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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