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    Why Is My Site Ranking on Page 4 for its URL and Brand Name


    I have been working for a luxury jewelry company for the past 1.5 month, taking on the massive duty of heading up their SEM division inhouse, by myself. So to say I have a few questions is an understatement.

    BUT, the main problem is that the company's site, which used to rank on page 1 for its brand name, now ranks on page 4 (up from page 7) for searches of its brandname, as well as searchers looking for the domain itself. Now, just to give you an idea, the site itself does not currently have many inbound links pointing to it (our old blogger site used to be the top result for brand name searches, likely because it had a significant number of links pointing to it from other reputable blogs), and those that do are most certainly of bad quality.

    From what I have been told, there may or may not have been a link package bought and installed by the person who previously held my position, which would make sense as around the time their site plummeted off the first page was roughly when Penguin went into effect. However, these links were apparently removed from the site--as I have ascertained using every tool from SEO Powersuite to Hubspot's Page Grader to SEOMoz's tool--and I have set about whittling down over-sized title tags, fixing broken links, and increasing the site's content.

    But, even though I realize that backlinks can account for as much as 85% of Page Rank and there are substantial issues with the site that I am fixing, it completely confounds me as to why a site that has its brand name in the title tag and content of almost every page would not appear on page 1 for its own brand name. Any insight into what I could be overlooking or just helpful advice on how to turn this situation around would be beyond appreciated. Thank you!

    And to add a little bit more mystery to this case: I just checked Baidu.com and a search for my brand name brought up our site on the top of page 1 of the SERP, but none of the big three stateside are showing us ANY love.
    Last edited by zurkonic; Jul 10th, 2012 at 01:38 PM.
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    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    But, even though I realize that backlinks can account for as much as 85% of Page Rank and there are substantial issues with the site that I am fixing, it completely confounds me as to why a site that has its brand name in the title tag and content of almost every page would not appear on page 1 for its own brand name. Any insight into what I could be overlooking or just helpful advice on how to turn this situation around would be beyond appreciated. Thank you!
    Sounds like an interesting issue, usually even when a site is penalized it still shows as #1 for it's brand name at very least..

    I was going to ask if the domain name was keywords like "goldjewelry.com" but I assume if a blog was ranking first for it that could not be the case.

    Do you mind sharing your site? you can use a url shortener so it doesn't show in this thread when searched.
    I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill
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    Thanks Darren! I was wondering how I could go about directing people to the site without having it appear in searches. And no, it's a very specific URL. Unfortunately, as I just learned, new users cannot post urls and I would appreciate your insight. The name of the brand and site is Paolo Costagli. (is there anyway to not have this term crawled?)

    Originally Posted by DarrenHaye
    Do you mind sharing your site? you can use a url shortener so it doesn't show in this thread when searched.
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    I would try dig deeper into the link thing. Have you run some tools to see the anchors of backlinks? It's very possible that is all of the link are concentrated on the brand, Google would have discounted all of the links with the brand in them, so essentially you would have no backlinks with the brand name, which may be why you rank so poorly.
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    Thank you very much Darrin. I would love to dig deeper to see if the links are concentrated around the brand...which tools would you recommend? (I've done primarily SEO content creation in the past, have much to learn about tools and techniques). Thanks once again!
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    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    Thanks Darren! I was wondering how I could go about directing people to the site without having it appear in searches. And no, it's a very specific URL. Unfortunately, as I just learned, new users cannot post urls and I would appreciate your insight. The name of the brand and site is Paolo Costagli. (is there anyway to not have this term crawled?)
    I haven't got time to do a proper analysis of all your links but there is a lot of nofollow spam comments.

    http://bowtiesouth.com/1961/99-problems-undercarriage-pics

    http://strangeandhappy.com/2010/03/14/eternal-franchise-30-1-of-31-1/

    For example.

    It's not the worst link profile I've ever seen, there aren't that many links that I can find now.. about 300, so your clean up job shouldn't be too hard, hopefully, how many have you already cleaned up?

    You should contact whoever bought these links, ask where they got them, then contact the people who made them and ask them to remove them.. failing that..

    Download spyglass free version, use it to find all the keyword anchor text spam comments and contact the webmasters of those sites and try and get them removed.

    Hopefully when google rolls out penguin again you will be restored.


    --------------------

    I have a question myself if anyone can answer.. nofollow links can't hurt you linking out right.. but what if you're the one receiving the nofollow links? does google use the anchor text of nofollow links in your over all link profile? because it really seems like they do...
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    It really does sound like links, but hard to say without seeing the site. If the bad links were removed, you'll know after the next run.
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    Originally Posted by DarrenHaye

    It's not the worst link profile I've ever seen, there aren't that many links that I can find now.. about 300, so your clean up job shouldn't be too hard, hopefully, how many have you already cleaned up?

    --------------------

    I have a question myself if anyone can answer.. nofollow links can't hurt you linking out right.. but what if you're the one receiving the nofollow links? does google use the anchor text of nofollow links in your over all link profile? because it really seems like they do...
    Thank you again Darren! I haven't started cleaning up the links because quite frankly this is an area of SEO I am less familiar with and wanted to check with others who have more experience in this that myself.

    I actually already have SEO SpyGlass, but wasn't aware that was the module of SEO Powersuite I'd need to identify the incoming anchor links. Before when I was hired, my company called several SEO companies who had initially said we'd be better off with a site re-design, because there were supposedly thousands of terrible backlinks to the site and they did receive a letter in their Google Webmaster Central to that effect. However, those links appear to have vanished, somehow.

    Anyhoo, this is a lot more to go on than where I was at at the start of the day. And just so I'm clear, all that I can really do to remove the spammy links is to contact the webmasters of those sites, no? Also, while I understand the distinction between follow and no-follow, I am a little miffed as to why so many of these links would be designated as no-follow, with Google still penalizing us. I could easily be misreading here, but I thought Google did not crawl no-follow links.

    Thank you all so much for your help!
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    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    Before when I was hired, my company called several SEO companies who had initially said we'd be better off with a site re-design, because there were supposedly thousands of terrible backlinks to the site and they did receive a letter in their Google Webmaster Central to that effect.
    Oh really, could you please paste the message you received here? (cut out the urls if necessary)

    In your webmaster account how many links does it say you have and from where? did you have thousands of links from a couple of sources? but perhaps sidewide links in a footer or sidebar..

    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    while I understand the distinction between follow and no-follow, I am a little miffed as to why so many of these links would be designated as no-follow, with Google still penalizing us. I could easily be misreading here, but I thought Google did not crawl no-follow links.

    Thank you all so much for your help!
    Yes, I'm surprised by nofollow links being a problem, would be interested to hear others thoughts on this..
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    I think nofollow links are also penalized by Google. In my webmaster several weeks ago a received a note that said: Warning, unnatural links detected. Actually it was no follow links. Probably, Google detects the place where you are taking those links. If for example 100 people before you made a spam comments, there is no way Google to miss this opportunity to crush you.
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    Originally Posted by DarrenHaye
    Oh really, could you please paste the message you received here? (cut out the urls if necessary)

    In your webmaster account how many links does it say you have and from where? did you have thousands of links from a couple of sources? but perhaps sidewide links in a footer or sidebar..

    Yes, I'm surprised by nofollow links being a problem, would be interested to hear others thoughts on this..
    Here is the message they originally received of June of last year:
    Dear site owner or webmaster of ...,
    We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
    Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
    We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.
    If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
    If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
    Sincerely,
    Google Search Quality Team

    So from what I can tell, this was done somewhat and whoever was in control of the site at the time made the rest of the poor links 'no-follow', clearly oblivious to the now-apparent fact that poor do-not follow links incur penalties as well.

    In my version of SEO Spyglass, it says I have 496 backlinks, and many of them are repeats or have multiple links from the same domain.

    I guess my remaining question is what can I do to eliminate these poor backlinks (and not all of the 496 are bad...quite a few are from blog articles we reached out for) besides increasing the number of good backlinks and continually generating relevant new content through our blog and updating product descriptions? Thank you again for your wonderful help!
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    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    I guess my remaining question is what can I do to eliminate these poor backlinks (and not all of the 496 are bad...quite a few are from blog articles we reached out for) besides increasing the number of good backlinks and continually generating relevant new content through our blog and updating product descriptions? !
    Contact who ever owns the blogs and ask the to remove the comments..

    Wait a week or so, if they haven't removed them contact them again, after you have done this file a reconsideration request with google.

    Be sure you include everything you have done to try and remove the spam links, list them and say you have contacted the webmasters of those sites, tell them what ones you were successful with removing and what ones you were not.

    I would be hopeful that you have a good chance of this issue being fixed just because it's not tons and tons of links & you do have some perfectly good links as you have said.

    Hopefully google won't take too many weeks to get back to you (I only had to wait one).
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    OK Darren, that makes a lot of sense. Some of them are in Mandarin and Japanese, which makes contacting them tough, but will contact those I can and then file a reconsideration request. I feel like I should wait to submit it after I have uploaded my new optimized product listings to the site...thinking out loud here;) Really Darren, thank you for your help, it has been immense as this has been a real head-scratcher. I inherited not the best SEO and PPC accounts, but am getting some amazing advice here on how to improve both. Take care!

    Originally Posted by DarrenHaye
    Contact who ever owns the blogs and ask the to remove the comments..

    Wait a week or so, if they haven't removed them contact them again, after you have done this file a reconsideration request with google.

    Be sure you include everything you have done to try and remove the spam links, list them and say you have contacted the webmasters of those sites, tell them what ones you were successful with removing and what ones you were not.

    I would be hopeful that you have a good chance of this issue being fixed just because it's not tons and tons of links & you do have some perfectly good links as you have said.

    Hopefully google won't take too many weeks to get back to you (I only had to wait one).

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    • DarrenHaye agrees : NP, let us know how you get on.
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    Success!


    Update: I'm very happy to report that through following Darren's and everyone's advice, increasing good backlinks, and putting in a detailed reconsideration request has put my company back at #1 across the big 3 search engines for our brand name. Now, of course, the real work begins, but this was a big hurdle for us. Thank you to everyone for your help.

    Originally Posted by zurkonic
    OK Darren, that makes a lot of sense. Some of them are in Mandarin and Japanese, which makes contacting them tough, but will contact those I can and then file a reconsideration request. I feel like I should wait to submit it after I have uploaded my new optimized product listings to the site...thinking out loud here;) Really Darren, thank you for your help, it has been immense as this has been a real head-scratcher. I inherited not the best SEO and PPC accounts, but am getting some amazing advice here on how to improve both. Take care!

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    • DarrenHaye agrees : Great!
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    Wow, so cool...thanks for sharing this!

    I find it interesting that you had a manual penalty for backlinks and yet you did not get hit by Penguin. (If this was a Penguin hit then you wouldn't have recovered until a Penguin refresh happened.)

    Congrats on a job well done!
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