Have I been penalized by Google?
January 24, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Have I been penalized by Google? I used to be #2 for my main keyword in google. However, since mid Jan my site has dropped off of the face of google for all my keywords. I initially thought they dropped me from their index. Looking at google webmaster tools I get crawled almost every day, I have a PR of 5, over 800 backlinks pointing in, and google has over 47,000 pages of my site indexed. I have been given no notice of any penalty. There are a lot of sites reporting the same results in google’s webmaster forum.

Website is in my profile. Can anyone shed some light on this? I previously asked about getting the #1 site removed (it’s a dead link, has been for months) but THAT site comes up number 1 still. I am so frustrated!
posted by quibx to Technology (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe there's a google dance happening right now ?
posted by Baud at 12:38 PM on January 24, 2007

google works on looking at what other sites are linking too. so, the reason why the dead link is still #1 is that a lot of high PR websites are still linking to the dead link.

you probably weren't penalized. did you pay someone to increase your page rank? if yes, google might have gone after and targeted that firm and you have been penalized because of it.

or it is possible that google changed their algorithm a bit but that's probably not it.
posted by Stynxno at 12:40 PM on January 24, 2007

I'm not sure of the answer to this questions, but this will probably help your original question. I've used it to remove dead links before, takes a couple of days, but it works.

Good luck with this question too.
posted by jourman2 at 12:40 PM on January 24, 2007

Sorry, my bad, I didn't read the first question completely. Apparently the other site is not a 404, but is barely functioning site.
posted by jourman2 at 12:43 PM on January 24, 2007

odinsdream - what I mean by "My Keywords" is that the phrase "japanese toys" used to bring my site in at #2. Other toy collecting phrases also consistently ranked me in the top 10 results. Now, i'm not even in the top 9,500.

Baud - how long does a google dance take? ( I sense a joke here)

Stynxno - I have not paid anyone. All of my work has been my own, and for YEARS, it has helped me get to the top of the google pile.
posted by quibx at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2007

Have you changed your content? I don't know what page used to rank #1, but your front page doesn't look optimized for that phrase. You only mention it twice and not even as part of the content.
posted by acoutu at 1:22 PM on January 24, 2007

It does look like you've been dropped like a hot potato, not due to a dance because you don't come up anywhere at all (.co.uk, .fr etc)

Still #1 at search.live.com though if that's any consolation.. I'd start pestering Google. Perhaps they didn't like you bugging them about removing the top ranking link..
posted by zeoslap at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2007

wow. your site has vanished. i would guess a recent change in google's algorithm that is throwing off the current "optimize your site" way of doing things.
posted by Stynxno at 1:41 PM on January 24, 2007

Well, some searches still work. "japanese toys reviews" (no quotes) is bringing it up as number 1. As does using the work "collection" instead of review. It's just "news" (and nothing) that is missing... Wierd...
posted by inigo2 at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2007

As my website is my bread & butter, I hope someone gets to the bottom of what happened to the OP's website. If Google is farting around with rankings in this kind of manner it has ominous implications for anyone who runs a commerce site.

The only thing I can think of is maybe some adult/spam oriented Japanese sites started linking to him and messing up his reputation -- can that happen?
posted by rolypolyman at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2007

I think Google's Webmaster Central (used to be sitemaps) will tell you if you site is being penalized.
posted by dendrite at 2:41 PM on January 24, 2007

It's possible that you have a +30 penalty on your website, which is when Google "punishes" a website for some violation of its rules (aggressive SEO, hidden excess keywords, other abuses) as calculated by algorithm. The problem is, sometimes they adjust the algorithms and it affects perfectly legitimate sites in the process. They will undo this to your domain/site if you file a formal complaint with them, and often they undo any harsh adjustments to the algorithms. It's just an unhappy accident, if it is indeed what happened.

For now, your site may show up on the fourth page of results, 30 links behind where it would normally appear as a relevant result. See if that is the case.
posted by brianvan at 3:35 PM on January 24, 2007

Violet Blue recently posted about having similar trouble (NSFW). Perhaps you are being affected by the same thing, or something like it. You could try contacting Google to see if they can do anything about it.
posted by benign at 5:13 PM on January 24, 2007

Just a quick observation - for me, google results have been less and less relevant lately, especially for phrases, lines, and lyrics. However, yahoo search works like google used to: indeed, quibx's site is the #3 result for "japanese toys." Could there have been some kind of change in google's algorithms or methods in the last few months? If so, I haven't seen anything about it. What sources would cover this kind of news?
posted by ellanea at 8:41 PM on January 24, 2007

It's nothing you did. Google has changed its algorithms to, among other things, prevent "Googlebombing." For example, "miserable failure" no longer gives GWB as its first result (although "French military victories" still links to the spoof page for "French military defeats").

See BoingBoing for more.
posted by KRS at 12:08 PM on January 26, 2007

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