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I think my site is in Google Jail

Posted on 2013-01-20
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
I just took over the marketing for this site: http://www.gomedigap.com  I was told that a competitor did a link bomb and  the back-links thrown at the site took the site out of Google.
I could use a hand. Can anyone tell if this site in in Google Jail?
I believe they lost most of their rankings in Google's Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012 update.

How can I go about getting this site out of Google jail?
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Question by:jbrashear72
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28 Comments
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:James Powell
ID: 38799755
Highly unlikely that any action taken by a competitor could directly affect your ranking. Other than increasing their own ranking. I highly recommend you take a look at the SEO webinar on the experts exchange site. I watched it in full and it has a lot of great suggestions.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799758
If you think there are links that are hurting you, you can disavow them  https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799766
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799770
Google did says that we need to use the disavow tool. And yes a competitor paid for bad links to link to our site and this was an issue. Have any of you actually looked at this site yet?
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799776
If the site fell out of rankings, it may have just been from the changes in google.  The simple explanation is having a lot of unique content.  Medicare is very competitive and you would expect the govt's site and the insurance carriers to be on top.    

Another issue is what are people actually searching for?  Medigap insurance, medicare insurance, medicare supplement insurance, health insurance, plan n, part d, insurance quotes, medicare quotes, med supp, med supp quotes...  lots of choices.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799843
I was told the site was getting between 40 - 50 completed apps a day and now that is down to 15 on avg.  It seems they where doing well. But pulled out. They rank really well in Bing and Yahoo. the ranking results are very similar. then in  Google the same key phrases not in the top 100. That is defiantly an de index issue.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799850
Where they doing google adwords?  What else where they doing?
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Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799855
I am meeting with their PPC admin tomorrow. So I am not clear from that end. I was told that PPC is basically what is driving apps right now.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799868
Looking at the robots.txt did they used to have a blog?  That is now set to disallow that could have something to do with loosing traffic if there was a blog.   Looking at the sitemap, I tihnk there are some links that have duplicate content and a lot of the deep links are not easy to get to from the home page.  Some of the links on the pages should probably go to  pages on the site and instead go to the govt site.  The site does appear to have duplicate content yet the site map has 288 pages.
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Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799879
Ye I put it in SEOMOZ last week. and their crawler shows Pages Crawled: 560. I will ask about the blog tomorrow that is a great point. I am not sure if they had on from that domain. You would thing that it would be used and never set to disallow.
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Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799882
They sure did disallow quit a few user- agents.  http://www.gomedigap.com/robots.txt

Do you think that was overboard?  maybe raised a flag?
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799890
If you are just taking this over, it is possible the last person had things built up on their own account and when the relationship was cut, so was whatever was sending in traffic.   Look at both the server analytics and google analytics and see what sites were sending traffic when things were good.  I would bet another beefed up site that is not sending traffic to somebody else.
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Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799895
Looks Like December 7th was the big day for the drop. The had a avg of 311 unique visits a day then that dropped off to an avg of 67 a day and has been that way since.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799905
Does it show the sources?
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Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799909
Dec - 5 2012
Source / Medium
      Visits      Pages / Visit      Avg. Visit Duration      % New Visits      Bounce Rate
      1.      google / organic      169      2.34      00:02:25      88.76%      47.34%
      2.      (direct) / (none)      60      1.93      00:01:24      86.67%      66.67%
      3.      yahoo / organic      20      1.60      00:00:34      95.00%      70.00%
      4.      bing / organic      15      2.47      00:06:32      93.33%      46.67%
      5.      aol / organic      8      2.12      00:01:00      87.50%      25.00%
      6.      ask / organic      7      1.71      00:00:33      57.14%      57.14%
      7.      comcast / organic      4      1.25      00:01:27      75.00%      75.00%
      8.      google / cpc      4      1.75      00:00:24      0.00%      50.00%
      9.      36ohk6dgmcd1n-c.c.yom.mail.yahoo.net / referral      2      2.50      00:04:02      50.00%      50.00%
      10.      babylon / organic      2      2.00      00:00:24      100.00%      0.00%
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799910
Dec-10 2012
1.      google / organic      81      1.89      00:01:09      79.01%      55.56%
      2.      (direct) / (none)      41      1.73      00:00:58      73.17%      63.41%
      3.      bing / organic      7      2.00      00:01:43      100.00%      57.14%
      4.      google / cpc      5      1.80      00:01:20      0.00%      60.00%
      5.      yahoo / organic      5      1.80      00:04:35      80.00%      40.00%
      6.      aol / organic      4      1.25      00:00:02      100.00%      75.00%
      7.      insuringyou.wordpress.com / referral      3      1.67      00:07:04      0.00%      33.33%
      8.      ask / organic      2      2.00      00:00:48      100.00%      50.00%
      9.      36ohk6dgmcd1n-c.c.yom.mail.yahoo.net / referral      1      1.00      00:00:00      100.00%      100.00%
      10.      babylon / organic      1      1.00      00:00:00      100.00%      100.00%
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799917
Its just looks like the Google Organic dropped.
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LVL 54

Assisted Solution

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 668 total points
ID: 38799946
Is this your site?  http://www.choosingamedigap.com/  Is terri the new old or fake marketing person?  https://twitter.com/InterTecTeri  

Are you showing stats for one day?  Run them for a month and look for refers beyond just google organic.      insuringyou.wordpress.com  is a good clue.  You can't compare one day to one day.  Too many factores.  Look at the month or week.

What are the keyword/phrases?  Compare the weeks around each date.   Do you notice a lot of similar?

I don't think the problem is "google jail".   The other referrers are also down.  Something else was driving traffic.  Where they doing any other types of advertising.  Many people don't type the web address in in the address bar and instead type into the search bar or if google chrome type a search term.  This makes it look like organic is higher then it actually is which is why you want to look at the phrases as well.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38799972
Honestly I have no idea who Terri is. Might have been someone they where using.
Sounds like tomorrow, my first day on the Job here I need to interview them.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38799979
The terri thing is probably a fake persona and the time line was very short starting in november.  There are pieces of the complete store missing.  Once you get that, the answers will fall in place.
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:jpgtechsoft
jpgtechsoft earned 1332 total points
ID: 38811547
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38811743
Is it possible they took our content?
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 38811784
@jpgtechsoft I see the site in the 6th position from your link.  

This is a super competitive field.  But I DITTO the duplicate content.  Lots of pages, but duplicate looks and content that is the same ( changing a few words does not do the trick).

"Is it possible they took our content?"  NO, they copied medicare.gov and I'm sure a bunch of your content is from there as well.   I thought I had suggested to copy a paragraph from throughout your site and past to google and see what happens.  

Hire a good writer. Here is where you can shine.  Your competitors are copy pasting to death.   Spend the same  money you do each month on adwords as we you do on writing, blogging, PR.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38811810
The dup content, that other domain was created in aug of 2012. this has happened to us before. Our content gets scrapped. We need to put a stop to it.
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
jpgtechsoft earned 1332 total points
ID: 38815316
ideally site should be at number #1 position while searching its title tag in "".

If you think ur content has been copied then you can file a complaint in Google under DMCA act (i have not tried this before) but u can give it a try.

Also, u should rewrite your website content and don't put much content on home page as it is appearing currently. Write your content from user point of view instead of search engines point of view.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38839900
I think this issue was that we have over 20k in backlinks only 6k are real links the rest are bad links. Google did send notice through the webmasters dashboard. I am cleaning this list and run the disavow tool. cross your fingers.
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LVL 3

Author Closing Comment

by:jbrashear72
ID: 38839908
Thank you guys!
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