All keywords gone from top 100 after a lot of link building

conh1

Registered Member
Jul 27, 2021
57
31
Hi,

Looking for some suggestions as I haven't had to do this type of link building in a while and not sure what happened.

  • Two domains about 2 years old, both ranking on page 5-10 for high value keywords
  • Domains had around 50 RDs each
  • I decided to building a lot of links to the homepages of both (10-20/month to each) which hadn't receive many links in the past (30 in the past 2 years to each homepage), and very few to inner pages.
  • I used long tail anchors, I didn't use brand or naked anchor (probably a mistake). So if the keyword was 'Used cars' I used 'Used cars UK', 'UK used cars', 'best UK used cars' etc.
  • after about 4 months of this tactic I have now lost all rankings, both domains rank for the domain name when I search domain.com and there doesn't seem to have been an deindexing.
  • Content on the site is top quality, matches intent, isn't AI etc. I still rank #1/2 on bing for the main keywords, and visitors seem to enjoy the content looking at visitor paths/time spent.
  • Links are very good guest posts, traffic and good backlinks, content was human written. I don't think it's anything to do with the quality of the links used.
My question is do you think this is a dance due to new link building, or an over optimisation penalty or what? I went back and changed a good few of the anchor texts to the domain name 'domain.com' about a week ago as I thought that might be it, so hoping that after a few weeks that might make a difference. Just a bit confused that it's sitewide traffic loss and not just the homepage keywords where I did the majority of the link building.

Thanks in advance :)
 
I want to know if you have increased your blog posting frequency and social media signals while adding these links. If not, that could be the issue. Also, the quality of the purchased backlinks matters, but that’s something you need to assess yourself.
 
I want to know if you have increased your blog posting frequency and social media signals while adding these links. If not, that could be the issue. Also, the quality of the purchased backlinks matters, but that’s something you need to assess yourself.
Thanks for the reply, haven't done anything with social, didn't know that mattered tbh. Content posting has been frequent and more than my competitors (good quality content).
 
if everything is good.
all you can do is bulk date update your post and wait for next update.
And keep posting new content.
 
Lots of link building ? What kind of links ? Guest post/pbn links/own pbn/blog comments ??

The quality of backlinks do matters a lot. If you have built low quality ones then this could be one of the reason.
 
I decided to building a lot of links to the homepages of both (10-20/month to each) which hadn't receive many links in the past (30 in the past 2 years to each homepage), and very few to inner pages.
How did you build these links? Manually?
 
Thanks for the replies, links are guest posts that I manually purchased from the webmasters, I manually vetted the sites, good traffic from search, not oversold, guest posts related to the overall site topic.
 
If your links are relevant, good quality and not typical link farms then it's unlikely linkbulding is the root cause here.
Do compare the OBL of your linking sites.
Also check if these linking sites have also been down in their Serp rankings.
What %age of your linking domains are multi niche websites?

Quality of content in SEO is more about how the content is structured, optimized and relevant to the topic.

Regarding anchors I personally give branded anchors more weightage and preference just because that's how big authority websites have always had their anchors.

The only way to know possible cause here is to check all SEO related factors on your website and your competitors currently ranking in your positions.
So, a deep 360-degree audit of your website and niche will be helpful here.
 
If your links are relevant, good quality and not typical link farms then it's unlikely linkbulding is the root cause here.
Do compare the OBL of your linking sites.
Also check if these linking sites have also been down in their Serp rankings.
What %age of your linking domains are multi niche websites?

Quality of content in SEO is more about how the content is structured, optimized and relevant to the topic.

Regarding anchors I personally give branded anchors more weightage and preference just because that's how big authority websites have always had their anchors.

The only way to know possible cause here is to check all SEO related factors on your website and your competitors currently ranking in your positions.
So, a deep 360-degree audit of your website and niche will be helpful here.

Thanks for the reply, yes I'd be surprised if it was due the sites the links were placed on, I've just been through ahrefs and no traffic drops for any of the recent guest post sites.

Content structure is fine as I've been in this niche for years and use a similar structure for my other sites (that have top 3 spots for many keywords).

I think you're probably right discussing the anchors, for me I think I've probably flagged something with the amount of partial match keywords going to the homepages all of a sudden. It was pretty much the exact same for both sites and both got slapped within a week of each other, so hopefully more branded/naked can fix it.

I also believe I was possibly sending too many partial match anchors to the homepage which may have worked for a sub page, but looks unnatural for a homepage.
 
Given that your site still performs well on Bing and hasn’t been deindexed, this isn’t likely a severe penalty or a complete loss of trust, but rather a period for Google to reassess your site's link profile. Perhaps ease up on aggressive link building for now.Wait a few weeks to see if the situation improves.
 
Pretty much every time I build links to my pages those pages go down first and eventually get better rankings.
 
Great thanks for the feedback, for the moment I've decided to only build 10 GPs to each this month and keep a more 'natural' anchor text profile or brand, naked and generic.

It's very annoying to know your content is good and what the user wants (looking at visitor logs), ye you get slapped like this.
 
Thought I'd provide an update as it may help someone:

No changes to the rankings but I did find ~3 sites that I had guest posts on had lost basically on their traffic according to Ahrefs, from at least 5k/month down to ~200-300/month.

So far the only changes on my end have been asking to change anchors to naked on recent guest posts and adding a handful of guest posts to the two sites, I've dialed back the number I'm going to publish this month.

I'll update if I see any changes in rankings.
 
Someone posted a thread saying the march update is finally over. Now you can consider your website a new one and start building links thinking like that.
 
I've already started adding content and building links to another website, the two sites that were hit still don't rank for any keywords in the top 100 according to ahrefs/semrush and I've noticed that when I google the domain name without the extension (it's a multiple word EMD) I get a similarweb result for the domain showing up in the first few pages, but the domain itself doesn't.

Going slower with this new domain that ranks in top 60 for some keywords, but still building naked & brand links to the the penalized domains (at a slower rate).
 
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