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"Punishment" for a specific URL for a specific keyword might have been already discussed here, if so - I'd love to see where.
Two URLs, each on mysite.ccTLD (FI, ES - in this case), used to be well ranked for certain keywords, in the corresponding local Google. One URL is the index page, and the other is an inner page.
When searching these keywords now both URLs are no longer coming up for the corresponding searches. Sometimes, other URLs from that sites do appear in lower positions for that searches.
One keyword that was punished is of high competition, the other is rarely searched for.
When searching other keywords: business as usual.
Rounding up the usual suspects, my link building strategy is based of getting not only relevant, on-topic link. Do you think this was what messed me up here?
It seems a lot of people (me including) are suffering a kind of "my domain is gone but only for some keywords"-thing. I'm seeing exactly the same as you do: The urls that ranked good on these keywords are just pushed -100, -200, -400 and so on and so sometimes other pages of the same domains do rank better then the pages which are relevant.
It seemed that no one really got a glue for that and that there seem to be no pattern at all behind which pages dropped and which stayed. Since much rubbish has been flushed to the top, some suggest that it's only a kind of test or unfinished algo-update.
my domain is gone but only for some keywords
This is probably the most common kind of penalty you will see from Google. They can penalize either a domain or a page completely, or just for certain query terms. They can also remove the ability to vote link juice for an entire domain, a page or even just one link. But penalizing one url for just one (often high volume) search is quite common.
One thing I'd suggest is discovering whether your url is completely "gone" for this search or whether it's just been pushed way down. If it's completely gone, that may a temporary bug in the data, or a sign that your server was acting up when googlebot tried to spider. It's more common to see the previously high-ranking url sent way down in the rankings, even many hundreds of positions.
The common reason for a lost ranking on one keyword is over-optimization - or what we originally called the minus 950 penalty [webmasterworld.com]. Note that the original name is a bit misleading - we soon learned that the penalty mechanism can be for almost any amount.
I suggest you take a step back and look at your page - and especially its internal backlinks and anchor text - as objectively as you can. Have you gone a bit over the top in "optimizing" for this keyword?
Did your site have more than one page ranking for the same keyword?
I'm only sharing my experience here - you may have a situation that I haven't experienced. They come up all the time and I just keep learning by the new experience.
I just re-read your first post. I was forgetting that you are also seeing a problem for a "rarely searched for" keyword on the same urls. That is not usually part of the picture I was thinking of. But the fact that the rest of your searches are still doing well still makes me think it's more likely to be internal over-optimization.
If the problem was not also occurring on the rarely searched keyword, I might suspect human editorial input - but the raters don't tend to be askerd to review rare query terms.
Th domain always helped me in the early days, but when a substantial amount of links went to the site, I found I lost ranking because too many key word rich links went there.
I obviously had told Google I have bought the URL for rankings rather than it was the best URL to represent my business.
tedster: yes, my site had more than one listing for these keywords.
I did several changes on the site, just for the sake of avoiding any change of over optimization. I also took off a link I had from .CO.UK site to my FI site, just in case..
Do you have any estimate as for when I can expect seeing my site back up for the keyword in penalty? (this site is crawled daily)
But I would love to hear your input.
As to estimating how long any recovery might take, that's a challenge I'm not willing to take on. Situations are so varied, and experiences have ranged from a day or two, to a gradual return being phased in over weeks or months - and of course, the chance that the penalty's cause has not been fixed and there is no recovery.
As much as we all crave a degree of predictability, it's just not there. Every time I'm working with a penalty situation, my anxiety level goes up, as I'm sure happens for almost everyone. We only know a penalty can be lifted after it happens.
I suffer on a keyword for this exact same problem. It's happened before, but what I did to cure it was simply change the Title text, which in a way could possibly be de-optimizing it enough to where google doesn't give it the -950 penalty.
Do you suggest changing the onpage (s) anchor text to de-optimize as the best solution? I'm pretty sure this is the case for some reason but I do vary it quite a bit.
One of the problems for those who have been building sites for many years is that in the old days, you need lots of repetition to get your relavance message through to the search engines - it was like yelling a keyword over and over at top volume to make Google hear you. With the Florida update that habit began to cause problems, and ever since then, the instinct to heavy repetition can lead us astray.
[edited by: tedster at 6:27 pm (utc) on July 9, 2009]
The question is, what can you do about it? If you have control of a lot of servers like big SEOs probably have, you can easily change the anchors in a safe amount of time. But small or hobby-SEOs don't have that kind of control. For example I know some sites which where kicked back that have about 700 entries in directories from years ago with only 1 or 2 different keywords - so it's a big task for them to get a better variety in their anchors for only a part of their links.
= TYPES OF WIDGETS =
...is usually the best general goal. On a widget site, you use the "widgets" keyword in so many ways that having constantly matched anchor text on top of that can be overkill, and even lead to -950 style penalties.
"free blue widgets" - is now ranked 4th page
"widgets" - is now ranked 12th page
"free widgets" - is now ranked 8th page
He had purchased a good amount of sitewide links (mostly on blogrolls) for these keywords and I believe that is what has gotten him penalized. I advised him to remove as many of them sitewides as he can and wait a few weeks to see if theres any movement.
Our site suffered some -somethings (-20, -32, -56, etc.) on a few pages for competitive two word terms. Long tail continued to rank nicely, suspected inbound links from one of our other sites and, after reading your post, anchor text in the menu.
Changed the inbound links for one term, changed the menu anchor text for another.......two days later the page that we changed the menu anchor text for recovered from position 81 to 31. Everything else has remained the same, so my conclusion is our site wide menu has caused over optimisation on that two word term. We were position 10 before June, so hopefully we'll see further improvement over the coming days.
Now going to change the menu anchor text for the other pages hit by this to be more generic and hope to see those recover very soon too!