joined:May 2, 2002
Hi folks - Haven't posted here in a good while but am wondering if anyone can advise me.
So we've been doing this SEO thing since 2001 for lots of well known international names.
Never come across a situation like this.
We've a well known international brand client in a small European country who was previously top of Google for "Red Widget".
It's a competitive sector.
Client did lots of dodgy links and finally got buried approx 2012-2014. We're not sure when exactly.
We've now got them ranking top 3 for all their 'Widget' terms EXCEPT 'Red Widget'
Problem is they're completely stuck on page 4 for this & aren't budging no matter what we try / test.
(Dodgy links were built for 'Red Widget', 'Cheap Red Widget', 'Red Widget Country' etc)
We've been working with them over the last couple of years to do everything obvious including:
> Disavow for all remotely dodgy links
> All good code, UX, responsive, https, compact site, no thin content, fast etc:
> Great new content created and promoted to get lots of decent links
> At least as clean link profile to top ranking competitors (800 incoming IP's are cleaner / stronger in many cases than comp's)
> Changed the URL & content of the "Red Widget" page. (Instant jump up c 30 places and then straight back to page 4)
We / client don't know if there was ever a message from Google in WMT / GSC re a penalty.
There's no reconsideration request form avail. We/client don't know if there ever was.
There's tonnes of rubbish news articles, tiny sites with crap link profiles above them so page 4 isn't where they "deserve to be" right now - and that's objectively based on a lot of experience.
Here's my guess.
A well-deserved manual penalty was applied c 5 years ago. Think "minus 30 penalty" from c 2006.
That manual penalty is somehow still in force on a narrow range of terms like "Red Widget, Cheap Red Widget" etc despite everything possible done SEO-wise to clean up the mess and build a pure link profile. Nothing has worked.
If the penalty was algorithmic, I'm certain it would have been automatically removed by now (if 'disavow' ever worked as advertised.......)
Of course if disavow hasn't been working for a few years, then the penalty could be just the standard algo?
Our last throw of the dice is to create a 1 page www.red-widget.com and integrate that as part of the corporate brand site (which is a huge undertaking internally and they don't want to do it)
Q - What am I missing?
Q - How does one get an ancient manual(?) penalty reviewed/lifted for a very good / strong site you'd be proud to stand over as being whiter than white SEO-wise?
Thanks a mil
Happy New Year!