Google’s Position Six Penalty (Or Bug) A Reality

A week ago we wrote about Google’s Mysterious Position Six Penalty. The phenomenon described has now been confirmed by Google’s Matt Cutts in one of our Sphinn threads on the topic. It appears from Matt’s comments that the drop for pages impacted was an “unintended consequence,” as Glengara puts it in a WebmasterWorld thread, to the December 2007 Google update.

Matt confirmed the behavior and said Google has already begun reversing it. If you are stuck in the position six penalty, you will most likely see it reverse itself within the next few days.

Sebastian first spotted Matt’s comment, which reads:

When Barry asked me about “position 6″ in late December, I said that I didn’t know of anything that would cause that. But about a week or so after that, my attention was brought to something that could exhibit that behavior. We’re in the process of changing the behavior; I think the change is live at some datacenters already and will be live at most data centers in the next few weeks.
In general if you think a site might have a penalty (perhaps from past behavior) and you think the site is clean presently, you can do a reconsideration request in our webmaster console to ask Google to take another look at the site.

This is one of the many reasons why so many SEOs recommend that you hold back on making drastic changes to your pages if you see a drop in rankings. Sometimes it is an issue on Google’s side, and they make a change that you simply cannot control. In this case, those that sat back for a couple months will see things return to normal within days.

I have some more history on the effect at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide