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Loosing rankings!Negative SEO or Google updates?

Discussion in 'SEO' started by justask, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. #1
    Hello everyone

    This is my first post here. If I missed some rules, sorry.

    Our blog is from NSFW niche and it is online since 2013. One of our article was positioning on the first page of Google for over 400 KW's (based on GSC, semrush and other tools).
    SEMrush
    In the beginning of December of 2017, this same article lost over 50% positions (over night).

    During our analysis we have figured out next:

    • 100k backlinks from our own addon domains hosted on the same hosting as our main site (don't know how this happened, some kind of malware attack or something I guess), forgot to mention that I'm talking about WordPress cms.

    • We found thousands of spammy domains with our scrapped content, who are doing redirects based on user agent, sending real traffic to ads and google bot to normal pages. Our competition content is also being scraped.

    • We changed over 5 hostings in the last 2 years, removed our addon domains, changed theme, did disavow links, installed protection from server level (cloudflare) to wordpress level like wordfence, cerber etc…(premium).

    After few days, maybe a week, site got it's positions back and even improved on some (gained new keywords), and that lasted for 3 months.

    Then, on March 22nd 2018, we fell again, hard, traffic got cut in half, same as keywords. So we went and did our part of work all over again (disavow, protection, htaccess protection, bad bot protection, on site seo, new articles etc…)

    • Our competition also lost some keywords, but without any mayor changes in traffic

    • We started getting traffic (bot traffic) to non existing links on our blog from list of specific ip addresses which we blocked

    • Google and Bing bots are the mayor source of this traffic (fake bots but very well prepared) with all of the proper agent info. (spoofing?)
    We know that Google had update in March, but how can this be related? Or can it?

    23rd of May 2018

    Our traffic improved, but on our surprise it disappeared in less than 24hr again.

    In June of 2018 someone hacked our sitemap (not sure how) and inserted over 40k spammy and weird links.

    • After that we changed hosting again, theme and we made new database (from scratch) and rebuild permalinks in order to clean if anything was left from the previous attacks. Plus we added all possible protections in htaccess that we could find online

    • After that we did google reconsideration request and Google replied us that everything is ok after that

    With time that number of weird links disappeared, and on August 15th traffic got back up, but again only for 24 hours.

    And then we fell again!

    From that point on we've been constantly working on our SEO, wrote new posts (which some of them position very well), we continue to block spam traffic, etc..

    Traffic got back up on these dates:

    November 26th 2018

    December 10th 2018

    January 7th 2019


    MUST READ

    Every time when we show up on the first page of Google for keyword which have over 4400 search volume/month we stay there for just under 24hr's and immediately lose our positions again, this is related to the article from the beginning of this post.

    Similar things keeps happening for all other posts, we work hard on them constantly, we get to the first page and then something and somehow kick's us back down with a sledgehammer fast and over night. (this happened few times in the last year).

    Long story short, each time we get to the first page of Google for any keyword that has at least 1000 search volume or more a month, after only 24 hr's we fall to page 8 or we lose position for good.

    Current State

    • Google bot is accessing some pages that we removed over a year ago, and files of the old theme which is not active anymore and is removed long time ago.

    • We get visits from IP addresses on the blacklists

    • Mobile friendly test are also showing different results throughout the day, sometimes results are good and sometimes they are not showing properly (broken look of site)

    • Most paragraphs or the whole posts cannot be found on google search results when searched for

    Competition doesn't have these problems, some of them are not updating the content at all for long time and they still keep their positions.

    We did all of the precautionary measures for negative SEO like xss attacks, hijacking etc..

    Is it possible that someone is using Google bot to serve him different results and harm our positions?

    Are we hit with some kind of Google update that we're not aware of?

    We didn't get any manual penalty notifications recently in the last year.

    No matter how good we do our SEO, we don't see any mayor improvements at all, except from those few dates that we mentioned above.

    Is this some kind of hack?

    Our keywords grow slowly but then they disappear fast, for example we use Semrush constantly and daily we get around 20 to 50 new keywords, but then we lose over 100 in the matter of hours.

    Sorry for this long post, but we tried to mention as much as we could. I would really appreciate and be thankful if someone can tell us what we should take or maybe if we missed or overlooked on something.

    THANK YOU
     
    justask, Feb 14, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Joshua Kim

    Joshua Kim Greenhorn

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    #2
    Hey, thank you for your long and detailed post. I can definitely feel your frustration, but for me to do anything about it I really need some information about your website to start off with.
     
    Joshua Kim, Mar 7, 2019 IP
  3. justask

    justask Peon

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    #3
    Hi, thank you for your reply. Please check out thread we posted on google. You will find our domain.
    https://support.google.com/webmasters/thread/2131321?msgid=2131321
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  4. Joshua Kim

    Joshua Kim Greenhorn

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    #4
    I think I found your problem. You are using dynamic URL (the one that starts with blackhole=*****) and this is a no follow link. This is seriously bad for your SEO and it does more harm to you than good. This sort of ban does not ban the IP, it only bans through cookie, which means if someone clears their cookie record they can access it again.

    I do not exactly know how this is setup in your website but I am speculating that Google bot is being blocked from crawling the page

    I would get rid of this url immediately and start analyzing from there. I would also recommend that you get some on-page seo done. If you need more help let me know
     
    Joshua Kim, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  5. justask

    justask Peon

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    #5
    Hi Joshua, blackhole link is from a plugin we added, called blackhole for bad bots. This way we control bad bots that don't follow the rules of the website. That is not causing our problems. We installed that just recently

    Any other advice...

    thanks
     
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  6. Joshua Kim

    Joshua Kim Greenhorn

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    #6
    Hey, if that is installed recently then it shouldnt be the main issue that you are talking about. But it will hurt your website in the long run.

    Ive done some detailed audit for you. The only other issue is that you do not have sitemap.xml presented to google so that is why it takes forever for google to crawl your pages.

    As I mentioned previously, there are some issues with your on-page optimization.
     
    Joshua Kim, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  7. justask

    justask Peon

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    #7
    Thank you Joshua, we will test that for sure, we just removed blackhole plugin and added sitemap to robots.txt
    Let's see how it will go...
     
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  8. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #8
    qwikad.com, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  9. Joshua Kim

    Joshua Kim Greenhorn

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    #9
    Hey, just to make sure we are on the same page, upload that to your google search console
     
    Joshua Kim, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  10. justask

    justask Peon

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    #10
    It's already there, thank you.
     
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  11. kjh-08

    kjh-08 Well-Known Member

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    #11
    Sounds like you're triggering an algorithmic penalty for some reason. As you state, it triggers like clockwork every 24 hours after ranking, even on new content. Since it's not a manual penalty you won't get notified within Search console. These can be the most difficult to figure out as well.
     
    kjh-08, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  12. bountysite

    bountysite Member Premium Member

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    #12
    Make sure you have an offsite website backup. Make sure that backup notifies you on site file changes, so that you can quickly revert and analyse root cause.

    Ensure that your hosting provider is using Cloudlinux, which can offer protection from cross site contamination. Basically, you are not affected because your your neighbour website.
     
    bountysite, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  13. justask

    justask Peon

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    #13
    Thank you kjh, never actually experienced that kind of penalty, but that's what went through our minds as well.
    Strange thing is, other keywords from 5 searches to 995 search volume a month position nicely and we have a lot of keywords positioning anywhere from first position to 10th. But once higher volume keywords get first page position, something just knocks us out to positions over 70... (in a matter of hours).
     
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP
  14. justask

    justask Peon

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    #14
    Thank you bountysite, we're actually on amazon servers now, all security setup (from premium wordfence to fail2ban). We did all in the range of our knowledge to protect it and we check the 404's, logs etc...

    But...

    We have a lot of 404's generated, get this... by Google bot, every day, all day, almost every hour, tens and tens of them, from Google's IP's and and with their user agents. Google is visiting old links, theme files, html, js, css files, we don't have those links online, some didn't even existed, ever, and some links are not live for over 10 months.

    Is it possible that someone developed such a good technique of spoofing Google bot like that and pretending to be him?

    When we block those ip addresses that generated all those 404 pages, we cannot do "fetch and render" in GSC because ofcourse we block real Google, and it keeps us in the loop like that, ( we go in circles).

    Thank you all for help, all comments and suggestions will be taken in consideration...
     
    justask, Mar 8, 2019 IP