Dropped In Rankings? Google’s Mistake Over Parked Domains Might Be To Blame

google-penalty-squareSearch rankings got you down on Google recently? It’s not the expected over-optimization penalty, as some have been guessing at. Rather, Google may have thought your site was a “parked domain,” when it wasn’t.

Search forums like Webmaster World and Google’s own search discussion areas have had much discussion about recent drops in ranking, such as herehere and as summarized by Search Engine Roundtable. Some have wondered if this was the release of what’s been dubbed an “over-optimization penalty” that Google previously said would be coming this year.

Whether that really will be a penalty of pages with too much SEO or more likely a tougher crackdown on actual spam remains to be seen. But in either case, that penalty isn’t what’s happened.

Rather, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, said the change is due to Google mistakenly classifying some sites as being parked domains, domains that generally lack any content other than ads.

Cutts posted on Google+

I saw a recent post where several sites were asking about their search rankings. The short explanation is that it turns out that our classifier for parked domains was reading from a couple files which mistakenly were empty. As a result, we classified some sites as parked when they weren’t.

I apologize for this; it looks like the issue is fixed now, and we’ll look into how to prevent this from happening again.

At the end of last year, Google announced that it would be targeting parked domains or “placeholder” sites so that they wouldn’t rank as well.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: General | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • adzuna

    Anyone seen a recovery yet? I’m not convinced all of the movement / volatility last week was down to the domain classifier thingy Matt mentioned. Either new Panda update or over optimisation algo was rolled out at the end of last week in my opinion.

  • http://www.okajewelry.com/ Frank Wang

    what’s are the parked domains? so need each website have a hosting?

  • gbfhsghtr

    The Louis Vuitton Handbags are sold with higher price in china that other countries, because china has the very high inprot taxes of handbags,so many chinese always 
    want to buy a Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags and they will go aboard and buy cheap items from Louis Vuitton Outlet Store ,buy the others who can’t go aborad will 
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  • slavetonone01

    My site too was hit overnight with this issue.  I was in the top 3 on page one for about 20 keywords and now I am luck if I am on page 7-40 for all keywords, some are not even in the top 50 that I see.  I do everything natural, so I guess my site fell victim to this.

    How do you contact google to report this issue?


  • slavetonone01

    My site that has been around for a couple years dropped in rankings for all of my key words overnight.  I do everything natural and have worked very hard to get most of my keywords (at least) 20 on page one in the top 3 position.  Now ALL of my key words are on pages 7-50!  I only have a few page 7-10 and the rest are after.

    How or who do we contact at apple to report our sites if we are having this problem, so they can see if our sites have fell victim to this issue.  I have had increased traffic every month for a year now and average about 300-700 hits a day to my site, but since this happened I have had ZERO hits yes I said ZERO!  I am going to go out of business if this is not fixed ASAP.

    Any help one of you can provide would be great!  Thanks

  • http://goo.gl/iEm0B Commodity

    Its very truth that many website got down and doing struggle to get back in ranking.

  • info

    For all those Penguin affected people -
    Several of our clients immediately felt the effects of a drop in search rankings.
    We found that removing the excessive keywords and swapping them with keyphrases, our clients page rank return within a few days.
    Check us out here – http://www.webwonks.co.nz/web-wonks-wof/penguin
    Feel free to contact us to trade seo advice.

  • Ganeshan Nadarajan

    Drop in rankings is due to google’s mistake over parked domains.

  • http://twitter.com/mtrealtor Bill Bahny

    My site(20 years old)  has been on page 1 of google for years and now it is nowhere to be found.  in my business, if you are not found on page 1, you do not have a business.  Things have been slow in RE anyhow, but this really hurts many business, not just mine.  How does one contact Google to get it fixed.

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