Google AI Penalty? Shadow ban? What's going on?

br1go

Registered Member
Dec 14, 2022
70
66
We run an ecommerce website. It has been live for 10 months. From January, we started an intensive SEO. Everyday our rankings and organic traffic were growing rapidly for 2.5 months.
High quality backlinks, not bad user behavior metrics. CTR around 4% for top 5-10 position keywords, bounce rate 30-40%, 2.5 pages per visit. Nice looking high quality UI, meticulously tailored UX.

Our niche is gray and high competitive, and all of the competitors use all of available efficient SEO methods (some of them run from 0 to 800k organic traffic and up to 4M backlinks within 6-8 months after start).

The problem here is that we used ChatGPT for copywriting (GPT-3). And, for sure, after 15th of March, along with the "ai-friendly" Google algo update, all of our keywords have been completely ruined. From top-10 to >100. From 1,6k keywords we were tracking only 15 left in SERP. Everything was destroyed. Organic traffic said bye.

AFTER this we did:
  • Recreated crucial content manually (completely without AI)
  • Removed fully AI-generated pages, 410 redirect
  • Created several new HQ landing pages (again, manually) for new keywords (long tail, low competition)
  • Acquired new good quality backlinks for the home page and for the landing pages
  • Cleaned and disavowed low quality and several spammy backlinks
  • Refurbished the taxonomy
Result:
  • Nothing. I mean, nothing at all... We are almost not visible even for the new longtail keywords (low density and low competition) for the new landing pages, they are literally have been stuck at 60-100 positions despite new pages, new backlinks for them, etc. There is no ANY positive dynamic since 15th of March. Looks like the traffic has been capped.

    gsc_screenshot_01.png
    gsc_screenshot_02.png

So, for me it seems like a shadow ban from Google ("shadow" is because we are still visible for SOME keywords). No any official notifications.
We did nothing to be penalized for except publishing AI content (for each page on our website, including blogs, product descriptions, meta titles and description).

Have anyone experienced this kind of stuff?
If yes, which measures did you undertake to get rid of this type of cap?

I still can not figure out what exactly we are doing wrong.
Any help appreciated.

P.S. I'm publishing this post into BH branch of the forum because I don't believe that there is any white hat method to restore.
 
I think this is because of using not good enough AI content. I have seen similar trends on other AI sites: they start ranking for a lot of keywords, but after a while they all drop drastically. It wasn't clear to me if you stopped using AI content completely on all posts, but I would try that, and have google reindex the posts after editing. I don't think there is much else you can do besides removing the AI content( or replacing it with higher quality AI content) and just waiting. Good luck
 
AI content maybe the reason but as you said also used intensive SEO. This can also be a reason for penalty.
 
AI content maybe the reason but as you said also used intensive SEO. This can also be a reason for penalty.
I understand where you are coming from, but nothing extraordinary to get a penalty. I analyzed this many times to find out the reason, so it was nothing to get this kind of penalty.

I think this is because of using not good enough AI content. I have seen similar trends on other AI sites: they start ranking for a lot of keywords, but after a while they all drop drastically. It wasn't clear to me if you stopped using AI content completely on all posts, but I would try that, and have google reindex the posts after editing. I don't think there is much else you can do besides removing the AI content( or replacing it with higher quality AI content) and just waiting. Good luck
How do you differ "good enough content" from "not good enough content"? We are speaking about ecommerce in a gray niche, where is no place for something "useful" or "engaging" or even just "interesting". Btw, user behavioral metrics were okay. On-page time, bounce rate were not worse than top-10 competitors have. Do you use another kind of measurements?
 
Continue the work you've been doing, and create and post regularly with good quality content without using AI. Your efforts will definitely get a positive result in the end.
 

What I can see from this image grab is a steady increase until March of this year. Funny thing, Google released a core algorithm update & finalized at the end of March.

The not so funny part is that it began the update on March 15th, which is when you see the dip in your analytics, see here: https://status.search.google.com/incidents/Cou8Tr74r7EXNthuEsaG

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rolls-out-march-2023-core-algorithm-update/482389/
 
What I can see from this image grab is a steady increase until March of this year. Funny thing, Google released a core algorithm update & finalized at the end of March.

The not so funny part is that it began the update on March 15th, which is when you see the dip in your analytics, see here: https://status.search.google.com/incidents/Cou8Tr74r7EXNthuEsaG

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rolls-out-march-2023-core-algorithm-update/482389/
Yeah, I know about this "ai-friendly" google algo update. And I saw many threads about how many websites have been ruined. Most of them were using AI content, and some of them no-ai.
The main question here is how to recover.
 
What I can see from this image grab is a steady increase until March of this year. Funny thing, Google released a core algorithm update & finalized at the end of March.

The not so funny part is that it began the update on March 15th, which is when you see the dip in your analytics, see here: https://status.search.google.com/incidents/Cou8Tr74r7EXNthuEsaG

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rolls-out-march-2023-core-algorithm-update/482389/
True....this core update fucked shit up for everyone....as per AI generated content I keep preaching to you young bloods that it's a big nono....because AI generated content has no real informational value it's just some core information spinned different ways....also AI as a whole is the bigest treat to Google business model.

It's just the beginning AI generated content will face a Penguin like penalty in the future.
 
Yeah, I know about this "ai-friendly" google algo update. And I saw many threads about how many websites have been ruined. Most of them were using AI content, and some of them no-ai.
The main question here is how to recover.
You can't recover fast if this is what you want....few years back put a time brake on serp changes to stop churn and burn spam sites....it will take atleast 6 months to see positive movement if you done the right things for your website.

I had websites that recovered from an algo penalty after 2 years. Also take in consideration that you may be the victim of a random fuck you that G passes for some websites from time to time.
 
If you have money sent from external traffic

If Google sees that you are a real brand, your site will take off again.
 
I stopped at *ChatGPT* AI Content.

Continue to build your content, target competitors' KW, and go for high-volume, commercial KW.
 
ed shit up for everyone....as per AI generated content I keep preaching to you young bloods that it's a big nono....because AI generated content has no real informational value it's just some core information spinned different ways....also AI as a whole is the bigest treat to Google business model.

The content that I generate does. The content I use is fact checked & ranks on Google as we speak.

AI will be around for some time until the government limits it.

It's just the beginning AI generated content will face a Penguin like penalty in the future.

There’s nothing they can currently do to detect the content. Not the content I generate. I also edit mine to reflect my keywords/on-page SEO.

If you’re just copy/paste & publishing your articles, you’re going to get caught. But otherwise, in the near future, there’s nothing Google can do to detect it.
 
The content that I generate does. The content I use is fact checked & ranks on Google as we speak.

AI will be around for some time until the government limits it.



There’s nothing they can currently do to detect the content. Not the content I generate. I also edit mine to reflect my keywords/on-page SEO.

If you’re just copy/paste & publishing your articles, you’re going to get caught. But otherwise, in the near future, there’s nothing Google can do to detect it.

I wouldn't be so sure. If something was created, it is always a way to disassemble it. Especially, if we speak about many billions industries where companies fight for their bite of the pie. I believe Google has enough resources to do anything in this field, just a matter of time and affordable error rate. The most cruel thing here is that a lot of "no-ai" websites might be punished for nothing, just because of inaccuracy.
 
Probably shadow banned or plateau as they call it
Monitor other sites ranking for similar queries and see if it's tanking atm
 
I wouldn't be so sure. If something was created, it is always a way to disassemble it. Especially, if we speak about many billions industries where companies fight for their bite of the pie. I believe Google has enough resources to do anything in this field, just a matter of time and affordable error rate. The most cruel thing here is that a lot of "no-ai" websites might be punished for nothing, just because of inaccuracy.

I am so sure. There's no way to do it right now. Not if you edit it slightly.

I've already said exactly that, that they have infinite resources to make it happen one day. But not right now.

On a long enough timeline, any form of technology can be invented & make an impact but as of at least the next year, they will not be able to detect good AI content.
 
Unfortunately, this happens much more often than we think.
I have seen dozens of similar situations, both for sites of my own and for clients.
I wish I could tell you that there is a solution, but the reality in these cases is sadly different.
 
I don't know what to say and it will be interesting to understand what niche, what texts etc.
Basically half of Internet is written much worse than AI generation and hundreds of websites of Indian community with duplications of each other.
 
This is definitively a shadow ban. I have sites that use AI content and no issues at all, so this is not main issue, if the content was good (manually revised).
Most likely scenario in my opinion is that you posted too much (possibly low quality) content in a too short timeframe and at the same time you were too aggressive off-page.
From the graph you have shown, the growth does not look organic. I have seen it many times, insane growth and then crash.
Once you are burned, it's hard to recover. Buying a new domain and starting from scratch is the best way to go unfortunately.
You could try migrating the content (only the quality content). So you will save some cash there. But if you do, you should take the old site down and deindex it.
Lessons to learn - be less aggressive in your content strategy and off-page. Manually revise the AI content in any case.
 
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