Google stole my traffic.
To put it more precisely, a few of the websites I set up with "buy online" somewhere in the URL were dropped down low in Google's SERPs.
It was a noticeable change. One week pageviews hovering around 2,000 daily -- the next week hovering much lower.
Ranking high for certain terms, the next day that same ranking taken away. And then given back. And then taken away again.
Could it be that the mysterious Google algorithm is set up to check URLs with "buy" or "download" in their URLs?
We know that Google probably checks the expiration date of the URL to take sites with domain expiration dates longer than one year away more seriously, but I think it also checks how much free traffic they're giving to affiliate marketers and the like.
Google penalizing money-making sites?
Google gives a clue towards its attitude towards money-making sites on their "reconsideration request" page, which forces you to admit your site "...no longer violates Google's quality guidelines...." even if you didn't violate them in the first place, then states:
"In general, sites that directly profit from traffic (e.g. search engine optimizers, affiliate programs, etc.) may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reconsidered."
Some say this is Google's way of forcing money-making sites to use Google Adwords to promote their websites instead of merely good, hard blogging SEO work for free.
Anyway, I submitted my reconsideration request. We'll see what happens....
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