Rankings Dropped Overnight, but No Penalty!!! HELP!

by TheGreatGatsby 26 replies
Hello, all. After stalking this forum for months now, I finally decided to join after FINALLY I earned the right to call myself an affiliate marketer (I earned my first commissions last week ) in my opinion, at least.

After working my butt off on my most recent site for about a month, I was receiving about 250 unique views each day, which is HUUUGE for me. Then last Friday night my rankings for nearly every keyword disappeared and traffic slowed to a screeching halt.

In fact for some keywords my site is ranking on the 3rd - 5th page for posts that are not optimized for that keyword! :confused: I have been checking Google WMT everyday since but have not received any messages from them saying that my site is flagged/ penalized.

I have been over here freaking out wondering what I have done wrong. I was even getting traffic from other SE's like ask, aol, bing etc, but their traffic stopped as well. Also my blog is run by Wordpress if that helps. I have had suspicions that my site has been hacked and have run several scans/ tests, but have nothing confirming an attack. I really feel up the creek here. JUST last week I began bearing fruits from all of my hard work over this past year and days later it's ripped away.

Please help guys...
#search engine optimization #dropped #overnight #penalty #rankings
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  • Profile picture of the author online only
    Uhm, sometimes sites come & go. Drop off the phase, then come back stronger etc..

    BUT, could you elaborate what kind of links you were building? This could actually clear some air
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  • Profile picture of the author nicktyler
    How old is the site? if it is a new site and a month old then it could be the 'honeymoon period ending' which is where new sites get an artificial boost for a while to give them a chance to gain some exposure.
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    • Profile picture of the author RandySwanston
      Need more information on the links you have built. If you were building natural and genuine links then this is just a dancing period which will settle in some days.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
    Hello, Online Only and nicktyler. Thank you for the fast replies. Well, this domain in particular is more than 2 years old and has never been dropped. So i doubt it is any new website honeymoon issue. All of my links are high PR, but aren't the most white hat in nature if you catch my drift. But I acquired them very slowly to stay under the radar.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
    Thanks Randy. They are high PR domains that I own. Between 10-20 of them. PR ranging between 3 and 6. Nothing elaborate about my approach with them. They are not interlinked, but they are pointed at several posts on my blog. I hope this is helpful enough. If not, what kind of backlink/ other info do you need?
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  • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
    I've had plenty of sites that seemed to vanish for a few days, only to come back at the same spot or a little stronger. I wouldn't worry just yet.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
      Originally Posted by JSProjects View Post

      I've had plenty of sites that seemed to vanish for a few days, only to come back at the same spot or a little stronger. I wouldn't worry just yet.

      Thanks for the calming words. I hope this is the case and not a bigger issue like a site hack or some malfunctioning plugins screwing with my site code.
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    • Profile picture of the author abhish
      [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
    Hey,
    If you where using a PBN (P is for Public). Its a complete waste of time trying to drip feed links in to stay under any type of radar. Its a fast churn and burn, whack the links in rank, bank and tank. The shelflife of the average PBN is very short, so theres absolutely no point in thinking of any prospects long term.

    If you are using a PBN (P is for Private). There is always the possibility that a competitor sniffed out the network and reported it. Leads to IBL devaluation or de-indexing of the network.

    Cause 3 is that you said you where working your butt off for a month. So how long has this site been live? Seems hitting 250 UVpd is decent enough traffic, but would seem alot after only 30 days work, unless you found some really low comp high volume keyword wins.

    Cause 4 could be what JS said.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
      Originally Posted by Kevin Maguire View Post

      Hey,
      If you where using a PBN (P is for Public). Its a complete waste of time trying to drip feed links in to stay under any type of radar. Its a fast churn and burn, whack the links in rank, bank and tank. The shelflife of the average PBN is very short, so theres absolutely no point in thinking of any prospects long term.

      If you are using a PBN (P is for Private). There is always the possibility that a competitor sniffed out the network and reported it. Leads to IBL devaluation or de-indexing of the network.

      Cause 3 is that you said you where working your butt off for a month. So how long has this site been live? Seems hitting 250 UVpd is decent enough traffic, but would seem alot after only 30 days work, unless you found some really low comp high volume keyword wins.

      Cause 4 could be what JS said.

      P most definitely stands for private. And yes, you are pretty smart to have sniffed out the fact that I hit the jackpot with a keyword that I found. My site is only about 2 months old but on an aged domain, so that played to my advantage when it came to rankings.

      I am unfamiliar with IBL devaluation. Would I receive a notice in my WMT if this was the case? I checked my backlinks and they are still indexed.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Maguire
        Originally Posted by TheGreatGatsby View Post

        P most definitely stands for private. And yes, you are pretty smart to have sniffed out the fact that I hit the jackpot with a keyword that I found. My site is only about 2 months old but on an aged domain, so that played to my advantage when it came to rankings.

        I am unfamiliar with IBL devaluation. Would I receive a notice in my WMT if this was the case? I checked my backlinks and they are still indexed.
        IBL sorry (Geeky) Inbound Links to your pages. To be honest with you I don't know if Google takes the time to tell you about whacking PBN's. The give un-natural link warnings but I'm not entirely sure if they do the same with a small network PBN.

        Thankfully none of mine have ever been hit to find out. But right now I wouldnt panic just yet. This all might be just algo bounce and whatnot. So hold on for a week or so and see whats up then.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
    Thanks Mr. Maguire. I suppose there is no harm in waiting, as nerve wrecking as it may be.
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  • Profile picture of the author FranksToys
    I find it strange that you mention other search engines have also dropped, maybe you were hacked and they redirect the traffic to your site? Basically shaving off some, but not all traffic?

    It is very possible that is the cause. However if it's because of SEO then you were penalized by a recent algo update. Start by cleaning up your links.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
    I'd like to confirm whether my site was hacked or not, but cannot be certain. I have done the Sucuri scan and installed the wordfence plugin, but I've seen no sign of hacking so maybe I am in the clear in that regard. I just wish there was a way I could be certain.

    I will examine my link profile and remove what I believe are the "weakest links." I'll do whatever it takes to get my site making money again. It took much time and effort to get to this point.

    Are there any other suggestions? I am VERY thankful to all who have contributed to this point!
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    maybe you got some bad links coming in, you need to find out if there is any spammy links added to your site.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
      Well, I recently confirmed that my site hasn't been hacked, but I guess you all probably knew that huh (I'm taking a leave no stone unturned approach).

      I have also read that it is bad to have do follow affiliate links. Well I had several of those throughout my site and speculate that the big G was not pleased by this.

      I have since made all affiliate links on this site nofollow in attempt to appease the Google gods. I am hoping this does the trick.

      I read somewhere about a "thin affiliate" penalty and wonder if this is what has rendered my site asunder. The symptoms describe mine almost perfectly. For about 90% of my keywords I am ranking 3rd page and beyond for MUCH less optimized blog posts that perhaps mention the keyword only once on the entire page.

      Also, Moneymaker2012, almost every link to my site is placed by me and are of high PR, but I have removed a couple links that I feared could possibly serve as culprits.

      Could anyone tell me if I have in fact fell under a thin affiliate penalty and if so, how to recover from it?

      I'm really trying to stick with this thread because I'm sure many others have suffered from this and will continue to do so and maybe this will help others out in the future!
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  • Profile picture of the author HeadStartSEO
    Originally Posted by TheGreatGatsby View Post

    After working my butt off on my most recent site for about a month, I was receiving about 250 unique views each day, which is HUUUGE for me. Then last Friday night my rankings for nearly every keyword disappeared and traffic slowed to a screeching halt.

    Please help guys...
    What previous SEO work and/or link building has been done for the website?
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
      Originally Posted by HeadStartSEO View Post

      What previous SEO work and/or link building has been done for the website?

      As far as I know this domain was just squatted on before I acquired it. I even checked the web archives site and found nothing, so my best answer is simply: NONE.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
    Hey, I just want to thank everyone who has participated in this thread. Too often while searching on the net do we see what I consider "uncompleted threads." Threads on forums that are FAR from being helpful or not followed up by the OP. This particular thread will not be the case, if I can help it.

    Two weeks ago I lost MOST of my search engine traffic and was frantic in trying to figure out why. I went from thinking that my Wordpress site was hacked, to thinking I had a manual google penalty, to thinking I was experiencing THE Google Dance and everything else under the search engine sun, but alas, as I type this post, traffic on my domain is at pace to exceed previous highs! To maximize the resourcefulness of this thread I shall tell my experience.

    First off, do yourself a favor and link your money site to GWT. This helped me out immensely as Google is being more open these days, alerting webmasters of manual penalties.


    Secondly, fiverr dot com can be a great resource when seeking the right services. I paid a hacker to search my site to determine whether I was a victim of hacker attack and was cleared of that concern.

    Because I had no manual webspam messages from the mighty G, I wasn't too concerned about being hindered by sites linking to me.

    This left me thinking that Google sited me as a "thin affiliate site." My response?Nearly two weeks into my traffic drought, I started posting more unique and useful content. The first day I posted two articles, then the next day I posted a single article and half an hour later most rankings were restored and several rankings improved beyond prior first page highs.

    Was the fact that I stopped posting content the reason my ranking dropped / collapsed? Was it the fact that ALL of my affiliate links were do follow? Was it the recent AND Top post widgets I activated that week? I do not work for Google so I cannot say with certainty, but what I believe from this experience is that Google loves unique content and I believe they wish most sites to aspire to become authority sites rather than a clump of sleazy reviews.

    Other than rejoicing my good fortune, I hope that several years from now people reading this thread find this information insightful and helpful. Thanks guys, and good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author hamzidosh
      Originally Posted by TheGreatGatsby View Post

      Nearly two weeks into my traffic drought, I started posting more unique and useful content. The first day I posted two articles, then the next day I posted a single article and half an hour later most rankings were restored and several rankings improved beyond prior first page highs.
      Thank you!
      I've had the same issue and now I guess I know exactly what to do!!!
      It was most likely caused by the recent google update. i knew the cause but just didnt know what to do.
      Thank you!
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      For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Profile picture of the author FranksToys
    Just because you don't have an unnatural link warning doesn't mean your links aren't the reason for the drop.

    Algo penalties don't show up in WMT, my guess is your backlinks are the issue.
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    "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this - that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
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    • Profile picture of the author TheGreatGatsby
      Originally Posted by FranksToys View Post

      Just because you don't have an unnatural link warning doesn't mean your links aren't the reason for the drop.

      Algo penalties don't show up in WMT, my guess is your backlinks are the issue.
      Is one backlink enough to tumble rankings? That is all I had removed throughout these last two weeks of tinkering. I am not disagreeing with you, but all I know is that after a few consecutive days of posting unique, relevant content my rankings have returned with a vengeance!
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Interesting. I had the same exact thing happen to one of my sites. Except rankings haven't been restored. I haven't posted content to the site in like 6 months, but have been doing SEO on it and its been ranking top 3 till this recent update where I lost 70% of my traffic.

    I still have no idea what has caused the loss in rankings, but I might as well try posting some new content to see if that has any effect.

    Also, I very much doubt that 1 link can destroy a sites rankings. Perhaps a 301 redirect from a penalized site could tank a site, but if its 1 regular backlink.... I doubt it.
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  • Profile picture of the author nik0
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    Panda is quite aggressive and can tank you hard yes, but it's indeed easy to fix by adding more unique content and reducing affiliate links.
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