Google Says "No Ranking Soup for You"


Many forums are commenting about recent heavy use of a -30 ranking penalty in Google.


The place 31 phenomen

There is also a 34-pages discussion at the german Abakus forum.

Someone told in the comments of a german SEO blog that he got this information from a Google employee: It is a manually operated ranking penalty for little misdoings. It will end through a timecode. This penalty is only for short periods, because it is only for little misdoings. In his case the ranking penalty should be last circa 30 days.

I've got one..

been going for 4 months now... (and yes with naughty deed removed)

but absoLUTELY a +30 penalty or filter does exist... and I am guessing its for relatively minor infractions? (otherwise why would they even allow you on page 4)

>> +30 penalty Ah, just like

>> +30 penalty

Ah, just like the old days... +20 not enough any more? :P

Be interesting to know if the expiration restores the former ranking, or triggers a new review... any of you boys tracking G internal IP's?

> Be interesting to know if the expiration

I'm beginning to think it's permanent... or at least a very long term (can't imagine not passing a new review)... otherwise I would have retired to a carribean island already ;-)

You gotta love the sarcasm

You gotta love the sarcasm buried in the forums. I bet 90% of the readership misses it:

This is amazing. Every search I've done today has had a site that ranked #31. More people are affected by this penalty than I originally thought.

Today it's a -30 penalty, because we humans love round numbers and can see such things in the SERPs. But honestly, does anyone believe Google has implemented a -30 hand penalty as a new innovation? There's no -20, or -4, or -427?

It's a "signal" for sure, but crafted PR as typical for Google. The fun part is, what happens if you don't change anything? And if you do... if you "adjust" the brim of your gray hat... doesn't that admit culpability?

Andy is correct in asking "why would they allow you on page 4"? Well, because they don't know intent, and can't arbitrate the gray areas without tipping their hand. Why not make it obvious and let the web master say sorry and try to do better next time?

I have seen some signs of a

I have seen some signs of a site that would and was a #1 for a query now ranking at #31 across a ton of queries. Not sure how much I can reveal or even if saying that makes me sound like a wack job, but...


> But honestly, does anyone believe Google has implemented a -30 hand penalty as a new innovation?

Not sure if you're saying this is a "tinfoil hat" / rubbish theory?

I have seen this on many, many, many sites.

And in fact, the first TEN TIMES I saw it, I said to myself, Andy, you're just a crazy paranoid SEO.

4 months later... seen it too many times, am absolutely certain there's a +30 filter (or "artifact"), not saying I know how or why, but I know it IS, and I know it's 30.

Crazy guesses: (entirely "hunch" / empirical) -- link analysis -- temporal link analysis -- neighborhoods -- "un-TrustRank"

Sorry I wasn't clearer. I

Sorry I wasn't clearer. I meant that to me, of course there are demotion penalties. They don't have to be integer values (like "drop 30 spots") and it doesn't even make sense to do that *except* as a signal.

I expect Google has imposed demotion penalties all along. "-30" means top of page 4 for the default 10-per-page SERP. If it were me working at Google, I'd never try and impose a linear "drop 30 spots" deal as that's not the way algo's work. I'd say "if {criteria==met} then "disqualify from the first 3 pages" as a way of swatting it (and it's influence) out of the market. Viola... if it then organically outranks whatever page wants to be at that #31 spot, it appears at the "-30" position. Naturally that is what will be noticed by any competitive webmaster that sees the ban imposed... of course his page naturally outranks what was #32, and assumes the new #31 position.

It may be a "3 page ban" or a "page 4 penalty" or a "unfair advantage penalty" or even an "interference penalty" or something like that, but not a "-30" penalty. I suppose that we can now say the page is in the "penalty box" (ducking for cover).

If the unit is "page" then look for a 11,21,31,41,51, etc appearance. Past recognized handjobs were spot #4 (not in top 3) and for a little while I thought I was seeing "not in top 6" in some serps. And why not? Google has all the data. They can do whatever they want. It's only critical mass of eyeballs on rank check reports that caused this "-30" thing to get noticed.

For ranking, the stick (adjustments) is becomng as important as the carrot (links) and is that surprising anyone?

Yep + 2 cents

As John Andrews said + 2 cents:

1. It is a periodically run process.
2. It is not on pages it is on keywords.

> It is not on pages it is on keywords.

I am seeing it on the domain level, regardless of page or keyword/query

>For ranking, the stick (adjustments) is becomng as important as the carrot (links) and is that surprising anyone?


If anyone wants to believe "a link can't hurt you", I have a 4-sided triangle I can sell you...

>> a 4-sided triangle LOL,

>> a 4-sided triangle

LOL, that would be a "square"

Interesting - just had

Interesting - just had someone approach me with a similar issue - #1 for a pretty competitive term, then to page 4. Now gone. All over the past couple of weeks.

Not had time to analyse it properly, but seems that most links were from article syndication, often for the same keywords.


ADDED: Check on their name shows them as 4th on page 4 for their own name. Interestingly, it's not the normal homepage URL, but is appended: /?a_aid=603&a_bid=5

A clue?

Maybe we can put heads together on TW to actually try to figure this filter out.

Just found one of my sites

Just found one of my sites experiencing this - been online for 4 years, never suffered any penalty - have barely updated the content in a few years (and done no link building work) - its as "natural" a site as can be, although some pages are fairly low content wise (and potentially site wide footer text may be considered as some kinda of psuedo duplicated content). Been consistent PR5 for 4 years, links from a variety of sources (DMOZ, Yahoo Dir, old recips, etc). Not that bothered tbh - it's just an old site I chucked online when I was getting into web design / SEO - will be useful to have to mess around with though.

How widespread are folks seeing this? Is it just for minor offences? I can see this being a pretty major issue for the less-than-experienced SEO agencies out there. A few wrong "guesses" when it comes to SEO and client rankings take a dive. ;)



> I'm beginning to think it's permanent

Hehe, thousands of searches bring a site's pages up at #31? Too funny. Inspired really.

I'm with John Andrews on this. My guess is that this one is an algo tweak, such that if a particular condition is met, the supression is triggered. If you naturally rank at 38 you'll see no difference. If you naturally rank on page one then this is pretty obvious.

The good news is, figure out the issue, and you'll likely pop right back. Dunno if that will be true for sure, but this does look algo driven.

We've not had any site hit by this and so haven't tried addressing it. But after a quick look 'round, I'd be taking a look at insufficient number of one-way inbounds, after excluding, ummm, how shall I put this ... backlink networks. :P

That would take out two problems in one fell swoop.
> Well optimized sites living mainly by virtue of recips (including three way in some cases).
> Sites benefitting from overlapping backlink profiles (same network being used to funnel juice over and over).

Also reinforces the message they been preaching for a very long time now, about the importance of quality pages and the related notion of quality, one way inbounds.

Hmmm, where'd I put the URL for that new service that Hagans and Wall just launched. ;-)

> The good news is, figure out the issue, and you'll likely pop

The bad news is, sometimes links can't be un-built ;-)

Page four since GOOG started selling airline tickets

Ever since GOOG rolled in a deal to sell airline tickets for Expedia - Hotwire - Orbitz - Priceline - Travelocity at spot 1 page 1 for searches like: flights from here to there, our airline ticket selling enterprise went from spot 1 page 1 to spot 1 page 4 when searching our company name.

Above is a statement of coincidence, not cause.


In that case you could approach the problem by working to cultivate new quality links.

It wouldn't undo the problem, but at least it would make it a smaller part of your mix.

(EDIT: That was intended as a reply to Andy's comment that sometimes links can't be unbuilt.)

Propensity for creation

While I am pretty much with JohnA (that's why I don't post lately Johnny, yer doin fine..ha ha ha ha)

I do have to wonder how many times I have seen some common strings sown together to, in the end, make a dress of rags? I bet you could take a theory and pull enough common stories from your SEO buddies to create a consiracy theory or even a real sound looking piece of wisdom.

I wonder where the truth lies? -- filters and wieghting and algos - Oh My!

Above is a statement of

Above is a statement of coincidence, not cause.

Yes but a good note. A rare treat. Shouldn't make one wonder, but should make one investigate/test.

Click thru and Back button

They could just be dropping sites down to see if the new top listings have a better CTR and less coming BACK to the SERPs - hard to get that info unless you change who is at the top.

2 of our sites went 30+ for

2 of our sites went 30+ for about 24 hours on the same keyphrase. That would indicate it's not a site specific penalty nor time dependent.

48 hours later they are both page 1 again, just a little lower than where they were before.

Above is a statement

Above is a statement of coincidence, not cause.

Yes but a good note. A rare treat. Shouldn't make one wonder, but should make one investigate/test.

Rare indeed.
Mostly it is "Well Done" and only Google know they’ve done it.

Hmm, I see ...

I recently saw someone saying that their site ranks at #41, each time, for almost all of the keywords that their site is targetting.

Now, that would have to be a very big co-incidence, eh?

My bad - it was an aff link

My bad - it was an aff link I was seeing before. Curious - anyone see an impact from affiliate links on this issue?

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