One thing that I have noticed time and time again when promoting websites using common article directories is that you can see your webpage actually move lower in the search results on Google immediately after you get a new article published that links back to that page using relevant anchor text. You will actually see your page drop anywhere from one to ten positions in the search results. You can easily get a page bumped from page one down to page two. Then after a few days or weeks, the site suddenly pops back up.
The penalty happens at the page level and not the domain level. In other words, it only affects the page you are linking to from that article. It does not appear to influence the other pages on your website or at least not enough to notice from just one article.
You have to wonder why this happens in Google. It does not appear to happen in Yahoo or Bing. Does it have something to do with trust? Is it Google pushing your website an inch or two closer to the sandbox? Is it just because Google is reshuffling their results now that a new link has appeared?
The age of the site does not matter. You might not notice this happening on an older site, but the site’s age is not the reason why it is not happening. I have seen it happen on pages on sites that are eight years old. So, age itself is not enough to prevent this from happening. There has to be some other factor or combination of multiple factors.
I have not tested whether the anchor text matters or not. Maybe it matters and maybe it doesn’t. I have a hunch that it does as it definitely affects ranking for the phrase used as anchor text.
Testing this definitively is also kind of pointless as you probably would not want to link back to your site with irrelevant anchor text regardless.
Update – As it turns out, it appears that trying to maintain a more random (natural looking) anchor text profile is very important ever since Google’s Penguin algorithm update.
The ranking decrease doesn’t happen every time either. It only happens sometimes when a new article is published. This might lead you to believe that it isn’t caused by that new article. However, based on the number of times I have seen it happen, I do believe that it is caused directly by the appearance of that new article that links back to your page.
Which Article Directories Cause This To Happen?
Unfortunately I have not kept track of that statistic. I cannot prove if it is only certain ones or if it is all of them. I believe it can happen with pretty much any of them. I have had it happen with the appearance of a new article on EzineArticles.com as well as many other less popular sites. I don’t recall ever seeing this happen when I have posted a guest blog post on someone else’s blog. I do seem to recall it happening when doing blog commenting as a means to build links for some of my other websites. So, this phenomenon is definitely not limited only to article directories.
Can You Prevent Your Page From This Effect?
If your page already has a large number of links pointing directly at it, then I think that downward movement is much less likely to occur. It seems to happen on websites with low amounts of domain authority and pages with few links pointing to them. It is possible that if your entire website or that particular webpage had enough trusted links from high trust sources then maybe this would not happen at all. Maybe one good high trust link is enough? Maybe it takes more than one? We have no accurate way of measuring Google trust. Nor do I have access to get trusted links at will like this in order to conduct a test.
Update – It appears that it is not about the number of links your page already has, but rather it is the variety of anchor text that matters. So, repeating the same words too frequently in your anchor text appears to be the trigger. Be careful about that.
Don’t be surprised if you see this kind of shuffling happen with your website when you are promoting it using article directories. It usually is only a temporary thing if you are using a wide variety of anchor text. At some point the page will bounce back to where it was. It is also possible that it will show up higher in the search results when it reappears.