Another variable that may be a factor is that google is getting a lot of bad press from most major news networks, there are a lot more people that watch the stock market and read the news than people who are webmasters:
today my traffic has dropped by 90% (google) and I have lost my positions on most of the keywords. Let's hope it's temporary, otherwise it will be really scary.
for the record: about 200 new pages have been added to the index in the past 2-3 days and GB visits me daily so...
[edited by: walkman at 11:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 7, 2004]
|The topic of the thread is Google referrals dropping while still holding positioning. |
Is anyone else noticing a decrease in google traffic and an increase in Y and MSN referrals?
First, thank you for reminding everyone the topic of the thread.
I have several hundred domains for which I look through the referrer info every month. The traffic from Google has decreased with a direct relation to the loss of Google's market share.
I have found that Yahoo and MSN intentionally make it confusing to differentiate sponsors from organic results, so traffic to my network has gone down despite high SERPs and I am feeling pressure to buy ads on Yahoo and MSN.
Early in this thread you posted the "theory that the knob is getting twisted away from authority sites is as good as any" as the reason traffic was dropping from G. europeforvisitors and BigDave responded they didn't believe this to be true because their authority sites were not experiencing a drop in traffic from G.
You then posted you are "more interested in hearing from the folks whose Gooogle traffic has dropped (the topic of the thread), than from those who are pleased that their Google traffic is stable or growing."
How is it you can say you aren't interested in others posting their experience, when their authority sites are not showing what you believe (or theorize) might be occurring? Are you only "interested" when someone else's experience agrees with your theory?
And how is it you can imply their posts are not "the topic of the thread" - unless you believe anyone whose experience does not agree with your (posted in this thread) theory must be off-topic?
I started following this thread *because* there was mention authority sites seemed to be experiencing a drop in traffic from G. I'd describe my site as an authority (at least my SERPs would indicate G believes it is) and wanted to investigate if I should be seeing, or expect to see, traffic from G dropping. I'm finding there has been a shift in the SERPs of some competitors, but my positions have held steady with only slight upward and downward changes - and there is no drop in traffic from G.
I don't believe my posting this to be off-topic as I think others in this thread might be interested in knowing some, with authority-type sites, are not seeing dropped traffic from G. That there is a drop in traffic from G is obvious from the numerous posts in this thread attesting to it. However, those theorizing it being due to a twisting of the knob back from authority sites might want to look elsewhere for the reason.
For one, part of it, is that it's a Saturday in August. People are outside, enjoying what remains of the summer on their day off.
I noticed though, that my old machine, that I use for backwards capability testing of my sites, got a hold of a Browser Help Object that was modifying the results that google had displayed. Anyone that picked up that BHO object would have their results tainted, thus altering traffic patterns.
"today my traffic has dropped by 90% (google) and I have lost my positions on most of the keywords"
If you lost position, then of course you lose traffic.
There are plenty of threads with people discussing how or why they lost position, maybe you can find some clues in those threads.
In this thread we are looking for input about increases or decreases in google traffic for those who HAVE NOT lost positioning.
My site still sits at the top of the SERPS but most of the sites that used to be top ten have vanished and in their place is some very poor, off topic and spammy results.
I have an older site that is one of the authorities in my industry, since most of the other authority sites in my industry have vanished, my google traffic has decreased, so have my adword impressions. Not just today (Saturday) but over the last couple of weeks I have watched the decline.
Maybe the title should be:
"Is Google Losing Market Share?"
[edited by: my3cents at 12:12 am (utc) on Aug. 8, 2004]
Yeah, i'll admit I'm grasping at straws. The authority site theory wasn't put forth by me, but sounded reasonable. The fact that EFV's site (which I am familiar with) hasn't dropped would indicate that it wasn't an across the board tweak targeting authority sites, as his site would clearly be considered an authority site. I do not know BigDave's site or sites.
As BigDave points out, any and all data is relevant - from those affected and those not affected. I stand corrected. Pointing me to the Google guidelines and telling me to build well rounded sites is probably less helpful for me, but may be helpful for others.
The edge in my posts is because I sort of bristle at posts suggesting that anyone who sees their G referrals fall somehow isn't following the rules, or building well-rounded sites. That doesn't seem fair, especially as EFV and BigDave are not familiar with all of the sites that have been affected.
"I sort of bristle at posts suggesting that anyone who sees their G referrals fall somehow isn't following the rules, or building well-rounded sites"
Something is going on.there has definetly been a shakeup in my main industry and yet the drop in traffic doesn't seem to reflect the serps I am seeing.
Has any of googles partners dropped google for their searches?
Maybe the datacenter I am seeing isn't the one most people are seeing but My google traffic has decidedly dropped.
Regarding the original thread topic, I do see serps shifting around a lot (by this year's standards) but certainly no drop in referals for my pages that rank the same as always.
The one very unlikely thing I haven't seen mentioned is that Google has been experimenting much more than usual the past few days with redirecting/tracking URLs in the serps. It would make sense I suppose if people seeing these drops had weak statistics programs which were showing some Google referers as unknown or bookmarks or whatever.
What I am seeing in my keywords is that my site has dropped from #2 or #3 positions in google to off the map. These are keywords I've held for years. In its place are some very unusual results. You would hope this is a temporary glitch, but something has definitely happened and it is big. Something like a 75% drop for me. And my site is organic and all original content.
here are my 2 cents :)
I didn't notice the SERP drop till today; yesterday it was the same and traffic was still way down. I think it was just datacenter related...until it was spread all around. Today is even worst and I belive others will notice their serps go down too. Today's traffic reminds me of when I had a PR 4. (it's six now).
Maybe google decided to really downgrade or punish one technique. PR, small h1's...who knows but it has to be a substanstial one since many of us were affected.
|Just an algo tweak can mean the difference between someone paying the bills or not. |
I just hope things improve or I might have to get a "real" job flippin burgers.
Statements like the above simply bring us back to the "eggs in one backet" syndrome that so many have posted about in the past.
The fact is, if your income is (primarily) dependent on the free search engine traffic you can garner, you are in for ALOT of sleepless nights in this business.
|Really, what is to prevent a link farm from adding your site without your knowledge and getting you dropped when you did nothing to deserve it. |
Doesn;t happen. Never been proven. Pure conspriacry theory. If any single person can demonstrate documented proof of an ecternal link geting their site banned, by all means let me know so I can start a linking campaign to elimiate my competitors.
|Maybe the title should be: |
"Is Google Losing Market Share?"
I think THAT is the argument that makes the most sense. There is simply no denying that as the "spaminators" continue to pump out their million-page, datafeed generated, affiliate sites (which google seems to love), Google serp quality is sinking. I say this as a online retailer who get's roughly 35% of my traffic from google (mostly lately via adwords).
Personally, since our site is a strong converter and we utilize ppc campaigns well..I could care less who "wins" the search engine battle. I have seen (based on our 90 day stats) a movement (amounting to about a 15% shift of our overal organic traffic) away from google to Yahoo/MSN. Further, since over serp quality is way down, I do think searchers are becoming frustrated having to sift through the results to find the site(s) they want, and are turning either to adwords, or other engines.
"Maybe the title should be:
"Is Google Losing Market Share?"
I think THAT is the argument that makes the most sense.
webfusion, google lost lost 50% of it's share on August 1st comapred to July 30th?
I agree walkman. Google losing market share is the argument that makes the least sense (and on that I have been reading ever since I joined WW a couple of years ago)
If Google is losing market share (which I have seen no evidence of) then it is not likely to be overnight.
On ABC News I just saw a story about how google's growth this past quarter is the lowest since 2001. They said if Google's growth keeps this pace they will have a hard time selling shares.
As for losing market share overnight, tell that to netscape, who went from a wallstreet favorite and one of the leading market shares, to no longer even being a company and at the bottom of the market in less than 2 months.
This game changes fast and according to my stats and others, some of us are seeing this starting to happen. Trust me, I would prefer if it didn't, on every other search engine the serps are filled with competitors that have pretty good offerings of content, information and products. on Google, I am one of the only relevant sites left for my keyphrases.
Since I was the one that posted the authority site theory - I'll go one step further - as I said in my first post - yes it was an authority sites that I saw losing traffic - and when I investigated, some datacenters, not all were showing some major differences for authority sites. One thing that I also noted after doing a lot more key phrase checking is that the traffic drop was not caused by SERP changes as the authority sites Im watching are still positioned extremely well on searches that bring most of the traffic - so I tend to believe that I'm seeing two different effects - one being an overall decrease in traffic due to the "August effect" as some have put it, along with the newest trojans that are doing some search hijacks, and secondly, a change for a lot of authority sites in specific industries. The reason I brought up the question about authority sites was to see if other industries had seen the same shifts. The change has still not propagated to all of the data centers, so I'm pretty sure that the full effect has not shown up yet and lastly I believe that there is a big difference dependant on where (speaking geolocation) you get your traffic from.
added - the authority sites Im watching are not my own, although one of mine is involved, but this is not limited to one group or ring of sites.
|As for losing market share overnight, tell that to netscape, who went from a wallstreet favorite and one of the leading market shares, to no longer even being a company and at the bottom of the market in less than 2 months. |
And what does that have to do with customers using a search engine that is deep in cash?
You just said yourself that google had their slowest *growth* quarter ever. I'll tell you a little secret, gaining even slightly, is not losing.
It even took AV a lot longer than overnight to lose 30% market share, and they were in nowhere near as good of shape as Google, and they were not returning as good of results as Google is currently returning.
Can and will Google lose market share? Maybe. Are they losing it now? Maybe. Have they lost 30% in a short time frame? Absolutely not.
You are looking in the wrong place to explain a sudden drop.
I've actually dropped a few spots on almost half of my top 40 keyphrases, but my traffic from Google is up. Both numerically and percentage of all traffic and of SE traffic. My boost in traffic for the last two days is almost all from google.
Does my traffic being up mean that Google is gaining market share? No more than you losing traffic means that Google is losing market share.
|The change has still not propagated to all of the data centers, so I'm pretty sure that the full effect has not shown up yet and lastly I believe that there is a big difference dependant on where (speaking geolocation) you get your traffic from. |
That may well be so, but the original post to this thread was a day and a half ago - usually long enough for most, if not all data centers to update.
If, as you suggest, the serps have changed substantially in certain geo locations - I'd also expect members of WW, from those same locations, to be posting much about the new update (the silence is deafening).
Hi... I'm new here...
I too saw a HUGE drop and by HUGE I mean thousands upon thousands of visitors lost per day if you add all my sites together.
One of my sites kept it keywords for well over a year and had about 4,000+ a day, now about 1,500. That is the lucky site.
Other sites had very high rankings on 1st page of many keywords and some have gone from 1300 per day to 100 and others as low as 32 people a day.
All our sites went by google rules, had the topics and some content, and had a page rank of 5.
We just don't understand why everything just dropped instantly.
One day I am making close to $1,000 per day, the next $20 if lucky.
What the heck is going on?
|"I sort of bristle at posts suggesting that anyone who sees their G referrals fall somehow isn't following the rules, or building well-rounded sites" |
Sorry if I gave the impression of being critical; not knowing the sites in question, I was speaking generally. After all, this forum is geared toward SEO, and I'd guess that a high percentage of the members are tweaking their sites to meet specific objectives, which is inherently riskier than sticking with an "organic" approach. It's a bit like the difference between being a day trader and an investor in an indexed stock fund. Some people have the nerve for the former; I'm not one of them. :-)
I just checked one term I sometimes go awol for. Seven of the tool's "main" datacenters show it in the top ten. One shows it at #102.
Chances are good that some people seeing a significant drop in referals but thinking their ranking hasn't changed may in fact be changed on one or more datacenters (the one where I am #102 is the one on www now for me).
There is all sorts of movement on the datacenters.
Also, and maybe I'm the only one who ever pays attention to this and tries to find significance in it... today the results for "keyword ~keyword" (no quotes) and "keyword keyword" searches changed significantly, for example, with different pages on my domain showing up as my two "representative" pages.
I just wanted to add my voice to all here. My sales and traffic are down by about 60%, starting in July. There is no pattern that I can figure out as to why some pages are in Google and others not. I just hope someone figures it out soon...........
Well I can only guess too but it seems that either someone is linked to us that Google doesn't like or else one of our main links that Google counted strongly was down during the last crawl.
Another option is hosting problems but I checked and mine seemed OK during the week.
A third option is general networking problems on the internet [doubtful but possible].
Seasonality plays a part but not to this degree, perhaps it is a number of things combined to add up to this major drop.
Also I wanted to say it is possible Google is having major problems we don't know about [some have mentioned the possibility of them having hit a limit to the pages they can handle], maybe they have had to go back in time and use older data, something similiar to this.
Hopefully we will see a rebound next week, I expect this weekend to be dreadful but maybe we luck out and this is only a blip. Let's hope so!
I guess the words "DONT PANIC" spring to mind at times like this.
However, it does not help knowing that your sales and adsense revenue have just dropped off the face of the earth.
I checked my main keywords and they have gone from page 1 to somewhere so deep in the google SERPS I got tired trying to find it.
I just hope that things do improve next week or I will have a lot of digging to do.
Definitely not... this is an interesting but very strange thread. I see no change in my SERPS and no change in traffic, admittedly in niches but it's hard to believe Google would suffer a sudden drop in usage other than what people have already suggested - like the Gulf Stream... seasonal etc.
just fyi, i happen to have a site that is large and broad-based and i do not get terribly obsessed with seo (if only because i have too many pages to even think that way). i engage in no link schemes or link swaps and while have paid for yahoo and a couple of other minor directories, most of my links are simply from the usefulness of my authoritative content.
yet i have faced a drastic decline this past week (on top of a very substantial drop at the beginning of june, which i originally attributed to the summer doldrums).
so while i applaud your spirit of trying to make the web safe for sites like ours which have genuinely useful content, as opposed to the relentless spammers and neer-do-wells who are only interested in profit and not users, my guess is that the recent changes have little to do with that.
We too have taken quite a decline on some sites with some approaching a 80% decrease in traffic so we are talking thousands of visitors per day.
Large sites seem to be the bigger victims then smaller sites based on my observations.
Here is an interesting tidbit though... One site received much of its traffic based on an extremely broad range of keywords that covered a lot of different combinations. It seems that the traffic for those thousands of combos went down dramatically while the traffic for a few of the targeted keyword phrases/pages (external links pointing to those pages) have retained their rankings.
What does that mean? From what I'm seeing, internal links/pages have lost much of their effectiveness while any page that had an external link pointing to it, have retained their effectiveness. Take it for what it is worth as that is one theory that maybe others can deny/confirm.
Interesting tidbit. I can see from some of my sites that have a lot of internal PR distribution losing ground. So the theory of discounting internal links may have merit. Thanks for sharing that info.
i wish the things get better within two days.
OR WE CAN ONLY MAKE NEW SITES WITH NEW PAGES.
THOUGH A LOT OF LABOUR WAS PUT INTO THIS SITE, AND IT WAS DOING GREAT FOR LAST TWO YEARS, BUT IF ITS OFF FROM GOOGLE, I THINK I SHOULD PLAN A NEW HOME FOR MY ARTICLES.
>>>>Here is an interesting tidbit though... One site received much of its traffic based on an extremely broad range of keywords that covered a lot of different combinations. It seems that the traffic for those thousands of combos went down dramatically while the traffic for a few of the targeted keyword phrases/pages (external links pointing to those pages) have retained their rankings. <<<<<
This is my case as well.My more obscure keyword traffic has disappeared.