Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by David Caron on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Saturday, April 5, 2014).

We rank for our company name and a few terms that don`t drive traffic.

Need some advice from my peers and some new eyes at this situation. We have been banging our heads over here trying to figure out what is going on and appreciate your thoughts. Basically our website doesn`t rank for any of the terms that we are going for. We ranked #1 for over 6 months for "Atlanta Video Production" and then suddenly the page that ranked #1 is not not even in the SERPs. 

Site URL: dcdagency (dot) com

We rank for our company name and a few terms that don`t drive traffic. 

If you search for other terms like "Inbound Marketing Agency in Atlanta" or "Inbound Marketing in Atlanta" you`ll see our branded content on Yelp, YouTube, Superpages, etc. Just not our homepage or pages on our site. 

For the record, we have not built spammy links, bought links, or done anything that is blatantly against Google`s terms regarding spam.

Here`s the request: Could you all look at the site and let me know if there`s something that you think we are doing that is wrong and we are just not seeing it?

Our client`s websites are ranking well, be we just can`t get our site back into the SERPs. 

Thank you in advance for your help!?

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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • David Caron: <b>Need some advice from my peers and some new eyes at this situation.</b> ;We have been banging our heads over here trying to figure out what is going on and appreciate your thoughts. Basically our website doesn&#39;t rank for any of the terms that we are going for. We ranked #1 for over 6 months for &quot;Atlanta Video Production&quot; and then suddenly the page that ranked #1 is not not even in the SERPs. ;

    Site URL: dcdagency (dot) com

    We rank for our company name and a few terms that don&#39;t drive traffic. ;

    If you search for other terms like &quot;Inbound Marketing Agency in Atlanta&quot; or &quot;Inbound Marketing in Atlanta&quot; you&#39;ll see our branded content on Yelp, YouTube, Superpages, etc. Just not our homepage or pages on our site. ;

    For the record, we have not built spammy links, bought links, or done anything that is blatantly against Google&#39;s terms regarding spam.

    <b>Here&#39;s the request: Could you all look at the site and let me know if there&#39;s something that you think we are doing that is wrong and we are just not seeing it?</b>

    Our client&#39;s websites are ranking well, be we just can&#39;t get our site back into the SERPs. ;

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  • Jason Nelson: Did you check Google webmaster tools? Maybe it&#39;s some links from sites that were on .  ;
  • David Caron:  ;Thanks for looking into that. We have checked Webmaster Tools. I&#39;ll look for those links in particular. ;
  • David Caron:  ;Just looked in GWT and can&#39;t find any links from What are you seeing?
  • Jason Nelson: I&#39;d recommend looking at the timing of your penalty and see if it coincides with when Google rolled out the penalty on MBG sites. G penalized sites that had links on sites in the MBG community (not just MBG). I hope it helps. ;
  • Jim Munro:  ;Good question. You are welcome here but links are not. Please disable the link above with (dot)com .
  • Jim Munro: The link to is OK because it is a referential link obviously not connected to you. It is the link to your own site that is the problem.
  • Jim Munro: Thank you for fixing that. :)
    Forgive me but I am struggling to understand this line,  ;. &quot;Our client&#39;s websites are ranking well, be we just can&#39;t get our site back into the SERPs. ;&quot;
  • David Caron:  ;We have clients that we help with SEO services. Their websites are ranking well. We are just dumbfounded on why our website ranks so poorly. ;
  • Jim Munro: Aaah, thanks mate, now I get it. :)
  • David Caron:  ;we don&#39;t have any notifications of a manual penalty. What websites are part of the blogging network? ;
  • Tony McCreath: Did you lose traffic and ranking on a specific date?
  • David Caron: after looking through Google Analytics there&#39;s a cut in half on traffic in May 2013. 
  • Jim Munro: Penguin 2.0?
  • David Caron: maybe but we haven&#39;t really done anything spammy. We&#39;ve done a lot of press releases not do much quantity back link building.

    P.S. Wasn&#39;t that 2012?
  • Jim Munro: Maybe, my memory is not that good. I just remember May. :)

    It seems like yesterday. I must be getting old. :)
  • David Caron: haha! I know.

    I think there was a 2.0 in 2013. Interesting ...
  • Tony Kelly: Has your traffic been cut in half since May 2013? Why have you left it almost a year to try and fix the problem??
    I would imagine your traffic issue coincides with an update to the algorithm around that time. It would be interesting to have a look through a timeline of algorithm updates around then and see if there was anything of note around May 2013. I can&#39;t quite recall where the best timelines are, maybe or Search Engine Land? Might give you an idea of why your site was affected and how to go about fixing it!
  • Jim Munro: There was. :)
    
  • Harry Dance: Did the ;davidcarondesign (dot) com  ;get hit by a penalty, or does it have poor links linking to it? If it does, the 301 redirect you have put into place could be transferring the penalty, or the bad links linking to that particular domain name to your site.

    Unfortunately it will be penguin, as that new update was rolled out late May I believe, around the 20th. ;

    Hope this helps ;
  • David Caron:  ;We changed domains in January 2013. The move was smooth and we didn&#39;t lose any ranking/traffic. In May the traffic was significantly reduced. Looking like a penguin algorithm penalty.

     ;,  ;,  ;,  ;Question for everyone here, would it be worth shutting down the davidcarondesign(dot)com site so as to remove the 301 redirects? Or should I just disavow the junk links? What has your experience been recovering from an algorithm penalty?  ;
  • David Caron: On ahrefs here&#39;s the davidcarondesign profile: ;

    Here&#39;s the new domain profile: ;
  • Tony Kelly: It probably depends on how many good quality links you have coming through the 301 redirect. If you think you have enough that warrants keeping them, you would be best trying to disavow / remove the low quality ones.
    If you think the vast majority of the links coming through are low quality, it may be easier/quicker to remove the 301 redirect / site altogether. That would be my take on it anyway, not sure how anyone else would see it.
  • Tim Capper: Come on  ;..... Really?

    We have clients that we help with SEO services

    Are you really sure you have not had a manual penalty ??, what about davidcarondesigns

    Ok That out the way, you  ;certainly have an algo penalty.

    Lets take a look at the Page that was Ranking :
    dcdagency(dot)com/services/video-production/

    You have used Press Releases, not only are these listed in webmaster quality guidelines you have actually added extra optimized anchor text.

    You then linked these to :
    davidcarondesign (dot) com/services/atlanta-video-production.php

    Which redirects to the dcdagency page.

    This would be seen as a doorway page in a sense ... also against google quality guidelines.

    Looking at this &quot;linked&quot; redirected page : ;
    davidcarondesign (dot) com/services/atlanta-video-production.php

    You have used :
    Directories
    Press releases
    Article directories

    Every spam method possible.

    Then the <b>Piece de Resistance</b> ..... ;

    gospelconnects(dot)com/contact.html

    I am not even going to go down this WTF road !

    Check davidcarondesigns for manual penalty - and cut the links to dcdagency  ;*TODAY*

    I would also suggest tidying up links to dcdagency ... they are very borderline, only 2% of your links are &quot;natural&quot;
  • Tim Capper: Hey  ;RE: a timeline tool, this one is <b>Stonking</b>. It integrates with your analytics and overlays on your traffic.

    
  • Tony Kelly: Thanks  ;- can&#39;t get anything to load in the link though? Sounds like a nice piece of kit all the same!
  • Tim Capper: No worries  ;

    Strange that ...  ;is your site having any issues, or just the panguin tool ?
  • David Caron: thanks for your insight.

    The reason there are links to the dcarondesign domain is because that was my original website from 4 years ago. We then wanted a shorter domain so 301 redirected the pages. This to me is the correct way to move your domain, is it not? I don&#39;t think that it should be viewed as a spammy redirect.

    In webmaster tools we have not receive a manual penalty message like Cutts says you would.

    Haha bringing up gospel connects brings back some fond memories. Unfortunately we don&#39;t have access to that site to remove those links from years ago. Nobody is perfect, ever made a mistake?

    Like my original question, I&#39;m looking for someone to look at it from another perspective. Thanks again. 
  • David Caron: I did some research on penguin since it looks like that&#39;s the issue and here&#39;s an article that looked really good to me.

    
  • Tim Capper: David 301 is the correct way. ....but what I was showing you is that you have a mass of unnatural links that you are passing to yourself.

    you are spamming yourself.

    You actually have an easier task. Instead of having to attempt removal of all dodgy links and creating a disavow file. .... just remove the 301.


    I would also say that you will need to check the whole site not just the one page I looked at.
  • Harry Dance:  ;is exactly right but if you are worried people still try and click on ;davidcarondesign (dot) com it may be best to replace the 301 redirect for a 302 redirect (however confirm this with  ; ; ; ;, I know a 302 doesn&#39;t pass any link juice but I&#39;m not sure if it can transfer a penalty ).

    With gospel connects it is best to disavow it completely and as stated by Tim, do further research towards the other pages of the website. ;
  • Tony Kelly: I&#39;ve read a few posts where results would suggest that 302 redirects actually do pass some link juice (definitely not as much as 301 redirects but I wouldn&#39;t totally exclude them - unless this has changed in the past 6-12 months which is very possible?).
    I think in the short term it would definitely be wise to remove the 301 redirect. If you want to spend the time trying to disavow and remove the dodgy links on the davidcarondesign(dot)com site and then reimplement the 301 afterwards, that would always be an option. Depends on how much you value the good quality links you have coming from that source and if you want to spend the time getting rid of the bad ones.
  • Peter Hatherley: I&#39;ve never been one for back link building but I got penalised with one of the major updates for just having too many words on the page.

    I eventually worked it out by trial and error (sorry can&#39;t remember the exact number) and then it suddenly climbed back to where it once was.

    Structuring it into sections can help also.
  • Tony Kelly: Hi  ;- I presume you mean you had too many occurrences of the one keyword in your content which Google must have seen as keyword stuffing.
    I would be surprised if Google has ever penalised any site for simply having too many words on a page?
    Structuring your content into sections will certainly help things from a usability point of view but I don&#39;t think it will affect your overall ranking on a search engine. Perhaps if you were using headings and sub-headings to break up your content, this may certainly allow you to get a few more keyphrases in which may be of benefit.
  • Peter Hatherley: Not at all David. There was no keyword stuffing involved. Never been a fan of it really. ;

    I specialise in semantic search optimisation. Structure is vital in semantic optimisation but some are still stuck in the old school SEO techniques, so I do understand where you&#39;re coming from.

    The structured semantic optimisation (that I described for other&#39;s benefits) also caused my companies site to go from about 9th position to 3rd within days, and this is not insignificant in an industry that has a Moz difficulty rating of 66. ;

    And in regard to the number of words, what I said is exactly what I was meaning. The only thing that was changed was the total number of words and none of those were keywords. The results are freely available if anyone wishes to view them.

    I am very analytical and use incremental changes to test outcomes that many others miss. This is just one of those issues that many are unaware of so I was keen to share it so that they might benefit
  • Tony Kelly: I in no way meant to disregard your statement Peter, I simply meant that I would be surprised if Google penalised a site for just having too many words on a page, which is what I picked up from your original statement.

    Your much more detailed response obviously shines a lot more light on the situation and you obviously have the results to back it up!

    It would be interesting to know the cut off point if that is the case or how this is calculated. Your thorough testing seems to suggest that this is based solely on this factor alone so having that data would obviously be very beneficial.

    I also took by &#39;structuring into sections&#39; that you meant breaking your content into different blocks to make it more digestable for users. Semantic SEO is obviously a different kettle of fish altogether - apologies for picking you up wrong!
  • Peter Hatherley: No problems Tony. Glad you clarified it. You&#39;re right my initial description was a little too brief in retrospect. I&#39;ll try and dig it out and let you know
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