Help: Completely wiped out by Google

40 replies
  • SEO
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Hi everyone,

Today my analytics fell off the cliff from 1-200 Google searches per day to zero. At least 15 of my pages were ranked page one, and many others 2 & 3. Today I can't find a single page besides my home page anywhere on Google.

I haven't done anything drastic, just plodding along making a few adjustments and adding to content. What on earth have I done wrong? Its 3 months work down the drain, I'm in bits here. Can anyone offer any help, advice or suggestions?

my url is - my perfect pitch dot com

You guys have been really helpful on here before, I'm really hoping someone can give me something to cling on to!

Best regards,

Brian
#completely #google #wiped
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Hi Brian, sorry to hear it. Just wondering: have you ever done any mass backlinking, used automated backlinking software or services, done mass software submissions to article directories, bought "forum profile backlinks", bought software-backlinking services from Fiverr or Warrior Classifieds, or anything similar? :confused:

    (If this turns out not just to be a "Google dance" you can always submit a reconsideration request to Google.)
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Brian, there's a lot more to what I'm about to say. Maybe others will add to it. SEO, the old way, is just about dead. Seriously. Regardless of what the SEO gurus say, Google is hip to all the tricks. The fun times are over. Every time the IM crowd comes up with a new trick Goog is all over it in no time.

    The good news is there are still plenty of ways to get traffic. Here's a hint: quality content. Maybe someone will pick it up from here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wade32
    Yeah it looks like you need to check and see where most of your backlinks are being built. Since the Penguin, Google only counts relevant backlinks.

    For example, if you have 1,000 backlinks on a mom blog or something like that, they don't count anymore. Did you get an "unnecessary links" warning?
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    Dear Alexa,

    I have done a lot of link exchanges and posting for links over the past 3 months. Nothing bought or software related, just loads of graft contacting people and writing comments on blogs etc. I probably have around 200 incoming, but surely google can see these are from sites at least broadly related to mine?

    Dear travlinguy,

    I take your polite comment on board. That database I'm offering is completely unique on the internet, and I'm an expert in my field (something Panda is supposed to recognize). Are you suggesting I should pad it out with unnecessary content so it somehow resembles most of the other drivel on the internet?
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

      Are you suggesting I should pad it out with unnecessary content so it somehow resembles most of the other drivel on the internet?
      Ah, no. Drivel is the exact opposite of what I suggested. Padding is also not the way to go. It's padding and drivel that's getting hammered.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

      I have done a lot of link exchanges and posting for links over the past 3 months. Nothing bought or software related, just loads of graft contacting people and writing comments on blogs etc. I probably have around 200 incoming, but surely google can see these are from sites at least broadly related to mine?
      Certainly doesn't sound much like the sort of thing open to drastic "Penguin" penalties, to me? :confused:

      (I admit I've never believed much in "link exchanges" because they're a bit "transparently incentivized" and I've always imagined Google discounts them, but not that sites would be penalized for them. That doesn't sound like the explanation at all. I'm guessing.)

      Most concerning. I hope this setback will be very short-lived (which can sometimes happen).
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Don't panic just yet. This may be the "Google Dance". Over the next several days to a couple of weeks you may well see your pages come back just as they were before. Unfortunately it going to be a bit of a waiting game for you.

    Ken Leatherman

    The Old Geezer
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  • Profile picture of the author Wade32
    How old is the site? If it is 2 months or less, then it could be the "dance". But if it's any older than that it would have to be a penalty of some kind.

    Do you have any idea where your backlinks are coming from? If there is a penalty involved, it would bound to be this.
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    Hi Wade32,

    By an "unnecessary links" warning I take it you mean through Webmaster? I can't get my site to link up with Webmaster for some reason. I've tried pasting the meta-tag in the header, I've downloaded a plugin and put the correct code into that and updated, nothing works. I wish it would, at least I'd know how many incoming's Google thinks I've got!

    Best regards,

    Brian.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wade32
    Have you tried Majestic SEO? This will show you some in depth backlink features.
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    Hi Wade32,

    I started the site at the beginning of the year but it was just 10 articles/posts to get it going, no traffic.

    I started building it to what it is now on the 15th May, so nearly 3 months.

    Regards,

    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
    I'm making some guesses here but to go from 200 searches a day to 0 probably means you where just ranking for one main keyword? Otherwise surely you would get more than 0 visits even after a google hammer.

    Which leads me to think you didn't diversify your anchor text when you built links?

    Either way I feel your pain, I've been there, it's not a pretty picture.

    My suggestion is to jump back on the horse and not give up due to this set back.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      Hi Ernie,

      No, different keywords for every page eg: Some ranked better than others. Nothing now.

      Brian
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      • Profile picture of the author Elle Holder
        Brian, you should delete your keywords from the previous post.

        It's never a good idea to give out your keywords because there are a whole lot of people reading this forum that will run with them.

        Just an FYI.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
        Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

        Hi Ernie,

        No, different keywords for every page eg: academic book publishers / adventure book publishers / art book publishers / etc. Some ranked better than others. Nothing now.

        Brian
        They all have the word "book publishers" though. I don't work at Google so I can't say if that's a problem or not, we can only guess.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      "Which leads me to think you didn't diversify your anchor text when you built links?"

      Yes, I was guilty of quite a few generic 'hi, I like your site..'. type posts to get links.

      Anyone any idea how much time in the sandbox this is going to cost me, its not permanent is it?
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    What's a Google dance by-the-way?
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    • Profile picture of the author Tim3
      Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

      What's a Google dance by-the-way?

      This is when you pages bounce up and down the rankings for no apparent reason before settling down again, but I have noticed adding certain backlinks can cause pages to disappear for a while.
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    Dear all,

    One other piece of info I forgot to mention is my main keyphrase which runs throughout the entire site is still ranked Google page 1 position 1.

    If I'm being penalized why wouldn't they have trashed that when they trashed all the other pages?

    Best regards,

    Brian
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

      Dear all,

      One other piece of info I forgot to mention is my main keyphrase which runs throughout the entire site is still ranked Google page 1 position 1.

      If I'm being penalized why wouldn't they have trashed that when they trashed all the other pages?

      Best regards,

      Brian
      This is the first question you need to answer: Has your site been deindexed or are your pages being ranked lower?
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      • Profile picture of the author StingGB
        Hi Kurt,

        I'm not de-listed. All my pages are still on Google when I do a domain search in advanced.

        But they are buried so deep I can't find any of them.

        Best regards,

        Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Wade32
    If your site is only about 3 months old then you are probably experiencing the Google Dance. This is where you website dances around on the first couple of pages before it finally settles where it is supposed to after awhile.

    If this is the case, you can start from here with your link building. Make sure that you are building links on websites that are relevant to yours or they won't count. Have to be aware of the Penguin updates.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      Hi Wade,

      Just an update. I've finally managed to get Google Webmaster to recognize my site. I'm quite horrified at the links situation. In 'Links To Your Site' in the box it says Total Links 1760. Under who links most it says 1,238 have come from Wordpress. I can't understand where all these links have come from. I've courted a few dozen, but comments and pingbacks are closed for all pages on my site. Could anyone answer a few questions here:

      Are all these individual people linking to my site?
      Where on earth have all these wordpress links come from?
      Is this presumably why I've been penalised?

      Best regards,

      Brian
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  • I have done a lot of link exchanges and posting for links over the past 3 months.
    I'd say this is your problem. Reciprocal links are dead easy for Google to pick up and if you have a lot of them it makes it obvious you're doing 'too much SEO.'

    As for getting out of the 'sandbox,' if you're under an algorithmic penalty then once you fix whatever you've been penalized for, your rankings should return after the next Google refresh. If the penalty is due to links, forget about trying to fix the problem with new content, it won't make the slightest bit of difference.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Silvey
      From my experience the Google dance is a jump from new content to google cache. A flip flop in the algo. Give it a few days and dont do any drastic changes.

      If it was panda/penguin, you would of been hit by it months ago.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      What I've decided to do is concentrate on some work on the site that I was going to do anyway. Should take about a month. If my ranking hasn't returned by then I'm going to pare down the site to just its basic solid information. If that doesn't work, its clearly a long term penalty, and for links. If that worse case scenario is what I'm facing I'm going to just leave the site for what it is and develop 2 more site ideas I have, wait for it to sort itself out long-term and learn from the mistake.

      Basically, because things were going so well with this site I'd decided to throw all my time and efforts into it alone. But if things don't return to normality in a month my strategy will be to spread my bets over at least 3 sites. I simply couldn't face this happening again to my one sole site. Wondered what everybody's thoughts were on that strategy? And while I think about it, a huge thanks for everybody's help and support here, great people, great forum.

      Best regards,

      Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author Linerider
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      I'm probably going to sound like a dick here, but this is just honest, brutal truth.

      Your site doesn't deserve to rank for anything. All this BS about being penalized by Google and that kind of junk is just that, BS.

      Your site is not penalized, it just flat out does not deserve a higher ranking.

      First, let's look at your links. While you have over 1500 links, you really only have a few different domains linking to you. It looks like you either bought or made some arrangement with a few webmasters for sidebar links. This is why you are seeing lots of links from just a few sites. Those sidebar links show up on every page of those sites. In most cases, they won't hurt you, but sidebar links are not fantastic at getting rankings either. Hope you didn't buy them for much.

      You also have about 600 of those links pointing at your feed instead of your homepage or an internal page. Why?

      Second, you have very few links with any kind of relevant keywords in them. Most are your name, the site's name, "click here", "check out this website", etc. While you don't want to go crazy with anchor text keywords, you still need them. From looking through the anchor text of your links, I'm not sure what it is you are trying to rank for. I can usually tell at least a few of the keywords a site is trying to rank for by analyzing the anchor text. In your case, I have no idea.

      Your site structure has a major, major flaw. You have over 230 links on your page. Many pages have far more than that. You need to tighten up the navigation and link structure. Organize those into some kind of categories or something. As it is you are not maximizing your internal link structure. Your spreading your internal linking power far too thin.

      It looks like you are also publishing a lot of the articles from your site at other places. If you are not careful with that, and they are getting indexed at other sites first before they are indexed on your site, it can look like your site is just scraping content from other sources, with nothing original being published. That can make it harder to rank.

      I'll leave you with this. It's been 3 months. That is nothing for a business. Do you know how many people try at something for 5 years, 10 years, and even longer before they find the success they are looking for? I don't know why so many people around here seem to think that Google owes them some magical ranking after just a few months of work. The truth is, if you had a better ranking before it was probably because of something called QDF. After that, Google settles your site into the ranking that it really deserves.
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      • Profile picture of the author StingGB
        Dear Mike,

        I don't mind harsh criticism, but only providing its based on some facts.

        I've never bought a link in my life. My links were hard fought from many dozens of hours work. If you'd read the rest of my posts on this page you'd know this. I presume you got the statement "you really only have a few different domains linking to you" from Alexa. That site is cr*p. It shows me having 21 links. The top 112 links in Google Webmaster show every one are from different sites. Finally, I have never published my articles anywhere but on my site. A few people have asked if they could use them, and I consented.

        As for the rest of your post, I'm not expecting the world. I do realise these things take time to develop and mature. However I've gone from thousands of hits per month to virtually zero. Whatever my site's flaws I haven't changed a thing. Its Google that can't make its mind up. In terms of my site it was either wrong or right then, or wrong or right now. Either way if you want to defend a multi-national company which is that indecisive, and therefore incompetent in my view, good luck to you.

        Best regards,

        Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author WarGasm
    What keywords are you trying to rank for?
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Alexa. LOL. No SEO uses Alexa for backlink information.

    No, I was using SEO SpyGlass. You have very few different domains linking to you.

    I was not defending Google. You wanted to know why your site was not ranking. I was just explaining to you what you are seeing and why you are seeing it, and I was pointing out that there was no penalty involved. Take my advice, dont take my advice, I really dont give a shit.

    My point was your site doesn't deserve to rank for the reasons I outlined, which are very valid reasons. It is not Google's fault even though you seem to think so.
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      Dear Mike,

      I agree. Google don't have to play by my rules, I have to play by theirs. The fact remains though that Google wouldn't have ranked me to the extent it did in the first place if it didn't like the site at least to some extent, and I haven't changed anything. So claiming no penalty is involved is contradictory to the facts. You are clearly a knowledgeable SEO but I don't buy your QDF explanation either. QDF was just not relevant to most if not all of the pages I was ranked for on my site. I am going to change a few things on the site though, based on what's generally been said. Edited to say: I think from all the wonderful advice I've received on here and what I've read over the past couple of days, its the incoming link barrage that's upset Google. There's not a lot I can do about that, I'm just going to move on and wait it out.

      Best regards,

      Brian
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

        I think from all the wonderful advice I've received on here and what I've read over the past couple of days, its the incoming link barrage that's upset Google. There's not a lot I can do about that, I'm just going to move on and wait it out.

        If you want to bury your head in the sand and pretend it is because of things you cannot control, that is fine. However, I would strongly encourage you to instead take action. Focus your onpage SEO a lot tighter around specific keywords and work on improving your offpage SEO.

        Just "waiting it out" like you said is not going to get you ranked. Based on your onpage and offpage SEO right now, your site just does not deserve to rank. You can fix this though. You are not being penalized.

        The suggestions Yukon made is a great start. I'll put it this way, if you were trying to hire me as an SEO, but refused to make these kind of changes to the site, I wouldn't take the job. The onpage SEO is that bad.

        No point in wasting my time and your money.
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        • Profile picture of the author StingGB
          Dear Mike, Yukon & Carl,

          After a very severe bruising from Google over the weekend I've decided to take your advice. Here's my plan of action:

          Insert keyword into homepage/articles/posts
          Move index page to a separate static page (to get rid of multiple link count per page)
          Each category page - a target ratio of 1/100 text/links & 1/100 keywords/text
          Remove all duplicate content from each page (site information etc)
          In future only accept incoming links to individual pages to ensure anchor text variation

          Your thoughts on these measures, as always, would be appreciated.

          Best regards,

          Brian
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
            Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

            Insert keyword into homepage/articles/posts
            Just don't go overboard with it. I know people like to put their keyword into the content wherever they can. Write so it makes sense for the visitors. Don't worry about the search engines. They are smart enough to figure out what your site is about.

            Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

            Move index page to a separate static page (to get rid of multiple link count per page)
            That is one option. Other option would be submenus in Javascript. Search engines would most likely only see the main category headings, and not all the options under the category. They do not read Javascript very well.

            Either way, you need to get your link count under control and organized.

            Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

            Each category page - a target ratio of 1/100 text/links & 1/100 keywords/text
            I wouldn't worry about ratios of text to links or keywords. People put too much emphasis on keyword density. Just write so the articles make sense.

            Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

            Remove all duplicate content from each page (site information etc)
            Good.

            Originally Posted by StingGB View Post

            In future only accept incoming links to individual pages to ensure anchor text variation
            No. You want links to your homepage as well. Anchor text variety is good, but you also need some more links with relevant keywords in the anchor text.

            Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    I agree with Mike about the on-page issues, I don't see much effort in trying to rank any specific keywords.

    Example, look at the Index page (Google Cache (text version)), you have the word Home wrapped in an <h2> tag (<h2> Home</h2>). Are you trying to rank for the keyword Home?

    The Index page has 104 links, break that down to 4 Category links, then display 25 (or whatever) links per category page. Use the 25 (or whatever) Category supporting pages as keyword anchor-text links focused on 4 individual keywords (Category keywords) related to the main keyword on the Index page.

    Link Flow:
    Index page > Category page > Supporting pages
    Index page < Category page < Supporting pages
    You already have the pages, you just need to get them organized with links focused on your target keywords that you want to rank for in the SERPs.
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    • Profile picture of the author Carl Brown
      There's not a lot I can do about that, I'm just going to move on and wait it out.
      Strange to just ignore some really good advice. Regardless of where you are today, the SEO issues are still there and they do matter.

      Tightening up categories, paying attention to keywords and limiting the number of on page links will go a long way toward moving you forward from where you are now..
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Ray
    Are you doing any LSI keyword optimization?
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    • Profile picture of the author StingGB
      Yes, plenty of keyword variations and alternatives.

      Regards, Brian.
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  • Profile picture of the author StingGB
    Dear Mike,

    Thanks for your advice on my measures.

    Those % targets were just my rough guidelines, not absolutes, and I'm bearing LSI in mind with keywords. The static index page is just easier for me. As for incoming links, I'm just going to let them happen naturally now, and not court them.

    Taking those things into consideration it appears from what you say I'm heading in the right direction.

    Best regards,

    Brian.
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