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What Happened to My Authority Site?

What Happened to My Authority Site?

So, as expected, I received a huge response from all of you on my last post about the fact that my authority site was hit hard in Google.  In fact, the response was so huge that my site NichePursuits.com was actually slammed so hard with traffic that my servers couldn’t handle it for a while!  I may be moving this blog to a VPS server if this becomes a recurring problem.  Anyway, the point is that you have all spoken loud and clear that you are interested in this subject!  And I also want to say a big “THANK YOU” to those who had encouraging and kind words!

Obviously, many of you have lots of questions about what exactly happened to my site, so that you can all avoid the same issues with your own sites in the future.  I don’t have all the answers.  But I do have a few “clues” as to why this might have occurred to my site.  So, I want to cover some of the issues.  But first I want to discuss a bit further what happened to my site, and re-explain why I am NOT pursuing this site any longer – but rather I am starting on a new domain.

3 Types of Google Penalties

First, what happened to my site.  As explained, I called that my site had some sort of “sandbox” penalty for lack of a better term.  To be clear, my site was still indexed in Google.  You can always see if your site is included in the Google index by typing in the query, site:http://www.yoursite.com.  If your site pulls up, then you are indexed in Google – and my site was indeed in the index.

If your site is deindexed, its nearly impossible to get it back.  You can submit your site to Google for reconsideration, but your chances of getting a response from them are very small.

I was shared a link by one of my readers here about a great article that explains the difference between 3 types of Google negative effects:

1. Deindexed

2. Penalized

3. Sunk

You can read the full article on What to Do When Your Site Drops in the Google Search Results by ElectronPlumber.com.  I really like the way he separates out the 3 different types of penalties that can occur to your site.  So, my site wasn’t deindexed.  But I believe it was “penalized”.  The reason I believe it was more than just a drop in rankings (#3), is because my site would not show up even when I typed in its exact domain.  Because I had added a suffix to my domain (keywordsuffix.com), my site should have pulled up when I typed in “keyword suffix”.

The keyword and suffix combination was unique enough that no one else was using it.  My site should have pulled up in the first result because I was the only one online using that combination – but it didn’t show until the last few pages of search results.  This is a sign of a penalty.  This is why I decided to kill it.  This is why I knew it was more that just a drop in rankings.  A drop in rankings may not be a huge deal – its just the Google dance.  But when you site doesn’t pull up for its exact domain search or an exact sentence search, you know something is off.

My Decision to Not Fight the Penalty

Now to be clear, I DO believe that I could have overcome this penalty possibly.  Its a maybe.  It would have taken a lot of time, effort, money, and a little luck.  Instead of sinking a bunch of time and money on linkbuilding and article creation for a “maybe”,  I decided to opt for creating a new domain which is MUCH more guaranteed to not suffer from a penalty.

I had already spent over $500 on articles for this site.  I could have gambled on a “maybe Google will be nice” and lift the penalty; or I could have started a new domain that is not penalized and use the $500 worth of articles on this new domain.  I went for the option that guarantees I will be able to utilize the $500 worth of articles and is MUCH more likely to not be penalized in Google.  I hope that explains my decision a little better.

You have to remember that my new authority site had only made me $34 at this point.  If this was a site that was making me $1000 a month or something of course I would have tried a little harder to pull it out of the Google penalty box.  But this was essentially a brand new domain – it wasn’t worth fighting over.

I know all of you would have loved to see a “case study” of me trying my darndest to pull myself out of a Google penalty.  But the truth is that I’m not interested in case studies per se, I’m interested in building my niche websites business.  I made a business decision that I believe is MOST likely to give me the most bang for my buck.  If I was simply interested in building my blog here, yes I would have just done a case study.  But because I am most interested in pulling in money from Google Adsense – I went with what my gut told me was the best business decision.

So, having said that, I am still going to do my best to provide why my site may have been penalized and how you might be able to avoid such a penalty with your own sites.

Why My Authority Site Was Penalized

I believe the primary reason I received a penalty by Google is because of the linkbuilding done to my new site.  I believe that I made 2 linkbuilding errors:

1. Overuse of keyword anchor text

2. Questionable link sources

First, I believe that I may have overused my primary keyword as anchor text when building links to my site.  I believe that at least 75 to 80% of the links built to my site were all using the same keyword anchor text and going to the homepage.  I guess in my haste to build some links to the site, I didn’t do a good enough job about paying attention to link variation.  In addition, after watching this video on SEOmoz.org (called Beyond Exact Match Anchor Text to Next Generation Link Signals), I am going to change my anchor text strategy a bit.

I always do vary my anchor text, but with this authority site, I didn’t do as well as I usually do.  However, I am now going to be adding more “partial anchor text” to my linkbuilding strategies.  I will probably only use the exact match phrase closer to 25% of the time perhaps.  The rest of the time will be only partial keyword anchor text and non-keyword anchor text.  This is a much more natural approach in Google’s eyes.

Second, I looked back to see what I might have done differently on this site, and I did indeed find a couple of things as far as linkbuilding is concerned.  I ordered a couple of link packages off of Fiverr.com (my first time EVER!) and a couple of Warrior Forum linkbuilding packages that I had not tried out before.  Now, I don’t have all of the details where all of the links came from, and its very possible (and perhaps likely) that some of these links were questionable.  Questionable links could be spam comments on blogs or .edu blogs, forum profile links, overused social bookmarking, or other tactics.  I can confirm that I did order a .edu package and some social bookmarking on Fiverr.com.  These links very likely played a role in why my site was penalized.

So, my advice is to be VERY CAREFUL with the type, quantity, and anchor text used in your link building efforts.  Yes, linkbuilding is very important – but I have learned that more is not always better.  Going forward, I am going to be varying anchor text a bit more and only building links from sources that I am a bit more familiar with.

My Strategy for my NEW Authority Site

Anyway, that’s what happened to my authority site, and I’m sticking with it!  Now its time for me to move on and look to the future.  I think I have learned a thing or 2 from this whole experience and that’s always a good thing.

Since I last made a post, I went ahead and purchased 3 new domains all targeting my primary keyword for my NEW authority site.  I have ordered just 1 article for each site at this point.  Once I get the sites built and the first article placed on the sites, I will go back in and order a few more articles for each site.  Then it will be time to start seeing if any of those new domains starts performing better than the rest.  I will start following my new guidelines for linkbuilding, and at that point I expect a least 1 or 2 of these new sites to start showing up on the Google radar somewhere.

Once I find one of these new sites performing better than the others, I will be placing the articles from my old authority site onto this new site.  And of course I will keep all of your posted as to what happens along the way.  Hopefully I will have some better news down the road!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject – what say you?

 

108 Comments for this Post

  1. Joe

    Joe

    Thanks for the explanation. I too was penalized after a couple of fiverr linkbuilding gigs. I’ll never use that crap again.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Yep, I don’t think I will ever dip my toe in the dirty fiverr pool again.

      • brian

        brian

        yeah i would skip fiverr….its all scrapebox links

      • Jeremy Banks

        Jeremy Banks

        Hey Spencer, it is unfortunate that you did not have success with fiverr, but I still think there is a lot of value there, you just have to order the right gigs. I usually use a mix of fiverr and freelancers to get my sites to rank.

        Also in regards to your authority site being penalized I was going to write a very long comment about my experience but I thought it would add more value if I did an entire blog post, so here it is My experience with a google penalty to my authority site. I added a screenshot of the traffic from google and everything.

        You can see I went from about 1000 visitors a day, down to basically nothing for a few months, then back up to about 700. Now I get about 2000 visitors a day! I hope it gives you some insight. I am interested in your method though and it will be a learning experience to compare results.

        • Spencer

          Spencer

          Hey Jeremy – great post! I actually made a detailed response on your post – but maybe the comment hasn’t been approved yet? Not sure what happened to it as its not appearing. I also tried to email you, but your email address is undeliverable. Contact me on my contact page.

          Love the experience your shared though!

        • Jeremy Banks

          Jeremy Banks

          Thanks for taking the time to check the blog post out, I still manually check each comment, I didn’t see one with your name on it though :S

          Also not sure about the undeliverable email, I checked my inbox and have been receiving emails from others. If you were using the email from the comment I left I could have made a typo. Anyways I will shoot you an email.

    • Dave

      Dave

      I remain unconvinced that inbound links can do any damage. Otherwise, everyone would be busy buying Fiverr packages against their competetitors.

      Now where you link TO is a different story.

      • James Hussey

        James Hussey

        I tend to agree (inbound links not hurting), that’s what Google themselves say as well. I’ve had a few times where a site was “penalized” like this after link-building – personally I’d give it a few weeks before shutting down (sounds too late to stop you).

        One big site I have, making me the majority of my living, was penalized around Panda 2.1. I had tons of #1 listings…then I ordered a text link ads type of campaign, not from Fiverr.com but from PaidBackLinks.com.

        The site disappeared for a month – and that hurt.

        Then it came back after Panda 2.2 – but I was thinking I’d move the content over to a new domain, etc…

        Glad I didn’t. It’s back at #1 (up from around #900, I have the Market Samurai records to prove it).

        It’s not unheard of for a site to bounce but I think what is possible is to find out a competitor has reported you for webspam via Google Webmaster Tools – in which case, though, your site would be de-indexed.

        I’d just focus on other projects and give it a month, file a re-inclusion request to see what Google says (can’t hurt at this point, I did the same thing)…but either way: it’s not like you can’t afford your solution.

        :D

        Loving your blog, btw.

        • Dave C

          Dave C

          Guys there was a really interesting article where the author was absolutely convinced that bad links could not hurt your rankings but after a lot of discussion he ended up completely changing his opinion after some strong arguments by his followers. Apparently google themselves had written to site owners warning them that questionable links were actually hurting their rankings. Conclusion? Bad links can actually have a negative effect! Check out the story here …

          http://www.searchenginejournal.com/lets-kill-the-“bad-inbound-links-can-get-your-site-penalized”-myth/32426/

        • Spencer

          Spencer

          Awesome Dave – thanks for sharing!

        • Spencer

          Spencer

          Hey James, glad you love the blog! Thanks for sharing your VERY interesting experience about the panda update. Let me be clear that if my site was any older or had really been earning any money I probably would have kept it; but fore the reasons I explained in the post I decided to just start from scratch.

      • Jeremy Banks

        Jeremy Banks

        I feel the same way. I think the penalty is given to the links, not the domain. Say you are ranking well with 10 000 scrapebox links and getting say 200 visitors a day from the search engines. When google catches onto your crappy link profile I think they just discount the links making your 10 000 scrapebox links useless.

        Now you aren’t ranking as well and assume your domain got a penalty when in fact your links have just been discounted. This is really the only way to stop people from sabotaging your domain with spam links.

  2. Paula Mooney

    Paula Mooney

    Yep, way to get back on that horse!

    This is one reason why I’m getting into making iPhone/Droid apps instead of monkeying around with Google so much.

    One of my sites was deindexed — and Google actually put it back in their index …some 3 years later! But it might still be under some kind of slight penalty, idk.

    I still love creating niche sites and the like.

    • Boris C.

      Boris C.

      How about going into Kindle book publishing?

  3. Online divorce forms

    Online divorce forms

    Spencer, with all due respect and I thank you for the honesty of your posts, attributing the penalty or disappearance of your site to the 2 factors you have is just speculation, is it not?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Of course its speculation based on all the available information I have. Only google knows 100%.

  4. Daniel D'Laine

    Daniel D'Laine

    … It had to be mainly backlinks and articles cos as you said, everything else was about right. It always pays to test for article duplication before posting!

    Regards
    Dan

  5. Greta Olivier

    Greta Olivier

    I didn’t know that Google could do this, but I have to say I’m really pleased to find out that it does insofar as the quality of websites and backlinks will always be protected [somewhat] even in the case of those who build the websites purely for financial purposes, rather than geniune interest in the subject matter.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong at all with the niche website business, but obviously there’s a distinct danger that the Great Internet ocean will become covered with the dull, sticky mud of bad quality information, drawn to the surface by clever SEO.

    So this is great.

    Also – good call on ditching the site. Always wise to know when to call things quits.

  6. Trever Clark

    Trever Clark

    This penalty is so odd. I’ve done these exact same things on multiple sites – having 75% + of the same anchor text, buying spammy packages on Fiverr and WF etc. And I’ve never had any trouble.

    Could the problem have been with link building velocity?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I don’t think it was linkbuilding velocity – although this could cause a penalty. I didn’t really build a large number of links. But I suppose this could have been a factor.

  7. Eric

    Eric

    Thanks for the transparency in your discussion of your authority site. It’s going to be a valuable resource for those of us who follow your blog. Will this experience deter you from buying those .edu links on Fiverr again? I’ve purchased two of those gigs in the past, and they seem to have been totally ineffectual.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      No to Fiverr.

  8. Valerie

    Valerie

    Great post Spencer, thanks for sharing! So you used two unknown people to do your linkbuilding this time and your site got penalized… who did you use the other times for linkbuilding and is there a reason why you didn’t use them again?

    To you or anyone else: Are there any reputable linkbuilding services (or software packages) out there that you trust not to get your site penalized?

    • Boris C.

      Boris C.

      That is why i do SEO by myself. Don’t trust anyone and if you decide to outsource, screen experienced SEO people with good history and hire who you consider reliable long term.

      If you decide to hire cheap workers then just instruct them to build low/spammy quality links to other authority websites that will then link to your main website.

      • Spencer

        Spencer

        Boris is correct. I still use the people I always use, but I am always experimenting with other sources as well. I just found a bad apple I guess.

  9. KimP

    KimP

    Well, good luck moving forward.

    Would you saying building .edu links to a new site is quite suspicious?

    Also, what is your back linking strategy for the new site(s) aside from varying anchor text? Or is that another post?

  10. Boris C.

    Boris C.

    Right decision Spencer. A knowledge for money tradeoff. It shows that you are more concerned growing your business further than becoming expert and mentor here.

    In my opinion low quality links should point to other authority websites and better quality links should point from these authority sites to your main website and as it ages and gets more trust, then it might be a time to built links back top it of lesser quality.

    Rooting for you,
    Boris C.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks Boris!

  11. john

    john

    Personally, I think you were on the right track with building an authority site. I am in the process of building my first and things are going fine. I let the domain age for about 6 months, and within the last few weeks started adding about a 1,000 word post a day as well high PR backlinks daily ( about 30 or 40 or so). It’s earning an average of about $6.00 per day now, which I’m excited about because I know I can repeat what I’m doing.

    I would lie awake and worry about sites going “poof” in the night that only have 10 pages or so.

    I am trying really hard to vary my keywords for the anchor text in the hyperlinks. About 70% of my backlinks for a particular page are with the main keyword I’m going after, and the remainder are for the secondary-keywords that I note as I am writing the original article. I usually just grab them from my WordPress post when I choose a page to build backlinks for.

    I’m not stopping with this site until I reach $1000 per month. Then I’ll maintain it only and get to work on another site – then repeat! This way, each site will eventually be an authority, with high PR pages throughout, have hundreds of pages total, give me a secure feeling, and I’ll know that I’ll be able to stomp the competition – because the majority of those chumps will be trying to beat me on individual keywords with lame, thin sites, which will mean they have no chance!

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      That’s awesome John that you are up to $6/day! And thanks for the encouraging words!

    • Aaron

      Aaron

      Hey I like your plan. Question, what do you mean by let it age, you just sit on it before indexing it?

      And where are you gettin your High PR backlinks from?

    • KimP

      KimP

      Sounds like a great plan, John! I’ve never thought of letting a domain age for a bit, that way you can be slightly more aggressive with back linking. Good stuff!

  12. aldo

    aldo

    Hello Spencer,

    I cannot agree more with you about backlinks and thats why i very jealous with my backlinks and is because there are lots of people offering link building services that only think that this is just puting an anchor text to your site.

    Having the right backlinking system takes time and try and error but is something you must have if you are on the SEO Business. Having a system developed for this link building structure is a must so you dont let one of the most important part after the research that have to be done right or there is not turn back.

    In your case that you have a nice recurring passive income is to build your Backlinking Team to get incharge of every linkbuilding you will be needing in the future , this takes time but this will pay off everytime you need to build new links to one of your websites…

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Great comment Aldo!

  13. Vijay

    Vijay

    thanks Spencer for the advice on link building. I too think overdoing link building from non trusted sources can result in penalty!!!

  14. Aaron

    Aaron

    Hi Spencer, nice post we appreciate your insight. This is why I am no longer looking to Fiverr for link building. I am starting each site out with social bookmarking and the tried and true article marketing method with Article Marketing Robot. Along with maybe a squidoo lense or 2. Of course this is all going to be done weeks apart but initially Im just going to drip feed the article submissions like 2 a day or something for a month and see what happens. Its enough work as it is im not trying to have Google hold the lid down over me for longer so to speak with stupid penalties before I can really break into this business.

    I am just starting out but I am busting my butt right now to have 20 sites up in the next 30 days :) If I can get each site only making 4 bux a day thats around $3k a month :) An awesome addition to my full time income.

    • Aaron

      Aaron

      oops mathcheck. I mean 30 sites BTW :)

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Sounds great Aaron – best of luck!

  15. Bill Allen

    Bill Allen

    Yeah, sometimes cheap things aren’t always so cheap. Fiverr can still be a great place to get linking done. You just need to know what kind of things o buy. Like getting someone to do an Article Marketing Robot run for 5 bucks is great, and safe. Wish you the best of luck on the new ones!

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I’m sure you are exactly right Bill.

  16. Gabe

    Gabe

    I think you’re right about over use of primary keyword in your backlinking. I saw the seomoz video and I’m convinced of this. I’m moving away from exact match anchor text too.

    Are you targeting a new niche/keyword this time or the same one?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I am targeting the same one – because I still think its a good keyword.

  17. Don

    Don

    Well I have to tell you I had a similar situation happen 4 weeks ago.

    I was on the second page of google at #17 for my keyword. I ordered a gov – edu profile package off of fiverr and I disappeared completely out of the rankings, not even top 200.

    Luckily, I was able to get the email and password to the accounts that were created and I went back to all the links and deleted all anchor text but 2 of them. After a little over a week the site appeared on the 4th page and now after 2-3 weeks it is at #11 today.

    Taught me a good lesson.

    • Aaron

      Aaron

      WOW! Google does NOT PLAY! I would need a drink or two if I saw my site so close to the top then dissappear like that. What a hassle.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks for sharing Don – very interesting experience!

  18. Takeachance

    Takeachance

    Its was nice to hear I was not the only one! Would be interested to hear the date your rankings fell. I say this because my authority site suffered exactly as yours did for exactly the same reasons I believe. My site fell off the G00gle cliff on the 27th August and despite contuining to build good quality links whilst adding fresh and unique content it has not recovered.

    It is worth adding that I beleive this new anchor text variation penalty is only being applied to new sites. My site was just 2 months old and whilst I fell into the same trap as you with around 80% of my links being exact matches for the keyterms, I have applied the same techniques to older more mature sites without a problem.

    The lesson here is as you state, keep varying your anchor text whilst keeping the primary targeted terms included (and lgain links from ‘quality sources’). Examples of a ‘natural’ anchor text profile would be if my target term was ‘red widgets';

    more
    click here
    red
    widgets
    more red widgets
    see the widgets
    http://www.redwidgets.com
    http://www.redwidgets.com
    redwidgets.com

    etc, etc.

    • Ye Tun Win

      Ye Tun Win

      Hi Takeachance,

      Your site was hard hit at Aug 27, Andy in a comments below experienced it at Aug 28, and one of my sites on Aug30. But mine came back after 2 weeks of backlinking using article marketing.

      Hope this help!

  19. Grants College

    Grants College

    Hi Spencer,

    Will you just take the same article from the old site, delete it and then re-post it onto the new one ?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I have completely deleted the old site already. Once I am certain that nothing from the old site is indexed in Google anymore, I will then start posting the old articles on the new site.

  20. Lando

    Lando

    Ok, so which services exactly did you use? I’m going to use them to sink my competition.

    Not really, just saying how stupid that is if Google really does penalize on backlink issues.

  21. Steve Wyman

    Steve Wyman

    Hi Spencer,

    Your thoughts are very interesting given your experience and succes to date.

    I too have concerns about the fiverr packages of .edu you commented on.

    You see it makes no sense for your website to get 100 .edu instant backlinks as many of the ,edu sellers claim on fiverr. thats going to make a mess of link velocity and also diversity. Not a good think.

    However some of the vendors will allow you to have 20 urls’s and 40 anchor texts for example out of the packet that way your getting a max of 5 links to each site and can mix up the text as well. for a fiverr that would be worth while.

    Im also concerned that as some of us are being open on the websites were building and the practices being used that we might be subject to a manual audit.

    Im going to do a pure speculation and suggest that the lack of diversity on the anhcor text together with a rapid .edu velocity that then stops mixed with the profile of the project may have meant you got a manual audit and hence penalised in the way you mention.

    I have a small site in a very uncompetative market which gets penalised every time i try to build a link to it.. It can take 3 month for it to reappear out of the penalised box (not sandbox which doesnot exist :-))

    hope that contibutes to the discussion and best of luck with the three new sites.

    regards

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks Steve – it does indeed add to the overall discussion. Great insights!

  22. aldo

    aldo

    Now that i know more information about your link building structure i can say from my experience the following:

    Maybe you bought some packages form fiver that after they build lots of backlinks they start pinging and entering the links to linklicious so they get crawled and as a result google will check all those links at almost the same time and the result is start jumping around to nowhere .

    I have done this before and i have learned it the bad way, but this is experience to the pocket .

    So thats why i like to create my on backlink system using some tools to make it easier.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Great points Aldo. I agree.

  23. Joe

    Joe

    I’ve always just used 2 anchor texts for my linkbuilding so far – the main keyword and the plural and I’ve not been sandboxed like this but not all my sites are number one.

    Perhaps its time I mixed my anchors up a bit and see what happens.

  24. Matthew

    Matthew

    Thanks for sharing. From your post and some of the comments, it sounds like certain kinds of backlinks could hurt a site. Doesn’t that mean people could use those kinds of techniques against their competitors? Spend some money on Fiverr to have a competitor’s site penalized? That’s kind of scary.

  25. Michael

    Michael

    I think you need to take it a bit slower this time and leave the ads off for a while. I’m sure the first site raised a lot of red flags being so new.
    Besides, it’s not like you need the money LOL.
    Cheers,
    Michael.

  26. Tony

    Tony

    How did you know that Google had deindexed your site? Did the pagerank go to N/A?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      As explained in the post – my site was not deindexed.

  27. arik

    arik

    awesome man loven it I think your right mostlikely link packs you never know and big G I think like alotta variation and natural building i think if they don’t see that they know were in it for the money and not so much people ass kissen with the least amour of money maken only there aloud to make dumptrucks full of money :) but they like to play we know that just gotta fly under radar I think we can use link blasts but it needs to be high quality .edu .gov are really high page rank blasts and for them to be spread out especially on a new site thats what I read anyways try freetrafficsystem there sweet and gettin the 3 domains starting fresh linking them together and doing slow blasts allover different ips they know it’s funny when one day you got like 50 links from blogs and forums and
    sh@t I’ve done it got get that money though trial and error I think the most powerful with least amount of work are high pr intex links can’t say for certain but I’ve read alotta sh@t and the people who dominate there niches have lots of intext links on articles on there blogs and other higher pr blogs sorry I’m rambling just like to get this out for everyone peace sorry I had the worst grammar skills I know

  28. DeAnna Troupe

    DeAnna Troupe

    I think the fact that you did not vary your keywords is what hurt you the most. Of course I don’t know exactly what method the fiverr people used to build your links. I would not rule fiverr out completely. I think you just ran into some dishonest people.

  29. Federico

    Federico

    Hello Spencer,
    I truly believe your site was penalized because of backlinks or articles….
    Have you checked well each article you published on the site????
    I think that can take a huge effect on the rank.

    Guys the same packages you find on Fiverr you find on Warrior Forum 3 times more expensive, I think they’re using the same tools.

    I believe Google doesn’t like thin sites but It doesn’t like big site neither, for them is better have 10 sites with different info than 1 site with all the same info gather together(just my guess).

    In my opinion too many articles with (maybe) some duplicated content caused all this problem.
    In this case if you get the same articles to add in a new site, it can hurts again, I’d spin or check them very carefully.

    Guys, could you add here on this post any great backlinks services????

    We will be really checking your future attempts, Spencer…

    We hope you are right, so this way we can avoid your first backlink strategy.

    All the best and good luck with your new domains.

    .

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks for the feedback Federico!

  30. Larry

    Larry

    Thanks for writing about your thoughts as to possibly why your site was penalized. It’s always hard to figure out the “why” since communication with Google is very hard (to say the least).

    I was going to post my thoughts on your previous post as to possible reasons for the penalty but since we cannot see the actual site it makes it even harder to “guess”. (I understand why the site was not provided though).

    I wanted to mention the worst experiences I’ve had about being penalized were due to my “cross-linking” between related sites that I own. The penalties were extreme and repeated. I wrote an artilce about it with a chart so people could see what actually happened and I’ll never forget it.

    I don’t usually post links to my articles (I hate building backlinks…) but people may be interested in what happened so I’ll link my name to the page just in case.

    Thanks for the updates and good luck with the next attempt ont he site.

  31. Shuck

    Shuck

    Spencer,

    I would advise you to keep the old site. It wasn’t very old, what, a month?? That’s waay too early to see if the site is going to be a dud or not.

    I think you were using too little anchor text variation, and possibly too many pages that targeted the same keyword…?

    With a new site, you should be getting no more than 2 links per day for the first 3 to 6 months. You should also be using 50 to 70% of the links pointing to the home page, with varying text that includes “click here”, “my website”, etc.

    I doont evaluate sites until the 3 month mark.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Shuck – the site is already down.

  32. Shuck

    Shuck

    @Federico

    I run a backlink service using a private network of blogs. I am currently creating 30, 60, and 90-day plans for sites that get 2 links per day for 30, 60, or 90 days at a time.

    I’ve had very good results using this method, especially if you have high quality content.

    • Federico

      Federico

      Thanks Shuck, I bookmarked your site services, but just wondering if this article service still working nowdays…

      Wow guys, so great information on this post, everybody try to help each other…
      niche pursuits is a community :)

  33. Brankica

    Brankica

    Bad situation but a great post. I just wanted to add the thing about getting your site deindexed. It happened to me once cause I messed the sitemap file. I asked for a reconsideration and it was reindexed in matter of days. So it isn’t that bad (unless deindexing was a result of spam or something else Google really hates).

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Brankica – great point; I guess if you can find out why your site was deindexed its probably easy to get it reindexed. The hard part is finding out exactly why usually though. Glad you got your site back!

  34. Andy

    Andy

    Congratulations for your excellent article!

    I would like to tell my experience to have your opinion.
    I have created several blogs, some of the same period. One of these http://www.nizoralhairloss.org, after about a month after the onlineI was able to get it in second position of the first page.

    This result I managed to keep it constant for the next 4 months. Suddenly, from August 28, the positioning of my site has fallen for the same keywords. I have not done anything different than usual, but I can not understand why I was penalized by Google.

    The articles are all original and not think of having committed other errors. The strategy of Backlinking is the same I used for the other sites.

    I Also have your own opinion? In your opinion, what can I do?

    Thanks so much.

  35. Mike

    Mike

    Spencer,

    I recently started reading your posts and blog. I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I can imagine that although it’s somewhat frustrating overall; in the long run, the lessons learned will have great value.

    Mike

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks Mike!

  36. Alex

    Alex

    Hi Spencer,

    This post is exactly what I needed to read today. Five days ago I noticed that one of my sites was hit by some sort of sandbox penalty.

    I’m pretty sure it has something to do with some combination of link building velocity, overuse of exact anchor text (as you described) and low link quality. I only ordered 3 gigs from fiverr for my 2 week old site and it seems like that was enough to sandbox it. My advice for those ordering Fiverr gigs is to order one at a time and aim for quality over quantity (stay far away from spam comment .edu links).

    After reading both this post and the one you linked to by electron plummer, I have decided to stick with the domain and continue adding content and building links (quality this time). My site shows up on the second page for “keyword suffix” which could mean that it is being penalized, but I think the sandbox is more likely. I am in the same camp as Dave at the beginning of the comments – if permanently sandboxing or penalizing a site were that easy, people would be doing it to their competitors all the time.

    Cheers, Alex

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Best of luck Alex!

  37. Aaron

    Aaron

    Hey Spencer did I remember you saying something about you dont like to use analytics or webmaster tools cuz you dont want to risk them doing anything to your site? I think its a pretty useful tool. In fact the first I ever made was of course a tech related one so I learned pretty quick it was gona be a dud so I just chalked it up to being new at this. But once analytics started to finally provide data on my site I noticed that even though the main keyword i was shooting for I was a ways back, I was on the second page for a different variation on my main keyword! And this other keyword pays $1.62 and gets an ok amount of searches. I guess ill just write a fresh article with that keyword in it and find some others and work my way up and the site may not be miss after all via other keywords. Im only shooting for 3 bux a day anyways. :)

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Aaron – I stopped using Google Analytics for a while, but I was still using an analytics program called Piwik stats. Being able to analyze your website is too important for the very reason you mentioned (among others) to not use any type of analytics. I have now just recently gone back to Google Analytics because its so much easier to use.

  38. freddy

    freddy

    Hi Spencer

    Thanks for sharing !

    Have you check your pictures (duplicate’s) in your web pages ?
    I realize that a few of my micro niche were sandboxed when i start to have to much traffic from pictures alone (not original pic) !

  39. brian

    brian

    fyi, from everything I have read….on new domains/new sites getting low quality incoming links can impact your site vs. an established site that google has already assigned rank/quality to isnt as impacted by low quality links…..so you only send the high quality stuff direct to your site and lower quality stuff to your high quality stuff(but not direct to your site)

  40. Lando

    Lando

    I used the Drip Feed Blast service a while ago for 3 of my sites. All three have tanked in Google results for the main keyword.
    I have one other site that I didn’t use DFB for and it sits at number one.
    I guess crappy links could indeed be the cause….maybe Google can tell that since you have multiple sites getting crappy links, that it is the owner who is creating them.
    A competitor would most likely not create backlinks for more than one of your sites.
    Maybe that’s how they determine if someone is trying to sabotage your site through backlinking.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Interesting – thanks for sharing!

  41. Miggy

    Miggy

    Thanks to the link on electronplumber. It was very helpful. Also, thanks for being so honest on your blog. Best of luck for your next projects.

  42. Joe Magnotti | AdSense Flippers

    Joe Magnotti | AdSense Flippers

    Spencer I totally agree with you on the link building anchor text angle. I think this is the number one reasons sites get sunk. Think of it this way — if you but too much salt in your soup the only solution is more soup. Unfortunately, that means building out lots of links with varying anchor text. Not something easy to do, and perhaps not worth it if the site was not earning much anyway.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I agree. I think its very important to vary the anchor text – and I have a new found vigilance to be more careful about it! Great point about the salt and soup :) I would totally try to dilute the bad links, but its just not worth my time on the new site. For others, it may indeed be worth it.

  43. Jon

    Jon

    Spencer, great insights! This is incredibly useful info. I ordered some fiverr packages a while ago and they seemed to do just fine because they were specifically for Unique Article Wizard submissions. So I’d say if you know for sure that you’re getting good links from a fiverr gig, you’re okay. But if it’s fishy, stay away. I wouldn’t be suprised if Google has already caught on to spammy type linkbuilding from tools like SE Nuke or SE Robot. I’m keeping my distance from that stuff. Thanks also for the heads up about anchor text variance. Definitely need to watch that.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Jon, I agree. I tend to experiment with different link packages every now and again – just to test different strategies out. Looks like I know what to avoid. If you know what you are getting, then I’m sure fiverr can work. After all the service is really only as good as the provider.

  44. Kelly

    Kelly

    Wow, how interesting that it might’ve been the link building package from Fiverrr that caused your Google woes. Thanks for the learnings, Spencer.

  45. John

    John

    I wouldn’t “globally” discount Fiverr, but instead just the gigs you might have used.

    I started a new niche site, with a new domain name in May 2011, wrote about 10 unique articles for it and then decided to use Fiverr for the first time for the following tasks: AMR submission, UAW submission, Press Release, Social Bookmarking, SENuke run and 50 .edu links.

    I did provide the spun articles myself with spun links and anchor text.

    I only chose highly rated Gigs and read through most of the comments on each gig before deciding. I placed adsense on the site almost immediately and had no problems at all with the big G, in fact, within only 2 to 3 months the site had a PR of 1 – go figure?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      True I shouldn’t discount Fiverr; just the individual providers.

  46. Tom Ewer

    Tom Ewer

    Hey Spencer,

    Good post – it sounds like you suffered a similar fate to me. I think I got too relaxed and built links to the same three anchor texts on a regular basis. It must have stuck out like a sore thumb. Lesson learned!

    Cheers,

    Tom

  47. Sereyboth

    Sereyboth

    Hey spencer, I did read you previous posts about this topic but I didn’t leave any comment. But now I have something to say with it.

    I 80% don’t believe that your site hurt because of link building. I never face any result like that even if I order around 5K of very low quality profile link on fiverr or something like that. I even used to do many blog roll link to my new (less than a week) domain and nothing happen at all. I am not sure if I am lucky.
    Anyways, from one example of my friend whose site was deindexed a month ago, he doesn’t even do any link building since his domain is around 4 year ago and already have many natural backlink.

    Anyways, don’t you think you site are got attacked by any spyware or so?

    I still not believe too much low quality backlink can hurt our ranking, just nothing happen!

  48. Dianne

    Dianne

    A few people asked about reputable linkbuildinv companies. I use SEOSmartlinks.com. It’s only been a few months but they provide a monthly report on where your links are being built. I’ve been very pleased.

  49. rochelle

    rochelle

    I agree, thanks for this post! I enjoy reading your posts.

  50. viko

    viko

    Hi Spencer, You did say in your previous post that you think Google has a bias toward certain suffixes in keyword rich domains. Given that suffix “pro” did not work out for you, what 3 suffixes did you decide to go for this time around?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I think you misunderstood me (probably my fault). I did NOT mean that Google has certain favorite suffixes that they rank better. I just meant that sometimes a domain (not matter what it is called) just do better. So I might have keywordsuffix1.com and keywordsuffix2.com and for whatever reason suffix 2 just jumps in the ranking. I do NOT mean that suffix 2 is always better to use. I just mean that I can create 3 domains on the exact keyword, and 1 of them will perform better. This has nothing to do with the actual domain name or suffix used – it just means that one SITE will perform better. There is nothing wrong with using “pro” as a suffix and I will continue to do so in the future. Does that make sense? The suffixes used have nothing to do with why the site is ranking better.

  51. Don’t do it Spencer! – My experience with a “google penalty” to an authority site | Internet Money Hustle

    Don’t do it Spencer! – My experience with a “google penalty” to an authority site | Internet Money Hustle

    […] on moving all the content over to a new domain, If you have read the post I linked to above or his new plans for authority sites you will see his full reaction and plans. Personally I would keep the old domain and content, and […]

  52. Jason

    Jason

    Every one is talking about letting sites age, and bad link building.
    Well my personal thoughts come from working online with websites for over 8 years.

    1) No link BUILDING for the first 50 days.
    2) No more then 2 articles on the same topic in 3 days.

    So far I have sever sites with no incoming links, sitting on first page of G. Not articles but sites for there respected keywords.

    A major mistake I see everyone doing is Jumping the Gun.

    Yahoo and Google have been in business longer then us and have to protect themselves.

    We to have to do the same. They DO NOT BUY $5 links off fiverr, why should you?

    That’s right they don’t need back links, why?
    They have build a trusted site and put the word out other places. The more noise you can create for your site with out using google to determine why, what, where the better you will be for a authority site.

    If you want to make a quick $20 use fiver
    If you want to make a career off websites. Roll up your sleeves and get your elbows dirty, you will have to pull that far down.

    • brian

      brian

      yeah its hard to figure out all the differing opinions….I know that Matt LaClear backlink packages are very popular on WarriorForum and he says that sending tons of links at once has never sandboxed one of his clients sites…and he sells 5000backlink packages all going to 1 url with rotating 5 keywords…….he even said in his thread to someone asking about risk sending 5000links to their 2month old site and he said its not an issue….I personally would think it would look sketchy seeing 5000backlinks send in 1 week to 1 url on your site……has anyone used his services and seen results ?

  53. Jason

    Jason

    p.s My grandfather once told me, “your competition is beating you because they get their hands dirty more often, you my son need to get your elbows dirty.”

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Love the discussion guys – that’s awesome!

  54. brian

    brian

    spencer were you using google analytics on it ?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Yes. But this would not be a reason why.

  55. Amir

    Amir

    Yeah when I read this I thought how pissed I would be if it ever actually happened to be. Pretty much jinxed myself because yesterday I actually had my highest Adsense day and I checked the ranking of my best site, which was normally around 9-10 but I noticed it wasn’t there and it wasn’t on the first 20 pages either (which I manually checked).

    I looked at the link you have in this post and everything came up fine showing no indication of being indexed or penalized except when I copy a sentence into Google from my site it’s position 5+ instead of 1-2.

    The site is less than 2 months ago so it could be the Google dance. I really hope it is because I had big plans to grow out this site because it was doing so well. So I’m not touching anything for 2-3 weeks then I’ll check how it ranks. How long does the dance usually last?

  56. Chris

    Chris

    Great discussion here. Jason; Thanks for the motivation.
    Spencer; Thanks for offering this platform. We newbies are actually learning a lot from here.

  57. Charleen Larson

    Charleen Larson

    Hi Spencer,

    Found you via AdSense Flippers. I’m sorry to hear your site was penalized. I’ve written about the dangers of using builk backlink packages sold on Fiverr but I’m not sure anyone believes me. Do you mind if I reference your post in a future blog article?

    Regards,

    Charleen Larson

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