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  • Does Google Penalize Your Site If Your Link Network Gets Deindexed


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    #1 Ted

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 05:15 PM

    I started this thread because there was a lot of chatter on another thread about whether sites were penalized by Google after the HPBL networks that they were getting links from got de-indexed.

    Guys, here is a direct snippet from Matt Cutts Blog. This was from an old post from 2006.

    I’d like to address those two points. I can confirm that Google has removed traffic-power.com and domains promoted by Traffic Power from our index because of search engine optimization techniques that violated our webmaster guidelines at http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html. If you are a client or former client of Traffic Power and your site is not in Google, please see my previous advice on requesting reinclusion into Google’s index to learn what steps to take if you would like to be reincluded in Google’s index.

    Here is a more recent snippet of Google’s policy on duplicate content taken from this page on Google’s Webmaster Central. I realize people aren't questioning about duplicate content, but this post serves as proof that some penalties come in the form of demoted rankings and not just total de-indexation.

    In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

    Google has been in the business of penalizing blatant link manipulation for years. When Matt Cutts comes out and admits publicly that they will take action against link networks, and even go so far as to deindex those sites completely, why would it be any surprise or even be questionable whether or not you were hit with a penalty? It seems apparent to me that if you were ranking well before joining a HPBL and then immediately after that network gets deindexed your site drops many pages lower in the SERPs, that is a pretty good indication that some kind of penalty has been levied against you. This is especially true when so many of the affected sites experience the same radical drop in ranking. That penalty could be done algorithmically on a small scale and not necessarily manually site by site. That penalty could be keyword based on the page level and not intended to deindex anything other than the network itself. And there is no guarantee that Google is going to notify you about it. Why would they? It would make it easier for you to understand how they identify manipulation.

    In the grand scheme of things, does it matter whether it is an algorithmic penalty, manual penalty, link velocity penalty or not a real penalty at all? Nope... Your pages aren't ranking anymore and it sucks regardless of why it happened. Time to get back to business.

    Your thoughts?

    Edited by Ted, 21 February 2012 - 05:17 PM.

    Gimme fuel gimme fire gimme that which I desire..............


    #2 adamcm

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:53 PM

    I think it's a great post. I only started IM about a year and a half ago so it's still been a learning process for me. I feel like I started taking things much more seriously at around the same time the HPBL networks popped up everywhere.

    I belonged to 2 previous HPBL's, and left them for a cheaper HPBL network as I felt it was a smarter decision in terms of quality and cost. So far I have not experienced any penalities but am considering my options in case it does occur. The next big thing may be pay to post networks similar to BMR where the network owner would have to have some posts without any links in between the space being sold on his/her sites. It's a difficult decision especially when some of your top earning sites have been constructed through many different linking methods.

    Another item i've seen over the past little while is the shift to ranking more authority type domain and slowness of new sites to get ranked. I used to be able to rank low competition keywords easily. Now it seems it could take me a few months for my links to have any sort of effect. I am also finding that many authority based websites are ranking easier now. I am not sure if this is because of domain age, index count, that google recognizes it as an eCommerce site or what. Many people preach that content is king, but when selling products for merchants, many of these large big box web stores do not have any content at all.

    Really enjoyed your post, I know for my next sites I am concetrating on lots of words in the content and tiered linking approaches with links that do not leave a footprint.

    #3 richbell20

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

    Great post. I'm sure there are many people on here doing very well with affiliate blogs (thin affiliates and authority sites) but i shifted to focusing everything on dropship ecommerce sites about a year ago. Google does love Ecommerce (especially if you're paying for clicks!) and providing you have a site that doesnt look like it was designed by a 3 year old Google will have difficulty penalizing you.

    It's always going to come down to links, especially with E-commerce sites. How much great content (other than user-generated reviews) can a typical niche ecommerce site put up?

    I too have used homepage backlinks, and recently one of my ecommerce sites too a hit, albeit not as bad as others. Mine dropped around 5-6 positions vs 50-100 on others. That may be attributed to a loss of links from the deindexed sites that were hosting them, or may very well be a penalty of some sort. My site had been pinned at number 1 and 2 for 6 months prior.

    I'd would be a great shame to have to say goodbye to homepage backlink sites, and other high pr networks. It seems the best way to go now is to purchase your own high pr domains, clone the archived design/content and just mix in a few of your own outbound links (or completely cloak them). I can't see how Google can penalise a link on such a site. It'll be expensive to maintain though, as you'll probably only get away with a maximum of 5 OBL per domain (if you're being extra cautious)

    #4 sparkplug

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:17 PM

    I was on a network that was recently de-indexed. My site was given a -100 penalty on all pages, not just the two pages that had the links placed on the network.
    This is G's new attempt to scare everybody away from these types of links. It's sad if this is what they are doing. What if your link happened to be placed on one, or several of the networks by the network owner without your permission? I find links to my sites on pages where someone just wanted to link to me. It's not fair that G will go after and penalize every site that happens to have a link on a page.

    #5 Ted

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:29 PM

    I was on a network that was recently de-indexed. My site was given a -100 penalty on all pages, not just the two pages that had the links placed on the network.
    This is G's new attempt to scare everybody away from these types of links. It's sad if this is what they are doing. What if your link happened to be placed on one, or several of the networks by the network owner without your permission? I find links to my sites on pages where someone just wanted to link to me. It's not fair that G will go after and penalize every site that happens to have a link on a page.


    Ouch. Sounds like your site got the snot kicked out of it....

    As far as Google being fair about penalizing - I think the collateral damage done to innocent sites is very minimal. The people running these link networks generally do not take the time and effort, nor are they willing to waste the link juice by linking out to high quality domains that are not paying customers. If they did that, then it would certainly pressure Google to walk on eggshells more than it does already when it comes to penalties. Then it would be far harder to detect link networks in the first place. It would also make it harder to identify and punish members of the link network via an algorithm.

    Gimme fuel gimme fire gimme that which I desire..............


    #6 AdamWB

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:55 PM

    Ouch. Sounds like your site got the snot kicked out of it....

    As far as Google being fair about penalizing - I think the collateral damage done to innocent sites is very minimal. The people running these link networks generally do not take the time and effort, nor are they willing to waste the link juice by linking out to high quality domains that are not paying customers. If they did that, then it would certainly pressure Google to walk on eggshells more than it does already when it comes to penalties. Then it would be far harder to detect link networks in the first place. It would also make it harder to identify and punish members of the link network via an algorithm.


    Heh, I was actually thinking about devoting a certain part of my budget to putting random legit sites on these networks, just so the webmasters could go and complain to Google that they were placed without their permission. Doing this, in the hope that Google would be more cautious to kill sites that participate in this stuff, if more people complained about it.

    Right now, they don't care and they aren't cautious, because 99.9% of sites that participate in these networks were placed by their respective site owners - so yes, the fallout is very minimal right now. If Google had the choice to take out 10,000 sites that were guilty, and 50 of them were innocent - that's an acceptable number - so they keep doing it. Over and over and over again.

    #7 Fishingman1

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:02 PM

    @Ted
    Thank you you have answered questions for me.
    It does raise serious questions in relation to penalties , as Sparkplug points out.
    My site is totally unique nothing else like it in the world , if there was I would take legal action.
    So no duplicate content.
    I have been hammered ,
    @Khidma you have described a site very similar to mine, except I was only in a network for a very short time.
    My question is how long will the penalty last , do I give up on this site and 301 to a new site?
    I have spent serious money developing this site.

    Edited by Fishingman1, 21 February 2012 - 10:15 PM.

    When it all turns to Crap Go Fishing

    #8 active-learner

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:10 PM

    What about sites like AR and ALN? Do you think you would be penalized for having links on them if they get deindexed?

    #9 Ted

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

    @Ted
    Thank you you have answered questions for me.


    No problem Fishingman. If you want my advice - PM me your site url.


    What about sites like AR and ALN? Do you think you would be penalized for having links on them if they get deindexed?


    See if you can find people who know that they have gotten links from deindexed domains that were part of those networks. They should have some idea if anything really bad happened.

    Otherwise, there is no real way to know. In my experience, Google prefers to just remove the link juice from splogs and not penalize. But, the risk is there nonetheless. My hunch is that Google would want to take stronger action against the people moving the most PageRank (a.k.a High PR homepage links). But, it is just a hunch. I have not had enough personal site penalties to know that for sure. Maybe other people who have lots of experience being penalized can chime in.

    Edited by Ted, 21 February 2012 - 11:02 PM.

    Gimme fuel gimme fire gimme that which I desire..............


    #10 Fishingman1

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:53 PM

    Thanks Mate
    • Ted likes this
    When it all turns to Crap Go Fishing

    #11 Jayski32

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    Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:52 PM

    Well Denver backlinks High 5 Network has been deindexed. I was on it. So we will see if I get a penalty. Here's hoping no....

    #12 Barryonline

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    Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:20 AM

    All my sites have saild through the Google algorithm and update storms unaffected over the last year. I thought I was immune to the Google algo tweaks and Panda updates.

    However, a few days ago I had a site drop to the the bottom of page one for most of its target keywords. This website was part of 2 HPBL networks that got de indexed. I quickly got some new HPBLs set up and all seemed well, but this site has now received a hit. From 400+ visits per day down to around 50.

    I have had 3 live HPBL networks removed fom this website today as it is no longer profitable and I am not going to touch the site for at least 6 weeks.

    I plan to give the site 6 weeks to let the dust settle and Google time to see my clean back link profile and rank my site accordingly.

    After 6 weeks I am going to update the home page with completely fresh content and start slowly building very high quality links. Hopefully no permenant damage has been done to this domain through the loss/placement of HPBLs, but only time will tell.

    Over the 6 weeks I am going to build a back up site targeting the same keywords as the site that got hit. I am also going to build new backup sites for my other most profitable sites.

    If after 6 weeks I find that this hit site is not resposive to the fresh contant update and back links I will focus my attention on the new back up site. If the hit site recovers I will still work on the back up sites, it will be reasuring to have them hovering around the first page just in case something terrible like this happens again, Google is becoming a ruthless and unpredictable machine.

    Edited by Barryonline, 22 February 2012 - 12:23 AM.


    #13 sparkplug

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    Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:49 AM

    Well Denver backlinks High 5 Network has been deindexed. I was on it. So we will see if I get a penalty. Here's hoping no....


    I hope you will make it through. Let us know how it works out for you.

    #14 AdamWB

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    Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:39 AM

    Hah - one of my test sites was on that Denver Backlinks 5 as well. However, I did get a refund from it before it got de-indexed so I think they took my link off - maybe?- nothing has happened to it yet though.

    #15 adam

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    Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

    Google has been in the business of penalizing blatant link manipulation for years. When Matt Cutts comes out and admits publicly that they will take action against link networks, and even go so far as to deindex those sites completely, why would it be any surprise or even be questionable whether or not you were hit with a penalty?

    In the grand scheme of things, does it matter whether it is an algorithmic penalty, manual penalty, link velocity penalty or not a real penalty at all? Nope... Your pages aren't ranking anymore and it sucks regardless of why it happened. Time to get back to business.

    Your thoughts?


    Hi Ted,

    You're missing a couple of things here.

    First of all for algorithim penalties, these tend to be lifted when you sort yourself out, manual penalties for all we know are time based most of the time................. However some are not.

    As I have commented in another thread, I have analysed 50 sites that have had penalties, and even sites where webmasters thought they have had penalties..... The sites where they seem to have been rectified and no longer doing 'dodgy stuff' e.g. Cloaking... were still penalised.

    What I have learnt is the vast amount of time, it doesnt appear that Google has penalised sites for linking, however the affect of ranking dips are probably from link juice being wiped out/pages links are on have been de-indexed.... I have a way of checking this and its there for people to find out too if you just do a bit of digging. Apologies I can't share methods, needless to say I am not a rocket scientist though and if you wanted to find out, you could..... You just need to think 'logical' and dig, dig, dig.

    Edited by adam, 23 February 2012 - 04:46 PM.


    #16 finemoves

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    Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:31 PM

    Hi Everyone

    At the beginning of February had two sites ranking #1 in Google for SEO Service, SEO Firm, and SEO Agency as well as other pretty darn good ranks for SEO Company and Services (4 for both). Each site had around 3000 home page links. High pr networks 2 and 3 got wiped out the first weekend of the month as well as some other networks I was on. I still had at least 1500 home page links left after the deindex and my sites tanked.

    One site fell from 1 to 4 for SEO Service. I added on like 500 new home page links for it. Then when more deindexing happened, it totally got crushed.

    Initial Effort and I both do client rankings for a lot of clients. I am def seeing a definite key word level penalty when home page links get deindexed and so does he. Its not a link velocity issue, as even 500 home page links didn't help my site. We also tried similiar things on a smaller scale for fallen clients and they won't move up. Initial Effort and I chat daily and are seeing the same things. All there is to do is make a new site and give clients bad news.

    High PR Homepage Backlinks are now ticking time bombs in my view. Google is definitely changed the algo to hit sites found on them.

    This is much different than the big deindex hit in August, where I had a bunch of clients who quickly recovered ranks in a few weeks after losing home page links.

    Best :(

    Marketleaderseo SEO Services & UK SEO Services By Smartrank SEO Company


    #17 Glassy

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    Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:24 AM

    Hi Everyone

    At the beginning of February had two sites ranking #1 in Google for SEO Service, SEO Firm, and SEO Agency as well as other pretty darn good ranks for SEO Company and Services (4 for both). Each site had around 3000 home page links. High pr networks 2 and 3 got wiped out the first weekend of the month as well as some other networks I was on. I still had at least 1500 home page links left after the deindex and my sites tanked.

    One site fell from 1 to 4 for SEO Service. I added on like 500 new home page links for it. Then when more deindexing happened, it totally got crushed.

    Initial Effort and I both do client rankings for a lot of clients. I am def seeing a definite key word level penalty when home page links get deindexed and so does he. Its not a link velocity issue, as even 500 home page links didn't help my site. We also tried similiar things on a smaller scale for fallen clients and they won't move up. Initial Effort and I chat daily and are seeing the same things. All there is to do is make a new site and give clients bad news.

    High PR Homepage Backlinks are now ticking time bombs in my view. Google is definitely changed the algo to hit sites found on them.

    This is much different than the big deindex hit in August, where I had a bunch of clients who quickly recovered ranks in a few weeks after losing home page links.

    Best :(



    What if there is a time line for the penalty, this could be a possibility? I hope so, as I don't want to give up on my site just yet.

    #18 Fishingman1

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    Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:45 AM

    Agreed glassy for sure its a key word penalty.
    In my case I had analytics on the site, the KW targeted with a penalty were all traffic bringers and not the same KW as anchor on the network.
    Very specific penalty.
    Removed analytics should WM tools also be removed.

    Edited by Fishingman1, 24 February 2012 - 03:45 AM.

    When it all turns to Crap Go Fishing

    #19 raven

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    Posted 24 February 2012 - 04:39 AM

    so in reality if this is a penalty for having a link on a homepage network it would have to be a manual one handed down on all sites on the network OR all sites with a link back to another site on their homepage would get burnt also from my point of view

    Edited by raven, 24 February 2012 - 04:44 AM.


    #20 Glassy

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    Posted 24 February 2012 - 06:14 AM

    Just to share exactly what happened to my site. My main page which I was targeting had a top 5 position for about 5 different competitive keywords for about a year. Sometime around Feb - 6th, there was a network deindex (It was only in one) and the page went strait back to page 10 in Google for about 3 different keywords, for the other 2 keywords, it fell back to the bottom of page - 2.
    All inner pages were unaffected except for 2 of them which went backwards about 1 page and these inner pages were not in any networks. There are around 100 inner pages on the site with plenty of content which is all unique.

    So my main page fell backwards by 10 pages for the keywords which I was recently targeting and also for the keywords which were in the network, but only fell back to the bottom of the second page for 2 other keywords which were built more than a year ago for this page. The main page also has 13k backlinks with a mixture many kinds of backlinks.

    From what happened to my site, it looks as though it has been penalized more for the keywords which were used in the network and the more recent links which were built to it, but the older links were not effected as much.

    Of the 2 inner pages that were effected, one was a new page and the other had a fairly good ranking just from the main page linking to it, so that would explain why they fell backwards maybe.

    I've been building more links to the site and it seems to be going backwards even more, so there is certainly a penalty that has been put on it. How long this lasts for and how to get out of, I really don't know, but as fine moves mentioned, there was 500 home page links built to one of his target sites and it only moved backwards.

    Not sure where to go from here, maybe rank the inner pages and write more content whilst waiting for the penalty to pass (that's if it will pass).





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