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Ranking drops immediately after placing a link in a forum signature

     
10:54 am on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I noticed a strange ranking drop in google. I checked a site for a particular keyword phrase and it was ranked in the first page - 10th position. I was using a link to this page as signature in a popular forum and was replying to a few queries.

After a couple of answers in the forum, the page dropped to second page (13th position).The forum page was indexed by then. Google usually indexes this forum very quickly.

I tried the same to another page (a different site) and I noticed a similar fall. This page was in 10th position for a particular keyword phrase. After adding the links, the page immediately dropped to 2nd page (11th position).

The only difference in the second instance was i didn't use the keyword phrase to link back.

Has anyone noticed this phenomenon before? Very strange.Why does google do this? So does a page dance before it settles down, after a link back to it?
3:12 pm on July 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'd be curious on what happens with a page that isn't ranked "right on the edge" at #10. Two examples that both affected a #10 ranking don't exactly establish cause and effect - because #10 can be a very volatile position.

But it sure sounds like something worth looking at a little closer. I hate to think something like this is actually built in to the algo now. Just think of the havoc a competitor could create!

So yes, has anyone else seen this kind of thing?
5:33 pm on July 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I will have to add that i was noticing these on google.com.
5:36 pm on July 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Just think of the havoc a competitor could create!

Without commenting on the specifics of the OP, I think it's important to always remember that those of us at this forum are continually doing things on the web related to our websites, be it changing content, posting to forums, adding new links, upgrading code, et al.

And Google seems nowadays to be constantly shuffling the deck, especially the so-called "New Google" (post Caffeine/MayDay).

So I think there's a tendency to say "I did this and look what happened to my ranking", when in fact, it may have happened anyway, because something is always happening.

Again, this is not pointed to this situation -- which may be in fact a genuine cause & effect -- but is simply a general observation that, IMO, comes into play more often than we may realize.

.02

........................
6:35 pm on July 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have seen this happen in Yahoo and IMO you can take a competitor out that way in that engine. Your evidence is not all that compelling though. As for Google it seems to be a thing as of lately but you can't really put a full grip on it yet. The drops do seem to be coincidental but with Google their link counts, filters, and algo adjustments seem endless so you just donít know. Plus if the area is even slightly competitive you donít know what youíll wake up to from day to day.

One thing to remember with what you mention is with a lot of those forums that message can appear on a thousand pages of that site within a week. Perhaps you didnít see that or Google and Yahoo may now black list various forums as link farms. Other than that Renoís post explains it more accurately.
9:48 pm on July 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We are getting into the area of negative SEO and its an interesting discussion, IMO you can impact a sites ranking by messing with link profiles but its going to take more than one signature to cause a long term shift. Google rankings are like Melbourne's weather, if you don't like them then wait a minute.
5:49 am on July 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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3 slot drop is not a huge shift. yes if that site falls to 5th or 6 th page, then you can conclude that forum signature can be the reason. I have seen some good results with the same tactic lately but again things vary person to person in SEO :)