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I think you've been hit by the "penguin" update, which is probably the biggest SEO embarassment from Google in a long time.

Unlike other updates which attempted to remove "web spam" from the search results by tweaking some of the parameters, this update (according to many in the SEO community) is an active attempt to catch people doing black hat or over SEO optimization. Unfortunately many legit sites have gotten caught in its net.

You can read about it in the WSJ among other places:


No, safeshepherd.com has not been hit with the Penguin algorithm, nor with any kind of manual spam action.

If you look at the first website mentioned in that WSJ article, they even admit that they paid for hundreds of backlinks to their site, which is a violation of our quality guidelines.

IMO any SEO besides writing good content should be penalized and that what's Penguin does so personally I think it's great.

I've been following the Penguin update and this doesn't sound like the cause. The OP said they did not do any crappy link building.

I've even gone in to Alexa to start verifying all of our back-links. All of our links are from blogs / news / twitter , et al. That said, it doesn't mean Penguin didn't hurt us. Algorithms have corner cases.

Use Open Site Explorer to start on your bad link search:


OpenSE and Majestic SEO databases are not really going to find the spammy links that penguin is targeting:


It's come out that for a few thousand, you can buy black hat's who will do crappy link building for your competitors. So, possible scenario: Safe Shepard stepped on somebody's toes and they retaliated by hiring (or creating) a ton of crappy back links to the website. Unlikely, but possible.

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