Hi again, and thanks for the question,
In my opinion, sites that are well-optimized for certain popular
commercial phrases are losing the ranking benefit provided by those
keywords appearing in internal link text and reciprocal link text.
I am also thinking that keywords in URLs are being dismissed as well.
The answer is to remove keyword-loaded reciprocal links so that the
filter is not triggered. They are listed here:
I have just answered a similar question, and in their case the problem
was a combination of reciprocal links and internal links, all
containing the keywords they ranked well for:
WebMasterWorld is the most active forum on the topic of Google search
results and how to optimize for Google:
The downside is that it is too big and they have a rule against
mentioning your site's URL. There are currently many complaints going
on, and I feel that many of them are due to the spam filter, and
nothing to do with their own speculations. But without being able to
see their sites I cannot be sure.
Currently webmasters in the forum are saying it might be H1 tags, it
might be how Google sees www.site.com and site.com as two different
sites, it might be keywords in the URL... Considering that most of the
participants are very skilled optimizers, I would suggest that those
targeting popular commercial keywords have been hit by the spam
Other forums are discussing the recent Google changes:
Some people at WebMasterWorld suggest that Google has downgraded the
importance of keywords within internal links. I believe that the same
is happening for reciprocal links, for those sites hit by the filter:
Does Internal Link Text Count Less Now?
"Looks to me like this has fallen off steadily for months. Sites with
pages using the key phrase linking back to the index page have damaged
thier rankings. Anyone seeing this?"
"Google's relevancy system is based on votes by pages for other pages.
If a page votes for another page by linking to it, then the receiving
must be important in the voting page's eyes.
Generic internal links to home pages are not votes in the same way -
they are just a way of getting to the front of the site again. So I'm
suggesting the Google doesn't want to count such generic links as
proper votes, and that they have tried to deal with it in this update.
But it's just my theory. It would account for the disappearance of so
many index (home) pages and a few domain URLs too. And it may also
account for what people are reporting regarding link text."
"I think PhilC is right on the money, that G is trying to demote
generic links back to the home page. I can't be bothered to look, but
I bet you'll find a lot of sites that remain in the index use "Home"
as their link home, and not keywords. What annoys me is that before I
started using keywords to link home (ie I used "Home") I was ranking
ok for the term (nothing special, but ok) now I'm just totally off the
PhilC: "And I don't think it's anything to do with 'punishing'. I
think it's to do with discounting certain links so that they are
nowhere near as effective as they were. "
Removing the Filter
I don't really understand how it works, but by adding -mt-tb.cgi to
your search query, you get the unfiltered results.
The information first appeared at The Register, before the latest
update, and referring to the filtering of blog content:
So, with the filter removed, you are at #55 or so for "silver jewelry":
and #24 for "gold jewelry":
Clarification of Answer by
24 Nov 2003 18:19 PST
Oh yes, definitely, it is against Google Guidelines:
"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's
ranking or PageRank"
Even if you do not run a scheme per se, if the majority of links to
your site are reciprocated, Google will take the view that they aren't
You could still keep the the reciprocal links, and have them
contribute to your PageRank, if you do all of the following:
1) Make sure that you have far more genuine links pointing to your
site than reciprocal ones
2) Have the other sites change the wording of the link, so that each
is different, and the keywords that are affected by the filter are no
3) Get rid of this page:
(or at the very least, change it so a simple sentence that says, if
you want us to link to your site, email us)