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Penalty Time To Be Lifted? Penalty As Result Of Panda ?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 seobarry

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:45 AM

Some websites of a client of mine have been hit by a penalty on exactly 16 March earlier this year, so about 4 months ago.
The websites do still rank for their own unique homepage text (except for one of them, but this one already had this problem before) but they do not rank higher than position 40 for any keyword, including the site name.

The website's are mainly targeted towards European countries so I checked this mainly in European Google results (for various countries) but the sites show similar behavior in Google.com

I thought I found the issue with these sites (interlinking between these sites with keyword rich links) and took this possible cause away (removed all links) one week after the penalty occured. Now, I'm starting to wonder whether this indeed has been the cause. If this was the cause and I fixed the issue, shouldn't the penalty have been lifted by now then?
I thought that these type of penalties usually last for 2 or 3 or 4 months? Or can it also be (a lot? ) longer?


Related to the above, I wonder whether maybe the Panda update had something to do with this penalty. The websites do contain a lot of advertisement which is disliked by Google even more now after the Panda update I guess. Would the penalty described above be something that could occur as a result of Panda?

thanks!

#2 Jill

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 11:32 AM

It does sound likely to be Panda based. In which case, even after making changes, you won't know if or when you'll see your traffic start to come back to old levels.

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:59 PM

Google has not confirmed that the mid-March algorithmic event was connected with Panda so we're kind of in the dark. They make changes every day.

Not having seen the intersite links, I would say the chances they were the problem are slim (unless you're talking about dozens or hundreds of sites). If the interlinking was the problem AND if it was an algorithmic penalty you should have seen recovery by now.

You probably need to look at other potential issues both on-site and off-site. Is your client pursuing aggressive SEO tactics?

#4 seobarry

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:08 AM

thanks for the replies!

If it was Panda based, what would be the best solution? Reduce the number of ads, replace them with more value adding content, and hope for the best?


I forgot to mention that all sites were in the same Google analytics account. This is very strange because my client has many more websites, which were not in this analytics account, (also with comparable ad levels) and they all remained unaffacted.
Wouldnt this be an indication that this was actually a manual penalty ? (and not an algorithmic one?)

In case it was a manual penalty, what would be the time it would usually take for the penalty to be lifted? Wouldn't that be 3 or 4 months? Or can it be longer?

#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 01:58 PM

QUOTE(seobarry @ Jul 19 2011, 01:08 AM) View Post
thanks for the replies!

If it was Panda based, what would be the best solution? Reduce the number of ads, replace them with more value adding content, and hope for the best?


If anyone actually knows the answer to that question, they won't be sharing it for free in a public SEO forum.


#6 seobarry

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 02:59 AM

thanks I see your point:)

but maybe some people have some thoughts on the other things I mentioned/asked in my previous post ?

thanks

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:55 PM

I seriously doubt that Panda is concerned with the small amount of interlinking that many sites engage in. It's trying to divide sites into two categories: those that provide a poor user experience and those that provide a good user experience.

The algorithm appears to be a learning or Artificial Intelligence algorithm. According to an interview that Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts gave to WIRED magazine earlier this year, they used a group of quality raters to create a training set of Websites that were divided (by the quality raters or someone at Google) into "high quality" and "low quality".

This training set was then used to teach the algorithm how to grade other Websites. I am sure there has been a process of human review. I suspect the training set has grown with each Panda release.

The algorithm is probably changing its assessments each time it is run because it has more examples to work with.

If that is actually what is happening, there is no way to predict what will or should work for a site that has been downgraded by Panda.

My feeling is that you should strip out everything on the site that was put in for the benefit of the site operator/owner and see if there is anything left that provides completely altruistic value for the random visitor.

Any pages that fail to provide altruistic value should probably be dropped.

Contrary to popular myth, pages like "About Us", "Contact Us", etc. are very popular with Web surfers and they add to site credibility. These pages should be crafted to provide as much interesting and useful information as possible.

Your low value pages tend to be the ones that are most highly valued by the publisher -- highly valued in terms of what benefit they give to the publisher, not to the random visitor.

I'm not just talking about advertising. Panda is not about advertising or duplicate content or anything in particular.

The Panda algorithm seems to be asking, "Given a page X, does this page create a good experience for visitors or not?" Add up enough pages that fail that test and you have a low-quality site.

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:58 PM

QUOTE(seobarry @ Jul 19 2011, 01:08 AM) View Post
In case it was a manual penalty, what would be the time it would usually take for the penalty to be lifted? Wouldn't that be 3 or 4 months? Or can it be longer?


I missed this point.

If the sites are under manual penalty your client will have to file a reconsideration request, fessing up to whatever they did that violated Google's guidelines (and taking steps to rectify that bad behavior).

The longest I have seen a penalty last is about 4 years. No reconsideration request was filed for that site (the owner never felt compelled to do it and he eventually let the site go anyway).


#9 seobarry

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 04:14 AM

thanks for the replies and thoughts!

- Regarding the manual penalty thing and need to file a consideration request:
Google states itself , for example in the video that can be found here http://www.theregist...arch_penalties/, that manual penalties usually are "time based" and will be lifted after a certain number of months ?

- And also, maybe someone has some thought about what I mentioned regarding the sites being in the same Google account?
QUOTE
I forgot to mention that all sites were in the same Google analytics account. This is very strange because my client has many more websites, which were not in this analytics account, (also with comparable ad levels) and they all remained unaffacted.
Wouldnt this be an indication that this was actually a manual penalty ? (and not an algorithmic one?)


#10 Marchy

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:21 AM

I have been trough a manual penalty myself which I just got out a few weeks ago. I have sent 3 reinclusion to Google. The penalty lasted a little over 2 years and it was about one year that I have not changed anything on the site.

From my viewpoint when they give a manual penalty it is for a fixed time or they take a long time to look at the reinclusions!

#11 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:58 PM

Fixing the issue and filing a reconsideration request often produces happy results faster than waiting for Google to let you out of the manual penalty box.

#12 seobarry

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:47 AM

thanks for the additional thoughts!

Finally, has anyone any thoughts on or experience with the issue of all sites that got penalized being in the same analytics account while all other websites of the client (same market, comparable websites) remained unaffected ?

#13 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:31 PM

I have seen a number of people complain about having all sites in an analytics account being penalized at the same time. I've never seen any of these people show what led to the penalty and I'm not inclined to believe that sharing an analytics account with a penalized site is sufficient to get any random site penalized.

I am firmly of the belief that there must be systemic misbehavior in order for a group of related sites to be penalized at the same time.

#14 seobarry

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 04:35 AM

Thanks Michael. I agree with what you state but was thinking:

that if the sites are interlinked (which was the case here) that Google may have identified the sites as a network of sites (easily identifiable because they share the same analytics account) linking to each other in order to influence rankings. So my idea was that the interlinking is the actual problem but the fact that the sites were in the same analytics account made it a whole lot easier for Google to figure out that the sites were operated by the same party.

What do you think?

And what do other think?

#15 shimlad

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 06:48 AM

The exact same thing has to one of my clients, i cant work out if all their sites have been hit by Panda or if its because all the sites are in the same analytics account and there has been some sort of penalty.

I cant see any reason for a penalty to be applied, i have suggested some alterations which allegedly should help if it is a Panda whack.

ans then...The strangest thing happened last week for 3 days though, all the traffic suddenly started coming back, some of the sites saw a 15% increase, the one that got hit the worst was a 300% increase. This lasted for 3 days, now its all gone again. You should see the analytics graph! its like Google rolled out a Panda update, the site re ranked then they reversed the change. Or the penalty was lifted and then straight away another one was issued.

it has left me scratching my head....




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