- This topic has 3 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 weeks, 4 days ago by Sebules.
June 27, 2020 at 8:47 am #6078seohelperKeymaster
When I first looked at the new site data, I saw they were ranking for around 540 keywords with 10 pages that had less than 1000 words combined. Backlinks were 3.5k and pretty much all low DA with many sites with broken content and 90% irrelevant to the site. Looks like the SEO company purchased all the links which somehow aren’t showing as Toxic in Semrush.
I logged into the site expecting to find a bunch of pages that weren’t linked internally or blog posts, but I found nothing except the 10 pages mentioned previously. After crawling the site, I found that they had not 10 pages, but 450 pages in total. No sitemap anywhere, but the pages are all indexed by Google and are contributing to the 540 keywords that they are ranking for. A ton of .html pages all just sitting somewhere on the site.
I went to one of the links and it justs goes to the main homepage, where all the text has been replaced with images of the text, and if you scroll all the way to bottom, you’ll see an H1 Title, that when you click on it, reveals paragraphs of text underneath.
I looked further into the backend of the site and found a folder with PHP scripts and index files. They literally have a script that generates pages with reworded content. They made a script that creates the pages with the keywords they specify, and it duplicates the homepage that has only images and adds the paragraphs of text with the keywords, business name, and location swapped out. The text is then hidden at the bottom of the page and only visible if you happen to click on the plain Title which gives no indication that it’s clickable.
I copied a part of the content in the paragraphs they generated that didn’t have any swapped words and searched it in Google. I found all of their clients with the same thing done to their sites with the same exact words.
Google has an article about “Hidden Text and Links” which talks about how hiding text and links for the purpose of manipulating SEO is against the guidelines and could result in a penalty.
What is the risk of Google penalizing the site at this time or in the near future?
In order to retain all of the rankings they have now, set up the site properly to scale, and eliminate the risk of penalty, the best course of action now is to turn all these pages legit through blog posts. I will write a script that will take all the permalinks, titles, and text content and make a CSV file that I’ll use to import as new pages. I will set up the site on a new WordPress install, properly configured, and using the same permalinks for everything. I also plan to update the design, use a different visual builder, and replace the plugins the old SEO company was using with better ones.
Is this the right way to go about this? I sincerely appreciate any advice on how I can do this properly without losing their keyword rankings.June 27, 2020 at 11:49 am #6081Sebules
If it’s auto generated / spun content then adding them as actual pages won’t really help. Are these pages of value / have real content on them?
If so go ahead, otherwise you should inform the client (which I would be doing at this stage anyway) and recommend a content campaign to plug in the gap.June 27, 2020 at 2:27 pm #6079alphawave2000
Sounds like a nightmare having to deal with all that. I hope they pay you well for your knowledge, expertise and work.June 27, 2020 at 3:39 pm #6080CinemaMike
Are the keywords money makers and ranking well? If they are, you run the risk losing valuable spots by going all white hat. This is something that should be discussed with the client. Good Luck.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.