This is an addition to a previous post about my site creditmarket.co.uk In the post I didn’t go into any reason why I think Google decided to drop the site from it’s listings after a consistent run near the top (for which I can’t deny I’m grateful).
Before I go any further I must make a point of saying that I was by no means the only one affected at a similar time due to the same ‘Google update’.
This particular update (like a tropical storm) had a name. My recall is shaky as there were several ‘named’ updates but the one in question I think was called ‘Bourbon’.
The Possible Reasons:
1/ I nearly bought some sitewide links on http://www.pfblog.com . The webmaster kindly placed the links before I verified my business Paypal account and paid for them. Before I paid I read an article saying that Google really didn’t like people buying links so I requested the links be removed. During this time, Google found the backlinks from pfblog.com and a short time later, found them to have been removed. A short time later, my site vanished from the listings.
I originally felt inclined to buy the links due to a competitor completely whitewashing the competition by buying links. Google didn’t seem to mind so I thought it’d be OK. At this time, several sites with listings on pfblog.com enjoy very stable rankings on Google (oh, the irony…).
2/ The site has many categories and the page meta descriptions were very similar. Just the first few words described the page, the rest described the site. Apparently site generating software used to produce ‘spam’ sites spits out similar ‘duplicate’ descriptions.
3/ The site was predominantly a database of affiliate links.
For some reason there was a rumour that Google didn’t like affiliate sites that were just full of links. I have seen some affiliate sites that sometimes don’t make a lot of sense so I appreciate why some might not be ‘user friendly’ but when a site compiles affiliate products from a particular sector with a simple but functional comparison facility, why is that bad?
Affiliate sites may be an unfair representation in the finance sector because there are still a great many products that are not yet available through affiliate campaigns but if a certain product is not available from an affiliate site, when a user searches for it, they should hopefully find a site it is available from.
Since the update, a new sitemap, a bit of SEO and stuff, the Googlebot is paying more attention than it has for years.
I don’t count chickens. It’s more of an experiment.