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Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged

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Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 12:31 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 

Hi everyone,

I'm having some trouble with a website. The site was penalized due to spammy backlinks in March 2012 (we received a message in Google Webmaster Tools). The penalty didn't de-index the site. It just seemed to limit our Google impressions so we only got quite limited traffic from Google. The penalty remained unnoticed until July 2012. Once we noticed it, we started removing all the spammy links. Our second reconsideration request was accepted about 10 weeks ago in mid September 2012 (we received a message in Google Webmaster Tools). 

Now it has been 10 weeks since the penalty has been revoked. The site is a very high quality blog with tons of relevant content. We have many writers that linked their Google+ profiles to our site and it really isn't spammy. BUT our organic Google traffic still is very, very low and it isn't increasing even though we're adding several new articles every day. The traffic is the same as before the penalty.

Does anyone have an idea why this might be?

Thank you so much!

Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged SE spider 11/27/12 2:04 AM
In process of removing spam back links, you will lose some sort of weight age of links and trust factor in search engines. you need to improve your authority and build few related high quality back links. to make your website perform better.
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 2:06 AM
The title is actually supposed to read: 

"Manual SPAM action penalty revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged"

Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 2:08 AM
The linkbuilding is already happening naturally. The site has a very active social community (Facebook, Twitter) and gets new natural backlinks all the time. Also, there is so much new content being posted every day about many different topics, that there really should be more organic traffic coming.
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Suzanneh 11/27/12 4:36 AM
Nice site!

+1 to what SE Spider had to say.

One thing that concerns me about your site is how Google would view all the outbound links to your site.  Is most of your content from contributors?  Do you have a large amount of contributors?  That could potentially be a lot of outbound link that are "followed"; Google might view this as the site having no editorial control.  I'm not saying that's what's happening, but if it were my site, I'd be concerned about this.  You also need to make sure you're not linking to any 'bad neighborhoods'.

Suzanne
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Suzanneh 11/27/12 4:59 AM
Something else to consider:  Google has a page layout algorithm that looks at how much content is above the fold.  It's geared to getting sites that are top heavy with ads out of the results.  http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca/2012/01/page-layout-algorithm-improvement.html

Now, you don't have a lot of ads above the fold (I only see two -- a leaderboard up top and a rectangle on the side).  But one thing I noticed is that you show three article links with thumbnails before the content, plus a very large picture.  The content, most times, is pushed below the fold (at least on my screen).

Google has a tool you can use to see where your content falls:  http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/

Now, I don't know if this is effecting your site or not, but it's something to consider in terms of your *users/visitors*.  You may want to test putting those three article links at the bottom of the post.  Just a thought...

Suzanne
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Lysis 11/27/12 5:07 AM
The ajax popup is super annoying. If I close it on the home page and go to an inner page, it pops up again. If I say "No" I don't want a popup on every page asking me for my email. It's a real turnoff for users.
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 5:44 AM
Thanks for your answers! I'll put things into a numbered list...
  1. Authority: I can't imagine that spider's answer applies here. The traffic really is stagnating. I've built all new sites without any backlinks and they received more traffic within a couple of weeks. Usually that new content bonus disappears after some time, but there should be way more traffic.
  2. Contributors: The site has a large community of contributors. We always add the contributors' website link in the author profile. Isn't that quite normal? LifeHacker, TechCrunch... they all do that. We have full editorial control over what gets published and what doesn't. We also edit all articles that get published for grammar, spelling, etc.All articles are unique and haven't been published anywhere else.
  3. Outbound links: I'm 100% sure that there are no links to bad sites.
  4. Article links on top: Hmm... yea, there is no content above the fold. That's true. So you recommend that I get rid of the top boxes... I understand your point, but I find it so lame that I have to change a good and userfriendly design for SEO. By the way, that tool that you linked here, WOW, that's some psychodelic stuff. Speaking of not userfriendly. Thanks for the link, though!
  5. Popup: Yes, the cookies don't seem to work properly. We removed the popup entirely.
Any other thoughts?!?


Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Internetadpro 11/27/12 6:22 AM
Stardustor,
It is a nice site and I do not see any spammy links. I would recommend in your articles or blogs to add links with anchor text to other relevant pages on the site. I would also every time a new blog is posted ping that page  using free tools like ping-o-matic. only do this once per new page. what this does is tells the search engines something has changed on this site please go check it out. if you are adding allot of content to your site eventually you will find Google hitting the site more often because of the consistent adding of blog content. 
Internetadpro 11/27/12 6:25 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Internetadpro 11/27/12 6:26 AM
Suzanneh  is right about the outbound links I would add nofollow tags to them.
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Suzanneh 11/27/12 6:38 AM
But are those article links w/ thumbnails really a good user experience?  I have to scroll down to read your articles.  If I come in from Search  for specific keywords or if I see an article title that I like, say, in your sidebar, when I get to the page, I want to read the article.  I don't want to see links to more articles. I want to read the content right away.  I'm saying this as a potential visitor to your site. :-)

If you had those links at the bottom of the article, that's more likely where a visitor will click through.  I.E. I've read the article, what's next?

Suzanne


Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 6:39 AM
Okay, thanks for those ideas.
  • Images above posts: I got rid of them. Some of the content should now show above the fold (unless you have a very small screen.. below 13")
  • Outbound links: I've added nofollow to the links in the author bio boxes.
  • Pinging: I'm using a plugin that automatically keeps the sitemap updated. The sitemap is linked with webmaster tools. The site is crawled quite often (i think). I've added a screenshot of the "Crawls per day" from my webmaster tools. Does that look ok?
Any other ideas why Google is so hard on this site?
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/27/12 6:43 AM
PS: I've actually added NOFOLLOW to all external links now. Is that good?
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 11/29/12 2:48 AM
It's strange, because even if I enter very specific exact article titles into Google search, often the searches show plenty of my pages, but not the article page that I'm actually searching for.

Any ideas`
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 12/5/12 12:20 AM
Wow, look at this. I have no idea why this is happening! Search impressions are lower than ever.


Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Lysis 12/5/12 4:47 AM
Yayyy no popup.

It's a nice site, no doubt, but I think the user generated content is really hard to pull off post-Panda. I would monitor the health articles very carefully like http://www.doyouyoga.com/natural-remedies-for-stomach-ache/  Also, the links in the author's bios..are they nofollow'd?
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Suzanneh 12/5/12 5:05 AM
There was another Panda update on November 21st.  That might be a reason.  Always good to consider other possibilities as well because Google is always making changes.  But there was a confirmed update on the 21st.

Also, do you get a lot of US traffic?  There was US Thanksgiving that week, too.  Traffic for my site drops around that time.

Suzanne
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Hrgot 12/5/12 7:28 AM
I just got the pop up so it's not disabled.

What terms are you expecting to win?
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 12/5/12 7:50 AM
Thank you all for your responses!

@Lysis: This is not user-generated content at all. All the content is editorial. All writers are carefully selected and they are professionals in their field. Question: What do you mean by monitoring the health articles? The articles are not promotional what so ever. We have no affiliation with the external links at all. In fact, barely any of our articles have external links. I was already worried, that we have to few external links. The author links are not no-follow, but we will make them no-follow, since this has been mentioned before. Do you think we should make all external links no-follow?

@Suzanneh: Our traffic is 70% from the US. But this problem has been going on far before Thanksgiving already. Compared to the hundreds articles we have, the organic traffic really is tiny.

@Hrgot: We're playing around with the popup right now. Since Google bots don't load javascript, this should be an issue though. Or do you disagree?


Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged steaksauce 12/5/12 8:02 PM
Maybe you have an algorithmic penalty as well.  Did you disavow the links from these sites? http://onlinehealthedge.com/http://fillinglowcaloriefoods.com/
Re: Manual SPAM action revoked 2.5 months ago, but search traffic unchanged Stardustor 12/5/12 11:57 PM
@steaksauce: Good point! We just disavowed all spammy links that were left after the penalty got revoked. Does anyone have any experience what impact that might have? About 50% of our links were potentially spam (we couldn't get them removed because the webmasters didn't respond to our requests).
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