Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & andy langton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Penalized site re-included for 24 hours, then removed. Any thoughts?

5:54 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Dec 8, 2009
votes: 0

This would have to be one of the most frustrating weekends of my life.

My site has been penalized since November for something very simple. Re-inclusion requests have been filed admitting my mistake.

Saturday night at 6pm PST, everything came back to normal. All serps from pre-penalty were there. Shortly after the Super Bowl, approximately 24 hours after they showed up - they vanished again and the results are identical to the penalty results I've seen for the last 2.5 months.

During this 24 hour window, all data centers showed the pre-penalty results... caffeine even showed better results.

Why would google do this to someone? Don't they understand that emotions are involved? Highs and lows like this are very unhealthy.

Has anyone seen behavior like this? Any observations you can offer?


6:33 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

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

joined:Aug 4, 2008
votes: 212

Could your site have reached the thin borderline between penalty and no-penalty, moved acroos it for about 24 hours, then slipped back into penalty land?
6:34 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

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

joined:Apr 14, 2008
votes: 62

Different Data Centers...

Why would google do this to someone?

Get the idea it's someone at Google 'doing this' out of your head. Google's results (index) are displayed via heuristic and they show different versions of it (or the underlying data via Caffeine) to different people at different times.

It's been said here before and I know it's an emotional thing, but try to remove your emotions from the situation and also try to find other traffic sources so you can count Google (and other SE) traffic as a bonus. It's tough to do, but possible.

You yourself are saying the emotional ups and downs are a bad thing, but by depending so highly on Google's traffic (as it seems you do) you have put yourself in this situation, not the other way around. They run a business too and their customers are the ones who search and click on the ads, not you, so IMO your best line of defense to the emotional highs and lows is to find other traffic sources and concentrate on building those rather than worrying so much about Google.
6:36 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 26, 2000
votes: 0

Are you taking note of which Google IP address is responding to your search? (you can use the Firefox "Show IP" add-on.) It's very possible that one data-set currently shows the penalty and another one does not, and load balancing can send you to different data centers.
6:43 pm on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

5+ Year Member

joined:Dec 8, 2009
votes: 0


Thank you as always for replying to my messages.

I follow my real-time log file to watch for keywords. During this 24 hour period, every data center was in sync and showing the pre-penalty results. I confirmed this because many others were checking as well and confirming this. My analytics also showed a normal traffic day similar to levels "pre-penalty". So this wasn't just a one-off single data center showing this to me.

Last night as I was checking my log (I'm addicted to checking it), I noticed some of the keywords not showing up anymore. An hour later, it was all gone.

I felt as though they had rolled out some algorithm changes and applied filters afterwards on penalized sites. But no one has mentioned any "superbowl weekend refresh".

This is quite frustrating. Imagine the high of "the penalty is lifted" to 24 hours later seeing the bomb dropped again :-(
1:51 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 8, 2006
posts: 4
votes: 0

Hi Flicky,

Did you solve your issue, I have a similar situation with a site. For 3 times already we had the 24hours "comeback". We really do not know what kind of penalty is in place or how to eliminate the "wrong" issues of our site.
3:10 am on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 27, 2006
votes: 0

I had a site do that. It got a "-950" penalty in November and stayed penalized until Feb when it started yo-yoing in and out. Essentially it started getting released from penalty and taking about three days to bubble up through the SERPs, and then as soon as it got back to page one, smack, back to -950 for a few more days again. But eventually it stabilized and has been stable back at its pre penalty page one positions for the last month.

I don't know what the penalty was for, and I didn't intentionally do anything to get out. The site is for a real world business and is totally "white hat" so there was nothing obvious to fix. Changes were limited to regular content updates, which is normal activity for this site.

Personally I suspect sabotage although I wasn't able to find a smoking gun. But the timing coming right at the start of the busiest season and the specificity of the penalty to just two keywords sure pointed to it. The site was penalized only for searches containing the niche name or the name of the city in which the business is located.

The later is most telling as the name of the home city only appears a couple of times on the site. For that business in that city that's sufficient to rank and the name is not important anyway as the business supplies services at the client's location and the home city is a suburb of a much larger city. The larger city is mentioned prominently on the site but was not penalized for.

Plus there were suspects, starting with a SEO company that had cold called the owner wanting to sell them 500 backlinks and then followed up with a second call during the penalty. There were also a couple of real world competitors who would have had "motive and opportunity". One had been aggressively trying to poach the business's clients, the other trying to get the business to convert from independent status to becoming one of their franchises.

Both have been targeting to rank for "business niche + name of the home city". The poacher has a personal hatred of the business's owner and a spouse who is a SEO person (but not an expert). The franchiser quite obviously has some big time off page SEO behind their site to dominate the SERPs nationally the way they do.

The only other possibility I've been able to come up with but which I consider remote, is that the site had just lost a ten year old backlink due to the backlink site closing. This was the third ten year old backlink lost in the last two years. The other two, one site sold out to a competitor who deleted all the outgoing links and replaced them with links to their business, and the other was a hobbyist who threw up their hands "sick and tired of all the spam link requests" and removed all outgoing links from their site.

But in the end I still don't know what happened or how close it might be to recurring.

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members