joined:Nov 25, 2013
Mod's note: Continued from original discussion here... Urgent Help Needed With Reconsideration - Thin Content Penalty
I thought I'd start a new thread on this, I have recently been released from Googles Death Grip and had a Manual Action for Thin Content removed. The original thread is pretty long, so I thought I'd summarise what I did here:
Just for a bit of history, I run a comparison site (affiliate based) in the High Risk Short Term Credit market (think small loans), its a spam ridden industry but I am not a spammer. I offer a simple comparison service, independent and impartial and I am not a broker, I don't take applications or collect any information at all.
So I received my penalty on the 24th September, naturally I was shocked given I had excellent Google Analytic stats which led me to think people were actually enjoying my content.
Anyway, I went through a process of 7 reconsiderations before getting it removed. Without going through every one individually, here's a brief summary of what I did:
Removed a sub-domain that I had recently setup
Removed every single advert on my site
Moved the main text of the site up the page by removing images
Removed pages that were not necessary
Removed blog posts that were not industry specific
Removed categories that they may have been perceived to have been created for ranking purposes
Rewrote my main content (reviews)
Removed associated sites - I owned another site in this niche, although it wasn't ranking or really getting any traffic I deleted it completely
Added 14 new articles, hand written and between 700 and 1300 words each
Increased pageload speed
Fixed all my HTML errors
Repaired all broken links
Reduced the amount of affiliate links by 66%
Removed all 'tags' as they were being indexed
Next step I took was to completely rebuild my homepage. I spent money on developing a unique comparison tool and changed the entire layout of my site, new navigation and a new homepage.
Removed ALL categories except the essential ones
No-indexed further pages
Next up I looked at my affiliate links. In Wordpress I could see that the links were tagged 'nofollow' but when I checked the page source the nofollow tag wasn't there. There must have been an error in the theme I use which meant none of my links were nofollow. I fixed this issue.
I updated my About Us and Contact Us pages to include more information, images and to give people a better idea of who I was and how they could contact me.
In the UK, the industry I work in is currently under a Government Investigation. I have recently been lucky enough to be involved in this and provided evidence to prove I wasn't a fly-by-night spammer and I was serious about by site.
It's hard to know exactly what the trigger was, I suspect it was primarily me ensuring my links were no followed, but I am not sure that would trigger a Thin Content penalty.I think they wanted to see some transparency from me, in a murky industry like this I think that's important.
It was a very, very stressful time for me whilst I was under a penalty, I had no income for a long time. I have learnt some really important lessons however from this experience. I have learnt a lot about my business, how vulnerable it is and now know that you just cannot rely on an external source for your income, especially when you have no control over it - I think I have always known that but it takes something like this to make you appreciate it.
Through it all, I stuck by what I thought was right. Yes, I fell in love with my site, and some suggested letting it go and starting again, but that was never an option for me. If you truly believe in what you're doing, stick with it. Don't make rash decisions based on one persons opinion either - everyone has different ideas, think about what people are saying and ask yourself is that right for your site, your audience, your business. Not everything people suggest will work for you, but appreciate peoples efforts.
Finally, don't be afraid to come to a forum like this and ask for help. I never would have been able to get through this without the help and support from people on forums and for that I am grateful.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:53 am (utc) on Nov 15, 2014]
[edit reason] added link to original thread [/edit]