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Sandbox Or Bad Behavior?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 JABacchetta

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:32 AM

I have a new site that is about 3 months old now (instash dot com) - domain is 9 months old. I've been getting some pretty high quality links, but nothing overboard in my opinion. Organic traffic has been slowly but steadily creeping its way up. I was up to around 30 visitors per day from Google on a daily basis.

I did a few things yesterday though including:

1. Changed my category base in WordPress from the default "category" to a more keyword friendly "men". I did not however do any sort of redirect from the old category urls. Should I have? My thoughts were that since my site was so new, and I probably didn't have any links leading directly to the category pages... that it didn't matter. But how does Google handle this situation?

2. I've done a bit of anchor text and backlink analysis on my site using Market Samurai.

3. I linked to my site from the Digital Point forums using anchor text.

Two hours after linking to myself from the DP forums, I went to check my site in Google. ALL of my keywords dropped... many of them going from page one to page four, or not listed at all. However, my site is still indexed, so apparently I didn't get a ban or anything like that.

But now I'm concerned that maybe something I did got me a penalty? I've heard that DP is considered a bad neighborhood, and I'm wondering if maybe since my site is so new, Google doesn't like seeing anchor text coming from those forums. Or maybe my category urls did something to my rankings? Or maybe my analysis through Market Samurai red flagged me?

Or maybe I just coincidentally got sandboxed the same day?

Any help/advice on this situation is much appreciated!

#2 chrishirst

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:36 AM

Remove the links at DP see if it comes back up, Then you'll know.


BTW there is no such thing as a "sandbox", it simply takes time for a page to earn it's position.


#3 Jill

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:43 AM

QUOTE
I did not however do any sort of redirect from the old category urls. Should I have?


Yes. Any time you change a URL you should do a 301 redirect to the new version.

But it's doubtful that caused a loss in traffic.

QUOTE
Two hours after linking to myself from the DP forums, I went to check my site in Google. ALL of my keywords dropped... many of them going from page one to page four, or not listed at all. However, my site is still indexed, so apparently I didn't get a ban or anything like that.


Did you lose traffic or just rankings? If it's the latter, than just stop checking the rankings since rankings are a poor measure of success anyway.

#4 JABacchetta

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:08 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Aug 24 2010, 10:43 AM) View Post
Yes. Any time you change a URL you should do a 301 redirect to the new version.

But it's doubtful that caused a loss in traffic.
Did you lose traffic or just rankings? If it's the latter, than just stop checking the rankings since rankings are a poor measure of success anyway.


Ok, I deleted the link from DP, and it looks like the thread has been updated without the link. I also completed all the redirects from the old category urls. My site has been crawled since, and still no rankings.

One thing I forgot to mention that I also did yesterday... I changed the alt and title tags on all of the images on the site (around 300). Not sure if this had any effect on rankings dropping.

Yeah I definitely lost all of my organic traffic. The only keyword bringing any visitors in anymore is my website name.

#5 chrishirst

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 06:34 AM

QUOTE
I changed the alt and title tags on all of the images on the site (around 300)

alt and title ATTRIBUTES


Well given that Google uses the alt attribute text as body copy, and as anchor text for linked images, what do you think might happen when you removed it??

#6 JABacchetta

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:35 PM

QUOTE(chrishirst @ Aug 25 2010, 06:34 AM) View Post
alt and title ATTRIBUTES
Well given that Google uses the alt attribute text as body copy, and as anchor text for linked images, what do you think might happen when you removed it??


Don't think I'm understanding what you're trying to say. Before I made the changes, I never added any alt text. I'm using WordPress, so it automatically entered the titles, but left the alt blank. So for example, an image that had the filename "cool-car" would be automatically given the title "cool-car" and the alt was left blank.

I just went through all the images and placed the same alt and titles text for each image, because I've heard Google uses alt more than they do title for search results. So both the title and the alt became "Cool Car"

Was this wrong to do?

#7 Jill

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:47 PM

QUOTE
Was this wrong to do?


No, it's fine.

#8 JABacchetta

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 05:17 PM

Only other thing I can think of... my articles are very short - between 100 and 200 words. Wondering if Google thinks I'm keyword stuffing since I have the same title for the article, and title and alt attributes.

#9 Jill

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 05:28 PM

100-200 words doesn't sound like an article, but a summary. Hard to imagine they'd be very useful to people if they're so short.




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