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All sites down in Google rankings at the same time

4:17 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday when we checked our traffic stats in Google Analytics, all of our about 35 sites showed terrible ranking drops. Quite a frightening discovery so we immediately went over a couple of things.

- Nearly all keywords for nearly all sites show about a -50 ranking. Many of them have ranked #1 or at least top 5 for over 2 years.
- All sites run on Wordpress except 2, these suffer from the same rankings drop.
- Sites have varying niches.
- Some sites are new and have no links at all, others have few links, some have a couple of 100 links, mostly from different sources. There are some comment links (only to 2 or 3 sites) from 2 years ago but no black hat stuff at any sites.
- Some sites are interlinked. This only involves very relevant one-way links and most sites are not involved in this.
- All sites have unique content. 95% of all pages have professionally written text (10 - 200 pages per site), pictures and some relevant tools.
- A similar site at a the same hosting company but in another Analytics account does not seem touched in any way from this.

All Yahoo and Live rankings have not changed.

We also run a couple of Adwords campaigns with the same Google user account but they show normal numbers.

All these sites are hosted on a couple of shared hosting servers of the same company. They show no sign of being hacked, and servers don't seem to have suffered from serious downtime whatsoever.

Could this be an Analytics-wide -50 penalty or something?

Some of your insights or other suggestions to check would be greatly appreciated.

6:28 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Same thing happend to ours on the 26th.

Established and very trusted website.
Over 3 years old.
250,000+ recorded backlinks.
3000+ page of unique content of varying topics updated daily.
UK site.
Rankings complete dropped and getting 5th of the traffic.
Yahoo and Live ranking have not changed.
Contains a lot of affiliate links.
Contains a wordpress blog section.

Other new and avaergae sites we also own have lost rankings on the same day.

7:03 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Have any of the links been 3 way or paid?
7:07 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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No not in our case, mostly one way and certainly never paid.. i'm too tight.


7:18 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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None of our sites have paid links or 3-way links.
7:48 am on Oct 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Exactly the same experience, a well established website ( around 6 years old, updated every week with new articles, unique content ) on the 26 th we lost most of our traffic, only the traffic on our main KW stayed the same.

This means all of our other KW's ( that were ranking on the front page ) got a huge hit or vanished completely . We did not change large things on the site, just the normal adding of articles, removing dead links etc.. Things I do from the start. The site has links that are well established from various related sites, yahoo shows 17K+ links.

What we know? besides it started on the 26th of October?
Why did the Main KW stayed up in ranking while the rest of the related KW's dropped?

10:00 am on Oct 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have 4 sites, all over 5 years old and each showing drastic reduction in 2, 3 and 4 word phrases. Our main phrases are broadly unaffected, but from early on the 27th onwards all "branded widget" style keywords have gone.

We are all UK based and have good amounts of incoming links from self scripted, high quality articles and industry related forums. We have never paid for a link and have no form of covert SEO, just descriptive text and meta tags.

Finding it hard to see what's going on with this one.

10:12 pm on Oct 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Anyone considering the changes to Wordpress.com hosted blogs (nofollowing body links) and the loss of Geocities? Surely, these two sources provided at least some backlinks to the sites in question.
12:59 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Quote: "changes to Wordpress.com hosted blogs (nofollowing body links"

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I have three wordpress.com blogs, and I just checked their source codes, and all of the contextual links are still dofollow. Maybe it's because I hand-coded them in html, but in any case none of them has been changed to nofollow.

7:21 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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-50 on all keywords seems to be typically "awarded" for low quality inbound links.
We have experienced this last year on a couple sites that we have been blatantly spamming with links from link exchange schemes. What worked for us was:
1. Acknowledge the spammy links are not the way to go in the long run although they were great while it lasted - no effort, lots of money.
2. Remove all spammy links - sometimes we needed to get in touch with webmasters to ask them to remove. Yahoo! Site Explorer is your friend.
3. Submit reconsideration requests where we described all our sins and promised we would not do it in future
4. Keep working on the sites to make them better
(5. We also developed a very few links of high quality, but these were like 3-5 per site but I do not think it mattered)
Penalties were removed after exactly 90 days for a couple of sites. I pretty much believe penalties were manually set and manually removed since the sites were going down and up on different dates and in each case it was exactly 90 days.

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