Hmm something strange is going on in the SERPS for certain types of keywords

by nik0 Banned
22 replies
  • SEO
  • |
One of my customers launched this Amazon affiliate site, good content and plenty of it.

The domain name is brand new and registered in May, and have never been registered before.

Let's say his niche is "headphones", the keywords he gave me to target are:

- best headphone
- best headphones
- headphone review
- headphone reviews

The site is decent optimized, not over optimized or keyword stuffed.

The site contains no duplicate content of any kind so all good and well.

He received 3 months link building from me and none of his target keywords show up in the top 500.

Another customer of mine has already launched 20 Amazon sites in the past 1.5 years and only used me to rank them and obvious with success or he wouldn't keep hiring me for them.

He is having the same problem right now, not ranking anywhere in the top 500 after 2 months of link building for his latest 2 Amazon sites. His other 18 sites are still ranking fine, so are my own Amazon sites.

A Skype friend of mine is also having the exact same problem, not ranking for his "best / review" keywords with his most recent Amazon sites. He doesn't outsource the link building to me but uses his own private network.

All the sites are build in the same way really, 20-40 pages of content with a few categories and noindexing of date / author archives and using static category pages instead of the typical WP read more snippets.

Anchor text distribution is a mix of URL / domain name / exact / longtail / generic and exact in combination with URL, same like we do for quite some time already.

Affiliate links are reduced to a minimum, that first client of mine has max 1 affiliate link per page but on most pages, the other client of mine has affiliate links on half of his pages and several per page. The Skype friend monetized also about half of his pages. None of them are cloaking their links.

To be more certain I also checked the rankings of the main keywords with other prefix/suffixes like:

- buy headphone
- headphone discount
- headphone comparison
- cheap headphone
etc.

These aren't ranking in the top 500 either so it looks like Google is ignoring certain types of keyphrases that are popular with IM'ers, specifically Amazon affiliate sites.

I have other customers with brand new sites that are not into affiliate marketing and I can still rank them fine, and all the existing Amazon sites maintain their rankings as well so it's not like our blog networks are affected.

Not long ago I read the sales thread of another popular link seller on this forum and he received a lot of negative feedback in the past weeks/months. He is much more popular with the affiliate crowd then me so naturally he has many more Amazon sites to rank then me and it seems he deals with the same issue. The Skype chat friend used to be a customer of him and told me he wasn't able to rank his sites anymore so did someone else that I speak with on regular base so all this together seems to make it more of a global problem that haven't been discussed that much on IM forums so far.

I do remember Terry from Traffic Planet starting a thread about this a few months ago but with few details, as well as people on BlackHatWorld complaining about sites not ranking in the 1st month. This was a bit of a hot topic a few months ago and I think that 1 month delay was pure guess work as several months have already passed and the sites are still not ranking.

I also checked other keywords from the same non ranking sites, for example the keyphrases with a brand name in it like:

- Sony headphone
- Samsung headphone
etc.

We haven't targeted those keywords in the link building btw, and those are ranking in the top 50 which makes it even more likely that Google is filtering certain popular keywords used by the IM crowd.

What's your take on this? Did you build an Amazon affiliate site with a brand new domain after May/June this year and is it ranking well? Would you care to show me the site by PM and tell me what type of link building you used?
#hmm #keywords #serps #strange #types
  • Profile picture of the author Icematikx
    You already know my story, but this is what is really agitating me about Google lately.

    I build a new affiliate site.. Let's say, "Juicer Reviews".. I built 15-20 PBN links dripped over a month or so. The site is high-quality in nature - I've written it myself. Usually 700-2,000 words per page. One year ago, the site would be #1 for "Juicer Reviews" within two months.

    Now, in three months, this is what I get:

    If I search for "Juicer Reviews", I get my Buying Guide appearing #60, and the homepage appearing nowhere.

    If I search for "Juicer Buying Guide", the above buying guide doesn't rank. Instead, a post ranks in the top #100.

    It's like Google can't identify what my content is about - which is stupid. My posts/pages aren't being found for their titles, but for broadly related terms that may only appear on the page once in the text.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Icematikx View Post

      You already know my story, but this is what is really agitating me about Google lately.

      I build a new affiliate site.. Let's say, "Juicer Reviews".. I built 15-20 PBN links dripped over a month or so. The site is high-quality in nature - I've written it myself. Usually 700-2,000 words per page. One year ago, the site would be #1 for "Juicer Reviews" within two months.

      Now, in three months, this is what I get:

      If I search for "Juicer Reviews", I get my Buying Guide appearing #60, and the homepage appearing nowhere.

      If I search for "Juicer Buying Guide", the above buying guide doesn't rank. Instead, a post ranks in the top #100.

      It's like Google can't identify what my content is about - which is stupid. My posts/pages aren't being found for their titles, but for broadly related terms that may only appear on the page once in the text.
      ...but you have 2,000 words per page.
      Signature
      Hi
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      • Profile picture of the author Icematikx
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        ...but you have 2,000 words per page.
        Indeed. My competitor has 3,500 words on his homepage. Perhaps I need to add 1,500 words?
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  • Profile picture of the author jez111
    Hey Niko,

    Couple of things it might be buddy.

    1. Ranking filter not letting sites rank for xxx time.

    2. Does a site already rank in that niche with your links? The reason I say this is because I ran a test recently, I sent the same links at 4 different sites in the same niche and only one site ranked. I suppose the point I am making is if a site you have used links on already ranks then they won't work again IMO.

    3. Penguin is about to hit and big G has switched links off from working, like they do every algorithm update time.

    Best Wishes

    Jez
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by jez111 View Post

      Hey Niko,

      Couple of things it might be buddy.

      1. Ranking filter not letting sites rank for xxx time.

      2. Does a site already rank in that niche with your links? The reason I say this is because I ran a test recently, I sent the same links at 4 different sites in the same niche and only one site ranked. I suppose the point I am making is if a site you have used links on already ranks then they won't work again IMO.

      3. Penguin is about to hit and big G has switched links off from working, like they do every algorithm update time.

      Best Wishes

      Jez
      1) Wonder how long that's gonna take as for one site it already has been 3 months.

      2) I've seen something similar in the past, however these mentioned niches are as unique as it can get so it doesn't apply here. Have to add that I do have 2 sites in the exact same niche and they both rank fine, the domains for them are 1+ year old btw.

      3) Then it should affect all types of sites and keywords, which is not the case.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by jez111 View Post

      I ran a test recently, I sent the same links at 4 different sites in the same niche and only one site ranked.

      To be honest, there is no such thing as the "same links". Every link is different and carries different ranking power/authority.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke Dennison
    Maybe you mistakenly misjudged when you where establishing the competition for that set of keywords.

    Usually when a site under-performs for me when it really shouldn't be, the first thing I'll do is really go deep into researching how well the competition has done there SEO. Then you can decide if you think you really have done better than them, and more often than not, you haven't.

    I'm not saying you can't do your job, but I'm saying that in some niches, someone who's actually pretty good may have just got there first, and before you know it you're in deep and constantly fighting with them for positions.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Luke Dennison View Post

      Maybe you mistakenly misjudged when you where establishing the competition for that set of keywords.

      Usually when a site under-performs for me when it really shouldn't be, the first thing I'll do is really go deep into researching how well the competition has done there SEO. Then you can decide if you think you really have done better than them, and more often than not, you haven't.

      I'm not saying you can't do your job, but I'm saying that in some niches, someone who's actually pretty good may have just got there first, and before you know it you're in deep and constantly fighting with them for positions.
      I think you haven't really read what I wrote or maybe just parts of it.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by Luke Dennison View Post

      Maybe you mistakenly misjudged when you where establishing the competition for that set of keywords.

      Usually when a site under-performs for me when it really shouldn't be, the first thing I'll do is really go deep into researching how well the competition has done there SEO. Then you can decide if you think you really have done better than them, and more often than not, you haven't.

      I'm not saying you can't do your job, but I'm saying that in some niches, someone who's actually pretty good may have just got there first, and before you know it you're in deep and constantly fighting with them for positions.
      That would make sense if he was talking about struggling to crack the top 10 or maybe even top 20.

      Top 100, top 500... that's a lot different. There is no keyword where the competition is extremely stiff at #495.
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      • Profile picture of the author chawk
        Damn that sucks Google's users can't see a shitty website about blenders. Why the piss would I want a site about blenders?
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Eddie
    I only have one Amazon affiliate site that I started recently. The site was made in April, and backlinking started in May.

    It's only a 6 page site, with 2-3 affiliate links on each page. The links are not cloaked. It's a pretty thin site really, that I didn't spend much time setting up. Just a tester for a bigger site that I'll make if it ranks well and makes decent money.

    Targeting terms like 'best X X X' and 'Brand X X review'

    To begin with I wasn't doing too much to it, just some Web 2's that I juiced up, but I noticed it making slow progress up the rankings, so I just started to add PBN links to it recently and it's moved up a bit further.

    Currently sat just outside the top 10 for the main keyword I was targeting, and inside the top 50 for another related term that is more competitive.

    All the links I have built so far are at the homepage, but the review pages are also appearing mostly between 10 - 50 so far for the terms I'm targeting.

    I'm going to add some more PBN links over the coming weeks, so I'll let you know how that goes, but I'm anticipating getting most of the keywords onto page one.

    It's a while since I last built an Amazon site, but to be honest I haven't noticed a big difference in recent months when it comes to ranking things.Other review type sites that I've set up recently are making similar progress.

    I'm not willing to reveal the site at this moment in time though.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by EdwardJ View Post

      I only have one Amazon affiliate site that I started recently. The site was made in April, and backlinking started in May.

      It's only a 6 page site, with 2-3 affiliate links on each page. The links are not cloaked. It's a pretty thin site really, that I didn't spend much time setting up. Just a tester for a bigger site that I'll make if it ranks well and makes decent money.

      Targeting terms like 'best X X X' and 'Brand X X review'

      To begin with I wasn't doing too much to it, just some Web 2's that I juiced up, but I noticed it making slow progress up the rankings, so I just started to add PBN links to it recently and it's moved up a bit further.

      Currently sat just outside the top 10 for the main keyword I was targeting, and inside the top 50 for another related term that is more competitive.

      All the links I have built so far are at the homepage, but the review pages are also appearing mostly between 10 - 50 so far for the terms I'm targeting.

      I'm going to add some more PBN links over the coming weeks, so I'll let you know how that goes, but I'm anticipating getting most of the keywords onto page one.

      It's a while since I last built an Amazon site, but to be honest I haven't noticed a big difference in recent months when it comes to ranking things.Other review type sites that I've set up recently are making similar progress.

      I'm not willing to reveal the site at this moment in time though.
      No need to reveal the site but I also have sites from clients that were launched in March/April and we have no problems ranking them. This problem started since May/June for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ferzy
    Your post is very detailed, finally someone that explains their problem properly and it's obvious you have a good grasp what to track.

    I have quite a lot of Amazon Affiliate sites and they rank too. The most recent one is an early May one - launched on 2 May - that ranks in top 10 for best and reviews type of keywords. Quite a lot of them. Although for the last week during this penguin update, it got out of top 100 for a couple of days, then got back on top, very weird.

    I have some other sites launched after may/june that rank in top 10 for amazon best and reviews keywords, but they have been launched on aged domains. 1 - page sites with content indexed in google 6 months ago, let to age, started to rank them after may / june with additional content and links = no problem.

    I launched a couple of new sites recently, but it has not passed enough time to reach any conclusion.

    Sites take longer to rank, that's for sure, but in my experience they still rank. Completely out of top 500, that's very weird indeed.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ferzy View Post

      Your post is very detailed, finally someone that explains their problem properly and it's obvious you have a good grasp what to track.

      I have quite a lot of Amazon Affiliate sites and they rank too. The most recent one is an early May one - launched on 2 May - that ranks in top 10 for best and reviews type of keywords. Quite a lot of them. Although for the last week during this penguin update, it got out of top 100 for a couple of days, then got back on top, very weird.

      I have some other sites launched after may/june that rank in top 10 for amazon best and reviews keywords, but they have been launched on aged domains. 1 - page sites with content indexed in google 6 months ago, let to age, started to rank them after may / june with additional content and links = no problem.

      I launched a couple of new sites recently, but it has not passed enough time to reach any conclusion.

      Sites take longer to rank, that's for sure, but in my experience they still rank. Completely out of top 500, that's very weird indeed.
      Sounds a bit on the edge, aged domains, 2nd May etc.

      I registered 30 domains about 1 year ago, I have no problem ranking them either, though the most recent link building was probably before May, call it lazyness or busyness with other things but all sites have been idle for like 5 months before the 1st link was build, after that links were build in a number of batches and then idle once again. Don't know why it's so hard for me to find motivation to put all of them in good shape lol.

      There were some issue's while Panda 4.0 launched that required me to re-do some of them as they saw some drops and I didn't want to waste good links to compensate the link loss. The less "paid" links needed to rank the better it is really. Either way after re-designing/structuring the sites they all increased in ranks again and some even slightly better then before. Now 20 of them are still in the re-design/re-structure phase as the theme switch resulted in loss of images and affiliate links and 20 sites with 20-30 pages each is quite some work.

      Soon I'll add some more links to the 9 sites that are complete to see what effect that will have, I think that will work as those are old enough now.

      Please keep me updated about your recent launched sites to see if it corresponds.

      Also you haven't told me what you do to rank them so I assume you also use a private blog network or service that delivers such links?
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      • Profile picture of the author nik0
        Banned
        To add, as I haven't mentioned that in the OP.

        The sites do rank for their domain name at #1 in Google, some are brand domain names, others are partial EMDs like for example: juicerreviewshub.com or juicerreviewshq.com just to name something.

        Same like I mentioned in OP, the keywords in combination with a brand like Breville Juicer Reviews do rank in the top 50.

        That's the whole weird thing about it that it only seems to apply to keywords like "best juicer, juicer reviews, buy juicer, discount juicer, juicer comparison" etc. and once you add a complete different word to the mix, like a brand, which would almost be impossible for Google to add as then the list would get endless, then it does rank all of a sudden.

        Got to admit we haven't used product brand anchors in the link building, besides the domain name and URL as anchor, so that makes me think it has nothing to do with anchor text usage.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ferzy
    I use PBNs - but the real private, built by me from scratch, mining domains, building them out, etc.. - not the "Private" PBNs sold on various marketplaces. That's the core of my link building, then i also do guest blogging, web 2.0, blog commetning and straight out paid blog posts on real websites, but in smaller quantities as to diversify the link profile. If i were to rank / or not to rank, it's all due to the PBNs in the end as they represent the core.

    Your insights are interesting, looking to see how things turn out after this current update - or whatever is going on - is completed.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ferzy View Post

      I use PBNs - but the real private, built by me from scratch, mining domains, building them out, etc.. - not the "Private" PBNs sold on various marketplaces. That's the core of my link building, then i also do guest blogging, web 2.0, blog commetning and straight out paid blog posts on real websites, but in smaller quantities as to diversify the link profile. If i were to rank / or not to rank, it's all due to the PBNs in the end as they represent the core.

      Your insights are interesting, looking to see how things turn out after this current update - or whatever is going on - is completed.
      Ok thanks for letting know, do you commit or your expired domains to 1 niche, or do you link out to let's say 5 different niches from each site? I just ask cause maybe the relevancy plays a role here. A blog post on a site that covers dozens of topics is obvious a lot less relevant then a site that covers only 1 niche/topic.
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  • Profile picture of the author BenWesty
    I have nothing helpful to input but I started a new Amazon Affiliate site in January that I let sit with only about 3 links until May/June where I started doing half decent guest blogging, and since then at least a quarter of my keywords have made it to page one and the rest are well on their way.

    However, some of my more general keywords didn't rank in the top 500 for a long time until recently. For example.

    "[Product Name] Piano Keyboard Review" ranked on page one quite quickly after the link building started.
    "UK Piano Keyboards" did not rank in the top 500 pages until 6 months after I bought the domain and built the site, then suddenly it appeared out of no where at the bottom of the first page.

    Again, not very helpful but I guess all data is good data.
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    • Profile picture of the author Owen Grey
      You're right, rankings for these type of sites don't come as quickly as they used to.
      For me, a domain built in March with backlinking started in April is in top-3 now, but this already took more time than it did before. Same goes for a site I built in April, it's top-3 now but only since 2 or 3 weeks.
      The domain built in May had the backlinking started in June and is sloooowly starting to rank now. Only page 4, 5, 6 but it's a start.

      I think this is, as I read somewhere, indeed a way to combat churn and burn websites that were able to rank in competitive niches using spam-blast techniques. The various algo-signs take time to kick in, and because of that it was possible to rank for high competitive keywords, at least for a while.
      So what they probably did is introduce some kind of blanket that is laid over new websites in high competition niches and/or with keyword subphrases like "reviews" or "best", and this blanket will only be lifted after a few months when all the spam algo signs should have kicked in.

      I already experienced this with my March and April sites, but I think G noticed that there were still a few churn and burn sites ranking so they simply extended the period. However, I would be very surprised if I won't be on page 1 in two or three months, as they just can't ignore a website for more than 6 months (well they can, but they also know they shouldn't).

      That said, I'm less aggressive these days with anchors so that may have to do with the problem as well. Either way, I think it's just a matter of patience.

      For service providers like yourself this can be hard to explain to clients - maybe another reason they introduced this ranking delay - but it has always worked for me and it most likely will in the future, so I'm not going anywhere. I'm quite sure this has nothing to do with your network.
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      • Profile picture of the author Icematikx
        Originally Posted by Owen Grey View Post

        You're right, rankings for these type of sites don't come as quickly as they used to.
        For me, a domain built in March with backlinking started in April is in top-3 now, but this already took more time than it did before. Same goes for a site I built in April, it's top-3 now but only since 2 or 3 weeks.
        The domain built in May had the backlinking started in June and is sloooowly starting to rank now. Only page 4, 5, 6 but it's a start.

        I think this is, as I read somewhere, indeed a way to combat churn and burn websites that were able to rank in competitive niches using spam-blast techniques. The various algo-signs take time to kick in, and because of that it was possible to rank for high competitive keywords, at least for a while.
        So what they probably did is introduce some kind of blanket that is laid over new websites in high competition niches and/or with keyword subphrases like "reviews" or "best", and this blanket will only be lifted after a few months when all the spam algo signs should have kicked in.

        I already experienced this with my March and April sites, but I think G noticed that there were still a few churn and burn sites ranking so they simply extended the period. However, I would be very surprised if I won't be on page 1 in two or three months, as they just can't ignore a website for more than 6 months (well they can, but they also know they shouldn't).

        That said, I'm less aggressive these days with anchors so that may have to do with the problem as well. Either way, I think it's just a matter of patience.

        For service providers like yourself this can be hard to explain to clients - maybe another reason they introduced this ranking delay - but it has always worked for me and it most likely will in the future, so I'm not going anywhere. I'm quite sure this has nothing to do with your network.
        I've had some similar results:

        #1 Site: Website built 1month ago. Ranked nowhere. 1-day ago it shot up to #21. Backlinks were built one month ago. Targeting search term of 1,900 / mo. Relatively easy search query with no difficult competitors, using my own PBN which I know will push me to #1 easily.

        #2 Site: Built 2-months ago. Backlinks started 2-months ago. Targeting 5,000/mo search query. Ranked nowhere for 2-months. Yesterday, appeared at #40-#50 (bouncing), using same PBN again. Not too difficult of a keyword..

        Just seems there's some "blanket" preventing churn&burn sites; which would make sense.
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        Just got back from a #BrightonSEO. I was given room 404 in the hotel I stayed at. Couldn’t find it anywhere!

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  • Profile picture of the author patadeperro
    WOW and I though I was the only one nik0 I think the theory is
    true, Google is taking longer to rank "new sites" this is what has happened to me:

    I have a site that it is already ranking for the main term I want to rank and I use sobdomains to rank for variations of the same term in order to control the entire page and control all the traffic for that term, anyway the main domain is ranking and one subdomains is ranking as well first and second places respectively.

    I created this second sub domain with regular content, but very well optimized and all the backlinks it has are from my PBN, anchor text variations, innerlinks, silo structured, it is already pulling some referal traffic but the site is not ranking yet!!! it has been more than 4 months and according to my tools it is ranking for the main keyword in the 200 position I am starting to believe that Google puts on the freezer new sites.

    Feel free to ask me about it and I will answer as much as can, by the way this is not a Amazon site, I am promoting an offer that I knew it will work but not with the existing sales copy so I created my own landing page, and in the checkout I am sending the sale to the product owner.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Yes it's definitely taking a LOT longer.

      I just see that one of the sites I mentioned in OP jumped at page 6 for one day for a ".... review" keyword and disappeared again.

      Another one popped up at page 11 for a "best ...." keyword.

      The other site still isn't showing any signs of improvement, I think I should contact that client to see if there's more to it that I don't know, like for example content on a previous penalized site as that one is really taking long now to show any signs, besides the "brand" keywords.
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