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Two Related Sites Penalized/Pandalized?

     
1:43 am on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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On August 12th, the same day as int'l panda roll out two of my websites have what looks like -50 penalties. They still show for a domain search, and one even has the new sitelinks. All pages are still in the index and show when searching for their url. One site linked to the other but that was the only connection. The two sites are on the same subject. They share some similar backlinks but nothing too extreme or out of the ordinary. They show on page 5-6 for all of the terms they used to rank for.

One site is registered in WMT the other is not. Both use google analytics but on different accounts. Both sites have paid links but nothing too spammy and not more than any other site in this niche. Haven't touched the sites in the prior two months besides ~5 weekly news articles.

Is a reconsideration request necessary? Should I wait it out? Should I change anything? Is this algorithmic or manual? Any insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks
1:16 pm on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello Bob, and welcome to the forums.

Only Google knows for sure what your site suffers from. If it is a Panda demotion, as the date seems to indicate, then a Reconsideration Request won't get any improved result for you. If it is a manual penalty and not just an algorithmic demotion (which the minus 50 seems to point to) then you will need to find and fix any guideline violations first. Then a Reconsideration Request has a chance of succeeding.

Some manual penalties include a fixed time, even after the violations are fixed, so escape from a manual penalty is not always immediate, depending on the site's history and how severe Google considers the violations to be.

[edited by: tedster at 8:03 pm (utc) on Aug 24, 2011]

3:49 pm on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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well I always see a -50 drop with a link problem so definitely look into that.
3:54 pm on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One site linked to the other but that was the only connection.


Are both domains registered under the same owner name? Also, do you have any sites that weren't affected?

If both sites fell on the same day, it suggests that you were caught donig something wrong (in Google's eyes). You mentioned that you bought some links, so maybe the backlink profiles for the sites don't look natural, and that is the source of the problem. Of course, as Tedster said, only Google knows for sure.
7:18 pm on Aug 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One more question about how independent the sites are... Do the sites share hosting?
7:39 am on Aug 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The sites do not share the same registration, both are private. The sites are on separate hosting.

Yes it seems more like a penalty, and it would make sense for Google to issue it the same day as an update to add confusion. I almost prefer a penalty over a panda downgrade as there seems to be a way back from a penalty.

Thanks for the insight, will more than likely remove the bad links and go for a reconsideration request.
11:38 am on Aug 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The sites do not share the same registration, both are private


It's possible that Google might be able to see the name of the real owner even if a site has "privacy protection".
8:57 pm on Sept 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I had a network of 12 similar websites hit on August 2nd. They seem to have added something to their algorithm that cracks down on people owning multiple sites that are too similar. There is a Matt Cutts video where he specifically talks about people owning more than one domain selling the same product. He says the sites should be radically different. Does that possibly apply in your situation? Do you have a valid reason to have 2 similar websites instead of 1, other than marketing?

As for finding who owns a domain or whether they are closely related, that is usually quite simple for google to see unless you were very careful.
 

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