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Possible Google Penalty?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Joanna83


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Posted 27 February 2009 - 06:06 AM

Hi there,

The company i work for has more or less dominated the search engines in its industry for a couple of years now. The way they have done this is by having hundreds of websites for different areas and types (ie blue-widgets.com, widgets-in-london.co.uk...ect)

All the sites had different content and layouts and up until today were doing extremely well. However... today all but their main site have dropped to pages 5-6 when most were in the number 1 position for their main keyword. All the sites are hosted across two different servers and although many of them linked to each other- it wasn't over the top.

I've never been sure of this method of SEO (if you can call it that!) but my boss is extremely worried and we need to know why this has happened. Does this sound like a penalty and if it is is there any way of getting out of it?


#2 Alan Perkins

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 06:17 AM

Hi Jo

Yes, it sounds very much like a penalty.

If so, there is no way of "getting out of it" in the sense of returning to what you had. It may be possible to sort out one or two of your current domains, or you may need to start again with a completely new domain. Start off by reading How to handle a Google penalty.

#3 Yoshimi


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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:16 AM

This doesn't sound like a penalty to me, it sounds more like you have had a string of luck (in that the SE's didn't spot what you were doing sooner) and have benefited greatly from it, and now that luck has run out and your sites have been returned to where they should rightly be based on their quality.

I expect that in order to rank such a large number of sites you have been buying links buy the bucket load, quite probably all of these links have now been devalued, and your sites are returning to where they should have been in the first place.

Rather than trying to further manipulate the search engines, and create further risk to your on-line business, I suggest that you encourage your boss to acknowledge that he has been lucky up until now, thank his lucky stars that his gamble paid off, and plough some of the money he has made employing an, at best, iffy tactic, into some real SEO to build up strong and lasting search engine positions.

If he decides that he would like to continue gambling with the future of his company website, and wants to pursue the optimisation of these sites, I would suggest that you advise him (over email) why this might be a bad idea (to cover your own arse) then work on whatever quick fix tactic is identified as the next "solution" if that is what is wanted, and start looking for another job, luck never holds out forever businesses that are always looking for a quick buck and refuse to invest in their business, rarely see the inevitable until it is too late.

Who's wearing her melodramatic and pessimistic hat today nah.gif , but stands by what she said nontheless

#4 Joanna83


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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:31 AM

Most of the incoming links are from industry related websites. Some of which are ours, some of which are suppliers. Admittedly we have a few spammy links pointing to our sites from blog comments and forums but there aren't that many.

We have a third server where we have recently launched a couple more sites and none of these have been affected.

Also on the main servers we have a couple of sites that have nothing to do with our industry (sites hosted for friends that have nothing to do with the business) these sites have also been affected.

#5 Yoshimi


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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:51 AM

Chances are that it is your link structure which has identified these sites as not being on the up and up, with a large number of sites all interlinking you could be creating a link farm. The new sites may not be effected as they don't have the same link profile as the other more established sites.

If this is the case, and you are determined to continue with this method of being found in the serps, I recommend that you create a link structure chart, this will be like a mind map, with all of the istes and lines showing what is linking where, and in which direction, by doing this you will see hoe many links are being shared between the sites, and where the issue may be being caused. I had this happen once with a client who operated in a number of different industries, and had about 10 sites on different subjects, because they linked all of their sites to all of the others they were penalised (it seemed that when they launched a new site the links on that site were the final straw so to speak and all of the sites were penalised). Once we cleaned up the interlinking and improved the link profile they worked their way back up.

Alternatively the sites could have been idenytified due to the domain registrations, again the two that haven't been effected could have been registered with different details due to them being new. In this case Google could look at the sites and make the (correct) assumption that 1 company with multiple sites on the same subject should only have one, and would therefore devalue all but one of the sites in teh SERPS.

Which ever way you cut it the problem is being caused by having multiple sites on the same subject in order to manipulate search engine positions, and while there may be short term solutions, the only solution which is going to fix this long term is to conduct a proper SEO campaign on the main site to gain it positions.

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