Can Article Marketing Get Your Website Penalized

website got a penaltyI wrote this article because something interesting happened with the website recently.  First, let me mention that as of the time I am writing this (11/29/11), the website still ranks number one in both Yahoo and Bing for its primary keyword target and its secondary keyword target.  Mission accomplished.  Article marketing is proven to still work very well in Yahoo and Bing.  Google is a different story however.

The site suddenly dropped from position 7 in Google for its primary keyword all the way down to position 39.  It happened all at once and I am not one hundred percent sure why it happened.  The site even dropped down to position 32 when searching for the phrase “article marketing case study”.  It had been ranking in position 4 in Google for that very relevant phrase even though the only thing matching that phrase was the domain name itself and some text on the page.  The title of the homepage targets a completely different phrase “does article marketing still work”.

(Update as of 12/2/11 – The website appears to have been sandboxed by Google as it is now not even in the top 100 for its primary keyword phrase. )

Updated again 12/8/11- The site settled back in the mid thirties position ranking on Google for most targeted keywords.  However, it is still ranking at the very top of Bing and Yahoo. 

There were no new inbound links that showed up recently that I am aware of.  I still have many articles waiting for approval.  I thought that maybe one or more of those articles got approved and somehow caused the site to get penalized.  I have been checking, but still don’t see any new articles approved.  I have about thirty of them waiting for approval yet at various article directory style websites.

Remember that I have only used 100% unique and all original high quality articles on this website itself as well as everywhere that I have been promoting it.  My efforts have been as white hat as white hat can get.  I have not even promoted this site using social media.  I have only promoted the articles that link back to this website.  Look at the image below to see how many social media links this website has earned one hundred percent naturally.

social media promotions for this website so far

All of these were 100% natural

I did make one change to the site that could have caused the ranking drop although I don’t understand why it would.  I added a link to the bottom of the sidebar.  That link pointed to the main category on this blog that all of the articles are posted under.  I linked to that category listing so that you and everyone else could look at the entire list of articles that have been posted on this website so far.  The links in the sidebar right now don’t point to every article.  There are some articles posted here that you would have to search Google using site: in order to see them.  I wanted to make it easier for you and everyone else to see every single thing that I have done with the site so far.

Maybe that link caused the ranking to drop. I am not sure why it would have done that.  I removed that link to see if the site would recover in a couple days.  So far it has been one day and the site has not recovered.  I guess I will wait and see what happens over the course of the next week or so.  (Update 12/2/11 – It doesn’t appear that removing that link helped at all.  It looks like the lower ranking is here to stay for a while at least.)


Should I Continue On With The Article Marketing Case Study

It is not going to do me any good to stop the case study at this point.  Besides I have way too many man hours invested in the site from writing more than fifty unique articles from scratch for this project.  I intend to see it through until I get some more definitive answers.  If you have any ideas what might have happened, feel free to shoot me an email.  I can be reached at Ted@ this website’s domain name.

I have begun seeking guest blogging opportunities for the website as well.  I did that before this ranking drop occurred.  I haven’t had anyone say yes yet for letting me post on their site.  I am not really sure why as I thought I was being really professional when I approached them.  I told them the exact truth about why I wanted to guest post on their site.  I showed them this site and what I was doing.  This study was pretty relevant to every site I contacted about guest blogging.  I am hoping that those people respond soon and allow me to publish a good article on each of their blogs.  If you are reading this and you have a website that I could publish a guest blog post on, then please contact me at the email address I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

I am wondering if a few good links from guest posts will cause an improvement in Google so that the site returns to at least as good of ranking as it had prior to this.  As of right now I am uncertain what the real reason is behind this ranking drop all of a sudden.  If and when I get to the bottom of it, I will share that information publicly.

More updates as of 12-2-11

One thing I find strangely odd is that even though this site is still relatively new (just over 2 months old), why would Google choose to demote it?  The homepage is by far the most relevant page online that I have been able to find for this topic.  It actually contains incredibly useful information that people are honestly finding interesting.  It is far more informative than any of the pages that are ranked in the top ten for the search phrases that are being targeted.

Remember, the only method I have used to promote the website is writing high quality articles that link to this website and other useful websites also.  Everything has been white hat.  I have not used any special software or anything that could even be considered grey hat.

I have had a number of sites sandboxed in Google before.  I just haven’t seen that happen with as little promotion as I have done with this website.  Nor have I seen it happen when taking such great care in making sure that everything is squeaky clean.  I have not even been aggressive in using ideal anchor text in the couple dozen articles that have been published linking back to this site.  It really makes me question how their filters work to determine if a site should be sandboxed.

It is apparent to me that something in Google’s algorithm has detected something about this website that it thinks merits this website being substantially demoted.  That is a clear sign that their quality filters are inaccurate to say the least.  ( I am not just saying that because I am in love with this site.  I am saying it because I can’t find one thing that makes sense as to why Google would think this site is anything but perfectly relevant, high quality, ideal information to rank at least on the first page of its search results for both targeted phrases.) The ranking results are also a clear indication that Yahoo and Bing are definitely better at finding and ranking the freshest, most relevant high quality page for some searches.  I did not expect that to happen with this site.  This tells me that maybe I should give either Yahoo or Bing some more testing when it comes to researching information online instead of just mindlessly defaulting to Google like I have been doing for years.  Are you underestimating the quality of the search results produced by Bing or Yahoo?  Both of those search engines have obviously improved some things in recent years.

Penalties Update as of 12-16-11

The penalty or whatever it was that caused the site to be demoted in Google seems to have disappeared.  The site has now returned to its normal ranking that it had prior to that two week period.  Maybe it wasn’t a penalty at all that caused it to be demoted.  Maybe it was just part of the normal Google dance that almost every website goes through when it is brand new. I don’t really know why it happened.  I am happy to see that the site is back to performing well in Google again.  Hopefully that never happens again.  Updating these pages when something changes like that can make the page confusing for someone who is reading it for the first time.  At this moment in time I am thinking that it was not any kind of penalty at all.  Rather it was probably something happening within the Google index or the ranking algorithm that somehow relates to this site.

So, as of right now, it looks like article marketing using unique high quality articles did not get this site penalized.

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