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Is my site being penalized?
Google traffic droped by 95% starting 26 Aug 2004
maxb




msg:199351
 9:16 am on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hello,

Just wondering if someone who experienced a major drop in google traffic could comment on this.

Story as follow:

The site is 8 months old with approx 13,000 pages online. (a software download directory). The main index page has a PR5 and is reported to have 2,900 baclinks when I check via the google bar. Google used to send approx 1000 unique per day up until the 26 Aug, 2004. My traffic from google since then (26 Aug) have dropped to almost 0 unique p/day while yahoo, altavista, msn etc continue to send the same amount of viewers +-.

I did not change anything major prior to the 26 Aug, except for adding a link to a new site I just finished developing. I added the new link at the bottom of approx 2000 pages out of the 13,000. Also, I did not add any new pages to the site for more then 5 months now.

Could someone please shad some light. Is the site being penalized? is it just an update? will traffic ever recover again?.

This site accounted for a large chunk of my monthly income. I am amazed to see how it went from successful/productive to useless almost over night (?!?).

P.S.
When I do allinurl:mysite.com I get approx 13000 pages indexed by google yet almost none show on the SERPs at the position they used to show (if at all). Looking at my logs it appears as the site have been completely dropped from google.

Also, results over the 3 google centers are way off for my site. The site is still indexed well on www2 and www3 (good as always positions for my keywords ) but is nowhere to be seen on www (datacenter 1).

 

landmark




msg:199381
 8:30 am on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Did something happen again on 5-6 September?

One of my sites rose from 5k visitors/day to 7k on 26th August, then fell to 3.5k on 6th September.

Another fell from 9k visitors/day to 6k on 26th August, then again to 5k on 6th September.

Looks like a second step-change event to me. Anyone else seeing this?

Airportibo




msg:199382
 9:00 am on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, I see the same for our websites. The two of our websites that had been hit on August 26th have come back yesterday...

george123




msg:199383
 10:28 am on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

excuse me folks did your pages had to deal with summer travel or the international summer events? if so ,thats normal,well all travel sites from north its time to put our coats for a long long winter and target the south seas....LOL

Aaz7




msg:199384
 4:34 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

few of my sites went down yesterday too...
i'd like to know what's going on

ds2021




msg:199385
 10:01 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maxb, you discounted the possibility that you were being penalized for duplication of content by speculating that the new site should suffer and not the old. You then questioned this, as it would allow a competitor to harm another by duplicating content and having G spider it.

In fact, it may be apparent that G understands that it cannot penalize a site on the linked end of the stick, but can do so for those that link. The competitor you speculated about (the old site) would not link to the duplicated content. In this case you linked your old site to your new site, with admittedly 50% duplication of a substantial number of pages.

Look at it this way: if G detected a blatant link farm, and found an outward link to it from your site, it would be reasonable to assume that you are a participant in that effort, and penalize you accordingly. If that farm linked to your site but you did not link back (directly or indirectly), then it would be unreasonable to assume that were a participant, and your site would not likely be penalized, although links from the farm may be discounted.

In this scenario, your link to the duplicated site would be a tacit sign of your involvement, and a penalty may have been assessed. It is unlikely that this is the only new algo that was implemented ~August 26th, but if that is your only offense, then removing the links to the duplicate site may work to your benefit over the next months as G continues to re-index.

I recently sold my interests in a top placed site in my keywords, and am starting a competitive site. The more I research, the more that I feel that G is seeking algos which allow it to step back in time before everyone started trying to optimize for Google. All that remains, therefore, is to build it for the user.

maxb




msg:199386
 10:50 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)


Maxb, you discounted the possibility that you were being penalized for duplication of content by speculating that the new site should suffer and not the old. You then questioned this, as it would allow a competitor to harm another by duplicating content and having G spider it.
In fact, it may be apparent that G understands that it cannot penalize a site on the linked end of the stick, but can do so for those that link. The competitor you speculated about (the old site) would not link to the duplicated content. In this case you linked your old site to your new site, with admittedly 50% duplication of a substantial number of pages.

Look at it this way: if G detected a blatant link farm, and found an outward link to it from your site, it would be reasonable to assume that you are a participant in that effort, and penalize you accordingly. If that farm linked to your site but you did not link back (directly or indirectly), then it would be unreasonable to assume that were a participant, and your site would not likely be penalized, although links from the farm may be discounted.

In this scenario, your link to the duplicated site would be a tacit sign of your involvement, and a penalty may have been assessed. It is unlikely that this is the only new algo that was implemented ~August 26th, but if that is your only offense, then removing the links to the duplicate site may work to your benefit over the next months as G continues to re-index.

I recently sold my interests in a top placed site in my keywords, and am starting a competitive site. The more I research, the more that I feel that G is seeking algos which allow it to step back in time before everyone started trying to optimize for Google. All that remains, therefore, is to build it for the user.

Makes a lot of sense. I'm starting to suspect that this may very well be the real reason. With that said, Iíve decided to give it a couple more weeks to see if traffic recover by itself (maybe it is just a re-indexing issue although i have never seen such major drop in traffic on any of my other sites to date - knock on wood, this must be a major algo shift).

P.S.
The two sites linking to each other are both hosted on the same server (same ip block). The old site lost 99% of traffic while the new one gained zilch.

And just to add to the confusion, I'm experiencing recently a major jump in traffic (almost 25%)on two other sites i have (completely different topics) while these sites too, are linked and linking to all of my other sites and are hosted on the same server. I just hope it is not the same spike in traffic i experienced on the other sites mentioned above just before in tanked to almost 0 a few days later.

ds2021




msg:199387
 3:05 am on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)
Maxb, a few things:

1. With links from a potentially penalized site, you would not expect the second site to gain any benefit.

2. I am not personally a big believer in the whole C block theory. Many genuine businesses host sites on massive virtual hosts such as Verio. It would be extremely difficult to discern who is who from the C block IP address alone.

3. Do the 2 other sites that you refer to have duplicated content as well?

Several others have reported the sudden spike in activity just prior to this apparent penalty. This would be highly unexpected unless the additional traffic is G spiders conducting the equivalent of reconnaissance work. With the quantity of pages you report, this would easily account for the additional traffic.

I wonder if these same people report an increase in _business_ during this period, or only in traffic.

maxb




msg:199388
 5:17 am on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)


Do the 2 other sites that you refer to have duplicated content as well?

Nope, the sits gaining additional traffic have completely different topics to the ones that lost traffic.

Also, the two sites i mentioned originally (which share some content) are not 100% duplicated, more like 20%-30% duplicated.

BTW, could you imagine the resources required for search engines to determine duplicated content?
I don't think search engines put too much into such issues. It would take enormous resources inoreder to compare billions of pages to other billions of pages.

If the duplicated content penalty theory is true (which i very much doubt) then a re-indexing would take search engines a few years to complete. Whichever smart code they might be using, it still comes down to comparing page A from domain A to Page A from domain B. As a programmer, i just don't think it is doable on such major scale (billions upon billions of pages, it would take years and then some to complete).

Nope, i think that linking and interlinking is the major factor in this game. My traffic dropped a few days right after adding links from the old site to the new site. I now also recall that i added my Adsense code to the new site aprox two weeks just before the major drop(on the new site). This also may have triggered something.


Several others have reported the sudden spike in activity just prior to this apparent penalty. This would be highly unexpected unless the additional traffic is G spiders conducting the equivalent of reconnaissance work. With the quantity of pages you report, this would easily account for the additional traffic.

No, no spiders. It is human traffic allright. Different browsers, different ips, different op systems. I'm using the extreme tracker which can not detect bots (only browsers with jave enabled). And yes i did experience an increase in "business" (more page views more clicks etc.). I just hope this one last though. It is a very clean site and it's about 6 years old.

Aaz7




msg:199389
 9:25 pm on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

i think that it's time to look at yahoo, msn & vista :)

lazerbud




msg:199390
 7:46 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm joining in here a bit late cos I only just realised that traffic to my website from google has dropped to 0 in the past 2 weeks. My site's a personal business site which used to get an average of 40 hits a day, it's getting about 25 now, mostly from Yahoo and MSN Search.

My site isn't showing up even when I search for it by it's name! It's just devastating cos I've been depending on traffic from google for my business a lot the past couple of years and this is the first toime this has happened.

I thought Google might've dropped my site cos it hasn't been updated in a while, in a situation like this does anyone think updating/adding new content and getting backlinks is what we should be doing to try to get our sites back on the SERP's?

Aaz7




msg:199391
 10:35 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

i'm almost 100% sure that google cannot drop your site due to rare updates. there are tonns of sites that even cannot be updated, i.e. - e-libraries, tech manuals, etc. so, google can't filter sites by updates :)

george123




msg:199392
 10:38 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

"i think that it's time to look at yahoo, msn & vista"
excuse me?
Google is the democracy of the internet ,though is a KING.Google is the only future for data and knowledge share to the Planet ,as long as stays as it is today.-

Airportibo




msg:199393
 11:02 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is the only future for data and knowledge share to the Planet

I certainly hope not! Wouldn't it be terrible to be dependant on one SE to decide what's valuable information and what isn't? It's allready bad enough as it is...

But to get back to the topic of this thread. I still can't figure out what Google changed during the last two weeks. I'm currently monitoring about 10 large websites (shopping) accross Europe with each having more than 100.000 pages indexed:
- Two sites lost traffic August 26th and came back the 6th september.
- one site just increased its traffic by 25 percent on the 6th
- another one had a decrease in traffic the 6th
- the rest pretty much stayed the same

There just doesn't seem to be any pattern to me. I guess all I can do at the moment is sit and wait...

lazerbud




msg:199394
 11:09 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

When you say the traffic "came back" do you mean you regained similar positions on the SERP's as you had before this mess happened?

I'm worried I might not regain positions for certain keywords I was at the top for and I can already see competitior sites occupying my place! Arrgghh!

george123




msg:199395
 11:15 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

re:airportibo: so what SE you think is democratic...Yahoo maybe?Then whole www what we have at the moment for fre indexing is only G ask how many webmasters and companies lost there listings because some greedy fasist desided you must pay to be here.

george123




msg:199396
 11:17 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

sorry for errors i am at the moment very ANGREE

Airportibo




msg:199397
 11:46 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

@lazerbud
I have to admit that I never paid attention to the position of specific keywords, since our websites have so many pages and cover so many different products. So I am just looking at the total number of referres I get from Google. So when I said "came back", I meant the number of users these pages recieve from Google went back to the level before August 26.

@george123
No need to be ANGREE :-)
I think no single SE can be democratic. But having more than 1 1/2 players on the search engine market could do the job. I just yearn for the times, when I could look at 5 different places to compare the search results. You could start a new thread on this topic :)

george123




msg:199398
 11:59 am on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

airpotibo ...its a good idea to start a thread...need your support

Aaz7




msg:199399
 12:21 pm on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

monopoly is always great thing for business, but always terrible thing for the whole market :)

so, i hope that yahoo & msn will succeed in their development, so we will have 3 big players.

br33526




msg:199400
 11:54 pm on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is duplicate content or size of site.

I have a site w/ less than 500 pages. Pre 8/25, it was #2 for a 1 word commercial phrase competing out of 50 M results.

After 8/25, it dropped to #8 or so. A few days ago, it dropped again to #13.

This site is about 4 years old and a clean original industry directory.

My traffic did not drop as much as others, only about 30%. Most if not all 2 word phrases maintain their top listing.

We lost the most traffic from the 1 word phrase which we have been targeting for about 6 months now.

2 possibilities are:
1. We gained too many backlinks with KW anchor text recently without a normal distribution.
2. We stopped advertising on a higher PR site which led to a decrease in PR. I doubt this b/c there are lower PR sites that are still in the top 5.

poppymccool




msg:199401
 12:21 pm on Sep 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I started getting a wicked boost on one site around the end of August, and though perhaps it was because of the Republican convention since that site is a political one. However, the boost continued to rise, rise, rise through Wednesday.

Then my server crashed for three hours and when it came back up I was no longer getting any traffic from Google outside of the occassional odd hit.

I am pretty sure I am not being penalized, and wonder if there isn't an existing site sandbox that you wander in and out of sometimes? Lots of hits, few hits, medium hits, etc.

Could good positions of popular keywords be randomized?

danZ




msg:199402
 5:50 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

poppymccool,

G doesn't like unavailable websites. If it finds a website down it stops referring to the site. However, after a week or so, G referrals will gradually return. The moral of the story, make sure you have a robust, highly-available web server and network.

Aaz7




msg:199403
 9:09 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

so, you think that google have noticed 3 hours downtime of *average site*? :)

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