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How to handle BLOOP (BackLink Over Optimization Penalty)?

2:05 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Good afternoon,
for the first time I trusted a SEO-Company and what they did was idiot link building, resulting in a BLOOP Penalty.

I told them already that they should remove immediately all links they built.

What are the best steps after a BLOOP Penalty?
How long this takes, till the website recovers? (I guess after the crawler comes back?)

I got a -100 Penalty :-(. My site has over 780.000 sites indexed but all terms are now far away from page one...

I'm sure it's "just" the algorithm penalty, so should this recover after the links are gone?

Thank you very much!
9:04 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

If you can actually remove all the backlnks you created (often challenging) then it's certainly worth a Reconsideration Request explaining what you did. If you can even remove most of them, still do that and try. The worst that happens is you get a note back that there is no manual penalty.

How long until the black mark is removed from your rankings is an open question. I've heard of some cases where it happened with the next spidering, and others where it seemed like a set time in the penalty box (60 days).
9:20 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm sure it's "just" the algorithm penalty, so should this recover after the links are gone?

question to the group: How plausible is it that this IS just an "algorithm penalty" as opposed to a manual penalty?
9:20 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I don't have a lot of data to work with but what I do have is from my own site that I study intensely and I recently recovered from -50 after almost exactly 90 days. I wasn't going to remove the backlinks because they were worth more to me than the Google traffic so I just shrugged it off when it hit. But now it has recovered back to where it was pre-links.
2:26 am on Jul 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

Based on Tedster's observation of 60 days and mine of 90 days it's probably accurate to guess that it's probably proportional to backlink percentage as a whole. A sliding scale.

I have a client who recently contacted me asking me if I would like to place a link back to my site in the footer their site. It was quite unexpected because I didn't realize they would have an understanding of that. It's a site that I did more than a year ago. They are happy because they even outrank Wikipedia for something he really wanted to be #1 for due to all his hard work he put into it. So I've accepted and will do so sometime soon. It's relatively large site in comparison to the site sizes I usually output.

I'm still trying to decide on what anchor text to use. But more importantly the total backlinks from this one site will almost match my current backlink profile -- it's going to increase it by 100%, all from one site, all same anchor text.

I'll have to remember this thread and comeback and report what happens when I do this -- might be a good study. And again, the backlinks will be of more value to me than the negative backlash from Google.

It seems these days Google wants us to fear building backlinks to make us more dependent on them. I'm going in the opposite direction. It's also worth noting that for the exact same very competitive 3 word term Bing has me on page #1 in position #4. Bing is very good at understanding site-wide focus funneled to a key point naturally without backlinks but they are terrible at long-tail secondary focus.
8:11 pm on Jul 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@Seven, how'd it go?
9:54 pm on Jul 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

From people we've helped with this problem...90 days is the magic number if they ever come out of it. We would get them to remove the naughty links, help the build natural ones through content, getting on related authority sites etc blah blah. When your over optimized anchor text is the biggest of them all, that's when the problems usually start to happen.

So many seo companies build naughty links in quietly in the background while doing "natural" things.
12:30 am on Jul 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

Alex_TJ I haven't gotten around to it yet. They are still doing a bit more work on new additions to the site themselves so I need changes to stabilize first. I then have to add my links and then walk him through synchronizing the pages with his local copies because I'll be working on the live server copies remotely.

I have flagged this thread and will not forget to post my observations when it goes live. I'm sure it will help us get an accurate understanding. It may be a few more weeks yet or maybe longer because I have quite a bit of relaxing non-development activities coming up in the next few weeks and will be offline quite a bit (yah!).
8:43 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

5 days left then 90 days are over, my index shrinked from 980.000 indexed pages to 66.000 till now :-(.

Hope that at least the penality is over then...
3:24 pm on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

heuri...just out of curiosity what did your backlink profile look like?

How many links did you acquire in X time?

Were there super-spurts in which a lot of links were added in one day with very similar timestamps?

How many links did you have beforehand?

What percentage of the links linked to your homepage and what percentage to subpages?

% that were sitewide links? % that were boilerplate links vs contextual links?

What type of anchor text distribution did you have?

Amount of c-class and/or IP diversity of backlinks?

Amount of whois diversity of backlinks?

Name server diversity?

Google analtics diversity (did the SEO company use the same google account he edited and/or used GA for these websites)? The amount of information google has to use for counter-seo is scary. They could in theory flag any individual that searches for the term seo and run the sites they visit most often through an audit. Or...google might actually be able to figure out the IP's of users who make edits to suspect sites and create powerful profiling information.

Pagerank diversity?

Do any of google's IPs show up in your logs (manual review) with a mac browser?

Types of sites that backlinked? Page size? Age? Did they link to bad neighborhoods? Were the sites pretty natural looking to human eyes? Directory type sites? Blogs? Etc...

Any information that you could provide could supply helpful clues as to how google's penalties work.
9:15 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Is that considered OVER-OPTIMIZATION, ie spam?

A "celebrity" navigation drop-down on all the pages of each of 600 independent celebrity web site. Each site has thousands of news pages, ie drop-down "links" from thousand of pages to each of the 600 web sites.

Would Google consider these drop-down "links" as "too many" links? Even though these drop-downs are meant to ease navigation from one celebrity site to the others , ie, not spam at all.

Thanks for any feedback, guidance.
10:40 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

Would Google consider these drop-down "links" as "too many" links? Even though these drop-downs are meant to ease navigation from one celebrity site to the others , ie, not spam at all.

while I don't think anyone could say for sure, if I remember correctly, I think there were a few threads on this site started by people who had done something similar and their whole "network" of sites was wiped out.

It might really be a better idea to make things into one big site rather than 600 independent sites. Google certainly seems to have a crush on large, well-branded sites over smaller ones...
4:27 am on Oct 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Building up on brand / business name inbound links only, and coordinating those with a google places account that is registered with the same details reflecting those details on the pages of the website can help in my experience in reducing the length and severity of that penalty.
5:02 am on Oct 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@SevenCubed to lift your -50 penalization, you remove/asked to removed some of the backlinks?
10:57 am on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

90 days are over, my penalty is still there...

But at least my index came back!

Went up from 60.000 to 813.000 results.

I will request today a reconsider request at google, maybe there is really a manual penalty?

I will keep you up-to-date...
1:19 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

heuri, did you remove backlinks as tedster recommended you?
2:30 pm on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What you've been seeing today is a new data roll out - it has nothing to do with your penalty. If you only had 60k pages indexed and it jumped to 813k - you should be worried. The 60k is what Google thinks should be in the index - the rest are lower quality / supplemental / near duplicates / whatever you want to call it.

I've been working on loads of sites that have seen the same jump going on - one because I'm working on removing loads of duplicate URLs from the domain (jumped down from 71k to 2k and back up again this afternoon - just normal datacentre bouncing) and another jumped from 100k to 1.4m and back.

The lower / new number is the more accurate one - the rest are junk content. Your problem isn't anything to do with your links directly - it's one of two issues;

1) You have 800k pages of low quality junk and Google has finally gotten round to removing them.

2) You have 800k pages of high quality content but it was propped up with junk links. Google wipes out the links and your site doesn't have enough link equity to get fully indexed.

Chances are it's the first point (a penalty and not just a drop in rankings), because if you had 800k pages of high (or reasonable) quality content your site would probably have evolved a decent enough natural link profile for junk links to not affect it in any significant way.

What are you seeing (company builds links > site gets penalised) is most likely only part of the picture. More likely is you've been slapped for huge amounts of low quality pages that have undoubtedly ranked just fine for quite some time - now they don't.

Without specifics, can you describe how your content breaks down - what are the 800k pages?
5:31 pm on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Any update Heuri?