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    Home Page gone. Forums Top-Ranked


    Hello everyone,

    Have run a website for 17 years now and have enjoyed all the challenges and rewards of doing so. We enjoyed #1 ranking on Page 1 of Google for nearly 10 of those 17 years by doing everything "authentically" and "manually". I never got "creative" with my SEO or tried to skirt any rules, and Google rewarded us (I assume) for just building relevant, unique content.

    Then Google started doing algorhythm updates around 2012 and we started to drop. By 2015 my home page was completely gone from Google altogether, and I hadn't done anything new. Most of the site was not updated for many years, and this may be a huge factor, but our Forums continued with new content due to user-driven activity.

    Today running a search for our key phrase: "hair loss" reveals that our home page has been literally deleted and is found nowhere. But our forums come up for many search phrases near the top.

    In the last 4 months I have engaged in a massive cleanup of any duplicate content, dead URLs, and even begun a disavow file as we have nearly 17 years of "clutter" to clean up SEO-wise. Our site wasn't even mobile friendly 6 months ago, so we completely redid the whole thing and became SEO experts, fine-tooth-coming the entire site the best we knew how.

    But despite massive improvements and changes, our traffic and rankings have not budged an inch. Not a single bit of movement.

    I found this thread where someone reported a similar problem, and with the suggestions given, saw the home page return to top ranking only a couple days later:
    Secondary pages ranking but not the homepage. Everything seems to be right from a tec

    I am hoping someone can analyze our situation and try to identify what might be going wrong:
    hairlosstalk.com is the site.

    Thank you.
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    Originally Posted by SEOBurger
    Today running a search for our key phrase: "hair loss" reveals that our home page has been literally deleted and is found nowhere. But our forums come up for many search phrases near the top.
    When you say 'Deleted', it means dropped from Google's index, which isn't true (fortunately) - your site is still in Google's index.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=site...NcvfvgTAupGIDA

    So I assume that you mean your site's rank has dropped for your targeted keyword 'hair loss' (or any other terms that you might be targeting)

    In the last 4 months I have engaged in a massive cleanup of any duplicate content, dead URLs, and even begun a disavow file as we have nearly 17 years of "clutter" to clean up SEO-wise.
    That's okay, but unless you can identify the real cause for the drop, you cannot take apt corrective measures. Merely disavowing links won't help.

    • Have you received any message from Google your Search Console (Webmaster Tools)?
    • How have you built links to your website in all these 17 yrs?


    I had a quick look at your backlink profile and it seems very likely that you have been hit with either Penguin or a Manual Review

    Found your website listed on directories that have links to Viagra and Phentermine sites, example

    http://recipeez.com/phentermine_links_1/hairlosstreatment.html

    Found your link to be listed on over 650 pages from this directory

    http://info.dooasia.com/hair-loss/what_are_you_doing_to_fight_sarcopenia.php

    ..and on several other Link pages like

    http://www.worldhairresearch.com/?cat=143
    http://www.nisim.ca/Useful-Links-s/44.htm (again has links to assorted websites, including those involved in Viagra and Phentermine)

    http://theglobe.org/the_worlds_most_visited_web_pages_68.html (page has over 1000 links to various websites (including links to porn sites)


    ...and several others like above.

    I guess you now know the real reason why your site isn't ranking for your terms in Google anymore.

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    Thanks for the reply. Just now seeing this.

    You're correct that we were hit with some sort of penalty but there is no manual penalty in Console. Since the initial post above, I have hired 3 different teams to try and tackle this backlink mess. Someone definitely conducted a backlink comment spam campaign. Fortunately 90% of *those* went to a handful of pages on my site which we were able to 404.

    The problem is all the others. Total links to our site right now are pushing over 100,000. The site has been around for 17 years keep in mind. There are just too many links to humanly go through.

    For example - the teams I've hired have all done what you just did. They will assume that because there are 20 links to us, it must not be natural, but then it ends up being a discussion forum and they are all natural discussions about hair loss. We were #1 page 1 on google for over 10 years, so we got a lot of attention.

    This has become an unmanageable nightmare. After we dedupe the 100,000 links we end up with about 3,000 unique domains. Some of them are part of the spam campaign. Others are genuine discussions and articles. Others are bot-created blogs with nonsense links to us. We did none of this ourselves. I have never in my life asked for a link from anyone. We never had to. Google was kind to us with free ranking.

    QUESTION: We have been analyzing sites based on whether OUR LINK looks natural within an article, or forum. But you've added yet another layer of complexity and now my head is hurting. We are responsible for what OTHER sites those websites link to also??? How can that even be reasonable There is almost no way we are going to be able to ever tackle this list completely, nor accurately. I've already blown $15,000 on 3 teams to do, and redo this disavow file, and our rankings STILL haven't budged - even after Penguin 4 release on Sept 24.

    In fact, our disavow file which is now about 1,500 URL's long went up 3 days before Penguin 4 was released, and since September 24 we have begun dropping in rankings. So I have begun going BACK through the disavow file to try and see if we were too "willy nilly" with who we included, and have been trying to remove anything that seemed to have a natural link to our site.

    But now that you say where THOSE SITES link to is also going to be penalized towards us, I don't know what to do.

    This is a complete nightmare. My sales have dropped 99% and I have lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars this year in lost sales and traffic.
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    Its funny because I landed back on this page when searching for "dooasia disavow" while going through my own disavow file once again.

    I was just looking at the dooasia website situation you mentioned:

    "Found your link to be listed on over 650 pages from this directory
    http://info.dooasia.com/hair-loss/what_are_you_doing_to_fight_sarcopenia.php"

    I was googling because I didn't know how to handle these.

    So its clearly like "ezinearticles.com" right? Basically a listing of content articles written by whomever, whenever. And there are hundreds of them. But the content is actual content. Its not like a bot-created blog spam site where the sentences make no sense. Many of our links are on bot-blogs that read like: "The girl with the hair loss and her cat but wow, what a belt buckle when she saw him!"

    This site isnt like that. So what do we do with these? They've annoyingly put numerous links to legitimate hair loss sites under every hair loss related article, so we end up with 650 links to us. Is it spammy? Should it be disavowed? I want to be very careful because I strongly believe our current disavow was maybe a little too strict.

    Keep in mind: Google penalizes with Penguin for blatant spammy backlink campaigning and intentional link building based on patterns. I don't know that this would qualify, though it may seem to be obvious at first glance. Its very possible Google has no concern about sites like these for penalty purposes.

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