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Traffic Down 50% For 6 Weeks - Today I Start Tweaking
HuskyPup




msg:3657517
 4:17 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

We've waited...and waited...and waited, nothing has improved for this retail 10+ year old niche trade site that formerly occupied top ten positions for all its keywords etc.

At the moment I really cannot see anything wrong with it, some of its much less-frequented pages still rank highly however for the most popular products the site has completely disappeared from the first 100-150 results.

Even searching for the "product" in the "location county" throws up zero results, bizarre, and even more so if you knew just how sparsely populated the county is with no competition.

Today the decision was taken to strip the titlebars, meta tags etc back to basics, check all pages for any possible conflicts, duplication etc, so far nothing has been found.

I have taken personal control of this one since it has been very successful from the moment it was first constructed and launched by myself in 1998...yep Google...it's now got personal!

Has anyone else had to do this yet? If so how successful were you?

 

santapaws




msg:3657534
 4:30 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

must be 1000's!
however beware, google does not like changes.

I only have to add a few lines of updated text to a page to guarantee it will drop.

HuskyPup




msg:3657539
 4:36 pm on May 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

however beware, google does not like changes.

Oh, therefore I have question does Google prefer fresh content or stale?

We'll see what happens, web enquiries have dribbled to...zero, how much lower could it go? It can't, therefore the decision has been made to see what can be done.

There's clearly something wrong when one cannot be found for a product in ones own county when there is no other competitor don't you think?

extremegolfer




msg:3658035
 8:29 am on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Check your BLs. Do you have links from sponsored sites? Do you have links from sites that do excessive link exchange?

HuskyPup




msg:3658172
 2:57 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

extremegolfer - Nope, one thing I have noticed though is that in the Google.co.uk results for the most important keyword phrase is that only 2 of the top 20 results are .com, ALL the rest are .co.uk.

My affected site is a .com, my #1 UK trade client's site which has been a top 5 site for 5 years is a .com and that has been hit too.

Interestingly for one of my core sites for an important keyword phrase it has been #1 since Google's inception, it is a .com yet ranks 5th in Google.co.uk behind some quite diabolical sites including ebay whilst still being #1 on Google.com!

Furthermore, checking results on Google.com and Google.co.uk using MSIE, Firefox, Opera and megaproxy all deliver completely different results.

Some results are reasonably good but mostly they are very mediocre.

I have another site that is a .tld but not .com/net/org/biz/info or .co.uk, it is #2 on Google.com yet does not even appear in Google.co.uk even though it is hosted in the UK!

Weird and bizarre times.

santapaws




msg:3658199
 4:37 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

i am in a quandary on this. We can clearly see google is trying more and more to narrow results by location. Now on the one hand if i search from say the UK for a product i like to get UK sites to deal with. On the other hand one of the big pluses of the internet was that instead of walking your local high street you could shop the world. Google is now narrowing the field once again geographically speaking and we could end up shopping on a virtual local high street taking us back to square one. Now as i see it they can give us the best of both worlds by making those check boxes more accurate, UK only sites, english focussed sites from around the world and another for true local results.

HuskyPup




msg:3658235
 5:33 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now as i see it they can give us the best of both worlds by making those check boxes more accurate, UK only sites, english focussed sites from around the world and another for true local results.

Aha yes, and that's the frustration with English language results.

Why is it that in Google.de and many other country-specific Google sites there are 3 check boxes: Suche: Das Web, Seiten auf Deutsch, Seiten aus Deutschland.

In English: search: the web, pages in German, pages from Germany.

If you really want some fun go and see the options for Google.ch and they have the above options in English, German, French, Italian and Romansh!

Try your own keywords in their versions of the web and see what the results are like. Trying one of my key phrases had my core directory site at #1 and indented #2 and a wikipedia.de in German at #3 with a four line translation phrase from one of my pages!

outland88




msg:3658323
 8:30 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Has anyone else had to do this yet? If so how successful were you?

As I predicted in another forum in late February thousands were about to get a very good taste of reworking their pages for Google. Even though you may not be affected by the 950 take a look at the length of that thread and how many changes without results people have made. Dozens of threads are popping up inside and outside of WW about pages vanishing and ranking drops. Its Google's almost utopian vision of what they want the Internet to be with Universal Search. It's not necessarily your content, guideline violations, or optimization. Basically with a lot of commerce sites Google is saying make your money in Yahoo or MSN or buy into Adwords. We're not allowing such and such so you can compete with the big boys.

Staffa




msg:3658339
 9:18 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google is saying make your money in Yahoo or MSN or buy into Adwords.

I already said that in Nov 2006 :

[webmasterworld.com...]

londrum




msg:3658341
 9:24 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

if you want them to rank better in the UK you could maybe try and move the pages to a server in the UK first. that might help a little bit.

you can get that sorted in a few days ...and you won't have to go through the hassle of changing any of your pages.

HuskyPup




msg:3658345
 9:51 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

if you want them to rank better in the UK you could maybe try and move the pages to a server in the UK first. that might help a little bit.

The sites in question have been hosted in the UK on the Docklands for the past 10 years as stated here:-)

even though it is hosted in the UK!

HuskyPup




msg:3658353
 10:01 pm on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not necessarily your content, guideline violations, or optimization.

I agree however when a very long-established totally white hat company brochure site is not even recognised when searching for its products in one of the least populated counties of the UK, then there seems to be something very wrong with the Google results at the moment for this one site.

Out of 200+ sites this is the only one I have that is currently experiencing this issue and the traffic drop has been consistent for the whole of the 6 weeks, it hasn't experienced any ups or downs whatsoever.

outland88




msg:3658443
 2:13 am on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Whoa, that's a whole different ball game bringing up the fact you have 200 untouched sites in Google. How many pages are we talking here. I better skidaddle out of here.

HuskyPup




msg:3658641
 3:29 pm on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I better skidaddle out of here.

ROFL...I just wonder how many people will understand that? :-)

How many pages? Core site 1 about 5,000, core site 2 about 1,000, the majority of sites are between 20-80 pages with a few .mobi having between 5-8 pages.

I even have two .mobi sites ranking well inside the top 15 of the normal SERPs for two separate but very important keyword phrases which I find amazing.

I was affected by the 950 penalty last year on core site 2 for a couple of months until I resolved the issue one of which was a faulty reference listing on Dmoz.

outland88




msg:3658736
 7:28 pm on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh, I didn't know this was a "braggin" session. :-) Apparently you really don't have any problems.


kidder




msg:3658830
 10:56 pm on May 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Huskypup, care to explain the Dmoz thing for us? Did you use the noodp tag?

CainIV




msg:3659466
 11:14 pm on May 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hello HuskyPup. Without being able to see the website in question, here is a checklist of items I would go look at that may have caused some issues.

Let's first clear up something:

Basically with a lot of commerce sites Google is saying make your money in Yahoo or MSN or buy into Adwords.

This is quite unlikely. I own an ecommerce website that is doing just fine and I have never once used Adwords for the website, and it has ranked page one for the last three years.

Here is the checklist Husky:

1. Check for supplementals using site:domain.com/* and compare those with the regular number of pages in the index. Also compare those to known keyword searches on pages where you have dropped.

2. Check to make sure each page returns 200 OK. I like to use Xenu Link Checker for this.

3. Check a snippet of some of the main pages in quotes in Google to see if other websites may have copied part of the page.

4. View the cache of affected pages to ensure that the cache in Google.com reflects the data on that page, and your website

I have often found in many cases that issues with rankings can derive from server issues, although this may not be the case in your situation

outland88




msg:3659523
 12:56 am on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

To get a little off topic.

This is quite unlikely. I own an ecommerce website that is doing just fine and I have never once used Adwords for the website, and it has ranked page one for the last three years.

From the sound of this you found something considerably more effective. I myself have never advised people to join Adwords. That's a dragon in itself. But for clarification what would you consider the single most important factor that left your commerce site totally unaffected when many were? Now I'm going to assume this isn't a site in a low competition area.

CainIV




msg:3659613
 6:07 am on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

"But for clarification what would you consider the single most important factor that left your commerce site totally unaffected when many were? Now I'm going to assume this isn't a site in a low competition area. "

This is like asking why many websites are penalized and why a given website I have is not penalized. There are simply too many things to list.

My point was that there is not an objective, verifiable correlation between poorly ranking or penalized websites and their respective use/non use of Adwords, any more than there is a correlation between those websites and whether the owner eats peanut butter sandwiches at lunch :)

HuskyPup




msg:3659973
 3:51 pm on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Apparently you really don't have any problems.

One problem is one problem too many and especially when it's not directly my site and is affecting my client's business:-(

NOTE: I have found a possible error in the SERPs and this is an old one here, a 301 permanent redirect.

The site is now back on the first page for keywordphrase + county however what I have also noticed is that a domain name that is 301'd to the target site is showing the domain name + various extensions and not the target site domain name.

This is showing a cache date of 23rd May 2008 therefore I am going to leave the site for a few days and see how things develop.

Did you use the noodp tag?

No, nothing to do with that. I couldn't understand why my companyname.com did not appear in the results until I read the Google snippet in the results and I wondered from where they had got it.

It was purely from memory that I realised this snippet was from Dmoz some what, 10 years ago, therefore I checked the listing and someone had changed it from our .com to our .biz!

The .biz test pages were removed and redirected immediately,

I duly filled out the form to correct the listing and updated the snippet and much to my surprise it was done within a couple of weeks, thanks Dmoz.

That combined with me weeding out some other completely forgotten old test pages which were obviously rasing a duplication flag and the job was done, back to normal and it didn't climb back, it launched straight back to where it had been before.

The lesson from this is that I remove all test pages as soon as proven!

outland88




msg:3660297
 9:12 pm on May 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

But for clarification what would you consider the single most important factor that left your commerce site totally unaffected when many were? Now I'm going to assume this isn't a site in a low competition area.

Cain when I posed that question to other people running successful commerce sites most simply replied "aggressive link building strategies." Most even felt it overcame penalties. None brought up optimization. In other words I wasn't overwhelmed with thoughts on "white hat techniques". I come from the school of advertising. In other words the success or failure is based upon that, among other things, not rankings per sec. I'm not referring to Adword advertising.

My overall point was in replying to HP was that Google seems to be pursuing more exclusionary policies whether it be in the form of a rankings reduction, vanishing pages, or the ouster of complete sites. This IMO has become especially apparent since January. Obviously in many cases the answer is not clear but the end result is measurable and comparable with other search engines. Of course HP would likely disagree because as he later brought up he had over 200 untouched sites. To him there would likely be a very logical answer for the problems he was encountering as he recants with the DMOZ thingy. :-)

HuskyPup




msg:3660877
 1:57 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

That's interesting:-)

Today not only is it back to #1 for keywordphrase+county but also nearly all the other keywordphrases that had gone missing in Google.com and Google.co.uk.

I say "interesting" since some pages are showing April cache dates whereas others are since I started tweaking...did I jump the gun by a couple of days or so?

Definitely leaving it alone for a while, let things settle and see what transpires.

tedster




msg:3661055
 4:54 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Today we're seeing a number of reports that the SERPs look more like they did a month ago. Google doesn't truly revert to old results, because they are continually rolling out minor tweaks on a daily basis.

But in this case, several members suspect that geo-filtering was wonky and a fix for that may have been attempted. If so, that could have a major effect and many SERPs might look like a roll-back.

Waiting sounds like the wise thing right now.

Reno




msg:3661406
 11:18 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

however beware, google does not like changes.
I only have to add a few lines of updated text to a page to guarantee it will drop.

For all the good things that Google does -- and make no mistake, they do plenty good things -- this observation by santapaws is their dark side. And unfortunately, it's a dark side that many of us have seen all too clearly.

As far as Google is concerned, when you change the wording of your pages, it's not because you want to freshen it up; it's not because you've found a better way to say something; it's not because you think it will improve the essential theme of the page -- no, it's for one reason only -- you are trying to manipulate THEM. If that company was a single individual with that attitude, they'd be in therapy trying to come to grips with their persecution complex.

So when people ask us whether or not they should make changes to pages which currently rank well, we have no choice except to be honest and tell them that if they do that, they may suffer the consequences.

"Modify at your own risk" is advice worth remembering -- what a ridiculous thing for anyone to have to worry about.

.............................

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