I don't fully understand Donna's point about low quality backlinks.
Links -- http://support.googl...en&answer=66356
Keyword stuffing -- http://support.googl...en&answer=66358
Remember, google sends out a bot that is implemented by code -- there is no subjectivity or guarantee of fairness. google doesn't see you as their customer and they aren't willing to support you to help you rank your site as a result. There are thousands of sites that get penalized. The complaints light up the forums after every penalty algorithm update. It doesn't seem to be fair for a lot of different reasons, but nevertheless, google never adds customer service technicians to help website owners resolve these kinds of issues. We suspect they don't care.
I think you can answer your questions by asking yourself a few questions --
"How can google tell the difference between the spammer and the scraped?"
"google is still enforcing the Quality Guidelines and penalizing sites with Panda & Penguin, I wonder if they ever get it wrong?"
"I wonder if google ever says one thing and then does another?"
The only link from an external site I can think of is where I have a banner add to my home page http://support.google.com/webmasters
That Wikipedia site with all those links using anchor text that aren't even related to washing machines isn't helping you. Also, that Wikipedia states it isn't trusted is not good -- there are things you can do to change that.
For your links in general -- look closely at the Quality Guidelines with an open mind and the idea that the bot doesn't know you and may think your site looks like one or more of those violations.
I hope you don't think I'm just a stubborn person but I still don't get how I could be penalised for overuse of the words "washing machine" on the home page when internal pages I have with 108 uses are number 1. The home page only uses the phrase 34 times yet internal pages use it loads more times especially the category pages which link to all relevant content.
Those other pages don't rank for "washing machine" or "washing machines" and your domain isn't in the first 100 search results for either of those terms. Hmmmmmm....I wonder if there is a causal relationship?
It's really this simple, your site uses the phrase "washing machines" alot. No one talks like that.
Your pages remind me of the cigar example in the Keyword Stuffing Quality Guidelines above.
The anchor text of links coming to this page can affect this.
Also, look for keyword stuffing in the source code -- alt text, dummy css styles, comments, etc.
If I have a site exclusively about washing machines how can I not mention the word washing machine constantly, on every page?
There are lots of ways.
As Kim alludes to above, an image can go a long ways. Talking about things related to washing machines that are of interest to the user without beating them over the head with it is possible.
Imagine what would happen if you were talking to someone about washing machines and you started every sentence with the words "washing machines" because the topic you're discussing is about "washing machines" -- get it?
In sales, we talk about things that will make people want to buy our product. We don't start every sentence with "you should buy a washing machine."
Or another way to look at it. If this were a book you were trying to sell, do you think anyone would buy it?
Another idea -- on this page --> http://shopping.wash...pliances-prices
-- you list categories of items. For example,
Why didn't you list them as? --
Home Appliances - Cookers
Home Appliances - Dishwashers
Home Appliances - Extractor Fans
Home Appliances - Freezers
Home Appliances - Fridge-freezers
Home Appliances - Hobs
It's possible that your homepage will rank with 2 or 3 uses of "washing machine" and 5 to 8 uses of related keywords (see Wordtracker.com for explanation) and 4 or 5 internal links with "washing machine" or related keywords as anchor text, or less -- it depends on competition and how well your site has established itself as being relevant and the authority on the subject.
You may want to consider buying Tim Ash's book -- Landing Page Optimization or Steve Krug's book -- Don't Make Me Think. You may be able to get ideas there.
For now, I think Wordtracker has the basic information you need to deal with this. Please get their ebook, it will answer most of your questions about how to use keywords. Also, they have a good, short video on keyword selection that covers frequency of use.
Is it possible that I have had points deducted so to speak for using the phrase too much, but I've had such good points from other aspects that it's not affected me too much until now?
Based on your accounting of the situation, here's what we know --
- Your penalty happened on the exact day google ran the last Penguin update
- Penguin is largely about links and keyword stuffing
- I have never heard of a Penguin case where only one or two keywords were affected. Normally there is a fairly devastating loss of traffic from many keywords
- I have never heard of a case where one or two keywords were all that were affected by a link penalty, they are normally sitewide penalties
- I have often heard of cases where a specific keyword was filtered out for over use.
- Overuse of anchor text in links with an intent to influence rankings violates google Quality Guidelines for both links and keyword stuffing
That's what we know and, as usual in the real world, there are some inconsistencies. On the other hand, without actually reviewing your site, I can't say we have all of the information that is relevant.
Based on the above, what do you think the cause may be? We know google thinks something is wrong or you would be ranking for both "washing machine" and "washing machines" today. Clearly there is some kind of penalty at play.
Finally, I haven't received any notifications from google webmaster about anything except one internal page which has "had a significant drop in visits" about 3 months back - but bizarrely that page still ranks number 2 for its topic.
It seems unusual that you wouldn't have noticed a drop in traffic. "Washing machine" gets 5 million global searches per month, broad match. "Washing machines" gets 2.24 million. ???
google doesn't always notify you that you have been penalized. Often webmasters only know it because traffic drops substantially.
As Glyn pointed out, you could resolve this by filing a request for reconsideration and hope that google responds with what they think the problem is. Think about that carefully, though, as I have recently read of cases where the webmaster then got a manual audit and google further penalized the site -- quite dramatically. Oftentimes with google, it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
Note: That google is not capitalized anywhere in this comment is not an error. I do that out of dis-respect for google.
Edited by chuckfinley, 06 December 2012 - 05:03 PM.