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Seo Advise For Suspected Penalised Site


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10 replies to this topic

#1 ignitionmedia

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:58 PM

On about 25th Feb my clients website just about dropped off Google and is continuing to fall. They were Page 1 for major serach terms and are now falling to page 9/10 etc.

This has happened for most keywords.

I have done the SEO on the site for the last 3-4 years which covers publishing unique blog posts (2 a week), continuous link building (related websites, with decent PR on links page and no Link farm websites) and on-page optimisation. Article submission is also done quartlery.

I have not changed my SEO methods really at all the entire time I have worked on the site so obviously this drop was a surprise.

Looking at google Webmaster tools for the site, I noticed hundreds of what i would call bad sites linking to the site in questions - all of which were created some 12 months ago. These sites are un related blog sites, forums, spam comments and some links where the authors name (such as 'aswadkannaf’) is used for the anchor text. I asked the owner of the site about these and he said he did have another company do SEO on the site 12 months ago.

I can only assume recent Panda Updates have caught onto these and penalized the site

So my question is....

WHAT ACTION SHOULD I TAKE TO RECTIFY THIS??

Obviously i cannt get every link/comment removed from these sites.

Should I be adding every URL that these links are coming from to my htaccess with the following code and then email Google for reinclusion letting them know of my actions?

# block all referres that have spam_ref set
<FilesMatch "(.*)">
Order Allow,Deny
Allow from all
Deny from env=spam_ref
</FilesMatch>
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^http://(www.)?website.com" spam_ref=1

I have not had this happen before so I am not sure about how to correct the problem and get the site ranking again.

please any help would be greatly appreciated!

thanks
nicole

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

I don't think denying traffic from the spam links is a good idea. If you have a complete list you could ask your client to file a reconsideration request. You can help him write it.

He'll have to tell Google who placed the bad links.

If this is a penalty related to the links it's not Panda.

#3 train99

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:34 PM

I had a guy I wrote a negative review of post thousands of links to my site from spammy sites and porn sites. About 5,000 total links to the review page and about 600 links to my index page or other pages on the site.

This has never had any negative effect on my site. I doubt it has had a positive effect other than giving me something to add to my review either.

A year ago I had a hacker go through a plugin in a wordpress blog on another site and insert links to outside pages - mostly forums. Then he placed links on other sites he'd hacked and on forums to the pages he'd hacked on my site. Those links never had an effect on my rankings either. I did clean the stuff on my site out, but just ignored the inbound links.

In the second case with the hacker's links, most of them went away as the owners of the other hacked sites cleaned them up. The links to the review page are still there, and have been for years.

My point here is don't assume it's the links from bad neighborhoods causing the decline.

Edited by train99, 15 March 2012 - 10:40 PM.


#4 Alibonbon

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 05:13 PM

I would not assume this is a link penalty. I think the links perceived as crappy are dropped from consideration - no penalty is applied. No way to prove it, but that philosophy makes the most sense to me.

This may or may not be helpful... but I'll throw it out there. My team recently took on a client who was blocked by Google Adwords due to "site quality." Not only did this kill paid traffic, but it also clearly affected organic performance. (Google says no link between the two, but if they perceive the site quality as low, they aren't going to present you in the SERPs. That makes sense to me.)

From what we could discern, there was nothing wrong with the site so my PPC team submitted a few requests to have the site reexamined via the Adwords Help Center. Eventually Google sent a message explaining that a Google human had verified that the site had no "site quality" issues and all was good. We were free to pay them money. Hooray. And subsequently organic traffic from Google has improved. Much slower than anyone one would like, but there is a clear trajectory. So... long story short... you may want to examine their Adwords account.

#5 Alan Perkins

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

Denying traffic from spam sites will not help you at all. That's not it.

You have almost certainly been hit by Panda. You need to focus on site quality.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 01:45 PM

Every time someone worries about whether bad links some link spammer comes out of the woodwork and says bad links don't lead to penalties.

YES THEY DO LEAD TO PENALTIES.

That doesn't mean that the bad links described in the original post are the client's problem. But right now there are several Web forums I monitor where people are reporting receiving "unnatural links" notices from Google AND they are subsequently being penalized.

So you can get up on your soapbox and scream and hollar about how this opens up Google's index to all sorts of evil manipulations by nasty link spammers who can sink their competition but that doesn't change what is happening.

SOMETIMES the bad links are the problem.

In this particular case the timing of the lost traffic (February 25) closely coincides with a known Panda data refresh (February 26). But any time you have a client who is dealing with multiple SEO providers disentangling the facts from the assumptions becomes very, very challenging.

Google doesn't stop handing out penalties just because it's rolling out a Panda data refresh, and Google doesn't exempt a site from a Panda downgrade if the site has earned a penalty.

So there are three possibilities here:

  • Your client's site was downgraded by Panda
  • Your client's bad links resulted in a penalty (but I would expect an "unnatural links" notice in Webmaster Tools)
  • Your client got dinged by a self-inflicted penalty AND by Panda

Of course, maybe your client's industry was flooded by new competitors who just happened to nail all the right keywords, but that's a pretty far-fetched hypothesis.

#7 OldWelshGuy

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:15 PM

I have to agree with MM above, Google is currently slaughtering thousands of sites for having an un-natural link profile.

#8 chrishirst

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:19 PM

I've been tossing around an idea for a while starting from around the time of the "Caffeine" update that Google may be using two sliding scales for "ranking" one for weighting "good" values and one for weighting "bad" points, and this seems to shown up more with Panda and the over-cooked optimising "penalties". If the bad score outweighs the good down the snake you go.

#9 umair

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:32 AM

I am still searching this forum for best guide how to get out of new panda update or over optimization as both occurs in same month.. What is the best way to get rank again ?

#10 Jill

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:31 AM

I am still searching this forum for best guide how to get out of new panda update or over optimization as both occurs in same month.. What is the best way to get rank again ?


See Why SEO in All the Right Places No Longer Works for some ideas.

#11 clandestino

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:52 PM

Every time someone worries about whether bad links some link spammer comes out of the woodwork and says bad links don't lead to penalties.

YES THEY DO LEAD TO PENALTIES.

That doesn't mean that the bad links described in the original post are the client's problem. But right now there are several Web forums I monitor where people are reporting receiving "unnatural links" notices from Google AND they are subsequently being penalized.

So there are three possibilities here:

  • Your client's site was downgraded by Panda
  • Your client's bad links resulted in a penalty (but I would expect an "unnatural links" notice in Webmaster Tools)
  • Your client got dinged by a self-inflicted penalty AND by Panda


Michael's analysis is a good one.

I'll just add one thing. John Mu has been very clear that by the time a site has received the "unnatural links notice" the site may already have been penalized. So, just because you haven't received the "unnatural links notice", doesn't mean that you're not being penlized for it. -- http://www.seroundta...inks-14968.html

There is no question from what I have read and 2 cases where a client received the notice and one where a friend recieved the notice, if any of those links were part of a Blog Network that Google had analyzed like BMR, you probably have been penalized whether you have received a notice or not. Remove those links and your back.

The question is -- what kind of penalty is it? Manual, algorithmic, other??? Some have suggested that the penalty only consists of reducing the value of the links algorithmically. If so and a site has few links other than low quality links, you're rankings will drop.

But check this -- if you have many high quality links and Google devalues the low quality links, your rankings may actually incease once they remove the effect of the low quality links by devaluing them.

Some people have received the "unnatural links notice" and then had their rankings increase after Penguin, for high competition keywords! Maybe the above is what is happening??? -- i.e., Google in effect removed the bad links and any negative attributes so the good links have a greater effect on rankings.

Purely guess work, but it's plausible. Ultimately we will figure it out through hours, and hours of trial and error. That's what SEO is -- guessing until you get a good result.

Beware of strangers touting highly scientific research that ensures their SEO strategy magically works for everyone. Nonsense! It's what works for your site, every site is different.

Edited by ChuckFinley, 06 May 2012 - 04:56 PM.





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