Original Poster

AngryPenguin: looking for Penguin advise (links or otherwise)

Hi AngryPenguin --

I started another thread at your suggestion so as to not hijack the other thread any more.

My site is http://www.hockeydb.com. It has been online since 1998, and is a very respected reference site for hockey statistics. It is used by every hockey league out there, including the NHL. 

As I mentioned, I have never participated in any link exchanges, nor have I bought or sold any links. I have a lot of links because people really like my site and they have linked to it.

On April 24 my site in general was seriously deranked by Google. I have attached a picture below. 

People come to my site primarily to view hockey player profiles. I'll give you an example of where I think I should come up in a search - if you search for [Jack Hillen], I think that my site should be returned in at least the first couple of pages. Here's my page:

Hillen was just signed to a free agent contract, so he is in the news today. Most of Google's results right now are the same AP article across many different sites. They all have the exact same headline. That's a separate issue, I think. However, I'm up to page 17 and still can't find my page.  Here's the odd thing though: when you type in Jack Hillen to the search bar, the fourth "suggestion" is "Jack Hillen Hockeydb". Additionally, at the bottom of the first page of search results, a "related search" is "Jack Hillen Hockeydb". So enough people are actually searching for that phrase so that Google ranks it - but Google won't return my site in its results. 

Another example which isn't clouded by recent news is [Craig Janney]. Again, I'm not even in the mix of sites, although I recognize this search term is relatively competitive, with many relevant pages returned. What troubles me is that I don't even appear after the non-relevant pages start showing. I'm nowhere to be found. Here is the page I'd expect:

Let's try a more obscure - and thus less competitive - player. [Pete Pleban]. My site comes up as the first result on page #2. I see that position more than I should, which leads me to believe that there is a penalty being assessed. 

Now let's try a more recent obscure player. [Dominic Plenzich]. First result on page #2 again. See what I mean?

Here's a really odd case. [Matt Generous]. My site is explicitly referenced 2 times in the "related links" - but never comes up in the general search. 

I am not deranked for every search. There are plenty of players  where, if you type their name, my site comes up on the first page. However in many cases, my site is no longer returned 

I am trying to capture two primary audiences: people who search for hockey players (usually current), and people who Google themselves or their friends. I'm not doing well in either category. The latter category only works well when the name is less common -- I don't expect to be returned when someone searches for Doug Smith or Bill Gates, but when someone searches for Mike Gerstanbuhler or Josh Gianotsos, I think that my site should be there. 

Likewise, when someone searches specifically for hockey players by typing in [Daniel Gentzler hockey] or [Daniel Gentzler stats], I'd expect my site to be returned. It certainly used to be, and still is for some players.

The advise I have received so far, although well-intentioned and certainly relevant, just isn't helpful. People say "include a bunch of text with the player profile". Sure, that might work - but that isn't what my site is about, and I am not being outranked by sites that do this. I'm being outranked by junk sites, or sites that cloned Wikipedia. Or they give the more generic "your content is too thin". Sure, I don't have a 500 word essay on each player, but neither do other sites. Or they say "you have above the fold advertising on your site" - but so does everyone else. 

I have made some changes since April 24. 
  • I put rel=nofollow on the 10-12 links on my links page. I originally had put those links there organically, but this is the advice that people gave me.
  • I solved a bunch of duplicate title/description problems, such as when two players have the same name.
  • I included a canonical tag on all my player pages so that a slightly different query string would not make it appear as though there were two pages.
  • I completely blocked a development server which had some (but not many) pages indexed in Google - duplicating the page on my main server.
  • I removed some ads on player pages where the player doesn't have much of a career. Those pages have just 1 ad on them now.
  • I have put "noindex" on some pages that were automatically generated, such as a team that has no player information on it, etc.
  • I have asked some forum sites where my site is linked like a blogroll to remove the links. That had resulted in profiles such as 25,000 links to a single page on my site.
  • I have a widget-type javascript tool where someone can embed stats from my site on their own site - with links to my site - I changed all links to rel=nofollow, even though even Danny Sullivan himself doesn't do this on his widgets. The tool was never meant to try and capture pagerank, the links are there to get people to click them and visit my own site.
Nothing seems to have worked though, and no one has been able to offer anything more than generic suggestions such as "remove the ads" or "beef up the content".

Thanks for any advice you can supply.


Community content may not be verified or up-to-date. Learn more.
Recommended Answer
Was this answer helpful?
How can we improve it?
All Replies (101)
EMERGENCY YOU HAVE NO DOC TYPE IN YOUR page SCRIPT at the top of the script is always the first line. am i right or wrong.

<head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

The DOCTYPE Declaration (DTD or Document Type Declaration) does a couple of things:

  1. When performing HTML validation testing on a web page it tells the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) validator which version of (X)HTML standard the web page coding is supposed to comply with. When you validate your web page the HTML validator checks the coding against the applicable standard then reports which portions of the coding do not pass HTML validation (are not compliant).
  2. It tells the browser how to render the page in standards compliant mode.

What Happens If the DOCTYPE Declaration (DTD) is Not Included or is Incorrect?

If the web page coding does not include a DOCTYPE Declaration (DTD or Document Type Declaration) or it is done incorrectly:

  1. You will not be able to use a HTML (HyperText Markup Language) Validator to check the page coding. HTML validation requires the DOCTYPE declaration.
  2. The browser rending the web page will process the coding in Quirks Mode.
  3. The stylesheet may not be implemented as planned.
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=2505 this does have doc type
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=73773 this does have doc type

http://www.hockeydb.com/ this does not have doc type i take its HTML 5

anyway thought i would just mention that i have to go,. leave to these experts to look out
Phil Payne
Phil Payne
"When I look in WMT, I see 3,711,671 links. These were all given to my site naturally ..."

Yeah, riiiight.
Original Poster
Phil, I would like you to retract that libelous statement.

I will swear an affidavit that I have never bought, sold, or traded links. Are you willing to do the same stating that I have?

Phil Payne
Phil Payne

based upon what you stated, your pre 1992 data is unique or at least represents significant effort to compile.

Post 1992, you are an aggregator.

So be it.  Others are too.

If you read this forum enough, you should realize there is a large group of content aggregators who are having similar issues.  Those sites have few if any ads, very seldom do they have any rich and compelling content and once in a blue moon the sites are even technically correct.  Realtors is their name and duplicate content is their poison simply because dozens upon dozens of sites in a single market share the same MLS content feeds.  In some markets each Realtor working for a local or regional firm will have their own individual sites.  Sometimes there are 1000 or more sites sharing and republishing the same content feed.

(somebody is going to be #1 and the rest are going to be very unhappy)

The duplicate content issues are going to weigh down anything good the individual site may do.  My solution for them is the same that I offer you..... Minimize the ads if they exist (for you they do), fix any technical errors that may exist and develop significant qualities of rich, compelling content to dilute the bad (duplicate content) issues of the site.

This question is locked and replying has been disabled. Still have questions? Ask the Help Community.


Some community members might have badges that indicate their identity or level of participation in a community.

Google Employee — Google product team members and community managers
Community Specialist — Google partners who help ensure the quality of community content
Platinum Product Expert — Community members with advanced product knowledge who help other Google users and Product Experts
Gold Product Expert — Community members with in-depth product knowledge who help other Google users by answering questions
Silver Product Expert — Community members with intermediate product knowledge who help other Google users by answering questions
Product Expert Alumni — Former Product Experts who are no longer members of the program
Community content may not be verified or up-to-date. Learn more.


Member levels indicate a user's level of participation in a forum. The greater the participation, the higher the level. Everyone starts at level 1 and can rise to level 10. These activities can increase your level in a forum:

  • Post an answer.
  • Having your answer selected as the best answer.
  • Having your post rated as helpful.
  • Vote up a post.
  • Correctly mark a topic or post as abuse.

Having a post marked and removed as abuse will slow a user's advance in levels.

View profile in forum?

To view this member's profile, you need to leave the current Help page.

Report abuse in forum?

This comment originated in the Google Product Forum. To report abuse, you need to leave the current Help page.

Reply in forum?

This comment originated in the Google Product Forum. To reply, you need to leave the current Help page.

Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center