Wonder SEO Powers, Activate!

Posted on 28 July 2006 by SonHouse


Shape of a back link…form of a keyword.

If you got that..then we’re about the same age.

Ok..so I’ve been messing around with SEO for sometime, probably since around 1998.  I was doing it back in the day and didn’t even know it.  I was always fooling around with the meta tags and re-writing copy in such a way that was appealing to the SE crawlers.  This is back when there was no google and the main players were yahoo, excite, and lycos.  Also, there wasn’t a ton of spam out there so my site always ranked well in the keywords I was targeting.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve found that the tactics are different and the rules have certainly changed…not that I ever did anything too far on the dark side but I’m learning that some of these rules are somewhat open to interpretation and when you build a site that ranks well just to see it fall from grace due to some crazy algorithmic change or cosmic shift in the universe, then you have to ask yourself, WTF?

Anyway, I’m learning the hard way on a few of my projects.  I’ve been working on a network of information sites for the last 6 months.  Editing the pages, SEO totally on the up and up, adding tracking code, serving the ads, etc.  and one day, I’ll be damned, if a few of the sites, didn’t start receiving a ton of clicks drivin completely from google organic search.

So to my amazement, I watched all day as the vistors, clicks and ad dollars started pouring in.  Wow, I couldn’t believe it, all of my hard work was starting to pay off, every refresh in Adsense was seeing more and more cash flowing in…how cool is that?  I scrambled to tweak the pages that were getting the most traffic, started to investigate the back links, and added a few targeted images to the pages, creating a rotating script to keep them fresh.  Then I started working on internal link structures to improve user navigation and experience, built sitemaps and I tried to figure out where I rank in the SERPs.  This goes on for about 1 week.  I hardly slept that week working round the clock to get things done then one day I wake up to every webmaster’s worst nightmare, I can’t find any of the pages in google’s index, not one! I went from about 1,500 pages indexed to 0 overnight…for this one domain.

Hmmm…I about had a heart attack!  Not sure what had happened or why it had happened.  I had been running a program to track SERP’s for the pages and after about 250 searches I realized that the engines may not like this so I stopped.  I then read up that I needed to get a google API License Key which would allow me to do 1,000 searches per day.  So after I received my Key, I sent google a reinclusion request for the domain in question, got down on my knees to beg and told them what I did or thought I did wrong and asked very politely to be included back in the index.  I haven’t heard back, it’s been about 10 days or so, seems that it may take a while.

Then I hit the forums and blogs and discovered I may also have been penalized or banned due to duplicate content, I’m not sure though as I’ve never heard back from them.

The sites in question were information sites made up of articles that I purchased from someone online.  They may and probably are to be considered MFA sites, which I understand were hit hard this month.  The information is very useful and the ads are not very pronounced, and blend very well with the content.  I knew the content was not exclusive, you can find the same articles all over the place, but I thought if I could make improvements and improve the users experience with my pages then I could out rank the others.  Well..seems as though it may have worked a little too well. Keep in mind I kept it on the up and up the whole time, all white hat stuff.

The traffic on my site started to really pick up, 1,000 plus a day, on 7/05/06 and the party ended on 7/12/06.  One thing I read up on was that big changes have been going on at google for the last few months, Big Daddy is out, and working on all of the data centers now.  So my theory is that a bunch of the MFA sites did in fact get dropped or banned or whatever, and my rankings improved after those others were gone…then it was just a matter of time I guess, or I was dropped due to the script I was running to analyze the SERP’s, or there was some kind of shift or major change that effected my sites.  Who knows?

The real frustrating thing here is, I’m not sure what the problem is.

In the meantime though, I’ve been focusing on the other 2 of the big 3.  SERPs in Yahoo and MSN are fair, and continue to improve everyday.  I’ll just keep pluggin’ away, working on the sites and see what happens over the next few months.

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