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Today I found that domains dropped from Top10 to about 450 - but strange enough only for 1 or 2 keywords of 8 or 10 main-keywords. The other keywords have risen a bit - which seems strange for a penalty.
In fact, I didn't do anything on these domains in the last 8 weeks - so if it's a penalty it's not triggered by anything I have done.
Anybody seeing anything similar?
Even when this penalty effect was first noticed, it wasn't always an exact "-950 penalty", and not even always "last page of results". It was often just a fall of several hundred positions. So I'd look into how your page might be over-optimized for these specific keywords, especially (but not only) through overuse of the keyword in anchor text.
The link I gave above summarizes the main ideas found in what is the longest running discussion we've had on the forum. That thread also has links to the very first thread on the topic (Jan 11, 2007) and the most recent, which is still live today (the last post was in May).
The page has been in the Top10 for a year now and it doesn't seem neccessary to do any excessive linkbuilding here. Thats why it seem so strange to me.
I can see exactly the same issue with one domain here in Germany. After some serious rotating of search results during the last days this domain has risen slightly for some competitive terms, but dropped for other terms to about position 30 to 100. Top20 to Top10 positions for these terms before the changes.
I am not sure if this is a kind of penalty: The domain still ranks very well, for some key even better than before and pages that lost rankings still rank for longtail searches. Only the results for some main keys dropped.
The site is not very heavy optimized on the onpage level. Additionally I havent gathered many links for this domain in the last months, so maybe it's just a normal shift in rankings: Other webmasters may have stronger links now or its because of too few links over a certain period of time...
I see the same issue with some websites - where they rank perfectly fine for variations of keywords, and then are nowhere to be found for other variations.
I'm just not sure since these problems have been steadily fixed for months, and our link building have been frugal to say the least.