Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required

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Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/4/13 12:14 AM
I have studied the Help Center, read the FAQs and searched the help center for similar questions.


We have recently noticed sudden drop in our search ranking. We used to rank in top 5 results for keywords "knowledge base software" however we are not in the top 100 results now. We have not done anything that is against the Google Guidelines. What could the cause of drop in our ranking?

Can you please provide an insight on what could the cause of this issue?

We are extremely worried about this issue and we would like to get back to the top 5 spot again. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

With best regards,

Ajay
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required LeePrice1986 9/4/13 2:04 AM
It looks like your content is being duplicated across a range of sites. Try checking your URL at www.copyscape.com to see what I mean. Duplication like this is generally not great for your rankings.

You also have about 90,000 backlinks pointing towards you, over half of which use the anchor text "phpkb knowledge base software", while most of the rest use variations and other keyword heavy anchors. If I had to guess, I'd say that's the source of your problem as there is no way that is natural. Such links are, in fact, against Google's guidelines.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/4/13 3:11 AM
Wow... I actually know Ajay, nice to see you. We've actually communicated before several years ago.  I came across Ajay's script many, many years ago since he was one of the earlier knowledge base scripts that came out at a time when they were needed greatly.

Sorry to hear about the problem - question 1 - do you have any manual actions in webmaster tools?

LeePrice1986 - Might the link pattern be natural if it was created as a result of sales of software which had branding appearing in the footer of customer templates: .e.g "powered by <PHPKB knowledgebase software>"  See what is probably a sample client who didn't change the header properly: http://www.linearcorp.com/faq/

I don't see a pretty backlink profile. 116,000+ links from only 523 domains in majestic. This suggests a very strange link pattern, with huge numbers of backlinks coming from single sites. But here's the thought -- could it be that all your clients are providing dofollow links back from each page they create with your software? As a result, this would look like link spam when, in actuality, it's your branding. Note: Do Follow link in the footer of the above script on a probable client site:

<a href="http://www.knowledgebase-script.com" target="_blank" title="Knowledge Base Software">PHPKB Knowledge Base Software</a>


So the real question might be - what do you do if you're a software publisher who has massive backlinks from customers as a result of pre-Panda/Penguin branding practices? Honestly... I'm not quite sure. I'd hate to say you should contact your clients and change them all to nofollow, given the huge volume of backlinks this would affect and years worth of sales. In this instance, while I'd like to help, I'd prefer to defer this unique question to someone who is really in the know given the delicate nature of the circumstances.

Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/4/13 3:16 AM
@LeePrice1986, we have already reported about the sites that copy our content and filed DMCA complaint against them to Google but isn't it bad if someone copies your content and you suffer the consequences of their copying? Search engines should be smart enough to know who had that content first and who copied it.

Regarding the 90K backlinks, they all come from sites that use our knowledge base software. We were not aware that having our product branding and/or link in the software can cause ranking problems for us. I don't think this can be the true reason because other competitors too have their link in the software and they too have such kind of backlinks but their rank has not dropped. Can there be anything else?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/4/13 3:26 AM
@blackbelt, thanks for your opinion. I agree with you that "The real question is what to do if you're a software publisher who has massive backlinks from customers as a result of pre-Panda/Penguin branding practices?"

Do we have any Google Engineers reading these messages/questions? It may be the case that Google has overlooked this delicate issue during implementation of algorithm changes. Can we have anyone from Google who can provide his/her insights about this issue?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/4/13 3:38 AM
On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:26:45 AM UTC-4, Ajay Chadha wrote:
@blackbelt, thanks for your opinion. I agree with you that "The real question is what to do if you're a software publisher who has massive backlinks from customers as a result of pre-Panda/Penguin branding practices?"

Do we have any Google Engineers reading these messages/questions? It may be the case that Google has overlooked this delicate issue during implementation of algorithm changes. Can we have anyone from Google who can provide his/her insights about this issue?

Yep, I picked up on what was really going on after I saw your home page and realized you were a software company with a branded PHP script that I also happened to recognize. (PS - I believe my copy was brand free, lol.)  The answer to your question is yes, there are some Google people here. I might propose having this question asked in another area and have the answer published here in the event that someone doesn't pick up on this question and provide some constructive advice on what software publishers should do who have used this backlinking strategy that was an acceptable practice for many years. Perhaps I can flag it.

In addition, it is possible that Google might perform manual actions on a case by case basis, which you might be able to explain if you've been penalized. This is why I suggest you take a look at manual actions in Webmaster tools.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/4/13 3:51 AM
In addition, it is possible that Google might perform manual actions on a case by case basis, which you might be able to explain if you've been penalized. This is why I suggest you take a look at manual actions in Webmaster tools.

@blackbelt, I can confirm that there are no manual actions in our Webmaster tools account. In fact, we have no idea at all about why it happened and what do we need to do about it? I would really appreciate if there is some way for you to bring this issue to Google's notice so that they can act accordingly and get us out of this problem.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Suzanneh 9/4/13 6:15 AM
I wouldn't necessarily dismiss the backlink issue out of hand. What happens with competitors isn't really relevant (the algorithm take many factors into consideration; competing sites may get hit later; you don't know exactly whether competitors have been hit in other ways). It could be that your backlinks are no longer giving you the boost they once did.  (I don't know how your software is set up -- does any site who uses the knowledge base software have site-wide links back to your site?  Or is just one backlink per site?)

Read Google's take on link schemes:  https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en

You said there's no manual actions.  No other errors mentioned in WMT?

The site seems to be indexed. And a branded keyword search (knoweldge base software plus your brand name) pulls up the site fine.

17000 pages indexed.  Is that all demo content?  Where do you get that content? How high is the quality of that content?

Suzanne
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ozzy Musa 9/4/13 3:08 PM
Matt Cutts in one of his videos said people shouldn't worry about Duplicate content, and to worry about spammy or manipulative things in their content.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/4/13 3:30 PM
On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 9:15:33 AM UTC-4, Suzanneh wrote:
I wouldn't necessarily dismiss the backlink issue out of hand. What happens with competitors isn't really relevant (the algorithm take many factors into consideration; competing sites may get hit later; you don't know exactly whether competitors have been hit in other ways). It could be that your backlinks are no longer giving you the boost they once did.  (I don't know how your software is set up -- does any site who uses the knowledge base software have site-wide links back to your site?  Or is just one backlink per site?)

His software is set up like most php scripts that have branding in the footer - one link per page. It's a knowledgebase or FAQ CMS. For example, how to use the Google forums. How to create a new question - that's one page, one link.So if a site created 50 pages with the software, it's 50 links from one site.

 
Read Google's take on link schemes:  https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en


This issue isn't on what Google's take is going forward. The issue is how will Google treat this issue as applied to links that were created before the nofollow meta tag was invented? I'm not saying that perhaps it would have been a good idea to implement this sooner, but he's still got a problem. Some with sites spanning 10-20 years have issues with blogrolls and directories that were acceptable as well. So the question would seem to be whether the new rules are being mandated on the old sites too (and lose out in the fight for backlink cleanup for the greater good) or is there an exception that is/can be made for pre-nofollow links that are out of one's control?

17000 pages indexed.  Is that all demo content?  Where do you get that content? How high is the quality of that content?

 This is a very good point. Much of the demo and UGC content appears to be indexed. The demo content might be dwarfing the actual script content. It's also all off the root domain rather than being in a separate subdomain or deindexed. If this is the case, I'm surprised that Panda didn't drop the rankings significantly years ago but it's a very valid point.

Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/4/13 10:16 PM
17000 pages indexed.  Is that all demo content?  Where do you get that content? How high is the quality of that content?

 This is a very good point. Much of the demo and UGC content appears to be indexed. The demo content might be dwarfing the actual script content. It's also all off the root domain rather than being in a separate subdomain or deindexed.

Some of the demo content was contributed by our users that tested the demo of PHPKB 1.5, then we thought of expanding the demo with over 1000 articles to showcase the capabilities of our knowledge base software to the prospective customers. It is high quality content from different fields of information. If the vast variety of topics in the demo can be an issue, then we can simply move all that content to a separate site. In any case, we need to know what exactly is the issue so that we do not take any wrong step. Is there a way for us to get clarification from Google's Search Team about this issue so that we can really focus on what needs to be done instead of doing try experiments with our site. It seems like our site has been dropped/penalized for only 2 keywords "knowledge base software" and "knowledge management software".

So, what do you think will be the best way to contact Google Search Team about this issue?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Suzanneh 9/5/13 4:14 AM
I don't know about it being high quality, with titles like "Water Therapy Information - Benefits of Water Therapy".   And then you have something like this http://www.knowledgebase-script.com/demo/article-88.html  which can be found everywhere.  I dug around a bit and didn't see anything really outstanding, really high quality.  IMHO, if your site is about your software, you shouldn't have acne treatment articles indexed.  Mixed signals and all that.  

I'd love to be a fly on the wall with the webspam team discussing backlinks and how to treat them before the nofollow tag was invented.  Who knows, maybe they discount footer links prior to a certain date?    But it still remains that sites took links to another level by offering free software with the condition that the link back must remain in place.

Does your current version have a nofollow backlink?  Are you in control of any of the backlinks?  I don't know what kind of an update happened the other day, but if you're interested in exploring the backlink issue further,there's an article here on how WPMU got out of Penguin:  http://moz.com/blog/how-wpmuorg-recovered-from-the-penguin-update

>>So, what do you think will be the best way to contact Google Search Team about this issue?

No disrespect is meant by this but why should your site get special treatment from all the other sites that have been affected by not only this update but all others?  There's a loooong line of people who'd love to chat with the team. :-)

Suzanne
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Simon-Mc 9/5/13 5:01 AM
It´s a similar issue for web designers and other designers too that retain copyright.  Before the Penguin / Panda updates, it was a a standard practice to link back via the footer.  Not everyone of course did it but the majority did.  This lead to artificial link juice going to the sites that had the most customers or built bigger sites.  One designer is as good as any other ... no? :) (Tongue in cheek).  Well, the ones who didn´t do this got a lovely surprise when all their competition got hammered.  

I feel your pain but you need to figure out a way to get these links no-followed retrospectively or at least disavowed.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/6/13 12:38 AM
What is the link to submit a reconsideration request? I have found information of the link below however it opens up the manual actions page to submit the request but we have no actions listed in our webmaster tools account.


How to submit a reconsideration request in such a case?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required mcgids n#l 9/6/13 12:41 AM
it is gone... seems its like google wants only reconsideration requestst if manual spam actions were found.

also... 5 sept caused a major shift, maybe they dont want to be overwhelmed with reconsideration requests.

good point... but not very webmaster-friendly.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/6/13 12:43 AM
No disrespect is meant by this but why should your site get special treatment from all the other sites that have been affected by not only this update but all others?  There's a long line of people who'd love to chat with the team. :-)

@Suzanne, we never asked for any special treatment for our site. Did we?

IMHO, if your site is about your software, you shouldn't have acne treatment articles indexed.

We have went ahead and moved all demo content articles to a new domain and implemented a 301 redirect from http://www.knowledgebase-script.com/demo/ to http://www.knowledgepublisher.com. So, it is a not a part of our main website anymore.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Suzanneh 9/6/13 3:42 AM
>>@Suzanne, we never asked for any special treatment for our site. Did we?


Do we have any Google Engineers reading these messages/questions? It may be the case that Google has overlooked this delicate issue during implementation of algorithm changes. Can we have anyone from Google who can provide his/her insights about this issue?


 I would really appreciate if there is some way for you to bring this issue to Google's notice so that they can act accordingly and get us out of this problem.

 In any case, we need to know what exactly is the issue so that we do not take any wrong step. Is there a way for us to get clarification from Google's Search Team about this issue so that we can really focus on what needs to be done instead of doing try experiments with our site

So, what do you think will be the best way to contact Google Search Team about this issue?


We'd all love this. :-)

Suzanne 
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/7/13 5:52 AM
Do we have anyone from "Google Search" team here?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/7/13 12:55 PM
On Thursday, September 5, 2013 8:01:34 AM UTC-4, Simon-Mc wrote:
It´s a similar issue for web designers and other designers too that retain copyright.  Before the Penguin / Panda updates, it was a a standard practice to link back via the footer.  Not everyone of course did it but the majority did.  This lead to artificial link juice going to the sites that had the most customers or built bigger sites.  One designer is as good as any other ... no? :) (Tongue in cheek).  Well, the ones who didn´t do this got a lovely surprise when all their competition got hammered.  

I feel your pain but you need to figure out a way to get these links no-followed retrospectively or at least disavowed.

We have long identified the cause. The "you need to figure out a way" is the problem. One site I manage has been around for roughly 15 years. How do you propose finding a way to have sites in Eastern Europe get rid of their links that they created many years ago and common practice of compiling resources into "blogrolls"? The cost is prohibitive and site is dead if there is no solution. Now it is possible that a disavow list might work and that Google takes all of the above into account - especially this situation with a vendor where it's easy to see these "bad" backlinks for what they are. Matt Cutts did say to "use a machete" when submitting the disavow list.  It would be nice to have more clarity regarding this common issue, among others.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/7/13 1:29 PM
I wanted to come in here with a few points, merely with intent to share my experience of issues arising on this forum, and beyond.

First:
You have some weird redirects going on.
For example, when I click on one of your many thousands of search results, expecting to end up on
http://www.knowledgebase-script.com
I actually get redirected to:
http://www.knowledgepublisher.com/article-1095.html

What's going on there?
What is that second domain?
Is it yours?
Please explain.

Second:

Without doubt, theme developers, widget creators, script providers, and others who distribute publishable frameworks with followed backlinks to the source site, that are then incorporated into other websites, are causing problems for them - often indicated in a drop of ranking.

Whether or not such widespread followed backlinks were first published before the nofollow attribute or not seems to make no difference, and I am not sure whether such a time-based analysis could be (or should be) incorporated into the algorithm.

All developers are changing or have changed their protocol, and now ensure that branded links are nofollowed.
Many have had to do that retrospectively through painstaking work.
But negligible effort set against the years of amazing volumes of Google generated traffic and custom.

Good or bad, for better or worse, I am confident that prudence dictates it is imperative forall such providers contact all those who use their scripts and themes, or host their widgets, and request that noffolow is added to any back links. Thisshould be done as part of any negative back link clean up, and those who not respond, or who refuse, should be added to a disavowal submission.

UNLESS or UNTIL Google announces something to suggest that such back links are treated differently to any other type.

So if your Knowledge Base Script is out there with followed links back to you, personally, I would start going through those sites now!

You also need to be completely honest in your submission of any associated information with your disavowal request.
If all those back links (Jeez, that is a hell of a lot) are genuinely simply branded followed links in your script, fine. Point that out in your submitted file. But if you have also done some other back linking, you should own up to that. You would not be the first or last.

Moving on to your indexed pages. That too is a self suffocating amount of pages to have for a knowledge-base script.
Using your own script to demonstrate the management of knowledge relating to your own software, and related subjects, by publishing original unique articles is great.
Allowing any other indexed content on your site is a death wish.
If you want a demo, where users can test out the script, set up a subdomain and prevent prevent Google from indexing it with robots.txt
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/7/13 1:37 PM
To follow Paul's excellent reply, I might suggest to Ajay that this would be an excellent time to release a substantial update for the script that would induce customers to upgrade and to painlessly implement correction of this problem before submitting a disavow request. These days one must keep apprised of search engine requirements in order to stay relevant. The unfortunate wake up call sometimes comes sooner or much later.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/7/13 1:38 PM
So you have this site:
knowledgepublisher.com
that Google interprets as an article farm with know coherent thematic topic, packed full of ads, with a link to your
knowledgebase-script.com
site on every page.

There is a massive problem for you right away.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/7/13 1:39 PM
@BlackBelt

Brilliant idea!
Distribute an update.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/7/13 1:42 PM
You need to kill this site right now:
knowledgepublisher.com


What were you thinking?


Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/7/13 2:10 PM
Paul, great finds and you should get credit for your efforts.. I'm not so sure there is anything terribly wrong with the site. It's a general knowledge site. What he has to do is kill the dofollow link in the footer of the template immediately. In addition, it didn't help that he used old SEO techniques to try to game Google with the bolded keywords on the articles. Better to keep current than listen to the same old seo junk that has been rehashed forever by the usual suspects.

In addition, I wonder whether the site has any truly original content or whether it contains a great deal of content copied from other sources. What is interesting to see is that even some of the articles which he might be the first publisher, he doesn't even rank on this site at all. Potential scrapers appear to rank better than he does. More and more it appears that the multitude of dofollow links are hurting the rankings. So, it got me thinking.

Now here is another idea I came up with in addition to releasing an update. You may want to alert your clients that, for SEO purposes, they should immediately update and nofollow the required accreditation and link back to the site. It would be prudent and ethical to provide notice to your clients to make the changes and it's a win-win regarding SEO for you and your clients, solving your problem quickly.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/7/13 7:11 PM
Black Belt.
Thank you!

OK. If you think the duality runs no risk of harming the rankings of the commercial product site.
I am not convinced, if I am honest, for a number of reasons.
It is not really a General Knowledge site, (I say respectfully by retort). It is a site that aggregates content published in multiple places elsewhere. If the content is original, produced by the OP, then the other points of publication have copied it, and one would expect the priority of the OP to be launching a concerted take down, cease and desist, and DMCA effort. To me, it looks more like a scraping exercise in order to gather content that can exemplify the functionality of the Knowledge Base Script.
Furthermore, many pages are so thin, that ads outweigh the content, and there is a massive ad above the fold site wide.
However, meeting you half way, and rescinding on killing the site entirely, I would 'feel' more hopeful for the OP if he completely noindex, nofollow the entire site, and made it clear on the site:
A. That its purpose is to demonstrate the script
B. That the content is in the public domain or is otherwise published with the consent of the respective authors
He can then make this clear to Google when submitting disavowal requests.

We have still not received any explanation from the OP for why Google indexed links to the first site actually direct to the second site.
But taking all things into consideration, if it was me and my software script business, I would be looking to show Google that I had gone to the moon and back to change my ways.
Because the algorithm would have to have had stem cell implants and become at least semi human to see any reason to attribute credibility to the current setup.
It is to me an indicator of some considerable rejection that he's gone from position 5 to somewhere below the top 100 - and the OP says he is worried.
It's not a time to be bashful.

But I may be going to far, being to punctilious, and you may be right.
Let's see what we get back when and if Ajay returns.

It's great to have an opportunity to dialogue with you over something.
I do appreciate that a lot!!!!

Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/8/13 2:27 AM
On Saturday, September 7, 2013 10:11:58 PM UTC-4, Paul Newham wrote:
OK. If you think the duality runs no risk of harming the rankings of the commercial product site.
I am not convinced, if I am honest, for a number of reasons.
It is not really a General Knowledge site, (I say respectfully by retort). It is a site that aggregates content published in multiple places elsewhere. If the content is original, produced by the OP, then the other points of publication have copied it, and one would expect the priority of the OP to be launching a concerted take down, cease and desist, and DMCA effort. To me, it looks more like a scraping exercise in order to gather content that can exemplify the functionality of the Knowledge Base Script.
Furthermore, many pages are so thin, that ads outweigh the content, and there is a massive ad above the fold site wide.

My only point - if you didn't know who owned this site you could conclude it's yet another mediocre website created by a third party whose sole seo-related damage to the company site would be limited to the dofollow backlinks in the footer of every page. Note that the software demo with user generated junk test content appears on an entirely different domain too - but that also contains dofollow backlinks from all those worthless pages.
 
However, meeting you half way, and rescinding on killing the site entirely, I would 'feel' more hopeful for the OP if he completely noindex, nofollow the entire site, and made it clear on the site:
A. That its purpose is to demonstrate the script
B. That the content is in the public domain or is otherwise published with the consent of the respective authors
He can then make this clear to Google when submitting disavowal requests.

His issues go far beyond these two sites, which only exacerbate the problem. While I truly don't care to see any more junk listed in search engines than is necessary, if the entire site was nofollowed and isn't infringing on any third party's intellectual property rights then I see no harm and no foul from throwing up one website that is an independent demo that illustrates what the script can do more effectively than a user UGC demo.
 
We have still not received any explanation from the OP for why Google indexed links to the first site actually direct to the second site.
But taking all things into consideration, if it was me and my software script business, I would be looking to show Google that I had gone to the moon and back to change my ways.

I completely agree with you about the redirects - excellent find and good question. Regarding the rest, I view Google as a vast machine with human review constituting a tiny percentage of its actions. I'd find it extremely rare that there is such a discriminating eye for penitence. I'm guessing it's mostly by the numbers.

I also enjoy the conversation with you too and learn a great deal from seeing what others observe on a myriad of different websites.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/8/13 5:26 AM
You have some weird redirects going on. For example, when I click on one of your many thousands of search results, expecting to end up on 
http://www.knowledgebase-script.com, I actually get redirected to http://www.knowledgepublisher.com/article-1095.html
What's going on there?
What is that second domain?
Is it yours?
Please explain.

@Paul, as explained earlier, we had a demo of PHPKB (version 1.5) running on our main website with over 1100 articles to exemplify the use of our knowledge base software. Yes, the content is in the public domain. We have recently moved it to a new site KnowledgePublisher.com (we had this domain name since 2010) to keep its content separate from the main website. Yes, it is also one of our domain names.

All developers are changing or have changed their protocol, and now ensure that branded links are no followed. It is imperative for all such providers contact all those who use their scripts and themes, or host their widgets, and request that nofollow is added to any back links.

Don't you think we will lose all backlinks if we followed this practice? As far as I knew, backlinks are the backbone for SERP of any website in search results. Do you think Google will give priority to a website with little or no backlinks in its search results?

So you have this site: knowledgepublisher.com that Google interprets as an article farm with know coherent thematic topic, packed full of ads, with a link to your
knowledgebase-script.com site on every page. There is a massive problem for you right away.

We will take care of it immediately and remove all backlinks so that it has no connection to our main website. Do you suggest to remove all backlinks or make them rel="nofollow"?

I might suggest to Ajay that this would be an excellent time to release a substantial update for the script that would induce customers to upgrade and to painlessly implement correction of this problem before submitting a disavow request. Now here is another idea I came up with in addition to releasing an update. You may want to alert your clients that, for SEO purposes, they should immediately update and nofollow the required accreditation and link back to the site. It would be prudent and ethical to provide notice to your clients to make the changes and it's a win-win regarding SEO for you and your clients, solving your problem quickly. 
 
Thanks blackbelt for this suggestion. We already have an update in the pipeline and we are planning to roll it out as soon as possible. We will make sure that all branding links are specified with rel="nofollow" attribute.

Once again, thanks to Paul and BlackBelt for your time to look into our website and provide useful suggestions. We will act upon the advice and will keep you informed about the recovery progress.

With best regards,

Ajay Chadha
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/8/13 6:18 AM
People use our software in a similar way they use WP themes and link back to give the credit to original author is not at all wrong or spamming. Recent changes in Google Search Algorithm suggest that taking credit for hard work you have done is also danger. I am not critics of Panda Update in particular as many people building manipulative links instead of natural links. But in such cases, there is just little thin line between manipulative links and natural links. This is a loop-hole and I hope Google will differentiate it because why can't the developer/author of a theme/script/app can take credit for making it! Google is getting desperate and it shows that they are hitting the wrong sites. Suppose I have a very popular blog, I give out a free WP theme from my site. Other sites use this theme. So I will get penalized for taking credit?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Suzanneh 9/8/13 6:34 AM
Did you read the link I pointed to about how WMPU recovered?  They had tons of backlinks from their free themes.

Building backlinks has always been against Google's guidelines.  Sites need to find other ways to get credit for giving something out for free.

Years ago, I was thinking of ways to give out free widgets in order to get traffic and, yes, backlinks.   That's mostly why people created free products and let people use them: it was for the backlinks. So, glad I didn't go that route.  Google had to figure out a way to discount all these tactics because it got out of hand.

In the end, it's your site; it's completely your decision.  And you're right not to take it lightly and to question things.  All we can do here is point out what see could be wrong, using our knowledge, prior experience, point you to other people's experiences, etc.

Suzanne

On Sunday, September 8, 2013 9:18:15 AM UTC-4, Ajay Chadha wrote:
People use our software in a similar way they use WP themes and link back to give the credit to original author is not at all wrong or spamming. Recent changes in Google Search Algorithm suggest that taking credit for hard work you have done is also danger. I am not critics of Panda Update in particular as many people building manipulative links instead of natural links. But in such cases, there is just little thin line between manipulative links and natural links. This is a loop-hole and I hope Google will differentiate it because why can't the developer/author of a theme/script/app can take credit for making it! Google is getting desperate and it shows that they are hitting the wrong sites. Suppose I have a very popular blog, I give out a free WP theme from my site. Other sites use this theme. So I will get penalized for taking credit?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/8/13 6:41 AM
In the end, it's your site; it's completely your decision.  And you're right not to take it lightly and to question things.  All we can do here is point out what see could be wrong, using our knowledge, prior experience, point you to other people's experiences, etc.

Suzanne, we are not taking it lightly. I just wanted to share my views of what I thought. We are working on to take corrective measures as suggested but its becoming difficult to know what should be the right strategy for future because what we think is right today might be wrong in Google's eyes in future.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Paul Newham 9/9/13 2:12 PM
 Hi,


Suppose I have a very popular blog, I give out a free WP theme from my site. Other sites use this theme. So I will get penalized for taking credit?
Yes you will.  Give away free themes if you like. But do not include followed back links. Or, if the only reason to give them away is to get back links, then don't bother giving them away.


This is a loop-hole and I hope Google will differentiate it because why can't the developer/author of a theme/script/app can take credit for making it!

The loop-hole is, respectfully, in the cognitive distortion of your thinking. You can have all kinds of credit for making themes, or widgets, or scripts. But you cannot have followed back link credit. Followed back link credit is an editorial vote of notability - positive as in praise or negative as in criticism - provided by the volition of a web publisher. Sticking a back link in script or theme is like taking an ad out in a newspaper and trying to make it look like the newspaper wrote it as a review.

But in such cases, there is just little thin line between manipulative links and natural links.

No there is not. There is a very big, unambiguous, blatant, thick red line. On one side is a natural link, created by someone else who decides to link to your content in order to recommend, criticize, comment upon, or refer to your site. On the other side is an unnatural link created by you, or by someone else under your instruction, implementation or coercion, or by way of trade.
It is really simple.


Google is getting desperate and it shows that they are hitting the wrong sites.

Google cannot experience desperation. It is an algorithm. And the Google employees enforcing guidelines are not desperate either. They are just steadfast. The desperation is among those who have discovered that if you cannot rinse the black out of your hat, it is time to buy a white one.


because what we think is right today might be wrong in Google's eyes in future.

What is right today was right yesterday and will continue to be right in the future. Google have not changed what is right. They have stepped up their effort to reduce the rewards for doing wrong.

Moving on to other issues, raised by others, the way I see it is this.Opinion follows, though am confident of its merit.

In any given example, if the purpose of Site Two is purely to demonstrate the features of a product sold by Site One, whether Site Two comprises user generated content, or public domain content,  it does not need to be indexed, followed, or returned in any search results. The only site that needs ot be indexed is Site One.
Site One can link to Site Two, for the purpose of keeping the demo separate, though this can be equally well achieved via a subdirectoy SiteOne.com/Demo, or a subdomain Demo.SiteOne.com, in both instances making them unindexed.

If you want the benefit of authentic natural back links, then the only credible way to attract them is to use your script on Site One to underpin a range of quality original articles that precipitate the attention of other web publishers.

So in this case, Ajay could use the Knowledge Base script to write, categorize and present articles on subjects related to knowledge management, digital non-fiction publishing, the history of FAQ's etc, on the main site, thereby demonstrating knowledge of the Knowledge Management subject, and fortifying the product with qualifying credibility.

In fact, highly successful sustainable software and script providers do just that.
We buy an antivirus product because such and such company know all about Viruses.
We buy a Support Ticket script from such and such company because they know all about managing customer service.
Not always, but most of the time.

Finally, I do think it is important to point out that the attention given to artificial self-referential votes of confidence is not specific to Google or to Back Links: Face Book Likes, Twitter Followers, You Tube Views, Amazon Reviews, for example, have all been artificially created by their potential beneficiaries. And measures to deal with them are rolling out.

This is perhaps way off topic.
But I do think it is an important subject, because it has to do with what constitutes integrity, and what measures every one of us take at times to gain, by compromising that integrity, often simultaneous with blinding ourselves to that compromise in order to avoid the shame.
I include myself well and truly in that.







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Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Amelia Wilcox 9/12/13 9:16 PM
I have had the same problem! Very sudden, very dramatic drop. Thought I was doing everything right. www.incorporatemassage.com
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 9/12/13 9:28 PM
On Friday, September 13, 2013 12:16:13 AM UTC-4, Amelia Wilcox wrote:
I have had the same problem! Very sudden, very dramatic drop. Thought I was doing everything right. www.incorporatemassage.com

Please start your own topic/thread. You'll get more replies about your specific issue.
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/19/13 10:39 PM
As suggested by your earlier, we have moved the articles portal out of our website and hosted it on a new separate website http://www.knowledgepublisher.com. We have also tried our best to make sure that most of our backlinks are now with rel="nofollow" attribute. This was not an easy task, we had to contact our customers and request them to add rel="nofollow" attribute to the "powered by" link in their knowledge base. Our current version of the software also has nofollowed backlinks. Now, the question is how long will it take for us to get the ranking back for our keywords "knowledge base software" and "knowledge management software"?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required True Answers No Hypocrisy 9/20/13 1:17 AM
Ajay sorry to let you know but you won't recover
i haven't seen a case penalized due to backlinks recovered
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/20/13 2:30 AM
I haven't seen a case penalized due to backlinks recovered

Google Team, Is it so? If yes, then why? @MasterOfPuppets, are you sure about it even if the penalty is algorithmic? What do you suggest in this case? Shall we switch to a new domain name?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Suzanneh 9/20/13 3:14 AM
No one can say how long.  (MasterofPuppets has a very cynical view of Google, so keep that in mind when reading his posts.)

No one can say when you will recover -- or even if the changes you made will be enough to recover.  Google uses over 200 factors to rank a site.   If it was about links it could take months to recover.  What needs to be done is make sure you're following the guidelines and then move forward, in a way that doesn't rely on Google.

I don't know if you noticed it, but a Googler marked one of the answers in the thread as a "Best Answer" -- something that I'd pay attention to, if it were me.

Suzanne
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 9/20/13 4:02 AM
Hello Suzanne,

Yes, I noticed that someone from Google Team has marked your post as answer and we have already shifted all those articles from our site. We do not have any mixed content now on our site anymore and the new site where those articles have been moved contains no link to our actual site.

I can re-assure that we are following the Google Webmaster Guidelines on our website.

With best regards,

Ajay Chadha
Re: The SE_Expert/MasterOfPuppets Thread: Diary of an Angry Fail SEO True Answers No Hypocrisy 9/20/13 4:06 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 10/8/13 12:49 AM
Is it true that a website cannot recover from Penguin until there is a refresh of the Penguin algorithm?
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required JohnMu 10/8/13 6:55 AM
Ajay, in your case, I'd really recommend focusing on your website, and its content, instead of arbitrary algorithms. 

Cheers
John
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required mcgids n#l 10/8/13 6:57 AM
Is it true that a website 
cannot recover from Penguin until there is a refresh of the Penguin algorithm?
>> from what i know, pre-hummin'bird: yes
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 10/9/13 2:59 AM
Ajay, in your case, I'd really recommend focusing on your website, and its content, instead of arbitrary algorithms.

Mr. John, I agree with you but we are losing business since our website is not appearing for required keywords as it used to be about a month ago. "Knowledge Base Software" and "Knowledge Management Software" are our main keywords and we have been hit for these 2 keywords. Our website has very good content and we would love to shift our focus to add more quality content about our software however it is really a pain to recover from penguin and we just can't stop thinking about it.

I really appreciate your time taken to reply to my thread however it would be really great if you can tell us what specific areas do we need to focus in order to get out of the penguin penalty since we are extremely serious to put any efforts to make our website abide by Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

With best regards,

Ajay Chadha
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Ajay Chadha 10/12/13 5:39 AM
Hello Everyone,

It looks like we have recovered today. I searched for "knowledge base software" a few minutes ago and we are now at 23 on Google.com. It looks like our backlink cleaning efforts are paying off. Thank You Google and thank you to all the wonderful people that helped us figure out the issue and gave us right direction!

With best regards,

Ajay Chadha
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required black belt 10/12/13 5:42 AM
Wow - look at that - proof of concept!

Really glad to hear Ajay. Thanks for letting us know and good luck!
Re: Search Ranking Dropped - Clarification Required Lysis 10/12/13 8:45 AM
Personalization strikes again.
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