When you know your site has been penalized by Google Search..

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When you know your site has been penalized by Google Search..

How to know if your site has just been penalized by Google Search? It's easy, if you lose a lot of traffic from one day to the next you know it comes from Google because unfortunately Google has the biggest market share in the search engine world..

So just look at the web tracking statistics from Best-Reviewer.com and you'll see how obvious it is from 21st august with the common 3,000 unique visitors per day to less than 1,000 the day after.. And the day after..

http://extremetracking.com/open;unique?login=dam008

If you look more closely at the incoming traffic you'll see still some visits from Google, but if in the last 50 visitors you see a lot of visits from Bing and Yahoo, you know you have a problem..

Why do you get a penalty, this is totally unknown, there is no message in the google webmaster tool (I've checked and it says "No new messages or recent critical issues.") and you're left wondering why now and why so suddenly..

Unfortunately there's nothing you can do except freaking out, posting on SEO forums and such and that's not positive, constructive, a total waste of time, so you can only hope that Google will start sending more visitors as suddenly as they started sending less. Plus as you know Google was already capping its traffic, because it is not possible that with a lot of new content posted by more and more members should result in the traffic being basically the same daily for months on end..

So, here you have it, Best-Reviewer.com has been penalized by Google for whatever reason, we can speculate about it or we can just move on and invest our time on things we have control over and not on some anonymous, unreachable virtual entity :-)

Eventually the traffic will come back, maybe it will take one week or one month, but I've had the case before on other sites, sometimes it happens and we don't know why.. And honestly should we care? If they're not ready to tell us in other ways than vague terms, then we should not waste our time with trying to reverse engineer their algorythm, because honestly there's no way to do it correctly and don't we have better things to do with our limited time on earth?

But I posted this message so you know that if the same happens to you on your site or blog, don't worry about it, the traffic will come back eventually, or not, but you should invest your time into trying to make things that don't rely too much on Google, as I've learned it after 9 years with adsense and a sudden kicking out of their program with no clear reason given.. That put me back in place with reality and how they value our efforts / collaboration.. It's like an egoist spoiled kid, you can't really blame them for being like that, or teach them better, it's not our job, better to just move on and ignore them..

James,
Do you think that the website content is properly filtered? Maybe it would be worth to check a few pages randomly.

Hi, looking for what exactly?
The problem is we don't know what is google search's sudden problem with the site..
Is it about duplicate content? Well from several of their blog posts they made it clear that they deal with that problem quite well by not displaying those duplicated content in their search results.
When I see copied and pasted content or I'm made aware of it by a third party, I delete the whole member account without additional warning.
Anyway, what else should I filter?
Maybe it's time google put a message in google webmaster tool about the penalty, but probably the traffic will come back, it happened before to some of my other sites and yes at the time I tried to think what was wrong, only for the traffic to come back suddenly a week after while I was still trying to find a reason..

I'd say, let's see what happens next.. :-)

Just check if the average quality of the pages meets your own criteria.
Maybe it would be worth to add some basic checks on the "Create a new top" page to avoid tops submitted with e.g. less than 1000 characters.
I would also consider to reduce the ad/content ratio on the site.

Unfortunately customer service at Google does not really exist...

Yes sure, ok I get it, it's about the quality of tops.. Well it is very subjective but if I start then I think less than 1% is of good quality, but since when is it like that? Since the start, so why capping the traffic for months and then suddenly capping it at even less..

Yes, anyway.. I've tighten the rules a little bit in the past, now for instance one must put something in the first 3 item's description, before it was optional.

But yes, if I want to control quality then I should make a site myself or actually pay people (not revenue sharing) to write quality articles..

Well anyway, traffic will probably come back, when I don't know, I don't care, it's not a problem.. Since Google should still be sending traffic to the pages which have quality content in its eyes.. Google can't be penalized a whole site just because most of the content is crap.. what about the wonderful quality pages then? It's not good if google users are prevented from accessing those gems :-)

Yes, better not worry about it, it's just a pity Google's market share is so big. It makes me think about switching my main search engine from Google to Bing, because in reality it has been years I haven't tried any other search engine, so perhaps Bing is giving relevant results and can be used the same as Google, who knows, I should maybe try it, anyway that's something I'll consider.

Hey I've been listening, but instead of 1,000 characters I'm now looking at 400 words..

This is pretty standard online when you buy an article in english, it's about $1 for 100 words. In fact on Digital Point you find in their business section most of the sellers are doing $5 per 500 words article. Of course you have native english speakers from the UK/US who ask or a little more, but it doesn't go more than 2 or 3 times more expensive.

So the 500 words article is pretty standard I think, and with a top list it is even easier to come up with 400 words, if you do like this:
Introduction: 125 words
Item 1 + description: 75 words
Item 2 + description: 75 words
Item 3 + description: 75 words
Conclusion: 50 words

So even with a top 3 it's not that hard to come up with 400 words..

I've enforced this new wonderful rule with a bit of code:
http://www.best-reviewer.com/400-words-minimum-i-know-you-ll-hate-me-931...

I don't know if that will help with the Google penalty.. At the moment it is even worse since all top lists below 400 words now only display a red warning text and even fewer words than before, but after a week or two, more and more members will realize what's happening and will add a few words in each of their top lists and things will get better..

Of course some members will not want to do it and I understand them, more work is never very welcome, but each new top which will be submitted will immediatly be corrected because the members will see the warning message right upon submission and then they will add the words because otherwise their most recent effort will have been in vain.

I'm pretty sure this way, with the code, things will start moving soon, the overall quality of the top lists will improve if only for the number of words, but that's already better than nothing!

If I was not that stupid and lazy this would have been implemented back in 2010 when I launched the site or any of the many days after!

I hope that this change will increase the quality and the visitors will come back.
Is it possible to automatically send a warning to the users if they have existing tops with less than 400 words? I am sure that many of us would like to see if we have something to fix but do not feel like checking all of our top lists one by one.

Although in theory it is possible to do such a code, I don't feel good enough in php/mysql to do it in a timely manner.
At the moment I have a lot on my plate because I'm trying to develop my earnings from affiliate programs to replace the adsense earnings that I lost. I did this 400 words limit code yesterday in a few hours in order to sort out the problem of low traffic because it is important, but really my goal is to focus on affiliate stuff.
I have also one thing to add to best reviewer it is the chitika revenue sharing, that will take me also some time to code, it is simple in theory but when I start I don't know when it'll be finished with unseen problems arising due to my mistakes.
As for checking your tops, for members who have only a few dozens, it is possible to open the complete list of tops and from there open each link in a new tab, then simply just look at the pages one by one, if you see red go to the other tab, if you don't see red close the tab, after you'll have all your unpublished tops open in tabs.
For you it is there:
http://www.best-reviewer.com/members/lordt/most-recent-tops.htm
You have 22 tops so it should take you less than 2 minutes to open them all in new tabs. Then another 2 minutes to go through each of them and close the good ones.
In firefox you can CTRL+click on a link to open it in a new tab and then for reviewing them CTRL+TAB to switch to the next tab, CTRL+W to close the current tab.

I hope that your other affiliate programs will work. I understand that you have more important tasks. I have 22 tops here, 23 tops and 20+ salary pages on the other site, so it will take some time to review everything.

I personally have bad experience with Chitika. My referrals disappeared after a few weeks and also I did never reach the USD 10 payout limit. Every time I log in they have a warning message saying that the earnings for day X were lost, they are working on a fix...

With the affiliate programs I'm making common mistakes. One recent was just yesterday, because I bought my first product ever on clickbank and then I got very excited that I could review this product several times and promote it everywhere since I'll know exactly what I'm talking about and since I bought it I'll be able to do excellent and useful reviews..
Yes that sounds good, except for the fact that the product I bought is cbproads a tool for clickbank affiliates.. And so OF COURSE anybody who will be at my stage and wanting to buy this product will be already advanced enough to know that he can buy it with his own clickbank link like I did and get the commission, so to buy it in effect at a reduced price.. So this was my mistake, not thinking about that little detail, hehehe..
I need not do the same mistake, no more promoting stuff to clickbank affiliates as my audience.. But still it won't prevent me to write some more things about cbproads because there are stuff to say about it that can be of interest to other people like me, and that's fine if I don't get any sales for this product, I don't write everything to make a sale, the main buyers that I hope to generate commissions in the near future are not people like me anyway, they will be general people with interests such as weight loss, dog training and whatnot, but I enjoy talking to people like me and exchange ideas, so that's fine!

As for chitika yes the earnings are very low, but the referrals I don't even look at it, I don't expect to earn one cent from referrals on chitika, chitika is just temporary so instead of earning $0 with my banned adsense account I can earn $0 + X it's always better than nothing because that money goes into my paypal account which in turns is used to pay for my web hosting bill, so I need that income because I don't want to pay my web hosting with my credit card.

As for the other site, at the moment I haven't done anything, I will. But for the salary pages I haven't done any limiting, the salary pages are just a gimmick, something for fun, the most important are the top lists.

You are right, it is always better to have some revenue than no revenue. But I hate when Google acts like they have monopoly over all the internet revenues and they can judge everybody without proper reasoning.

I am sure that my salary pages attract more traffic than my tops. I target rising searches and top searched people who still do not have salary pages on your site.

It is true that they attract more traffic, and especially they are more shared, naturally backlinked from forums and blogs when people are talking about the person and want to show it to impress others over this person's salary. And when I look at the forums, often the page triggers reactions/comments such as "OMG!" or "He/she deserves (or not)" or "This figure is not correct, he/she is earning more/less", etc.

But then those pages also have a low CTR, but the clicks usually have a healthy CPC if an ad clicked is talking about money.. :-)

I wonder if it's not an issue with Duplicate content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantial_similarity I read someplace that if 2 sites have the same content it will ignore one of them

Hi, I wonder too, but that's all we can do, wondering..
The thing is the split between the two sites happened in march 2012, this penalty happened in august 2012, so that's 5 months. In 5 months there are a lot of different contents on both sites, because most members keep on posting on best reviewer and only a few post on the newest best reviewers. Plus on the old site, this one, there is the forum and it's an older site, so if there should be a penalty for duplicate content, then it should go to the newest, with less content, site.
But you're right it could be that, or it could be something else, we really can't tell if the main actor won't say anything about it. The main actor being google of course.
Anyway, with the new rule about the 400 words limit in place on best reviewer, it means even more content will be different from the new site since many pages are being updated since the new rule has been implemented.

The date coincides with a Panda data refresh (which happened around about the 20th of August). So whatever Panda dislikes about sites, which I think tends to come down to back-links aimed at the site, is the cause of this.

Panda has most likely penalized this site for backlinks aimed at it that you have no control over. Google needs to release a disavow link tool already.

The website seroundtable has a list of dates associated with the refreshes. It may be permanent as well, who knows. Bing is a good search engine as well, Google has some serious competition. I don't think they will lose, but it is nice that they pressure is on all the same.

Yes it would be nice even if Bing had a 40% market share, better even if a third search engine could come and that they all share the world cake.

About the backlinks, it's true that Best-Reviewer.com has several backlinks because of the referral program, but I thought that was a good thing :-)

Seems today Google decided 2 weeks was enough of a punishment, the penalty started on wednesday 22nd of august and obviously just today wednesday 5th september it has been lifted.. For how long, who knows, but..

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http://extremetracking.com/open;unique?login=dam008

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