Google penguin penalty - duplicate content problem

Our website http://www.schicksal.com was hit very hard by Googles so called Penguin ranking update in April 2012. Since april we have lost 2/3 of our traffic. We have done a lot of analysis and searched for the reasons.

Schicksal.com is an astrology website which is online since 2002, so we are celebrating our 10th anniversary this autumn. We have done a lot of work to create unique content and have spent a lot of money to have a great website. People really like our content. They like it so much that they have copied our main articles a lot of times to user profile pages, blogs and chats… To say it with other words: They have stolen our content.

Well, a former colleague of us did some comment entries with exact keywords in the year 2011. We haven’t received any “unnatural link” warning at the google webmastertools though. But we have thought that this was one of the main reasons why we have lost our rankings at our most important keywords.

All in all there are over 1,000 link entries from comment systems from all over the world. We have no chance having them removed within a short period of time.

So, we have renamed all our main pages, old links are running into a 404 page without a redirection. The 404 page gives a hint that the links were renamed recently. So people can click on a link which is created by JavaScript to follow to the new page. And we want to inform other websites which are linking to us that we have changed the links. We have informed Google about this procedure and have sent a reinclusion request at the webmastertools.

First we have thought this would help, but we have found out that this went into a real mess this week.

Google has indexed our old content at the new link and thinks we have copied the content from the other user profiles, chats, blogs etc. – and not vice versa.

We have copied the first 2 sentences from our zodiac texts and enclosed them with quotes and have found at least 70 to 100 results at each zodiac text we have written. Moreover we have used www.copyscape.com to find more copies.

The result is really frustrating. There are more than over 1,000 copies of our pages on the web. But in this case we have a chance that this stolen content will be removed soon.

Lesson learned: Never change the url of an existing content.

The story will be continued if I have new results…

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Rob Kerry about the pengiun update of Google. He is also saying that anchor text spam could bring down the rankings of a site.

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How to get back the rankings after the penguin update

At the end of April 2012, Google has deployed a ranking update called “penguin”.  The penguin is eating a lot of fish from our site. The traffic of schicksal.com has decreased by 50% from one day to another. (Before this update we had about 200k visits per month, after the update we would be happy about 100k visits…) We have lost many good rankings at many keywords. According to figures of Sistrix, we have lost about 72% “visibility” in Google. (We are one of the main looser in Germany.)

We have done a lot of research on SEO sites and Twitter, talked to several SEO people. Probably there are three main reasons for this ranking disaster.

Read here our steps to get back the rankings after this ranking update.

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Negative SEO: Myths, Realities, and Precautions - Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin (seomoz)

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Penguin ranking analysis - downgraded due to on page over optimization

©iStockphoto.com/alexsl ©iStockphoto.com/Coldimages

Today I’ve got a keyword ranking analysis from a good friend for our site schicksal.com. We have lost 50% of our traffic since the Google update. I am happy about any help I can get in this issue.  We have very strong signals that we have been downgraded for on page over optimization.

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Danny Goodwin wrote an article at searchenginewatch.com about the penguin ranking update of Google. In his opinion, the best way to get around it is to remove all “unnatural links” (comment spam, paid links, affiliate links etc.)

I am not sure if this will help to get the rankings back. I will do some more investigations.

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Kevin Wagner wrote an (german) interesting article about the recent pengiun ranking update. He claims that the earlier panda update and the penguin update are working together. It’s not only a penalty for exact anchor texts at foreign links. Some more filters became active… 

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After the penguin update disaster: Confessions of a bad seo guy

(c) istockphoto.com/Markanja

The 25th April 2012 changed everything. Google rolled out a ranking update called „penguin“. This update cut off the half of the traffic of our astrology website schicksal.com

We have lost 72% of our “visibility” in the Google index. In our sight of view this is pretty unfair because we have a good site with quality content.

So read here about our SEO (search engine optimization) activities and the reason why we did this.

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Speed: How to create a new website and get it in the google index within 3 hours

(c) istockphoto.com/tilo

Some people are asking questions like: How long does it take to get into the google index with a new site?

Well, yesterday I’ve broke my own record. It was a Saturday afternoon. I was really frustrated about the situation of one of our websites. The penguin ranking update of Google ate the half of our traffic.

So, I had the idea of creating a website which should help “google victims”.

But, wait, Saturday – nobody is working?

I’d like to see you try?

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Tehseoner wrote a very interesting and detailed post about the pengiun update. First he has discovered that google “forgot” to penalize the spam site which Matt Cutt mentioned in his blog (tssss). And he wrote some other great examples about the fails of the penguin update. A must read!

screenshot of tehseonwer.com

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Just received the ranking update from seomoz… :-(
We have lost positions at nearly all of our important keywords.
A detailed article about that will follow.

Just received the ranking update from seomoz… :-(

We have lost positions at nearly all of our important keywords.

A detailed article about that will follow.

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Matt Cutts took a picture…

The panda war harmless, but the pengiun ate the half of our visitors. But we have no time for whining, we will take some actions to get the positions back!

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Having overly optimized web pages could soon get your websites in some hot water with Google and their search results.

Rand Fishkin (seomoz)

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A german seo is writing his thoughts about the penguin update.

His opinion why sites were affected by the penguin update:

  • Massive use of anchor texts with the exact keyword will be seen as spam
  • Massive use of exact keywords which are leading to a keyword domain will be seen as spam
  • Wrong link building (too much links in a short time)

This conclusions won’t help me because we cannot access bad links / anchor texts and remove them easily if there were any.

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