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Dealing with Google penalty

I was first penalized on 12 October 2013 causing traffic drop from 500-600 to 150 daily visitors.
asked for help here!msg/webmasters/aRnMsub6Z-c/HWBQh6kkaEAJ … what is your HONEST opinion about the attitude of these so-called “helpers”?

I started in webdesign 5 years ago, by collaborating with a friend to his website. Then I made my own website.
When the penalty hit me first time (12 October) I had little and outdated SEO knowledge but I was not aware of Panda or Penguin as I did not followed the news. I was still following tips that my friend gave me in 2008-2009 which are nowadays condemned by Google Panda and Penguin.

I though that I did nothing wrong, but after asking in Google Forums, beside all the insults, bullying, and other bullshit received from the so-called helpers, they pointed me few things that made me to realize how many MISTAKES I done!

The IDIOTS told me that I have 700 backlinks of which 500 from a single website but I had no idea what they were talking about since Alexa showed me ONLY 45 sites linking in. Took 24 days for some forum member to tell me about Ahrefs and by this way I realized how many links I have from my former website (, I was not aware that ONE link posted on sidebar counts multiple on every page it appears. I was not aware of importance of anchor text, I had many links with “here” or “_” anchor text used to ensure indexation of some pages.

The forum IDIOTS made me guilty instead of providing an actual solution or to answer to my original question “how to remove a penalty after its cause have been corrected?”.

I had to look elsewhere for solutions, I fixed all reported mistakes, I removed some links, I done all what the idiots told me, and the IDIOTS blamed me that I did nothing, putting me in confusion what I missed to do.
After 1 month the IDIOTS finally answered my original question: after the cause of penalty has been corrected, I may not see traffic recovered until next update of Google Penguin, which may be in few months.

On 9 January I also removed the image ALT tags from HDB Floor Plans page, as well as repetition of “car models” from Car Database page, despite that nobody reported such issues, and next day, on 10 January penalty was lifted (after 90 days). NO Google Penguin update was meantime.
I did not know yet if the cause of penalty was the ALT tags corrected previous day, or was due of something else corrected earlier and penalties are scripted to last a round number of days.
Considering that nobody have told me anything about ALT tags, and even Google guidelines recommend describing every image on ALT tags. I put them back, risking to be re-penalized, and in this case I will know what was the cause of penalty, and re-removing them will lift penalty again.

BIG MISTAKE! Website was re-penalized on 23 January. I immediately removed ALT tags, but penalty was not immediately lifted. I did few additional chances then I left website untouched and I was PATIENT…
Someone has told me that second penalty may be longer or even permanent, Google do not give us a second chance to “spammers”.
SURPRISE, on 24 February the second penalty was lifted (after 32 days ONLY), without doing anything recently!

CONCLUSION: the HDB Floor Plans page (the page with biggest number of “thank you”) was the cause of all this bullshit. Penalty was due of keyword repetition, not due of Penguin and links (as the forum IDIOTS said). ALT tags aren’t bad, but having 100 floor plan images, all with ALT and TITLE tags, caused 200 times repetition of word “HDB”. I made some diversity by alternating “apartment” with “flat”, “sqm” with “sq m” but was not enough. The keyword density was not high in terms of percentage, but due of lengthy article, the word repetition may have been triggered Google anti-SPAM algorithms twice.
The golden rule is to optimize websites for users and not for search engines, which I did. NO users have complained that keyword density on page is too high/spammy, but Google determined that it is. This can be called false positive?

After 4 wonderful days, on 28 February 2014 I got penalized for the third time!
What the fuck is wrong now with Google???? Entire february I have done NO CHANGES on website, to be bad or good. There are NO ALT tags anymore on that page. I no longer think that above conclusion is correct. Should be patient another 30+ days or should do something?

The 3rd penalty was lifted on 27 March and next night I got a new penalty!

On 31 May the 4th penalty ended after just 2 days, again this LACKS ANY LOGIC. I am not yet convinced that I am 100% safe from future penalties.

by this way I also noticed that penalties are placed / lifted always at 2 AM GMT.

I added your email in Analytics, check it!! Someone checked it already and said that is nothing suspicious

To explain Analytics fluctuations:
First penalty 12 Oct – 10 Jan
Second penalty 22 Jan – 24 Feb
Third penalty 28 Feb – 27 Mar
Fourth penalty 29 March – 31 March… WTF?????????

I realized that I made many mistakes, most of them I fixed in octomber-november… should I make a list of all problems fixed?

Duplicate content – 2 idiots copied articles from my website, I contacted them (after penalty hit) and they removed stolen content.
Duplicate META – I installed All in One SEO but kept previous Page Meta plugin without being aware that the new plugin don’t overwrite but add new tags instead, so each page had 2 METAs when the penalty hit.
Off-topic pages – I NOINDEX-ed them.
Links from my former website – I removed 90% of links and for remaining ones I applied NOFOLLOW tag.
Link exchange – I have answered to few unsolicited emails asking link exchange and I put their links on sidebar, but in mid-2013 I realized that link exchange is against Google guidelines so I halted it while the existing links I moved them to a page named “Links” to clean-up the sidebar. People in Google forum found it and half of arguing in the forum was related to the Links page. Some told me to NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW each link and other blamed me that I am doing nothing, the page is still on website, so I had to delete it.
Links to directories – forum people also told me to remove backlinks from directories, but other SEO experts told me that directories are legit and removing backlinks will fall in ranking, and that is a good idea to add in more high-PR directories to counter-balance low-PR links.
Image optimization – the home age was 50 MB, now its size has halved. This job is still UNDERGOING.

Keyword stuffing – original penalty was most likely caused by large number of certain keywords. Due of my hobbies and the nature of website offering info about real estate, ROOM, BEDROOM, SQM, FLOOR PLAN were most used. I accurately described images by using ALT Tags like “Trapeze Tower block floor plan, 3-room and 4-room apartments”, multiplied with hundreds images on website = imagine how big repetition was!). Now I let only “Trapeze Tower”, as the “floor plan” and “apartments” are in page title. GOOD?
I removed some of these keywords and added more keywords such as ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, SERVICE, 3D MODELLING…. these may raise number of paying customers compared with people who just browsing for free house plans, but I am enjoying customers just few days on month then I get penalized again, my income dropped under minimum salary.

Here is a few examples (the list is compiled in Oct 2013, rankings may have changed meantime)
#1 – Singapore HDB floor plans
#1 – List of HDB BTO
#10 – BTO list
#5 – List of EC
#10 – HDB EC
#10 – Executive Condominium Singapore
#10 – Will prices drop?
#1 – Will prices drop in 2013 Singapore?
#10 – HDB floor plan
#1-5 – floor plan + any place name of Singapore
#1-10 – 3-room / 4-room / 5-room + any place name of Singapore
#10 – hong kong floor plans
#10-30 – 3-room / 4-bedroom house design
#10-30 – 60 / 80 / 100 sqm house design
#30 – Malaysia house design
#20 – Philippines house design
#10 – 40 sqm house plan Philippines
#10 – 100 sqm apartment
#10 – house plan 6 meter frontage
#50 – narrow house plans

and so on…

I am sorry too for my behavior, for not being able to pay your SEO services, but considering my current budget, the only solution is to ask random people for few free advices and post in forums looking for volunteer help. Too bad that the volunteers in Google forums were so idiots.
I have got 2 days ago a promotional email from another SEO company in India, I replied and received a 36-page PDF analysis of my website FOR FREE, they told me that took 1-2 hours making it.
They offered me SEO service for 300$ per month which was approximate my monthly revenue. Looks that SEO services are affordable only for big companies, not for 1-person businesses.

Hope I am not disturbing you asking few free advices. Same thing happen at me, 9 of 10 customers DO NOT PAY. Some are indeed not interested in architecture services, they just asking me for a floorplan and do not care if I spend time designing one or I give a ready-made one. But some are simply IDIOTS, today one Indian asked for a full house project, including 3D design, which would take at least 10 hours, and when I asked him what payment methods he have, he said that he do not see any conditions that he should pay the service!
I did not got money, he didn’t got what he wanted. We just BOTH wasted about 1 hour.

Revamping website or SEO are not necessary at this moment. Doing SEO may lead to traffic increase thus I will get more idiots like above case. I need first to change the strategy of service.
I am sick of indians, dozens contacted me, none paid me so far. I had paying customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Iraq. No offence for you please!

1 comment

    • Mark on January 2, 2018 at 12:23 am
    • Reply

    Such an interesting topic, pretty much similar to me

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