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Website Testing After Fall From Panda/penguin, Is This Normal?

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#1 Force7


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:53 PM


Been a member here for years and would love some feedback.

Just to give you a quick history, website has been online since 1999. I have always done my own SEO learning as I went but always utilizing white hat seo. My theory has always been "content is king". Never chased algorithims but of course tried to make sure I was up to date. In 2008 I hired a writer that submitted to some directories manually over about a 4 week period. Original site was built in Dreamweaver with tables using .php The site has about 250 in the main domain. In 2011 we added a blog ... www.domain.com/blog Since I do a lot of the pages, I was just so busy I only had 7 posts in this blog.

March 23rd in one day we fell 43%, over the next week it went down to 57%. Now we know it was Panda 3.4 . Penguin came along April 24th and slapped us down more.

My initial thought was, spruce up some of our pages, this will probably just bounce back, we have never been hit that hard by an update, we were not that worried since we stick with white hat and have a good site. I found in Google Webmaster Tools where we had pages showing duplicate content, each one was from the blog. Ah ..the problem, those 7 posts had 15 tags each. Being new to Wordpress I realized the error and deleted them and 301 the pages to the original post.

I also went through the site and cleaned up any overlapping content, some pages I just felt could read much better. Not major changes just sprucing them up.

Now we come to the issue and the puzzle.

There has been zero recovery, we are down about 90% in sales. Yahoo and Bing have us at # 1 all over the place.

There is one page with keyword that has stayed at #2, finally falling to #4 example "red widget software". This does have incoming links from pages that are related.

There are only about 5 keyword phrases for other pages that rank up at # 1 and #2. 'medical widget software" etc.

The other 200 keyword phrases, usually page 4, 5, 6, 15...

First there was a rush for experts to say.. it has to be links. I said well I never went after links and I have a lot of really good ones. So initially I concentrated on content cleanup.

After no recovery, another expert said.. it is the html design.. you are using tables, Google doesn't like tables.

Another expert said, that is crazy, Google can index tables, it is still links. So I did a link profile, the one that supposedly was matching anchor text the most (7%) was the one keyword that was still ranking #2 "red widget software". Besides all of those are really reputable sites and that keyword is what you would use as anchor text naturally. I did go back and remove some backlinks from the directories that were on the profile that looked spammy. Supposedly from the profile check there were 56 that were not good, I successfully removed 20. Did not remove the ones that I felt were very reputable.

Now.. Here is the behavior that has me stumped.

I have been adding blog posts, I can add a blog post and in 3days Google indexes it. Page 1 with ranking at #2 , through #6. I have tried this on 5 pages and the same result, boom, gets indexed (one in 17 hours) and ranks great.

sooo based on this latest behavior I am thinking.. ok.. maybe go back to the design being an issue. But if design was an issue why did at least 5 pages keep ranking through the Panda /Penguin issue?

I have been contemplating redesigning the site in Wordpress. I could keep the site structure, main site has 250 pages plus the blog. Only about 15 posts total.

Does any of this sound normal for Panda/Penguin issues, some pages ranking good, new pages get ranked fast, Google likes Wordpress better?

Since I have been doing seo so long, I have a good handle on it but never claim to know it all. I know it is up to me to figure this out, I know this site more than anyone, just solving the mystery is hard when I do not have other sites to compare it with.

It has been a long hard 3 months trying to figure this out. Any input appreciated, I really value this group's comments.

Thanks in advance!
Force 7

#2 Jill


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 03:26 PM

I would look to make sure you're not keyword stuffing both content, Titles and internal anchor text.

It's definitely not tables that are your problem, but many older sites (especially dreamweaver and/or frontpage) have been getting killed lately. I don't think it's actually the design, but more that they tend to be older sites that did well due to first mover advantage.

I believe (my own theory) that Google took away some sort of website age factor that they may have previously had. So without that, you're now competing with everyone else on an equal playing field, and if you aren't doing much social media to get newer signals and links pointing in, you're going to have to start.

This is based on my review of sites in the same situation as yours. Most of them were also keyword stuffing to a certain extent.

Remember that Penguin was originally called an "overoptimization penalty" which in part meant on page "spam."

I'm offering 15 min. teleclinics to do a quick review ($150) if you want, or if you want an indepth review, my lost traffic "Standard Site Audit" would be appropriate.

#3 Force7


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:10 PM


Yes, I value your advice so I am interested in the teleclinic but not sure 15 min is long enough.

My blog posts are very much written like my pages so not sure how it could be keyword stuffing.

I am very interested in your comment that you have seen older sites getting killed, ours was originally front page but I never used them for anything but html editor (no extensions) then changed about 4 years ago from the .htm to .php 301 redirecting about 10 to 15 pages a month over a year.

Could you explain what "first mover advantage" means?

Does it make sense that we would have blog posts shooting up to this level? I am testing about 3 more pages this week, comparing putting a page in the old design and then seeing if there is a difference. If there is, I am thinking of pulling everything into Wordpress.

You might even remember this site Jill, you were the only person other than myself to do any SEO on it, back in the days you worked for chocolate :-)

#4 Jill


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:17 PM

First mover advantage just means that you were there before there were many competitors so it was much easier to rank. For whatever reason, Google seemed to often keep those old sites stuck in good positions. But no more.

Regarding your blog posts, can't say without reviewing. Depends on what keywords, etc. Did you say they're ranking for the words your regular site used to rank for? If so, it could simply be the difference between the old keyword stuffed pages and ones that aren't. (If that is your problem, I haven't looked at your site.)

I do remember you from years ago though, but I don't remember working *only* for chocolate. Was that my entire payment?

Please fill out my contact form if you want to set up a teleclinic or site audit.

#5 Force7


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 04:43 PM

Thanks, I will get a few of my ducks in a row and finish up a couple of the test so I can answer any questions you might have before I fill out the form.

LOL, not chocolate alone but it was always a great tip :-).

Appreciate the help! I look forward to the teleclinic.

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