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It is a co.uk domain and is hosted in the US. There are several other .co.uk sites on page 1 of Google.com serps; they also appear in similar positions on co.uk.
Any suggestions what is likely to be causing a .com drop of 50+? A penalty perhaps?
[edited by: tedster at 6:02 pm (utc) on Aug. 15, 2009]
As long as a .co.uk site ranks well on google.co.uk, I'd pretty much assume there's no true penalty. Unless, of course, your partner has been "pushing the envelope" in some way. In that case, maybe a penalty first showed up on google.com and will soon be exported to .co.uk
Today .... on google uk we're at #3 and google.com .... #80 ouch! There's another, well established .co.uk ranking fourth on google.com, they were at #5 behind us until today.
Tedster, is this consistent with what you've seen re ccTLDs on google.com?
Being objective about it, the home page is a bit over optimised for the two word primary phrase now appearing on page 8 on Google.com. Is that enough to cause a drop of 80ish places? What other avenues could we be exploring to determine the cause do you think?
Gemini23 - is your partners site still suffering It would be useful to compare notes ...
Doing a broad search on google.com for the two word primary search term still results in a rank of 77 - yippee we've improved by 3 places in the last 24 hours :-) - whilst doing a phrase search (using quotes) for the same two word search term results in the site appearing at position 6, close to where it started from 48 hours ago ... any clues anyone?
When a 301 is reversed in direction, that has be known to tangle Google up for a significant time. So you might end up with even less traffic for several months. It would be important that the 301 go from precise url to its exact counterpart, and not just from domain to domain.
I have never tried the Change of Address form within Webmaster Tools, but I have heard good reports that it accelerates the changeover. However, none of those reports involved a 301 direction reversal.
There is also the possibility of serving both domains at the same time. That's a potentially worthwhile experiment, and a resolution that several Google reps have mentioned in the past. But in that case you may still have something like the backlinks challenge I mentioned above: without any 301s coming from the .co.uk you may have low, low rankings for the .com domain if most of the backlinks currently point to the .co.uk domain.
I strongly recommend that you analyze the current situation very closely before you make any leap.
I have some terms that had/have this symptom. I'm still trying to understand what the issue is so I can't suggest solution if you have the same disease but it might help you narrow down what needs to be done to provide a solution.
For what its worth, since my last post we've eliminated the phrase from the page title, reduced the frequency in the content and introduced a semantically related term on the page. Rank on google.com went from #77 to #46 for a day and then to #67 (still short of the original #4 but better than the original drop to #80). Up from #3 to #2 on google.uk. I'm beginning to think its an over-optimisation problem so we'll be experimenting in this direction a bit more. I should add that unlike Gemini, our site is hosted in the UK.
I'm sure that is what he is saying and I can confirm that this works for a number of terms that I follow. Also some sites get mini site links in their listing on google.com when UK is added to the term.
I think that Google.com results served to the UK have a geo-filter applied but this is definitely not the same geo-filter as that applied to google.co.uk results served to the UK or at least there are other filters or algo factors applied on google.co.uk.
PS At the moment, for the past 5 days the UK filters on google.co.uk do not seem to be working too well.
What I understood cav609 is saying is that appending word "uk" in google.com search box when searching for his primary search term makes his domain rank #2 on google.com, whereas without word "uk" in the google search box his domain ranks at #80+
As it happens, in the last 3 days 95% of our keywords are now pretty much back to where they were a couple of months ago when all this nonsense started. Whilst we've de-optimised some on-page elements I'm convinced this has had nothing to do with our bouncing back (for now at least!) and everything to do with either/or, caffeine rollout / SERPS rollback / a combination of the previous two / algo change in combination with the previous two / or a drunk engineer at Google playing games / the previous option in combination with the first two options. ie, I have no idea ...