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Sitelinks And Possible Google Penalty


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4 replies to this topic

#1 slstg

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:45 AM

For 5 years, my site has been appearing in top 5 (sometimes dipping to top 10) for several competitive phrases on Google. We had occasional dips but always came back. Lots of good backlinks, good content, etc. etc. No blackhat. On August 22, 2011, we saw our traffic halved and found that a few of the major keyword phrases had plummeted in their Google ranking. One has been fluctuating from 11 to 80 in the last days and others fell far enough to make them void. No changes were made on site prior to this happening and the only changes made recently are additional posts added in the blog on a regular basis.
In seeking out the problem, we noticed a strange phenomena today. A search for the company/product name brings the site up as #1 along with google's new 12-pk of sitelinks. Great sign right? However, clicking on these sitelinks brings up a blank page. The url appears in the address bar, but the page does not load. I have tried this in all 3 browsers. If I copy-paste the url, it works (page comes up fine).
I've tested other sites that I both own and don't own to ensure it is not a problem on my computer or connection and I have had other people test -- always same problem.

Site is built on HTML. No CMS and includes a Wordpress blog.
No known problems

Wondering why this is happening and if it could be connected to the SERP drop. Ideas?

#2 Jill

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE
Wondering why this is happening and if it could be connected to the SERP drop. Ideas?


Sure sounds like it. I'd run your site through some HTML validation tools to see why it's not loading properly.

#3 slstg

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:40 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Aug 29 2011, 07:06 PM) View Post
I'd run your site through some HTML validation tools to see why it's not loading properly.


Thanks for the tip Jill. Did that. A few minor code issues that we can take care of but this does not seem to be relevant here. Let me give some more details and findings:
1. No code changes have been made for over 1 year.
2. Regular google search for keyword phrases brings up pages in the site and there is no problem clicking on this results -- the pages open.
3. The only time there is this strange behavior is when a search is made for "Company Name" and the sitelink feature that Google has rolled out reveals the company website along with 12 sitelinks. Clicking on a sitelink prompts the correct URL to appear in the address bar but no page appears -- and no message or error is indicated. I can copy the exact URL, paste it in another window and the page comes up.
4. When I select "more results" under the list of sitelinks, it gets VERY STRANGE. A list of additional pages in my site appears but the third entry's page title reads : "RX Cialus Low Price Pill Shop" as page title with a description of my real page. This is some type of spam and has absolutely nothing to do with my site, which is about a software product. However, clicking on this entry brings you to my site.

My webmaster got stuck on an extended vacation on the east coast in the hurricane so i've been limited in running checks. Ideas of what has happened here? There seems to be a connection to this scam: spamtrackers.eu/wiki/index.php/ED_Pill_Store

#4 slstg

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 04:08 AM

I found out that my site has been hacked and it is being referred to as "Google listings turning into Viagra spam" -- apprently it is an epidemic and hard to guard against or detect. Here is a wonderful explanation:


www.stevepenny.com/googleviagraspamhack.html

#5 Jill

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 07:19 AM

Glad you figured it out.




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