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[edited by: aakk9999 at 9:48 pm (utc) on Sep 17, 2013]
[edit reason] Exemplified, removed specifics [/edit]
They mostly did link building and the links were added with white hat methods.
99.9% of the "SEO" companies out there have no idea what they're doing is against Google's TOS.
Every single time I've looked at someone's site with an unexplainable Panda or Penguin traffic loss, I've been able to find the problem. It's usually not that complicated, most people just don't really watch the SERPs close enough or have access to enough sites to be able to tell what's going on.
I don't know, maybe a competitor has created a site to give us bad links? I have a list of all my backlinks via Webmaster Tools but have no idea what links are hurting or helping the site.
can find problems with every site, including this one. But if it causes Panda, Penguin or whatever and if any fix would return is another story. They are a lot of "experts" that claim fixes trolling on webmaster forums, but the fact that barely any site has returned from panda (unless Google changed the algo) shows it isn't easy.
One night our site went down because our host said their server failed (didn't crash, just somehow failed due to a mechanical issue). When it was fixed and the site went back up, I realized that our traffic was nonexistent.
Now if I try to visit a link such as mydomain.com/product-id=4939, it forwards me to the homepage but mydomain.com/product-id=4939 is still in the address bar.
As far as Anlytics go when I run an "overview" from July 9th to July 12th, I see on the 9th we had 879 visitors, the 10th 716 , the 11th 409, and the 12th 372.
That being said, the SEO company that we have hired - to be completely honest - has never sent us any reports as to what they have done (a list of lists of sites they posted to, a list of backlinks they created, etc) over the years. I've always asked for reports and they were promised, but they remain very secretive about exactly what they do. Maybe they were secretly submitting blackhat SEO (possibly?) but I really believe that most companies won't give away the secrets to their trade.
@jimbeetle. I say Penguine 2 because right after the drop I had read an article that said something like "Google released the installment of Penguin 2 today". It just so happened to be on the same day we dropped. Actually, Matt Cutt's blog was flooded by outraged people who saw a drop... right around the time we did. I just believe our drop is related to these changes by Google.
-- Best guess after skimming through the long messages in this thread: the preceding bit you in the A** with Penguin 2.0 and any type of duplication [to be non-duplicate 85% or so unique is the last % I remember hearing] on the .co.uk domain probably didn't help, because duplicate content is duplicate content and I'm not sure who said it wasn't considered a duplicate on a separate domain, but they're incorrect.
That said, considering you've been buying SEO services for the site, it's likely -- though not positive -- that it is Penguin-related, as one of the easiest SEO "services" is getting a bunch of spammy backlinks for a site. So, the first step should be to check your backlink profile for any "unnatural" links your SEO companies built for you.
If links are not reported as "manual actions", should I just assume they may look bad but aren't bad?
How can I tell what backlinks hurt or help me?
Any spammy links built by your SEO companies should be easy to spot. You can eyeball them or use a tool such as the Boykin boy's handy-dandy backlink checker tool for Penguin and disavow analysis [backlinks.webmasterworld.com]. It's not the be all and end all, but it's a pretty good place to start.
Of course, the above is based on the assumption you determine it is a Penguin problem.
I have been suffering like you. After reading your post I checked my awstats and found lots of crappy .ru referrers. I go to check the pages and our link is nowhere, yet I discover an url in our wordpress db to a russian website. This is stressful. We've lost lots of traffic lately. Thank you for pointing this out.
"Most of the 200 + domains that i have (had) links on are bad domains now or the links are gone etc..I have a lot of work to do...this sucks"
Did you watch the tutorials?
That doesn't sound promising, especially if you did not put the 302s in place.
I'm way to nervous to submit links to Google and disavow them based upon the reporting.
"You must be able to see your link on the page of the domain that is linking to your site. If you can't find the page, it's gone. (not sure why google still counts it though in WMT)."
"We are just gonna go get new domains that are in our niche and get links."