
Unlikely, but a good idea is to check the cache date of the previous page in Google.com in the case of changes that you believe may have triggered a drop. This way, if the cache date is not updated (showing the new changes) then it could be other factors that are causing the issue.