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Google Penalties Are For Everyone!

It's true. Don't think you're special just because you got penalized in Google. Everybody's doing it. Kind of part of the growth process for an online enterprise. So get used to it.

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Rank Loss 2023 : Negative SEO : Broken Google : AI Content

Search Nightmare 2023

by: Bob Sakayama
updated October 2023

Nothing's worse than living a rank loss horror story. The story starts out with you cruising along, ranks and traffic steady, conversions could always be better, but you're still getting orders/leads. You've become accustomed to the good times.

But conversions have been gradually down for a couple weeks. The metrics show sales/leads are off, and the search and traffic charts are already in downtrends. Overall performance is starting to suck. You start spending more on ads.

This is not a good place to be.



Some version of the above is very common

Then the world changes.

Sometimes gradually, sometime suddenly.

The problem is you never saw it coming. You had it under control. But the forces of change don't owe you an explanation, because you've been riding them while times were good and you stopped paying attention to those boring metrics long ago.

We've all been there



Negative SEO

Got a solicitation through one of our sites that might be a wakeup call. For $34.93 this service will destroy the ranks of a competitor. That's the claim.

This is the Google translation from Russian:

We greet you!
We are ready to offer the best "killer" runs for your competitors' sites. Total from 2 000 r.
- 100% result. Online sites will definitely "fall".
- The maximum possible number of negative feedbacks.
- Our special database - the most "deadly" sites out of 10,000,000 websites (viral, spam, porn, etc.). This works flawlessly.
- We do the run from 4 powerful servers at once.
- Continuous spamming of toxic links to the official email.
- Fulfillment of the order for 40-240 hours around the clock. Let's stretch it out as we please.
- Run with forbidden keywords.


[2 000 r. = $34.93 on 16 June]


You can pay someone to take down a competitor - see my post on third party attacks

We found it valuable to develop a tool that reviews all inbound links for attack urls.


Broken Google

It's not

Google doesn't like sites that generate massive amounts of low value files that clog up their index, hence the crawl budget - a limit on the resources Google is willing to expend on your site. Polluting their index can definitely harm performance if they have to slow down the crawl of your site to deal with large mess. 

We have addressed massive rank loss by cleaning up Googles index of our sites.

We understand the need to enforce their rules, but in many cases, it's a failure of Google to respect directives that should have prevented the problem - redirect and canonical. A page with a redirect should not get indexed, it's the redirect target that gets crawled. Same for the canonical. The canonical url gets indexed regardless of the url on which it is the canonical. We know of many sites where urls are indexed that should have been blocked.

We came up with a solution that is elegantly simple - a conditional noindex. It's a few lines of code you can add to your template, so every page gets it. If certain conditions are met, it posts a noindex robots meta instruction. As the site gets crawled, inappropriately indexed page get removed from Google's index. Run the tests below. If you see large numbers of urls that should not be indexed this fix should work. It may not work on some AWS hosting accounts, where a redirection occurs in front of all other code so the noindex is not read. If you control the server you won't have a problem.

Test Your Site For Index Pollution

These show urls indexed by Google that meet a condition that might reveal issues -inurl:https   [not secured] inurl:https   [secured] inurl:http:   [not secured] inurl:www   [www version] -inurl:www   [non www version] inurl:page   [possible pagination parameter] -inurl:sort   [possible sort parameter]



problems with Google are the cause of the pollution

Makes sense to But if they're enforcing compliance with

limit enforce a crawl budget - the amount of resources they allocate to crawl a site.


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