Have you ever been arrested for disorderly conduct, thrown in jail and fined before you ever had a chance to "tell it to the judge"? Probably not, but if you're an original content website, the recent Google algo change may have done just that to your web based business.
When I heard about another major algrythm change coming down the pike, and found it was to target duplicate content and "thin" content farms, my first thought was, oh boy, here come the false positives.
Unless you're main source of income is Adsense ads and affiliate programs, you probably don't have anything to worry about, right? WRONG! If you've been following my daily posts starting last week, you know that our site was hit early on Jan 26th. Sales and traffic returned shortly but became erratic for a few days with strange on and off periods, then on Tuesday February 1st we virtually disappeared, as if the site were handcuffed and throw in jail. While in the holding cell, hopefully awaiting a fair trail (good luck with that!) we started considering anything and everything that could have gone wrong. This incarceration was not a natural event, it certainly appeared to be intentional.
As in any jail, the phrase "I didn't do it" is a common defense. But as much as it may hurt to face the truth, we took a step back to look at our site so see what offense we may have committed.
In doing an exhaustive site evaluation looking for duplicate content, we found our blog may have been the guilty party because it contained several thousand outdated posts from a datafeed. Note to self, never use another datafeed. We removed those posts, generated a new site map and submitted to the turnkey hoping for his mercy. Non was granted.
Next we found two renamed pages (out of a total 100 pages)that had duplicate titles. This was a simple maintenance problem and the dupes were deleted. Thursday rolled around and we're still in the can, with a stubble beard and beginning to smell a bit, so we decided to freshen some content, tweak some keywords and hope for the best. To make a long silly stroy short, it's Friday and we're still in the joint, hoping for mercy from the court. In the end the worst we could be charged with was some stale content and a maintenance error, hardly enough to warrant jail time.
In the sad reality, this is basically what is happening to many honest original content webmasters who sell a product or service, rather than those game the system in hopes of free money through Google's lazy webmaster welfare program AKA Adsense.
This may sound like a big nonsensical fantasy, but the hard reality for many of us is what amounts to a painful monetary fine that for some is adding up to thousands of dollars in lost sales, not adsense revenue but SALES that pay our mortgages, put food on the table and drive the economy!
If you're an established web based business and have found yourself unjustly incarcerated, please share your experience. Maybe with some luck, this "worst of the worst destroyer of businesses algo" will be withdrawn or repaired so we can operate our businesses again in freedom. After all isn't that that what running a legitimate web business is all about?
PS - please call my momma and tell her I really miss her homemade cakes & pies. (wink wink)