On our weekly indexation check, Ben pointed out to me that 12 of my expired domains got deindexed. That’s rough, but the positive spin is that it’s only 4% of my network, and was a nice little warning to change my other sites NOW. I’m going to get into a dissection of what I think the update was, but first I want to explain a few lessons I want to include in this post.
1) This is yet another hit. I get a piece of bad news like this at least once a month, and I’m banged up worse than Sylvester Stallone. If you are doing this for a living, you will get hit, and this post hopefully is an example of how to react both logically and emotionally. I am not panicking, I am not avoiding the problem and I am not complaining. I am curious as to why they got hit, and I am reacting by improving both these sites and the rest of my network.
2) This also forces me to inspect the actual sites in my blog network, with posts, about me pages and everything, and clean them up. I will also make other changes to these sites by hypothesizing on how Google may update in the future.
3) I take these monthly blows as a wake-up call and I always then create a new iteration of these sites for the next batch. For example, I have decided for the next batch of 50 blogs I setup this month I will make every 3rd post link-free, and show the full post not just the excerpt.
4) Do not go out and copy word for word what I am doing, in any of the posts on this site. I am showing my processes in hopes that it will inspire others to think laterally, not to copy my processes to a tee. My biggest fear is that this audience will grow exponentially, and everyone will be doing exactly the same thing is me. This is a recipe for disaster, as if my processes are used on tens or hundreds of thousands of sites, the chance of Google ruining it for EVERYBODY goes up exponentially. And I will go from hero to villain overnight :) In fact this is so important that I will make an entire post on this.
Ok now that is out of the way, here’s how I dissected the problem:
Common IP /server – Are they on the same host? Google could have possibly hit the host. If so did other sites on the same host get hit, and if not, what was different between them?
Of the 12 sites that got hit, the IPs are all completely different, though 11 sites were on Indianets, which is a cheap seo host. I have not promoted SEO Hosts on this blog for exactly this reason, it is easy for Google to come down on them. That being said, I have 37 other sites on indianets that didn’t get touched, so it’s probably not the problem, but it does make me want to move away from IndiaNets anyway and move towards more shared hosts. At the very least I will not be putting any more sites on SEO Hosts going forward.
Too much Low Quality Content.
These sites actually had some of my old link building “resumes” on them, which were basically just machine-generated resumes with the links as “examples of written work”. The idea was that each of the sites had content written by a collection of authors, and those authors would post their resumes on the site in hopes that they could get more work. That’s plausibly deniable right? Wrong. In theory this was ok, but in practice it got out of hand, because I broke rule #4 on the succesful SEO mindset, and “rested on my laurels”. The sites that got hit all had 16 resumes on them, and under 5 pieces of regular content. If I had always been producing, I would never have had this many resumes on a single site.
There are some other sites in the same network that also have 16 resumes (as all sites from this network would have 16 resumes), and they didn’t get hit. It could be that they are next. Ben is adding new content and removing the resumes as I type this, and I’ll update if anything else gets hit.
About the resumes – This worked great for 2 years, but a recent Panda refresh killed it. I had not gone out and removed all the resumes, which is my fault. After that Panda Refresh I converted over to having news sites that had news style article posted with the links embedded within.
Note that I would much rather have a site banned than have it penalized. The process for getting a site back is pretty simple, Ben will just create a webmaster tools account, remove the low quality content and had if 5 or so pieces of good content and apply for a reconsideration request. If it is denied we will just apply again (each time it goes to a different manual reviewer, and one might be having a good day or be less finicky than others). I believe only a couple of them warrant the effort.
Questions, comments, hypthesize? Leave a comment! Also if you also had any sites de-indexed today, leave a comment!