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Here's why your rankings slipped, and how to recover.

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by tony_d, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    It's not all over. I think what happened is relatively straight forward.

    I had two money sites go from #1 (same keyword, different cities) to lower first page, and top of second page respectively, in a significantly competitive and valuable niche.

    Both had the same link sources (my PBN), however, none of my other sites powered by those PBN nodes have been effected, nor have any of the PBN sites been deindexed.

    At this time, I'm confidently ruling out the prospect that "I've been hit", because the SERPs have changed significantly - it's not just my rankings that have changed, the entire SERPs appear to have changed significantly in each case.

    And, to further support the theory that this isn't an action against my sites, another site (different keyword entirely) using exactly the same page template as the 2 that slipped in rankings, and that has even less content, actually climbed from a long term position of #5 to #4, with exactly the same link source (my PBN nodes).

    My theory is this:
    There were a bunch of sites that were hit by the various iterations of Panda.
    Since being hit, those site owners have worked to improve their sites, with the goal of having the algorithmic penalty removed.
    Today, and indeed over the last few days, Panda has refreshed, and all those sites that were 'out of play' because they were under penalty, have had their penalties removed and are now back in play, which simply means that the set of sites competing for the top 100 rankings has changed (and significantly so, in many cases).
    Therefore, my sites (and your sites that slipped rankings), as relative to the top 100 competition, have by default changed in value, because the playing field changed over night.

    It's important to draw the distinction that I view this as a relative change in value, not a direct change in value - in the same way that in some cases the Euro might appear to weaken against the US dollar, when in fact it's the US dollar that strengthened, having the relative effect of causing the euro to appear to weaken. That is, a relative weakening.
    To continue the analogy, our sites that slipped in ranking are the Euros, and the sites that came out from penalty are the US dollars. There's nothing wrong with our Euros - the US dollars just strengthened.

    My recovery plan:
    1) Add a bunch of PBN links, in the same way that I've been climbing rankings steadily on new domains for the last 12+ months. Assuming this causes *any* movement in the SERPs, I'll just continue adding those links, working on the theory that my slipped sites became less valuable overnight, as compared against the new top 100 competition, and I now need to work to increase it's value, by building more links.

    2) Failing the above having a tangible result, I'll 301 my slipped money sites to new domains, and also point new high-value links at those domains. I'll also rebuild the sites on new domains, and compete against myself with both sites, and let the best man (site) win!

    I'm quite confident that my theory about a relative weakening caused by a changed playing field is accurate. I'm not under attack (nor is anyone who slipped rankings), I've not been hit, my PBN's haven't been taken out - it's simply that many of those domains that were suffering under penalty have now come out from that penalty, and have been re-entered into the game, fundamentally changing the state of play, literally overnight.

    I'll post updates here, either way.
     
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  2. funkybunker

    funkybunker Supreme Member

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    Nice to see you handle this logically, not in panic mode for no good reason.
     
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  3. pradep89

    pradep89 Power Member

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    you are right let see how it goes
     
  4. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    Well, *I* think I'm right :p
    let's see.
     
  5. alexthepbndude

    alexthepbndude Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Cheers for the enlightenment on this particular case. We see it all the time, rankings and traffic increase whenever Google does a refresh on its index for some sites and the viceversa happens for a bunch of other properties. Nevertheless, treating it like pure science and finding good analogies is always the right thing to do. The sky is definitely NOT falling whenever Google runs Panda or Penguin, things just shaken a little bit. Something becomes weaker, something becomes stronger. It is how we make a living in the SERPs lol. At the end of the day 'a weaker Euro doesn't mean a dead or dying Euro.'

    Keep up the great work and keep us updated on how did adding 301s and building a bunch of PBN links go.

    Alex
     
  6. indianfreak

    indianfreak Power Member

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    Very true and logical analysis in comparison to others who are just in panic state.
     
  7. howard_hughes

    howard_hughes Elite Member

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    agreed, very well handled and logical approach by OP, as against most people whose sites got hit run around like a chicken with its head cut off.
     
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  8. bizroot

    bizroot Supreme Member

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    So far my sites seems not affected by this update but fingers are still crossed... Tony I agree with analysis, I am tracking few sites in different niche (future competition) and their money site and PBN is unaffected with this change... Although they are not following proper rules and it was very easy to discover their PBN... Still they are indexed and money site is ranking so I guess we still safe and just need to boost link profile...
     
  9. domainmadness

    domainmadness Senior Member

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    What I'm seeing this is not the case.

    I monitor my niche closely and I'm 100% sure this is not about 'unpenalized' domains outranking existing sites. You case might differ but I doubt that.
     
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  10. FutureProofSeo

    FutureProofSeo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member UnGagged Attendee

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    It could just be a Panda refresh included with the Penguin update, to create havoc.

    Nationally all my KW's are fine, but local is where some weird things are happening - #1 has dropped to #5, weak sites come to first page, really strange.
     
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  11. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    So, what then? What are you seeing?

    And indeed, my case does differ. I'm looking at local keywords, for the same niche, in multiple cities.
     
  12. madinina

    madinina Power Member Premium Member

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    in my niche I see one old affiliate site that was previously penalised back in first places.

    but all the rest in page 1 are genuine articles from autority sites or providers.

    1 year ago there were 10 affiliate sites in first page, now 1. Time to change

     
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  13. domainmadness

    domainmadness Senior Member

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    Almost all of the affiliate sites wiped out and only legit businesses ranking is what I'm currently seeing.
     
  14. elementaldrone

    elementaldrone Newbie

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    I agree with your logic, its not always a penalty but also recovery for others that causes your rankings to drop.
     
  15. Aty

    Aty Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Interesting approach, however I don't understand why would they lift all those penalties. Anyway, I'll keep this this thread in mind and see how things will evolve.