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No Matter What We Do Our Site Can Never Recover - How About You?

     
12:28 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Here's a typical story I hear a lot and we have one ecommerce site that fits this perfectly: We have a site that used to do awesome in Google SERPs (yes, 'free' traffic) before 2011. Then when Panda 1 hit, it started to decline. It stll did good for a couple of years, but not as good. But it kept slowly falling. It literally has taken till about now to decline from 5k visitors a day to 300. Yes, a slow, painful death spiral.

It seems Panda and Phantom have disliked this site to no end. Each Panda and Phantom (except Panda 4) has made organic Google visits drop more. The death knell happened in the last four months especially.

However, in the last 24 months, and especially in the last 4, we've done a massive amount of improvements:

On-page: We re-designed the whole site (made it wider, with larger fonts and made the top banner much smaller so everything moved up), made it responsive, added way better navigation, changed the entire site's url structure to make the urls shorter and more intuitive, made the buying process smoother and easier, added interactive features, found (using analytics) most/all bad-performing pages and 301'd to appropriate top-level category. We've increased time on site a bit, and reduced bounce rate a bit doing this. We got most pages to W3C validate even (deleting any outdated html in the process). We've added rich snippetts (which don't show up in the SERPs), changed from private to public registration. We made the 'Buy' button stick to the top when visitors scroll down. We added testimonials to every page. We already had a terms and privacy page, but we added a disclaimer page, a FAQs page, and a disclosure page, and our physical address on every page. We found that the blog posts were getting horrible user stats and bringing the whole site down, and had a lot of old, thin posts. So we deleted it completely and 301'd all blog pages to our homepage. We added original content to every single page too.

Off-page:We tried to get rid of every possible harmful link. We used a number of tools to find 'bad' links, including the tool here at WebmasterWorld, and disavowed hundreds about a year ago. There were blogs that we owned that we linked to this site and we deleted all of those links. In the last few months we found that there were some expired domains that had new blogs on them and had a link pointing to us, so we deleted those where we could. Then in the last two months, we've launched a massive content marketing initiative where we started publishing a 3000+ word original piece every twe days or so. We've done about six of these, and every one has received thousands of Facebook shares (one got more than 5k shares) and tons of great links. The first one received more than 12 new linking domains, and the last one we did this past week has already received about 10 new, white hat links. This has increased the number of linking domains by more than 10% alone!

What has this done to improve our Google organic traffic? NOTHING!

In fact, in the last month, Google traffic has gotten worse! Worse than ever before. The site is now dead.

My only conclusion now is that this particular site has been taggedby Google, which essentially says "This site will NEVER recover, no matter what is done."

I mean, how can you do such drastic and dramatic things to a site and see no changes at all? We deleted a 1000 page blog, and Google traffic never changed!? We 301d every bad-performing page. We re-designed the whole site for way better user experience and based on everything we learned about Panda and Phantom (about 6 months ago), and Google traffic never changed. We increased our natural, white hat backlinks by 10% most recently and our Google traffic has decreased!

It appears that there is nothing I can do to even move the needle. I believe that if I took the Forbes site, or CNN, or Wikipedia or even Amazon and put it on this domain, they would tank too. I swear, this site is tagged and can never come out of purgatory. I've been doing this since Alta Vista and have never seen anything like this.

Have others had this same experience?
2:40 am on Apr 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Have you never just thought about starting from scratch, it's hard to say goodbye, but back in the day I had really nice sites (more traffic than what you mentioned), they got punished with Panda in 2011, I ditched them soon after and just did things from scratch again on new domains.

Well done to the people who have the time and patience to work on something and are trying to fix things, but I am really happy I never spent more than a few months before and I just thought screw this, do it again correctly, and in a way I am happy it happened this way or I would not have the sites I have now due to this tough lesson.

In my head even if I got a site back on track, I would still forever wonder if my domain was tarnished with a big red line through it holding it back from increasing in future. Now all sites I have are better than what I previously had as I know to do things better, I could never sit and watch it go into such decline all these years and still work on them, no chance, but good luck.
11:00 am on Apr 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Well done to the people who have the time and patience to work on something and are trying to fix things

What if you are an ecommerce site and did nothing wrong, don't have keyword stuffed pages and don't have toxic links but get the absolute worst non-buying traffic (a lot of it) that Google has to offer? It's hard to do the burn and churn thing when there are so many aspects of changing domains and business names. Can't redirect the old domain to the new, and branded searches get lost. Filing fees for changing corporate names and state licensing and permit fees add to the loss. Printing new stationary, stopping current non-web ads and new signage for physical location(s) adds even more to the cost. Then contracts need to be re-written, and insurance policies amended, to reflect the new business and domain name.

Like any other business, Google is motivated by making more money. There is a reason why Google has not released sites from penalties and zombies. And that's so they join adwords. The first page of the search results, after you scroll beyond the paid ads, are filled with big brands. Some of these big brands even get 2 or 3 listings. At least in my case, where I know I did nothing wrong and did everything I could from the start to be compliant with Google's policies right from the beginning, changing my business name and moving to a new domain does not make sense. Considering I've done nothing wrong, why would I expect an outcome any different than what I have now? Though these penalties, often with cute names, are designed to point blame at us, I think it's Google's greed that is preventing many sites from being seen in their search results. My solution was simple - If Google wants to basically give Amazon all the listings on the first page of all of my buyer keywords, then in Amazon is where I have to be. It's the best decision I made and would encourage other ecommerce operators to explore the option. I'm no longer paying for non-buying adwords zombie clicks and am making a lot more money then I did with Google before the zombies started in September of 2014. The best part of all is that my products can be found in Google via Amazon and these updates that Google does seems to only improve traffic to my Amazon product pages.
12:13 pm on Apr 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google:

One of my competitors advertises both his web sites at the same time and gets away with it. I even told my Google rep and he said that is not right but nothing changed. I would love to start a whole new web site and test ads without this zombie problem. Then let my new site run ads and my old site run off organic. We have zombie problem with both organic and paid at the same time. I cannot close my current web site and just start over...I could but don't think this is smart because eventually the zombie problem would start again...the zombie problem has existed for years now...so this strategy is flawed because there's a good chance that all sites will eventually be infected with zombie algorithms.

Amazon:

glakes - I agree with everything you say about zombies but with Amazon I am worried for you. I have already brought this up numerous times on webmasterworld but my life was pure torture when I sold on Amazon so it's therapeutic to say my peace. My guess is I already responded to you about this before so it must be annoying but others may not have seen my other posts. My life was so bad that I actually still love Google more...zombies and all. I am thankful that I gave up Amazon a few years back.

Disclaimer: the rules may have changed and I cannot prove anything - these are my personal opinions for entertainment use only. I could be wrong...

They can kick you off for any reason with only one appeal where you have to beg to stay on giving your reasons. Never happened to me but I was paranoid about having tons of inventory at risk...if this happened I would have a hard time unloading my inventory.

They can see all your data and sell the same items you sell or even for unique items they could manufacturer themselves.

The customers on Amazon are crazy...if you don't want bad feedback you had better check seller central every 10 minutes "literally" because if you don't do exactly what customers tell you to do right away they often write a bad review...be prepared to check your account at breakfast, lunch, dinner, at your kids school function, on every ride at the amusement park, etc. To succeed means responding to customer problems immediately or many will get mad saying you are a fraud for not responding quickly and then write review... too many bad reviews can get you kicked off the system. Merchants are starting to see this is similar to ebay...the seller is always wrong and the customer is always right...there are some real low life customers who ripped me off.

Your prices on your regular .com website had better be higher than what is on Amazon's site...if they are lower than you can be kicked off site. When you do something good customers will often thank Amazon and not you...

Do not put your company name on boxes or within boxes - this is a violation...so that really means you work for them - not yourself...no branding allowed. I read about uber drivers having similar problems and this reminds me of my days on Amazon.

Again, everything written above is my opinion - if you take the above as correct it may not be correct - it's only my opinion...try Amazon for yourself and read the seller forums for a few hours to learn - ask questions of other sellers and they could prove me wrong.
10:34 pm on Apr 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am in the same boat. Took a Panda hit in July 2015. Cleaned up content, and have returned the traffic to be the same amount. But it it not the same quality. Sales are down 75% no matter what we do. Cant bust out. Yet there is a site in my niche dominating top 10 and is inferior in every way to our site and our backlink profile. Makes no sense.

We believe our website is possibly being throttled and limited in it’s traffic and ranking potential. No matter how well we follow the guidelines or how often we post and what we post, we have the same traffic month after month.

Our site according to all internet tools, moz, ahref, majestic etc should be highly competitive and with good organic traffic. Our competition has done questionable things and yet enjoys top 10 placement year after year. They have duplicate content and duplicate sites in the top 10. Yet we can never break through.

We have tried to give our customer a terrific user experience. We understand that we should deliver high quality content. We are doing our best to do that. Keep in mind we are a small business. We are not a media giant like Huffington Post. We do our best to offer ad-free informative and relative content that relates to our service.

Our Domain was registered in 2004
We have a license to do business with the State since 2004
We are not an affiliate site. We have our own reservation form and merchant gateway etc.

There are no manual penalties against us in Webmaster Tools.
Our site is SSL. We switched to https in November and followed all the necessary steps to do so.
We use Google for the Registrar
We’ve highlighted our products for Structured Data.
We use a template that is very popular and is mobile friendly and responsive.
We have removed any content that we consider to be thin and doesn’t add to the user experience.
Our site has original, well-researched content. All videos and Images are our own.
We allow full crawling of our site via robots.txt.
Our htaccess does not have any bad code.
We are active on popular Social Media platforms.


We have read the Google Guidelines and we have done our best to follow that.

In addition to the above, I can confirm the following:
a) Our site has been made for users, not search engines
b) We do not have any hidden links, doorway pages, cloaking, or sneaky redirects
c) We do not keyword stuff any of our content or have irrelevant keywords on our pages.
d) We have never bought paid links.
e) We do not participate in any link schemes.
f) We do not have any pages that contain malware or have any malicious content.
g) There is no advertising or affiliate program content on our site that does not add value to the user first.

We are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet the Google Search Quality guidelines.

All we are asking for, is if by chance a human editor has put us to the back of the line so to speak, we would like to know why and can that be undone? We believe we should have the same opportunities to succeed without bias.

When we asked for help in the Google forums, all we got was basic advice.

"Your link profile is quite weak and I imagine it has been devalued over time. "

So frustrating.....

We also thought it was our htaccess..which we trouble shooted here at: [webmasterworld.com...]

We are just gonna use the wayback machine and download our old site and put it up on another domain...and go from there... And niche our site out a bit...

Good luck....
11:18 pm on Apr 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Could it be that it might be as simple as if the Panda got you once there's a black mark that can't be erased?

This is what I'm hearing over and over in these threads (not that anyone is saying that, only that no one has recovered).

Like URLs it appears that g never forgets (or FORGIVES).
11:44 pm on Apr 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The response I got from G forums (not a G employee) regarding the theory that I was being throttled:

"Just want to jump in to say: Google doesn't cap or throttle traffic to a site. Google's goal is to answer their customer's query quickly and efficiently. There's no way Google would say, "All righty, Site A has had more than enough traffic today. Let's show another site instead."

And if you start believing there's a human editor who's controlling all this, well, that's going to set you down a path that won't do you any good. There's something like, what, a trillion pages out on the web? There's just no way Google's going to focus on your site manually in order to cap/throttle traffic.

You can be doing everything right with your site and still not rank. Why? Because, as someone once said, "Google doesn't make websites popular; it finds popular websites." Maybe your competitors are more popular because they came up with a great marketing plan.

If you're doing everything right according to Google's guidelines, great! Now, forget about Google traffic and get out there and find other ways to get business. Get people talking about your site online, get people searching for your site -- and Google will start to take more notice of your site."

Yawn...canned response... But I can't help feel there is something deeper at play...
3:21 am on Apr 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Please never ask anything in G Forums, they give Google so much love, I think most of them think it will give traffic to their own companies, it's pointless. If you message in their to say your adsense ads are set as blue but show as red, they will say you are colour blind.
1:32 pm on Apr 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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ecommerceprofit, my interpretation of Amazon's rules and experience are much different than what you described, both as a buyer and seller. Like any marketplace, if you are blatantly trying to steal customers from Amazon to send to your site then they will gig you for it. And yes, it is there site so they can give you the boot and not think twice about it. But my prices are better on my website, which reflects not having to give up 15% on each sale. Pricing is better through a combination of multiple or set discounts, coupons and shipping fees. My invoices are the standard company invoice minus a phone number because we don't want Amazon customers calling in with stupid questions, which reaffirms your point that Amazon shoppers are crazy. But our web address is on the invoice and our product packaging is branded. Think about it, companies will not incur the cost to create special packaging to avoid such a brand rule. Where companies do push the envelope is when they write on the packing slip to buy from the manufacturer to save, etc. Those statements imply a financial incentive for future purchase outside of Amazon. Yes, Amazon does collect a lot of data which could potentially be used against you. Much of this data is shared, but obviously not where page traffic originates from and any data related to that. But this is big data, and that data is collected by all the major players in an effort to take more money out of our pockets to put it into theirs. I'm not saying Amazon is where I want to put most of my efforts, but it beats wasting so much money on Adwords high bids and the continual analysis mode Google puts us in when there are no sales, zombies, etc. I'd rather focus on my business and making customers happy than trying to decipher why Google sends us a lot of garbage traffic. But you do raise legitimate concerns and as with any marketplace the rules can change on a moments notice.
1:32 pm on Apr 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Moving all of your eggs from Google to Amazon is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Amazon are no different to Google, they are out for themselves and will dump on you when they have the info they want (what products SELL and make $$).

Google Shopping was free in the beginning for the sole purpose of data mining IMO. Many ecoms willingly uploaded product feeds with all that nice free data for Google, in return they may have got sales. Then Google suddenly decided to make it paid in the name of "quality". If you believe that then give up now.

Now Google has Amazon on page 1 for just about every search, IMO you have played into their hands, you are now on Amazon giving them all the data they want. I hear what you are saying about Google and no point wasting money on Adwords (another product that does nothing other than line their pockets more & more) but jumping onto Amazon is a dangerous game (unless you plan on making $$$$ while you can then killing the business off).
3:00 pm on Apr 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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ohno2 makes some great points that I agree with. Thanks for sharing glakes...not sure I agree with shipping, etc. but I am on your side :-). In regards to other points about Amazon being in the top results of Google...perhaps Amazon will soon be buying Google haha. Seriously, Amazon deserves to be in the top spots of Google (lots of reviews, product data, clean site, etc. but only "one listing" per keyword / phrase is deserved...not saturating...

I remember back in the early 2000s the press fawned over how Google had all the top people, PhDs, etc..I have to wonder if they are all geniuses really? IMO, the adword reps are really just sales robots without critical thinking abilities - the executives are letting Amazon eat their lunch while killing off diversity of their customer base...medium and small businesses. Kind of like other nations using China to manufacturer everything...now China sucks up the money and is building up major power around the World. Google built up Amazon and then Amazon someday may kill off or buy Google.

Google market cap around 541B and Amazon around 309B and free cash flow excellent at Google. This can change on a dime when Bezos pulls the switch and makes company profitable - already did this one quarter and his net worth went way up. I would not be surprised if he becomes the richest person in the World in 3 years. Google thinking short term rather than long term.
7:25 pm on Apr 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Ohno & ecom..

My traffic sank after I listed my products in Google webmaster tools. I'm going to undo that right now. (search appearance/data highlighter/products)

also, I believe if i stop doing adwords ($10 a day) I will lose organic positions. I believe they are tied together.

thoughts?
7:38 pm on Apr 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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To me it's a black box - Google is changing their algorithms all of the time. I say it's impossible to know for sure. They would be smart to constantly change their algorithms so no one could game their system. However, if they forced customers to use adwords (I have no way of knowing if it affects organic) this would not be fair. There are other members of webmasterworld who may be more confident in answering these questions.
2:45 am on Apr 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yes I would give it one more go. Remember to creat an advanced report for All Links pointing to the domain dont choose an option like url, www or non-ww). In the filter options make sure that historical indexes are used and that you include "deleted" links.

Once you have the list, manually check each link, starting with the toxic ones. Toxic ones you can eyeball quickly. For Moderate and Low risk, manually check all as well. Check homepage pr (if its n/a then you need to look closer), check the url your link is on and other random urls for excessive outbound links, phara/#*$!/payday loan links, etc. If the link has a tld of .pl or .ru or any other country that you normally wouldnt get a natural link from, then check it extra carefully.

Lastly, like I said when you find a suspect link, add the domain to the disavow not just the url.

GL
6:34 am on Apr 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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"No Matter What We Do Our Site Can Never Recover"

The internet, and user's expectations have changed very significantly from both the beginning of the modern web and even from 2011 to 2016. I have one site that's been updated over the years, but I don't know that it should survive into the foreseeable future. It was structured and built for a different web.

I made the choice to become a cannibal. Using the same topical concept, I've updated information, expanded peripheral concepts and wrapped it all in a responsive WordPress package on a new site.. Although I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the original site, the new one is much better suited for the future.

I suppose we should all ask the question "What do popular sites today do that my site does not?"
Scrolling is the new clicking, images replace text links, hype remains ever-present.

1. Sites are popular because users like them.
2. Search engines rank popular sites well because users like them.

User satisfaction, however you measure it, should be the primary goal.
6:53 am on Apr 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Ohno & ecom..

My traffic sank after I listed my products in Google webmaster tools. I'm going to undo that right now. (search appearance/data highlighter/products)

also, I believe if i stop doing adwords ($10 a day) I will lose organic positions. I believe they are tied together.

thoughts? ]

Do you mean you uploaded a product feed to Google? If you did then forget it, deleting that data will make ZERO difference, they have the info they want. I've never used their data highlighter as to be frank by the time they came up with that idea my trust in them was long gone. I would guess they use that data in the same way. Either get ready to stump up lots of Adwords $$$$ or dump the site & start again without any Google products on it & no trace back to your old domain. We all know how realistic that is for an established ecom, right?!
5:31 pm on Apr 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Ohno,

I did. =( I've deleted it now. I'm taking an old version of my site and relaunching it on another domain with no Google analytics, and no webmaster tools.. hope to get it spidered,,,,
3:09 am on Apr 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I did. =( I've deleted it now. I'm taking an old version of my site and relaunching it on another domain with no Google analytics, and no webmaster tools.. hope to get it spidered,,,,


An old version of a site on a new domain with no Google analytics and no webmaster tools will certainly reduce Google's awareness of the site. But how will it rank? Killing existing aged links isn't something I'd do lightly.
4:17 am on Apr 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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aok88,
I was hit by Panda exactly 5 years ago yesterday.
I struggled with it for years and was finally released in May 2014.

There is a columnist over on Search Engine Land that has written extensively on Panda and Phantom.
After reading his articles published in 2013 and 2014 I feel I gained enough insight that I was able to make the changes that Google required so to finally release my site. Possibly it was all just coincidence but I think those articles are worth a read.
6:31 am on Apr 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I did. =( I've deleted it now. I'm taking an old version of my site and relaunching it on another domain with no Google analytics, and no webmaster tools.. hope to get it spidered,,,,

mboydnv, it sounds like you might be about to make some very stupid mistakes out of frustration and anger.

I believe if i stop doing adwords ($10 a day) I will lose organic positions. I believe they are tied together. /
thoughts?
People have been looking for some sort of conspiracy for a long time, and no one's found a connection. I'm sure, though, that a coincidental simultaneous drop can make the suspicious wonder even more.

It has been tested and shown that there's a symbiotic relationship between high ranking organic results next to highly placed AdWords ads... so removing that reinforcing visual factor by dropping your ads could affect organic traffic in the other direction. I haven't seen any studies since the side ads have been removed.

AdWords is also used to provide traffic when you're not ranking, or to test keywords. Since you're only charged for traffic that clicks on your ad, if the traffic isn't paying for itself then you should look at what your site is offering that's unique and valuable, and at your landing pages, and at the user experience on your site.

You would be wise to compare your site in that regard with competitive sites of the same kind as yours that are ranking above you. Compare the quality of your writing and your information paragraph-by-paragraph, the visitor experience page-for-page. What can you offer that your competitors don't? What were your analytics telling you before you ripped them out? Looking at somebody else's backlinks has nothing to do with it.

Regarding human raters, they rate sites only to develop algorithms. They don't directly affect your site's rankings.

But don't tear apart your site and infrastructure out of frustration, or because of someone else's bitterness. That's not going to help you make prudent decisions.
4:04 pm on Apr 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There is a columnist over on Search Engine Land

Who is that, screen name please?
8:15 pm on Apr 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Nope. We all know how to Google. I appreciated the knowledge of the articles but not so much a fan of the person.
12:17 pm on Apr 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I was hit by Panda exactly 5 years ago yesterday.
I struggled with it for years and was finally released in May 2014.

There is a columnist over on Search Engine Land that has written extensively on Panda and Phantom.
After reading his articles published in 2013 and 2014 I feel I gained enough insight that I was able to make the changes that Google required so to finally release my site. Possibly it was all just coincidence but I think those articles are worth a read.


I know who you mean and have found his stuff useful, but it didn't work. And I tried my butt off. One major takeaway from his work is to find - using analyitcs - all you worst-performing pages and get rid of them. I did that. And I did that. And I did that some more. And then did it again months later, till all bad-performing pages were gone, and every page performed better and the site's bounce rate, time on site and page views all improved. It didn't help one bit. If fact, it has been a big waste of time. Glad it worked for you.

In fact, this author just came out with another article a few days ago and mentioned that there were three dates in March that he thought were 'panda tremors'. Looking at our site's analytics, each of those dates saw a further dip in Google visits. And again, this is after all the things we've done to improve it (see my original post for this thread).

It's like banging my head against a wall. I could cry in frustration. (It's just like editing a page's html, then ftp-ing it to the server and then checking it in a browser and your edits don't show. So you try again, but the page you view does not reflect the changes you just made, and you scratch your head in confusion. Eventually, you realize your editing a different page than the one your checking in the browser. So all that time before was wasted because you were checking the wrong page! That is exactly what it feels like with this site and Google. No matter what changes we make, it's as if we're making changes on a different site than the one Google is indexing. It is mind-blowingly frustrating)

As far as the 'nuclear option' and starting over, it is too late. The competition in this vertical is fierce, one of the toughest, and the money pouring in from investors to our competitors is ungodly, there is just no room for the small guy anymore, and it sucks.
6:59 am on Apr 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hi aok88....

In the OP you say the site is ecommerce. Is it an affiliate site, selling products and/or services on behalf of a merchant and you get a percentage of the transaction?

If yes, that may be your answer right there. Google wants merchants buying Adwords, not partnering with affiliates. If memory serves me correctly, affiliates in my niche started dropping like flies around the time Penguin was launched (and none have ever resurfaced). Does that fit your timeline?

Even if your remedial actions have been exceptional and the site is absolutely 100% compliant with Google's Guidelines, if you are still selling/advertising products on behalf of merchants, then IMO your site will be seen as an affiliate and that may be the real issue you have to deal with.
11:50 am on Apr 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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austtr - yes indeed this particular site I am referring to is an affiliate. Two things however:

1. There are still competitors in this vertical that are also affiliates and they are doing just fine.

2. Are there others here who are running an affiliate site that are doing just fine with Google visits? Because if there are - which I am pretty sure is the case - then that can't be the main explanation for my site's demise (although maybe that is partly to blame, just not the whole story).
1:42 pm on Apr 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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What tool did you use to find toxic links? I have a few clients that have been tanked for years and were told they'd never get back. Some heavy research / analysis and cherry picking for the disavow, as well as backlink reclamation and correction, and they are back.


I bought LinkResearchTools and ran it and the site in question is labeled by it as 'High Domain DTOXRISK®' - so that is obviously not a good sign.

I will disavow a lot of the high risk domains after I review it all. I suppose it is possible that these links have been the albatross around its neck all this time.

One question, when others have disavowed, have you disavowed all article sites and infographic sites that link to your site? Both of these types of sites are all marked by LRT as 'high risk' for me.
3:58 pm on Apr 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Are there others here who are running an affiliate site that are doing just fine with Google visits?

I can't speak for "thin" or "pure play" affiliate sites that exist primarily as sales vehicles, but I can tell you that our information site, which earns the greater part of its revenue from affiliate links, is doing very well with Google.

.
7:49 am on Apr 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Want to get your rankings back?

1. Round up 30-50 million in vc money.
2. Flood the tv with ads.
3. Go public with your stock with an initial ipo of several billion.

your site is now an authority site worthy of ranking


Don't forget to steal other people's content. Stolen content seems to rank really well. Google doesn't care.

That's logical from a business point of view - there is no real search competition and most users will have no choice but to be satisfied with the results. So there's no need for Google to do any major updates and waste a lot of $$$ in the process when they can focus on their bottom line only.


My wife and I were searching for something yesterday. We didn't find it, not even on page 20 of Google. Then we used Bing and there it was ... on page 2. It took us more than 20 minutes to find nothing on Google and after maybe 2 minutes we found it on Bing. Google is no longer the best search engine in my opinion. The Google algo is based on punishing instead of rewarding websites and on making money, lots of money.
8:31 am on Apr 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I bought LinkResearchTools and ran it and the site in question is labeled by it as 'High Domain DTOXRISK®' - so that is obviously not a good sign.

Without being rude, if that tool you paid for is guiding you, then follow your dollars spent and disavow all/anything it reveals.

Not that it will make much difference.

The other aspect that "others get away with it and I can't" means nothing either. The best any of us can do is bang away at being the BEST we can be and damn the serps (yeah, I know that is the not the answer desired, but it is the right answer).

If links seems to be the problem then kill 'em off ... all of them, and go from there. Any attempt to "save" link juice or pr is pie in the sky ... it won't work these days ... g is not forgiving. But as the other fellow said above BING works fine. This is, however, a goggle thread. Use the Bing reference as just that, a reference.
11:46 am on Apr 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One of our blogs was hit by Panda in the end of 2012 and has not recovered since. I have tried all the tricks in the book, but to no avail. I am not sure if the algorithm has changed significantly but this is what I could figure out -
-) Google values original content above everything. If you have a detailed article which actually offers value than other websites out there then you will rank higher. For eg - If you are selling keychains - then a series of articles on keychains should help you rank higher.
-) A bunch of original content uplifts the entire website. Google starts trusting you again.
-) Incoming links - Though important and not that important anymore. We have tons of incoming links but it does not help a penalty. We have even been linked by the NY Times but thats not enough to please G.
-) Incoming links dont cause a penalty - Practically if you think who links to you is not in your control. Unless you go ahead and link spam. For larger content oriented websites its practically impossible to monitor every incoming link and in case of penalties audit them. I think basically the disavow link is given for spammers to clean up their act.
-) Outgoing link - these are the ones that Google would monitor. Links to a spammy website, bingo, gaming, adult not relevant to your niche will penalize you.
-) Load time / Responsive design - They are relevant indicators but content is the true king.

These are my personal observations and I may be wrong. But like everyone else in this thread Panda and Pengiun continue to baffle and haunt me.
3:11 pm on May 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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First lets cover the obvious, Google can do whatever Google wants to do!

Are there others here who are running an affiliate site that are doing just fine with Google visits?
EG: I can't speak for "thin" or "pure play" affiliate sites that exist primarily as sales vehicles, but I can tell you that our information site, which earns the greater part of its revenue from affiliate links, is doing very well with Google.

Editorial Guy, it seems an oversight not to mention that your information site suffered from Panda from Jan 2011 till May 2014
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4742093.htm
EG: "FWIW, our long-established information site was hit by Panda back in 2011 (and a number of times afterward), and we lost a lot of traffic as a result. But we never dropped terribly far in the rankings--we just slipped by a few slots, on average, as big-name sites (megasites and name-brand sites) floated upward in the wake of Panda. And let's face it: The difference between, say, spot 1 to 3 and spots 8 to 10 can have a huge impact on organic search traffic."

"We recovered from Panda in last May's Panda update (our Google referrals are currently running about 300 percent ahead of the same period last year), but as far as I can tell, the recovery had nothing to do with anything we did, which wasn't much."

So here was a recovery from Panda and the webmaster has no idea why. I believe I can confirm with competitive data analysis tools that this was a Panda recovery. Oddly, given Panda's massive lag I think I might know why EG's site recovered.
What is Panda's typical lag anyway, a year, 1.5 years?
Another WW webmaster whose site was never impacted by Panda was hit in May 2014 at the same time EG's information site recovered.
Both sites are quality sites with lots of information for individuals.
I can think of another excellent site that was trashed (forever) by Panda. Interestingly, a couple years after this site was hit by Panda, current reviews of the site were saying no wonder it was hit by Panda it's an awful site, the humor being the webmaster destroyed what was once a nice looking, fast, informative site, by trying to recover from Panda!
Panda is a shotgun, where a rifle was needed.
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