1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Google Penalized or Something Else?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by dontknowseo, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. dontknowseo

    dontknowseo Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Six weeks ago I started a niche website/blog. Everything went well at first. I only got about 20 hits per day, but it was steady and people were actually staying on the site for a while. From the beginning, I used the SEO plugin by Yoast to optimize the on-page SEO, but nothing else outside the site (no purchased links, etc.). I run 2 AdSense ads on my site, and that's the only advertising.

    Then, a couple of days ago, something odd happened. My organic search traffic (which had been the main source of traffic) disappeared. Although I certainly hadn't been ranked very well at all, I had been getting a tiny but steady stream of visitors. Not only did the organic search traffic disappear, but when I searched for my site on Google, the results were weird. I could find my site by searching site:domain, but when using very unique keywords I might get one result (missing my favicon, I might add) whereas previously it would return many pages from my site.

    I read about Google penalties and I kind of panicked. Now I'm afraid that I've been penalized for something. There's only one TOS violation I can even remotely come close to thinking might have triggered something: too much use of a keyword. Unfortunately, my entire site is about one thing. Let's say "pies." So every page uses the word "Pie" a lot and in many variations- apple, cherry, blueberry, etc. It's completely natural and not keyword stuffing. There just aren't any synonyms.

    The other thing I realized was that my server went down three times (at least) last week. I tried to look at Google Webmaster tools to see if there was crawl error or something and so it dropped my site, but I honestly don't know enough to tell anything from the data. There weren't any messages or alerts on the account, and there's no way to contact Google about it unless you've had a manual action taken.

    It's really depressing to be working so hard on my site and have even its tiny bit of traffic taken away. Any advice would be welcome. I'm not an idiot, but I knew nothing about SEO until I started reading about it a few weeks ago. I'm doing the best I can with the limited time and resources I have.
     
  2. SEO Power

    SEO Power Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    Messages:
    2,637
    Likes Received:
    680
    Occupation:
    Self employed
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Could be a mere Google dance. A penalty is unlikely since you didn't build any blackhat links and the site is only a few weeks old.
     
  3. dontknowseo

    dontknowseo Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Really? I thought an algorithm could catch you at any time, new site or old site.
     
  4. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,093
    Likes Received:
    3,585
    Occupation:
    Local SEOist
    Location:
    TEXAS (you have to yell, its the law.)
    The algo can do all kinds of stuff, but more than likely you just had a honeymoon for a few weeks while Big G decided where to rank you.

    I can't find a lot of information about the honeymoon, but here is what I think happens.

    When new site comes online, Goole needs to see how traffic responds to the content, so they elevate the ranking until enough traffic has passed for them to look at engagement.

    I do not even know if it is deliberate or not, it may simply be that google ranks you at first on what information it has, and as the engagement data comes in, the algo simply starts to use that data and the lower ranking results.

    Annother thing, did the traffic come from Google? Has your ranking actually fallen?

    If someone stumbled onto your site and passed it around a social media platform, the activity you describe will also occur.
     
  5. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,181
    Likes Received:
    1,660
    Look up the term "google honeymoon period."

    Your site has been evaluated and now it ranks naturally. The algorithm has determined your site to be meh.
     
  6. dontknowseo

    dontknowseo Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never ranked on the first page or anything close to it for any keywords. I read about how the Google honeymoon puts you higher up in search results but it doesn't look like that was ever happening. I was ranked low the whole time but a few people were still finding the site.

    I eliminated the referrals from social media and only looked at the organic search referrals. The ones that disappeared were from Google.

    What I still don't get is why using quotes from my site as keywords now behave differently in search results. Before this drop, a quote would show up in multiple ways for the top search results- one quote from the homepage manual excerpt, one from the actual blog post, one from the category page, etc. Now it shows up as the first result, but the variations have disappeared.
     
  7. dontknowseo

    dontknowseo Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yeah? Your algorithm is meh.:p

    Kidding. Given, my site is new, it's got about 30 posts, but the content and images are good, so I don't think it's totally meh. Maybe it'll be considered meh by the algorithm until I get more posts up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  8. stackcash

    stackcash Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    11
    Occupation:
    WordAgents
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    This is most definitely a honeymoon. And....how can SEO's not be able to find information on it? LOL.

    http://www.canonicalseo.com/the-google-honeymoon/
    http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/502/the-google-honeymoon-period/
    http://www.searchenginejournal.com/are-you-on-an-seo-honeymoon/11717/

    If you're concerned about a penalty, the first thing I'd do is search Webmaster Tools for any type of message. If nothing is there, you still may have an automatic algo penalty. To figure this out, you'll want to do a few searches using "site:yoururl.com" and "info:yoururl.com." If your domain doesn't appear as the #1 result for these searches, it's like you have an algo penalty. These usually last 90 to 180 days.
     
  9. ColonelSoldier

    ColonelSoldier Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Offshore
    I'd never heard of this honeymoon theory until today but it also explains some of the responses some of my websites have been having :(
     
  10. junglist08

    junglist08 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    25
    lol @ google honeymoon, what a name :cool: