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I got the letter - unnatural links - recovery strategy

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by partymarty4870, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    So I awoke with an almighty hangover on Saturday Morning after my godsons 18th (I taught those kids how to really drink Tequila). Luckily for us the orders from the site seemed a little slow, which isn't unusual for a saturday, and due to our fuzziness we were actually happy and spent the day on the lounge watching movies.

    With a clear head Sunday Morning I noticed that we hadn't received any bookings overnight either - something was definately up, So I firedup ranktracker and my jaw dropped at all the red arrows. Upon logging into my WMT account I found the dreaded unnatural links letter waiting for me.

    Now, I admit I'd considered myself immune to this. Due to things such as site age (12 years), strong backlink profile, natural .gov and .edu links (as well as the obligatory unnatural ones) etc, etc, etc. I was almost looking forward to updates as I have profited from every one since the dreaded april 24th one.

    While that may have been a stupid attitude to have, my actions weren't as stupid. I still planned and prepared for the worse happening. My site not only supports me, but 3 staff.

    I don't quite have all my eggs in the one basket either. I've got 3 sites in subniches of my main niche, all employing different strategies and totally isolated from each other, as well as 2 spare domains in my main niche being slowly aged and backlinked. ( I don't have the site connected to GA, but don't really see any dramas with WMT)

    The letter was dated 13th Feb, so I'm pretty sure the damage is no way complete, but as of this morning it's still pretty devastating. Here's the top 5 keywords (by what I earn from them, not in terms of traffic )

    KW 1 (1220000) - #2/#1 (constantly dancing 1-2 for 3 months) now #9
    KW 2 (65000) - #3 now #186
    KW 3 (18000) - #2 now #8
    KW 4 (12100) - #1 now #8
    KW 5 (9900) - #1 now #13


    Traffic has plummeted - as you would expect.

    Right now I've got 2 options.

    Option 1 - I could say - {SEO is dead|Google sucks|lets boycott google|I wasn't doing anything wrong|why did this happen to me|I quit|I'm changing careers|I give up IM|I'm starting again but this time white hat}. Moan about it and post a please pity me thread on BHW.

    or

    Option 2 - I could say - Fuck you Google, you can't hurt me.

    I choose option 2, and have an immediate plan to drive not only directed traffic to my site, but better traffic than I used to get from G.It's not what I want to do, as the absolute truckloads of spam it will involve goes against how I really want to operate.

    * I've got 3 girls cruising and spamming every forum in my niche and jumping on every enquiry. They're armed with 3 proxies and 3 user accounts each, which zenno can build way quicker than they can ban. I've got a PBN of 100 sites which they're linking to in a 3 way 301 to hide my site from the forum admins.
    * A Facebook campaign to "win a free holiday" going to a new anom site to gather emails.
    * Setup an adwords campaign for all my best KW's ( I hate adwords, but have to admit it converts very well for me - In fact we think we could remain profitable on that alone)

    Todays traffic is down by about 25% on our monday average, but income is actually up.

    Recovery Plans

    Well obviously thelast thing I'm gonna do is get a living breathing human involved when this fight is still between me and an algorithm, so the reconsideration request will be the last desperate step, If I ever choose to take it. Emails back and forth telling them which of my hard made links I've deleted only for them to say "delete more" doesn't sound fun. (and all you're doing by this is building a database for G to use against us)

    Today I created some high PR naked links in the FBN - I'll drip these out at about 2 or 3 per day.
    My girls are also posting reviews of us in niche forums with naked and general links.
    I'll spend up big on some high quality press releases - using both keywords and naked url's.
    Call in a favour from a journalist mate that I've been keeping up my sleeve for a problem just like this.
    redesign of the site template (because I want to - more than I think it'll do something)
    Start churning out more product pages and grow the site (to gain more authority) it's 600+ pages now, so Ill grow it to about 800 over about the next 3 weeks.

    I fully expect to keep dropping but am 75% sure that I'll come out of this in a couple of months even stronger. ( I have to - I just bought a big fucking house!)

    So guys, I'll update this with my actions and results, but please leave the "eggs in one basket" and any other attitudes out of this thread, I have suffered enough already.
     
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  2. Untouchable

    Untouchable Supreme Member

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    when big g strikes, you strike harder!
    Good Luck Man! Hope your recover quickly.
     
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  3. pnvhq

    pnvhq Junior Member

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    Hold the phones, you're earning $1.2 mil from one keyword? I'll be checking for updates on that basis alone.
     
  4. ok888

    ok888 Elite Member

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    Wow mate I can see u have a very clear mindset


    You know exactly what to do



    Nothing can stop u


    Best of luck!!!
     
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  5. Casey101

    Casey101 Junior Member Premium Member

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    I don't have any experience with this so I'm not going to offer advice, but I'm posting to wish you luck and to say I'll be pulling for you. It sounds like you have a lot of experience so I'm sure you'll be able to make it a success, whatever your path. Please keep us posted, and go kick ass sir!
     
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  6. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    they're broad monthly searches. (although we're not talking about losing a $!00 per day site here either!)
     
  7. ok180

    ok180 Junior Member

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    Hey PartyMarty,

    Get ready to enter the crazy zone and continually second guess yourself. Like you I also have an Ecom business, mortgage and im in Australia too. My site tumbled last September just before out peak season and has never recovered. I just cant figure it out. So called experts out there offer to fix it for thousands of dollars but of course they offer no gauranttee.

    Luckily before the drop happened with my site I started going pretty full on with adwords, even though your business may not be as profitable by doing this at least it will keep you in the game while you try to figure out why your organic rankings are shot. Frankly I feel Google are just doing this on purpose regardless of how good the site is to push you more towards adwords. In my niche which isnt super competitive I can count at least 15 sites that have held the number one spot in the last 12 months. This is for a 40k exact match term. All those sites keep getting bounced around randomly and Im seeing the same thing in most niches I track for reseach. You just cant rely on organic rankings like you used to. If you survived as long as you have you have done well now it's just too volatile.

    Even though you seem a lot more succesfull than me at Ecom the best advice I can give you is focus more on Adwords and just treat what you get from organic as a bonus. You'll end up driving yourself crazy trying to recover your position.
     
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  8. pnvhq

    pnvhq Junior Member

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    Wait, perhaps I misunderstood you. I thought the list was showing KW by earning. Perhaps you meant that you ordered it by earnings but listed the search volume? That would make sense.
     
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  9. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    thanks mate - Adwords is only the answer to top up traffic. My business used to be a bricks and morter business which we took 100% online. Constantly paying for adwords is like paying rent, and I'll not be doing that too much. If this site won't come back I have a couple of reserves, and I will convert to "churn and burn" type sites with massive spamming if thats what it takes. I don't want to , but I will if forced to. My business plan (let alone retirement plan) relies on free organic traffic and I have become accustomed to the $$$ it brings

    descending order of importance by $$$ earned for each KW. All are 1 or 2 word keywords, so I prefer to think in "broad" ratyher than "exact" terms
     
  10. drogon

    drogon Elite Member Premium Member

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    My advice would be to promote one of your spare domains as your new main domain and start doing full on SEO for that site to rank it to the top while still trying to get the current one to recover as chances are (from experience) your main site will never recover even 6 to 12 months from now. I have only had 1 out of 20 sites recover from the unnatural links message and i actually did nothing to it.
     
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  11. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    I'll be doing that as well as trying to recover the original one as well as releasing churn and burn sites.
     
  12. Panther28

    Panther28 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Somebody in vip forum posted what they done when they got this letter, and they got a positive outcome and got re-instated, have a look for that.
     
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  13. venom555

    venom555 Power Member

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    Good luck to you, my advice would be to stay away from Black Hat techniques and specially that Forum spamming because it is not working these days, only build natural links using white hat techniques and you will be on the top once again...
    I also left SEO after bitten by Pengiun and Panda updates but started doing it again and have ranked few sites on the 1st spot...
    It all depends upon your motivation and hard work...
    So keep it up....
     
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  14. goodtimes

    goodtimes Power Member

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    Same thing happened to me. My experience has been the same as bestmates. My main site never recovered. It's been 10 months now and I have spent $xx,xxx's on SEO.

    100% unique & original handwritten content for every link, unique videos, monthly press releases, link bait, social signals, steady link velocity... I even 'spammed' solid white hat guest post links everywhere just to see if I could get to page 2.

    Nothing. The site was #1 and #2 for every target keyword and now only hovers between #26 and #31 but appears to be permanently stuck there after 10 months of massive SEO campaigns.

    Period. End of story.

    Now about 3 months ago I started really paying attention and started a new site. It's now at #14 and climbing - slowly for sure but it's climbing.

    SEO is a new game from my experience. If you want my advice to get your organic traffic back and you want to save yourself lots of $$ and headaches, you want to start a new site and redo it all over from scratch.

    The only other option is to clean everything up and then do a reconsideration request. I guess you could do that first and see what happens but you should also be planning a completely new site to replace the old one one's former glory IMHO.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  15. ok180

    ok180 Junior Member

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    Then what? in 6 months time when the next animal update comes out start again? insanity! You cant rely on churn and burn for the long haul, to build a business you need effective marketing strategies that you can scale and are reliable. Adwords offers that. Buying refferal traffic offers that. Yes i hate paying the fuckers but im still highly profitable and i never bat an eye lod when these updates roll out. Most people here cant understand this because they are not running real physical business with stock and employees to maintain, when you have these you start to appreciate reliable traffic rather than the lottery organic rankings have become.
     
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  16. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    the main thing you need to build a business is working capital - if you have working capital you can choose different ways to market. In my line of business I don't have stock, but I do have employees (who also have families and mortgages etc).

    I see nothing wrong with now splitting my business between a "churn and burn" side, throwing a shitload of links at something and ranking for a few days/weeks alongside an ordered adwords campaign. I can afford the wait between sites ranking and the adwords will keep enough work flowing to keep the staff fed. With no working capital your options are limited.

    The lottery of organic traffic has given me a good life at an incredibly cheap cost per customer. The cost of an adwords customer for me isn't that far off what the cost was when my business had a shopfront and wasn't online.

    So it's worth chasing again.
     
  17. ok180

    ok180 Junior Member

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    Marty, i wish you luck mate. what i have found to work well is doing both but not really doing seo to your main site. I have been building a whole heap of mini sites that reffer traffic to the main site. if those drop here and there i dont really care. its when you rely mainly on one site that you have a problem. im aiming to only have about 20% of traffic going to my main site be organic, 40% adwords and the reft referrals. if you can do something like that it may work for you. burning your main site over and over is a poor option.
     
  18. ok180

    ok180 Junior Member

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    Also, have you noticed that the top 6 positions are now ads? thats how google looks on my computer now in Australia. Organic listing now dont even show up above the fold. Googles intentions are clears, you want to rank for commercial terms? pay for it.
     
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  19. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    if they were all ads I wouldn't be so concerned - BUT THEY ARE MY FUCKING COMPETITORS!!!
     
  20. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    I can see where your coming from but interlinking those sites is no different from only having 1. Me and my designer are working on a back end that will produce new sites from the same database, with a push of a button so that'll save on time. And the $$$ involved if I can pull it off for 2 years will set me up. Then I'll run a safe adwords business. (actually my manager will - I'll be busy sailing)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013