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  1. #1
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    Question How could this happen?
    I had a site up about three years ago. It was always ranked as 1st place(actrally all the top 5 places showed mine site) if searched by typing in exactly www.???????.com.

    But something has changed recently. When I type in www.???????.com, there are six other sites show up above my site. Those sites mostly are free directory sites which I never exchanged link or submitted url with.

    How could this happen?

  2. #2
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    I think this is likely to be a "PageRank" issue. Google assigns PageRank to a page, not to a "page-keyword" relationship. Thus, if a directory is deemed to be useful (by Google's algorithms), it might be assigned a high PageRank, while your site might have a lower PageRank. In that case, the higher-PageRank sites will be displayed first (especially if the search term appears in the same number of times with the same prominence on each site -- PageRank should reasonably serve as a "tie-breaker" in such situations).

    Over time, having inbound links from high-PageRank sites should (theoretically) raise your PageRank, but it's certainly not a perfect system.

    You mentioned that this is a 3-year-old site, apparently with few changes. That might be a factor, if Google lowered your site's PageRank because the content was not updated.

    If you install the Google Toolbar and enable the PageRank feature, you can see the PageRank assigned to your site and the others.

    If these directories are "spam" sites (artificially tweaked to gain Google PageRank), you can report them through Google's Webmaster Tools system, and there is a possibility that Google will remove them -- but if these are genuine directories, then of course Google won't remove them.

    Of course, you should certainly check to see if your site is optimized for the domain name -- people often forget to repeat the domain name in the headers and body text of their home page. A common "mistake" is to display the name as a graphical logo, and never referring to it in the text.

    Another possibility is that Google may somehow have "flagged" your site and assigned it a low or zero PageRank. There seem to be an awful lot of reasons Google might do this.

  3. #3
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    It sounds like your site has been penalized in some way. I respectfully disagree that this is a page rank issue. Page rank is just one of many things that are used to rank pages, and it is usually a sign of deeper trouble when you don't rank for www.yourdomainname.com than just a weaker page rank. The anchor text of links pointing to your site is usually much more important than page rank when search returns are ranked.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Recently happened to my main $ite too.

    Read around on other forums and you'll discover this can happen to sites with high pagerank or low. (seems to always happen to me just before Xmas shopping season?)

    Sites have been knocked down in the past by various bugs and exploits like the 302 redirect thing. (dont know if they ever really fixed that).

    IMO if someone types www.mysite.com into a SE, that site should come up first regardless of other factors.
    Other search engines seem to be able to handle this.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch


    Of course, you should certainly check to see if your site is optimized for the domain name -- people often forget to repeat the domain name in the headers and body text of their home page. A common "mistake" is to display the name as a graphical logo, and never referring to it in the text.
    Thank markwelch, i think that might be the reason. I only mention welcom to www.???????.com once in my homepage. I will try to "optimize" the domain a little bit and see what will happen.


    [/QUOTE]If you install the Google Toolbar and enable the PageRank feature, you can see the PageRank assigned to your site and the others.[/QUOTE]

    Can you tell me how to do that?

  6. #6
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    Go to this page http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/ and click on toolbar, lower left hand side.

  7. #7
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    Thank you. The pagerank shows my site as 2/10.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by atonca
    Thank you. The pagerank shows my site as 2/10.
    Pagerank is determined only by inbound links and the amount of PR each IBL is worth that's being fed to the page - depending on the PR of the linking pages and how many other links are on them. PR2 is on the very low side, there need to be more inbound links to the site.

    I just looked at a search for one of my newer sites for www.example.com that has very few links, which shows PR2 on the toolbar but which I know is "internally" at Google either a PR4 or close to it because of a link that's been added. In fact, it shows the homepage at #2 and indented page{s) under it. But there is another site listed at #1 with no PR showing and one right after that's the identical site as the other but a different domain name.

    They're scraper sites running Adsense and both have links to my site, as does another in that listing.

    It's not only a matter of PR (which doesn't count for as much in the same way it used to), it's also a matter of having enough IBLs numerically. Right now that site of mine is actually around PR4, but still doesn't have enough numerically, and it won't even matter much how much PR new links to be gotten will have as long as they're decent, they'll still help just by sheer numbers.

    penalized in some way
    I have to disagree with that, it's often a case of just not enough inbound links.

  9. #9
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    Speaking of inbound links, I have over 100 pages with more than 10 categories link to each other. Is that enough? I don't have any exchanged links with other sites, would that be a problem?

    Markwelch mentioned about page updating. I don't update my homepage that often unless I need to add or delete something. That could be one of the reason my site went from no.1 to the bottom of the page. Personally I don't like sites change too often, especially when I get used to the old look and feeling of one site. I guess I have to change that thought now.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by atonca
    Speaking of inbound links, I have over 100 pages with more than 10 categories link to each other. Is that enough? I don't have any exchanged links with other sites, would that be a problem?
    Those aren't inbound links, they're internal links within the site. Those only move PR around and distribute it within the site, but PR is added from links to the site from other sites - those are what inbound links are.

    Markwelch mentioned about page updating. I don't update my homepage that often unless I need to add or delete something. That could be one of the reason my site went from no.1 to the bottom of the page. Personally I don't like sites change too often, especially when I get used to the old look and feeling of one site. I guess I have to change that thought now.
    Updating has nothing to do with PR (which comes from inbound links to the site), but "updating" doesn't mean changing the whole look of a site. Adding or deleting something to the homepage is updating it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    Those aren't inbound links, they're internal links within the site. Those only move PR around and distribute it within the site, but PR is added from links to the site from other sites - those are what inbound links are.
    So, in order to get inbound links, I should do some link exchange with other sites?

    My site do receive link exchange requests from other sites once in a while. Since I'm not quite get if it is good or bad for link exchange, I haven't done any of those yet.

    Plus, google has been rankng my site as no.1 for years just by searching my domain name. That made me ignore the need to "optimize" my site until things all changed lately. Now I really need to do sth with the page ranking.

  12. #12
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    Plus, google has been rankng my site as no.1 for years just by searching my domain name.
    How many people are actually looking for the site by its name? Most people go looking for STUFF.

    Yeah, look for some decent link exchanges and decent directories for one-way inbound links.

  13. #13

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    Sounds like a natural google progression. OP doesn't say in the 3 years if the site was updated regularly with fresh content. If you build a site, get to the top, and then don't do anything (or very little) with it for 3 years chances are you will start dropping lower in your SE rankings.

    I have several sites that others that MENTION my sites have higher google positions. Rather frustrating to search for my site and not be the top one sometimes.

  14. #14
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    Yeah, look for some decent link exchanges and decent directories for one-way inbound links.
    What are some legitimate "decent directories" to try to get one's links on, that aren't just link farms which Google seems to recently have been penalizing sites for using? Also, I thought that any sites that exist expressly for web site owners to exchange links with for potentially better search engine results (i.e. "link exchanges"), and have no real content of their own, are also inherently bad in G's eyes (and their algos)?

    What G has been trying to convince us is that in this day and age, your site has to have a lot of relevance by way of many, many other sites legitimately linking to it because it has content that's useful, or the site is cool, or whatever gets perfect strangers to link to someone else's site.

    Which, if true, makes it damn hard for beginners, people who aren't trusted experts in something, and crappy web designers to get anything up on the natural results to pretty much ever be seen by anyone. I suppose aside from your area of product promotion being a really tiny niche area where you don't have a lot of other sites to contend with. It's very, very hard for affiliates to get on the natural results without a whole lot of work in development, expertise, and luck, not to mention the ton of wait time for the site to work its way up and get noticed. That's my semi-educated take on it, anyway. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. It's much less difficult for merchants who can build up a reputation by way of the actual products that they sell!

    Admittedly I'm only novice to intermediate level in this whole marketing game. I use PPC fairly well and have little knowledge or experience getting my sites into the natural results. I freely admit that the SEO route has just seemed too difficult in the short term, if you don't have months of time to develop your content and site structure for each type of product you intend to promote.

    I'm also curious why the OP would need his domain name to appear first if it's an affiliate site. How many people would just type that domain name into the SEs unless his site is already well known through Internet popularity?

  15. #15
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    DMOZ, Yahoo, Best of the Web, GoGuides, JoeAnt.

    You don't need thousands of links, especially if they are coming from crappy pages/sites. The quality and trustworthiness of the link is infinately more importanat than the amount of links.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    I'm also curious why the OP would need his domain name to appear first if it's an affiliate site. How many people would just type that domain name into the SEs unless his site is already well known through Internet popularity?
    You got me on this one. I had to do a google search asking what "OP" means. It give me "ocean pacific", "order of peaches", "co-op", "opinion"......

    until the 4th page it says "OP: //. [Usenet; common] Abbreviation for “original poster”, the originator of a particular thread


    To answer your curious question: Probably I don't need my domain name to appear first but it makes me feel awfully good to have my site on top of the page natually. I use the same keyword terms on google adwards, they ask for $10/click to have my ad activated.

  17. #17
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Unless your domain is an important keyword to you, don't sweat this one, as mentioned above. Focus more on getting keyword rich inbound links (Not spammy, but rich) for the products you are trying to sell. It's the biggest "off the page factor" you can control, to a degree.

    What I've found interesting of late for some of my sites in google is that they tend to rank the RSS feed for my site ahead of the index page. And I do quite a bit of branding around the web, so it concerns me a little.

    Everyone here (mostly) knows what an RSS feed is, but Most People (TM) don't. So if you google one of my brands, you get an RSS feed as the first result, which results in statistical traffic, but not "traffic". Not sure how to fix this yet though.
    Kevin Webster
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  18. #18
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Noth and WRYoung,

    Any other hints you'd like to divulge on how to get some of these quality inbound links? I don't know personally any big time bloggers or webmasters with high traffic sites, so how would I get important sites to want to link to my own sites?

  19. #19
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    I usually start with the main directories, but almost all of them except DMOZ cost to get into. Then I target a certain amount of sites that I want to try to get links from. The amount varies on how important the site I am working on is. I also realize while targeting these sites that I will only get a small number to link to me.

    You have to have something linkworthy if you want decent links. Syndicated content and/or rss feeds are not something worth linking to. You have to have unique deep worthwhile content somewhere. Attempt to make a page or section an authority type document. Then let people know about it. Most won't link to it, but if it is good enough, some will.

    I have written pages of content for other sites in exchange for a link back. I have also bought links, but usually avoid this, unless I can get an in content link from an authority site.

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