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  #1  
Old 05-21-2009, 03:26 PM
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Default Google Is Giving Me Penalties Like They Were Candy

I have never seen something like this before. Basically what happens is google throws the whole (and sometimes only a few urls) website out of the main index or -30, -60, -90. This happens every week or so. After a few days it bounces back again (for now). The website is 10 months old and this was not happening last year and most of the Q1 of this year.

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  #2  
Old 05-22-2009, 03:48 PM
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It's frustrating, i've been trying to resolve a similar thing on a friends site, about once or twice a month the penalty lifts for about a week only to return. When it's in "penalty mode" traffic is consistently locked to about 250 referrals a day from Google.

Here is last months graph, this month and Jan, Feb, March all exhibit the same pattern:



The site is a couple of years old, has about 20k backlinks in Yahoo and it's a Pagerank 4 with many PR3 subpages, the site is indexed well so all that checks out no problems. The sites code is Valid xHTML Transitional & Valid CSS, no issues with robots.txt, header response codes etc and it has friendly URL's with all unique/relevant Titles & Descriptions.

Actually it's powered by Wordpress with the All In One SEO Pack, so it's pretty hard to screw up the on-page too badly to begin with and a few other sites utilizing the same theme are ranking fine.

On-page = Great, it's on par with the likes of Matt Cutt's own blog

Off-page = Average, some of the links are in the "bottom of the barrel" class like blog comments, article directories etc but there's also some pretty good ones as well. But all in all it's a diversified link profile and if that could get you penalized, nobody would have a hope and competitors could wipe out other people's sites in a heartbeat.

So all up it looks like yet another case of Google screwing up, and wiping out websites that should be enjoying a normal ranking.

The problem is Google doesn't seem to care too much, if it means incorrectly kicking 100 sites to the kerb in order to reduce spam in 100,000 different queries then kiss all your hard work and families livelihood goodbye.
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  #3  
Old 05-24-2009, 05:02 PM
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Similar website profile. Around 20.000 backlinks, some footer, some directories, some articles, some blog networks, some high pr, some low pr, some inner pages, anyhow, diversified linking profile. 120+ indexed original content pages. Whitehat website, with good information.

Usual good onpage seo with page rank sculpting included. Wikipedia style with some in-content links + YARP wordpress plugin.

It is indeed frustrating, this website was giving me around $50 per day, now I get $50 per week. I've posted a linkbait article, in an attempt to fix this issue. I have to do some promotion for this article now. I'll see in about two weeks if there are any positive changes. (today, the penalty was yet again removed from my website, probably for a few days)

If you also find something that might fix this issue, please update here. I sure hope with combined shared experience we can get to the bottom of this.

May I ask what the broad niche of your friends website is? Maybe google is doing something niche specific...

Last edited by JohnS0N; 05-24-2009 at 05:10 PM.
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2009, 08:03 PM
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I think penalty is the wrong word here, its most likely a filter of some sort that you're sitting on the threshold of for some reason.

as far as you remember were there any particular actions or set of circumstances that you think may have coincided with it starting, or did it just come out of nowhere?
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  #5  
Old 05-27-2009, 08:53 AM
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Hey Amigo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEO ibiza View Post
I think penalty is the wrong word here, its most likely a filter of some sort that you're sitting on the threshold of for some reason.
Yes true, filter is probably the better word. Although just out of curiosity what circumstances/situations do you consider a filter, and what's a penalty?

Filter = Algorithmically Applied
Penalty = Manually Applied

That probably sums up my interpretation, although this is something i don't ever recall being discussed so i'm not even sure if what i believe is technically correct.

So with the 2 sites above yes, it's a filter and one that's getting toggled off and on like a switch for seemingly no reason. These can be tuff to diagnose, especially when there's spam sites doing far worse things and outranking the filtered site.

Quote:
as far as you remember were there any particular actions or set of circumstances that you think may have coincided with it starting, or did it just come out of nowhere?
Not sure about JohnS0N, but the one i mentioned had no major (or even minor) changes however one thing that did happen is a htaccess file got accidentally deleted on one of the subdomains for 24 hours causing a few things to break.

This didn't effect the root domain, or any of the other subdomains but the filter is being applied across the board and not specifically to the misconfigured subdomain. Also the timing of the filter starting and the htaccess file problem doesn't coincide real well.

So personally i don't think this is the cause, however i haven't ruled it out altogether.
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  #6  
Old 05-27-2009, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEO ibiza View Post
I think penalty is the wrong word here, its most likely a filter of some sort that you're sitting on the threshold of for some reason.

as far as you remember were there any particular actions or set of circumstances that you think may have coincided with it starting, or did it just come out of nowhere?
At the time of first time "filter" occurrence, I didn't actually do anything. About a month back (from when this first happened), I bought around 15 pr5 links and around 4 months back (from when this first happened), there was an xrumer blast promoting the website. In the beginning of 2009 I also shoot a thousand or two links with autopligg.

So, the linking profile isn't as clean as it should be as I did quite some testing with it as you see, but it's nothing really extraordinary and all happened months before the filter was applied.

Otherwise, the website came back again into serps yesterday, after 5-6 days of being filtered out. This happens almost every week.
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  #7  
Old 05-27-2009, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnS0N View Post
About a month back (from when this first happened), I bought around 15 pr5 links and around 4 months back (from when this first happened), there was an xrumer blast promoting the website. In the beginning of 2009 I also shoot a thousand or two links with autopligg.
Doing AutoPligg and xRumer blasts (or link buying) aren't on Google's Top 5 recommended promotional methods by any means.. But this topic is interesting in it's own right.

Many people believe (and Google once said) there's "nothing" a competitor can do to harm your rank or penalize your site.. Which would mean running AutoPligg/xRumer/BMD/SeNuke and all the other tools wouldn't hurt they would at most just be devalued.

I call BS on Google's statement, it may of been the case in the past that external factors couldn't hurt a site but they can. Not only that, i've seen pretty conclusive evidence to suggest Google is using Adsense/Analytics to link the properties webmasters own and issuing penalties/filters based on that.
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2009, 04:47 PM
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Surely, those links didn't give a good name, but as explained they were for some testing purposes.

I believe you didn't do such linking with your friends domain, which most likely excludes this external factor, although I too am a believer that linking can indeed hurt your website (or a competitor for that matter).

This website is in a people search niche and I spoke to a relatively big name in this niche (r3v3rs3ph0n3det3ctiv3.c0m), who was an advertiser on another site of mine and they spoke of some similar filters/penalties because they were buying links on websites such as mine.

That's why I was interested to know the niche of your friends website... if the filter is niche specific.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2009, 06:26 PM
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Well, i'll be damned.. Guess what?

Yes, he's got a category on his site dedicated to reverse phone lookups. I just harvested those URL's (site:domain.com + lookup) and ran those pages through a few tools.

None of them have a PR, not even a PR0 yet pages in every other category has a mix of PR0-PR3. All the reverse lookup pages are indexed fine, just not ranking.

I just took a unique 5 word page title (there is no other results when searching this in quotes) plus added the domain name minus the extension and done a search like:

domain five word unique title here

It had a double listing in #31 & #32 from just 157 total results, even sites just linking to it were outranking it confirming it's a minus 30 filter.

I might just go ahead and get him to robots.txt that whole section and see what happens.
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2009, 05:43 AM
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This is getting interesting by the minute.

You want to place a noindex in the robots.txt? I was thinking, is the period when this website receives full traffic (no filters) coming anytime soon? Because it would be good to check out this exact page with your google query in this time period.

Could be important to note that most of the time my website was getting the -30 too. In some occasions there were all sorts of other filters, but the -30 was most common.
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