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Advice Needed: Overcoming An Over Optimisation of Backlink Anchors

7:38 am on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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joined:Feb 19, 2012
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My site took a big knock with all of it's targeted keywords, falling off page 1 of google .co.uk on or around 19th February.

When I say targeted keywords, I mean ones that I have been paying an SEO firm to gain better rankings in the search engines.

All the long tail keywords that were appearing on page 1 are still there, so the problem is not a manual penalty. I think it is some algorithm filter that has been tripped, specifically over optimised back link anchor texts.

On analysing my backlinks in majesticseo I can see that the search phrase that has been the most heavily punished (pushed down to page 4/5) accounts for 15.5% of all the different anchor texts used. There are around 300 different anchor text variations pointing to the site.

The sites brand name is 8th on the list and accounts for only 3.21% of all the backlinks - This is obviously un-natural and I can now see why the algorithm has spat us out.

Anyway, the reason for all the above is, I need your advice. This is my only income and has been since 2003, it sells a physical product by mail order to anywhere in the country.

There are only two of us working here, so resources are limited and I need a plan of attack that will hopefully give me the quickest results. I know that I should have diversified into having more than one site and shouldn't have employed an SEO etc etc. I know that I have been naive in this, but I don't have a crystal ball.

Site visitors are down 40% and sales down 22% year on year. Conversion rates are up, so I know that the traffic I have lost from the short tails aren't as ready to buy as the more targeted long tail visitors.

I'm thinking of contacting all the sites that are using the most used anchor texts and asking them to remove the links. The problem here is that the linking sites are pretty low quality and lots of them don't have any contact details. If I get the contact emails from the whois information, I doubt less than 10% will take any action.

I could produce a spreadsheet for all the hundreds of contacts that I make in this way and then link it in a reconsideration request - In the hope that someone at google will take notice that I'm seriously trying to clean up my act and can't do much more.

My problem with this approach is that it isn't a manual penalty, so can the reconsideration team take any action and discount the offending links for me? Why isn't there some mechanism in webmaster tools where I could request that the algorithm discounts or excludes these types of links from being counted?

Another approach I'm thinking is to just forget about these short tail searches anyway and just concentrate on the long tails, that are still appearing on page 1. With the way that the results are now heavily favouring adword advertisers, local sites, amazon and ebay the opportunities of getting much traffic from these heavily searched short tails is becoming dramatically harder for someone that can deliver to the whole country.

Sorry for all the rambling, but finding it difficult to know which way to turn for the best! What would you do in my shoes? Thanks in advance.
5:43 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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From what i have read, concentrate on some link building using straight backlinks such as just domain name , Click here, link etc be creative ..

also. your are in the same boat as many others dont assume its just the links or the anchors causing this, a guy in another thread says he got the message in his WMT account, he changed around a few a titles and descriptions and he is back along with a message to say they have revoked all actions against his site

Did you have any message in WMT? if no then it sounds like just a Algo causing your drop in the rankings, do check out your site for over optimisation and see if you can make some chages there, thats if changes need making just yet
12:44 am on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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It could be that many of the sites that linked to you were demoted, and thus your link juice was lowered...
3:16 pm on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Wokka - I am in the same position. Going through all the links will be totally time-consuming and it may not be perfect, but I think that's the only option other than to wait it out.

I've done the other suggestions - mainly getting high quality, editorial in-bound links without keyword anchor text, and my site continues to fall (except for long-tails)

Also, my site took a hit the same exact time as yours.
9:11 pm on Apr 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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joined:Apr 3, 2010
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I have the exact similar situation though I have been wacked on the 8th of Jan. I have cleared a lot of my backlinks and requested a reinclusion on the 16th - no reply yet. I have also done a LOT of work on my site.

After these 3 months of searching and pain im starting to think that my initial reaction was wrong - ie. I should not have removed any links just looked for more valueable ones and left the rest alone.

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