Position Six Penalty at Google

There is something going on for the past few weeks when it comes to rankings in Google. It has something to do with predominantly top rankings dropping to sixth for some reasons. The issue was prominent enough that it gathered some publicity at Search Engine Land, thread at Webmaster World and Search Engine Roundtable. This comes after those hypothesized -5, -20, -950 and other forms of penalties unique to Google.

But it seems that Matt Cutts isn’t aware about it:

Hmm. I’m not aware of anything that would exhibit that sort of behavior.

There must be something happening as notable SEO guy Aaron Wall acknowledges this phenomenon. And he has tips to overcome this ranking filter; he himself observed its occurrence on his pages.

  • Move brand related terms towards the end of page titles
  • Remove core keywords from alt attributes within image navigation links and make these less descriptive
  • Add fresh inbound links that did not necessarily have high quality
  • Restricted flow of link juice to administrative pages through nofollow method

The approach seemed to restore his rankings but can’t confirm if the solution works for others. I think this has something to do with a little tweak on Google algorithm and interesting that there is one data center currently displaying such behavior.