I am suffering from what appears to be one or more Google penalties/filters applied to a website that we have kept completely white hat and played (to the best of my knowledge and judgement) completely within the Google TOS. What I would really appreciate is a few ideas/techniques I can use to diagnose the problem(s) and hopefully rectify the situation.
The website is approximately 130 pages of unique, quality content and the website has existed for well over 6 years.
The symptoms we have seen that has lead me to believe a penalty/filter may have been applied is the sudden drop of 30 to 300+ places across almost all non-brand keywords. A very competitive 2 word generic phrase which we used to rank 2nd for behind Wikipedia is now slumped at position 340!
The brand name is a 3 letter acroymn which is used in the names of numerous other businesses. The website had consistently ranked 2nd for the term for the past 18 months or so, but now the name is middle 2nd page. Again this drop happened almost overnight about a month or so ago.
Areas we have already looked at from researching the issue.
- We have not done any link buying AT ALL.
- Webmaster Tools has been on the site a good year before these issues arose, and WMT doesnít report anything out of the ordinary.
- There doesnít appear to be any signs of malicious behaviour / hacking - we have checked the site and logs and canít find any evidence of this.
- The pages on the website have been optimised, unique titles, headings, meta description, descriptive link text, keyword rich text etc. I have always used the rule of thumb of asking Ďif search engines didnít exist would I still write a page like this?í to judge levels of optimisation. I honestly donít think I have overstepped the mark in this area but I could be wrong!
I doubt it is dodgy links given our strong no buying stance, so that leads me to think it might potentially an over optimisation problem? If so which areas would be best to start changing or investigating further?
Also in your experience is it worth filing any sort of re-inclusion request with Google through WMT, we canít explain how we have fixed the issues with the site if we donít know what they are to fix!
Apologies for the rambling post guys