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This 242 message thread spans 9 pages: < < 242 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >     
Major Ranking Losses on 2008 June 4 - 5
confuscius




msg:3668367
 12:34 pm on Jun 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can now join the catastrophic loss club! UK site, PR6, rock solid rankings, 400k pages indexed, fast loading - 90% loss of traffic since 2 days ago. Last time the site went AWOL was early February for a couple of days.

Looking up what I used to rank for approx 20,00 medium to long phrases then all top listing just disappeared BUT results can now only be described as awful - in fact on one query results 11-20 contained sites from Poland, Germany, Czech, .info and not a single .com or .co.uk - when will Google admit that they really screwed up big time this time?

As my site is a .com hosted on uk servers then it seems that I have now moved to the index for Mars. Time to move to the dark side methinks rather than stay in the Google lottery.

[edited by: tedster at 7:08 pm (utc) on June 6, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from [webmasterworld.com...] [/edit]

 

vivalasvegas




msg:3669073
 7:28 am on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Same here - traffic went from close to 1000 uniques to less than 200. The site is a .info and the same thing happened a week or two ago when there was a big thread reporting .infos being dropped and reinstated a day later.

Whitey




msg:3669078
 7:47 am on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

oasisfan
Is your site a .com or regional TLD [ like .uk ] , what date did the drop occur, was it sudden and do you have lot's of scraper sites linked to you that are ranking [ sounds like you have good original content ] ?

Have any new sites linked to you recently in the weeks before the drop?

vivalasvegas
traffic went from close to 1000 uniques to less than 200

What are your SERP positions for terms that ranked high , for exact content [ "brackets"] and broad match.

What happens when you put your unique webname in the search without the site: , www. , or .com etc ? Does it show where it was before ?

huskypup
For those of you who are seeing this loss:
1. Are you referring to product pages also available in similar guises on many other sites or are we referring to unique informational pages?

30% unique informational pages , 70% of pages shared 50/50 with aggregated affiliate content [ other affiliates with lower unique content ratios are fine ]

2. What has happened to your competitors?

Stable

[edited by: Whitey at 8:08 am (utc) on June 7, 2008]

confuscius




msg:3669091
 8:21 am on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

My original point was really intended to be centred on three main points - long term stability, higher PR, larger site with traffic experiencing a dramatic loss. The point being that if you have these three things then there is a certain predictability and consistency in your traffic.

For example to go from 10,000 uniques per day to say 1,000 per day is a far more dramatic effect than from 1,000 to 100.

Could I please ask that in future reports of the dramatic changes be confined to sites receiving in excess of 5,000 uniques per day otherwise I fear we will end up with 100's of websites that have lost 90% of their traffic rather than thousands of visitors, if you see what I mean.

We may well be able to then see some common themes - from what I have seen so far on this thread my guess is that most of the affected traffic is based around the loss of the long tail traffic rather than lots of traffic from a few terms which suggest to me a possible loss of some indexed pages upsetting the balance of a site but yet again I fear that there are too many interlinked factors that we will just not be able to unravel it all.

All I know is from what I have seen is that the face of Google changed on 4 June and many larger websites have seen their rankings depressed and many less relevant smaller websites infiltrating the top of the rankings leading to the depression of the larger sites and their owners!

confuscius




msg:3669094
 8:36 am on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is at least one site that records Google searches and what pages ranked in the top 20 for specific search terms - but it has about a three week lag in its data.

What I intend to do is take a copy of the 20,000 or so search phrases that I used to rank for before 4 June and in a few weeks time take a copy of what I now rank for after 4 June and compare the two lists to see what was affected and, perhaps, more importantly what was NOT affected to see if I can see any pattern.

At least I would be able to confirm independently the timing of the loss and that some sort of wholesale site penalty filter has hit me. The speed of the loss indicates some sort of site penalty rather than a gradual change from a page algo change, but I may be wrong!

If my site returns then this particular exercise will still be possible and worth doing, in my view.

[edited by: tedster at 9:50 am (utc) on June 7, 2008]

doughayman




msg:3669200
 12:23 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

My site's characteristics:

- Smaller website, which has had extremely high rankings for the last 5-6 years. Domain active since 1996.

- Minimal changes to content over time (i.e., fairly stagnant except for periodic necessary changes to update content).

- Main 2 pages have only a PR of 3 (a year ago they were at its zenith at PR4).

- Few outbound links.

- No scraper or low-quality inbound links that I can see.

- I'm hosted in US, and my content is geographically location un-specific.

- Now, I have a rather unique setup. I have a single domain, with about 12 websites, all of which are listed in a sub-directory fashion; i.e.,

www.example.com/subdir1/home.htm
www.example.com/subdir2/home.htm ...etc.

Of the 12, 2 of them have been hit real, real hard, and the others remain the same, in terms of rankings. To me, this alludes to selective, and possibly manual, adjustment.

- Inter-linking is somewhat pervasive on my sub-directory based sites. The main page of each of my 12 sites, points to the main page of each of my other sites. The subordinate pages of each of my sites point to the home page of each site.

- Via eyeballing, it appears that my competitors have been unaffected, in the keyword search terms for which I have tanked.

- Here is one observance that I had, that I cannot re-create, but alludes to possible loss of indexed pages:

2 days ago, I conducted a 4-keyword search, that revealed that one of my effected home pages turned up on Page 4. The page was indexed, but it was missing my META TAG description in the SERPs, and there was NO Cache date. I have since been unable to re-create this result, and my thinking is that either I entered a 4-word term different from what I thought I had entered, or the problem has been rectified. Either way, this points to a possible loss of some indexed pages, as indicated by another poster.

- The sites that have been hit contain product pages that ARE also available in similar guises on many other sites.

- 4-word search terms that ranked high on Page # 1, are now on Page 4 for the most part, with some as far down as Page # 11. In quotes, I am at the bottom of Page # 2. These were the search terms for which I received a good portion of my traffic. For yet other, more obscure, 4-word search terms, I'm still at the top of Page 1.

- When I put my domain name only in Search Box (without any reference to any of my sub-folders), I am still at top
of Page 1.

[edited by: tedster at 12:58 pm (utc) on June 7, 2008]
[edit reason] switch to example.com [/edit]

doughayman




msg:3669208
 12:28 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but a silly question:

For those of you that allude to a manual Google review that potentially precipitated these ranking tankings, what exactly in your log file, indicates this manual review ? That is, what subdomain (if any) from Google are you seeing in your Reverse DNS, that alludes to manual review ?

Hemanth




msg:3669235
 1:20 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hmm i'm also in to the club. It all started in the morning(GMT) of last fourth. My website is a PR4 .com, mainly vbulletin forum, tech related,usa hosted one. Daily google referels dropped from 15-20k to 1-2k. Competitors all going strong.

Over 200k Pages are still indexed. Google is still referring a few visitors. No drop in PR.

A few changes i made recently:

1. Changed the forums' skin.

2. Enabled RSS feed. (I disabled it in last December after a similar penalty. )

3. Posted comments in a few blogs with anchor text as my domain. Mainly do-follow blogs.

In the forum all the outbound links are hidden for guests, including crawlers.

idolw




msg:3669240
 1:46 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

google might be cleaning up and we're seeing collateral damage

SEOPTI




msg:3669254
 2:21 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's a manual review because all sites have been affected at exactly the same day/time.

kcguitar




msg:3669280
 3:20 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

More info on my site:
- Approx. 1000 page site
- main page PR 3
- .com is hosted in the U.S.
- has many incoming and outgoing links
- contains original and reprinted articles; no product pages
- Has not been updated much in the last year
- No affiliate ads, only adsense.
- Non supp pages are exactly the same as before the hit.

confuscius




msg:3669294
 3:57 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have checked my main site PR accross multiple datacentres - no change - all say 6! pagerank has gone from 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 over time and looks solid. At least my site has value if I was to start selling PR backlinks to replace my lost income! I have never sold or bought a link in 6 years of internet business but am beginning to think that I am in the wrong business.

I do have a firefox toolbar plugin which now shows 0 pages indexed with many thousands of pages as non supplemental - go figure that one. When I confirm the zero pages reported by the toolbar then I see 441,000 results on Google! When I check my two main keywords that comprise the domain name then I still have my authority listing but my traffic does not come from the main keywords as they are a combination of an acronym and a generic word.

So everything at the top end looks fine and untouched but if a plugin that reports correctly on all of my other sites then thinks that I have no pages indexed then something is clearly broken. I have authority backlinks from genuine .edu sites and even some directly from Googles own blogs as part of the site concerns the use of a particular Google tool. I have not seen anything like this sort of disruption since the days of the 'Florida' update.

It still looks to me as if Google is reporting pages in its index that I can find with incredibly specific quoted searches but it looks like I am being slowly and systematically removed from the interim result query sets that Google undoubtedly uses to return search results. Google is still vociferously spidering the site at a faster than usual rate and webmaster tools shows no problems.

HuskyPup




msg:3669316
 5:11 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

In the Google SERPs for some of the terms I monitor there are millions of pages missing!

For example one keyword phrase shows 1,770,000 results in Yahoo! and only 271,000 in Google, another one 1,140,000 in Yahoo! and 85,300 in Google.

Some other keyword phrases show similar differences yet others look more or less normal.

I'm really convinced that there is no one in control at the plex.

What a mess!

doughayman




msg:3669332
 5:45 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here's something that I noticed in my Google WT Web Crawl page:

My home page of one of my effected sites is:

www.domain.com/home.htm

In my Web Crawl stats, on June 4th, I had a URL restricted by my ROBOTS.TXT file, whose URL was designated as:

www.domain.com/home.htm?ref=somedomain.com

where "somedomain.com" is a non-registered and non-existant domain. FYI, I have no idea what "somedomain.com" is. Although I do have some affiliate links on my site, I do not offer any sort of sub-affiliate program to my website, so I really have no clue what this "ref" URL appendage is all about. I searched for this URL + "ref" string in Google, and it didn't turn up on anyone's website either.

Several weeks back, I had added a line to my ROBOTS.TXT file to prohibit such URL's from being indexed (that is, URL's of my webpage that contained a string - question mark + domain). I did this because I believed that attempting to index a URL with a "ref" string like this, might conflict with the actual URL (www.domain.com/home.htm), and I was afraid that this may result in a duplicate content penalty of some sort.

The line I added to ROBOTS.TXT to prevent this type of URL from getting spidered/indexed was:

Disallow: /*?

Now, the www.domain.com/home.htm?ref=somedomain.com was accordingly restricted by ROBOTS.TXT on June 4th.

www.domain.com/home.htm remains in the Google Index as we speak, but does anyone see anything in the above, that could have caused my June 4th fallout ? Is my assertion about blocking URL's from being indexed that contain "?" to avoid a potential duplicate content penalty valid ? Am I making a mistake to block URL's that contain my URL followed by these arbitrary string clauses ? Will the Yankees make the playoffs this year (OK, just testing to see if you read the questions) ?

[edited by: doughayman at 6:35 pm (utc) on June 7, 2008]

SEOPTI




msg:3669360
 6:32 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think this is a major attack against webmasters and SEO. I think Google is getting more and more the attitude we are their enemies and is out to kick everybodys a**.

I would love to see 100% of all webmasters blocking Googlebot, but this will unfortunately definitely never happen. Their monopoly is awful, I'm really done with this search engine.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 6:37 pm (utc) on June 7, 2008]

confuscius




msg:3669376
 7:17 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been doing some more checking on the past couple of days to compare recent crawl rates to my WT averages of about 25,000 pages per day which is line with about a 2 week re-crawl rate on a 400k pages indexed website. Activity over last couple of days has been up by 50% or so. Only thing strange in my WT is a couple of days in early April when Googlebot just did not seem to crawl anything.

Time spent downloading a page is about 2,000 milliseconds according to WT - I have no idea whether this is fast or slow?

Only post if your site 'dimensions' are similar or larger than mine, please.

I am currently evaluating the new value of my site as a paid for link farm just in case I have to invoke Plan B after all these years. I might even consider selling 301 redirects (has that been done before?).

This is so frustrating.

Kristos




msg:3669383
 8:04 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

the one site of ours that tanked is a two page site.
Thousands of inbound links

hannamyluv




msg:3669425
 9:43 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ok, I am posting this here because my gut tells me that it has something to do with this. A client of mine has been affected by this. Large site, 100K+ visitors a day prior to drop.

They use Google Analytics to track visitors. It appears that prior to the drop Google Analytics counted every Google visitor twice in Traffic sources. But in the keywords section, the visitor is correctly counted only once.

On the day the drop occured, this issue corrected itself. There is still a significant amount of traffic loss on its own from Google, but I find it odd that this bug wascorrected on the very same day that the traffic drop occured.

Anyone else who uses Google Analytics seeing this? Compare you visitors reported in Traffic Sources>Search Engines to the visitors reported in Traffic Sources>Keywords. These numbers should match.

In another site they own, similar traffic and set up with a different country target, this bug has not been corrected and the site has seen no traffic loss.

I think that they tried to fix something with Analytics and it affected the search results. Just my guess.

<ongoing musing >Maybe Analytics reports number of visitors and this is incorporated into the algo. If a site sees a heavy traffic loss, the algo suppresses the site in the results to account for trendy sites. If a bug in Analytics was showing visitors X2 and they fix the bug without making accomodations in the algo, it would appear to the algo that your site had a traffic drop, which results in the algo suppressing your site resulting in further traffic drops.

And for anyone who says that they don't use Analytics, if you use Adsense, you are as good as using Analytics. I have to imagine the same engine that drive Analytics is also analyzing sites that have Adsense and would therefore have the same bug that Analytics does. </ongoing musing>

g1smd




msg:3669482
 10:50 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Interesting find. Needs more data for correlation.

koan




msg:3669504
 11:26 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't get this "My site stopped receiving traffic from Google for a few days, I think I will start doing black hat SEO and adopt shady earning strategies". Why so quick to jump guns? It kind of smell funny when you read those reactions.

If it happened to me, I would look for anything that might be perceived as aggressive SEO, duplicate pages or thin affiliate pages and get rid of them. Not the other way around. I would also try to be patient, and look into diversifying to survive these kind of Google cataclysms.

hannamyluv




msg:3669508
 11:35 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone else who uses Google Analytics seeing this? Compare you visitors reported in Traffic Sources>Search Engines to the visitors reported in Traffic Sources>Keywords. These numbers should match.

Just to clarify, check prior to drop (like a few days prior) and post drop. If the bug was corrected, these numbers will not match prior and will match post drop.

confuscius




msg:3669511
 11:39 pm on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Koan - I trust that you have also run a successful site for many years with thousands of hours input, built significant PR, never bought or sold links, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, only to have the rug pulled from under your feet and racked your brains to try to understand why?

My personal reaction is because of how I feel and nothing to do with anything else. If I cannot earn a reward through one means then I will look for another means - Google owes me nothing and I owe Google nothing.

When it happens to you then you can follow your own advice. In the meantime if you have any plausible reasons why some sizeable sites have been hit in this way then please proffer them.

oasisfan




msg:3669580
 2:01 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)


oasisfan
Is your site a .com or regional TLD [ like .uk ] , what date did the drop occur, was it sudden and do you have lot's of scraper sites linked to you that are ranking [ sounds like you have good original content ] ?

Have any new sites linked to you recently in the weeks before the drop?

Our site is a .com based in the US but our subject is another , in the southern hemisphere.

ALL our content is original, we use gogle maps though.

Sorry, I don't know if scraper sites copy us (I don't really know what Scraper sites are to be honest)or if any one new has linked to us.

Site is 10 years old and we were one of the first with our theme.
ALL we concentrate on is building our site, we pay no attention to our competition or seo, keywords, page indexed, NO absolutely no recip lins from link requests although we do link out where appropriate eg see this site for more info . We took the decision about 4 years ago as its too time consuming and our time is betetr spent on building our site. All we do is see our traffic numbers rise and now suddenly fall.

Cheers
oasisfan

Kristos




msg:3669585
 2:15 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

My tanked site is starting to pop up again.
weird though.
the four word term we dominated for is still nowhere but a three word term with just a simple word deleted is now back on front page.
very interesting

koan




msg:3669599
 3:21 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

confuscius, I understand how you feel, I had ups and down with some sites too. I have one 1.5 year old starter site that hasn't gotten any traffic since last january, just because some sites of dubious reputation linked to me.

But for someone with a name like yours, you should demonstrate a little more patience before resorting to tactics that might damage your site permanently. It's been just a few days hasn't?

confuscius




msg:3669674
 8:17 am on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Koan, I apologise for being abrupt but the internet became my main business some years ago after many years in senior corporate management. I still run a bricks and mortar business and associated website which has seen decline over the last couple of years as Google search results became dominated by advertisers advertising advertisers who advertise advertisers advertising some real business with some real products to sell. The internet had changed to an advertising and marketing agency. So I did diversify into the advertising business by building what I would call added value products site - yes, I get customers for other businesses for a fee but only on successful sale unlike where most of Google's revenue comes from! As part of that model then I do have Adsense running as because my sites were attracting real visitors then Adsense ads would provide a contextual ad related to each page so my pages HAD a value in SELLING my advertising space to Google for a PPC fee share. My pages still have a value in SELLING my advertising space because for some reason some of the rest of the world perceives that links from pages with high PR have a commercial value. The consequence is that my income will drop because of the loss of traffic as my commissions will fall BUT the value of selling my advertising space based on PR on a month by month basis would be far more than I ever earned through Adsense so to me it is not a matter of getting into some shady areas is a matter of extracting the maximum value from a BUSINESS website by selling something that people perceive a value in just like the do no evil model of Google Adwords where businesses spend themselves out of business rather than facing the reality that their business model is no longer sustainable - it happens! I will sit tight and allow about 16 days to pass (Google's current site refresh cycle) but on 21 June then I will implement Plan B - if my pages are deemed fit after 21 June again then I will see a return of my commissions and a significant income increase because of the real value of my high PR pages to other people compared to Google and I will have moved to the dark side on one aspect of my site! My future objective would then be to also try to increase the PR value of my pages rather than solely provide a value added service that less and less people will see when the pages decide to go AWOL again. In other words, I will have removed some uncertainty from my model, protected some income and reduced Google's bottom line just as they have done mine and their own at the present time. Waiting and hoping comes a distinct second to positive action. I may well damage the long term future but at least I will have increased the certainty of my income until my PR is affected by another set of unfathomable changes at Google! I digress!

I have the sneaking suspicion that quite a few of the reports of lost traffic on this thread do not fit the profile of a larger site.

One other factor that may or may not be relevant is that I have a number of other smaller sites of various ages and PRs and they seem to be in stasis - page numbers being reported by Google across several sites appear to have been static since 4 June as if everything is on hold at the moment.

vivalasvegas




msg:3669811
 2:25 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

vivalasvegas
traffic went from close to 1000 uniques to less than 200

What are your SERP positions for terms that ranked high , for exact content [ "brackets"] and broad match.

What happens when you put your unique webname in the search without the site: , www. , or .com etc ? Does it show where it was before ?


Using brackets I find some of my pages in top 280 near the bottom:( When not using brackets I can't find them (although they are in the index when I search for the exact URL).

As for searching for my site's name the homepage shows up 7th (used to be first).

sahm




msg:3670023
 11:02 pm on Jun 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have the sneaking suspicion that quite a few of the reports of lost traffic on this thread do not fit the profile of a larger site.

One other factor that may or may not be relevant is that I have a number of other smaller sites of various ages and PRs and they seem to be in stasis - page numbers being reported by Google across several sites appear to have been static since 4 June as if everything is on hold at the moment.

The traffic to my main site has dropped from about 11,000 visitors to 5,000 visitors a day.

I have three smaller sites that are 5-7 years old (PR 3-4). My main site is 12 years old (PR 5). None of my smaller sites are affected. My main site has 13,000 pages indexed, and my smaller sites each have about 500 pages indexed.

ziajunu




msg:3670052
 12:19 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sahm, you have lost only 50% traffic. We have lost huge in a site, dropped from 20000 to 4000

trinorthlighting




msg:3670057
 12:27 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sounds like google devalued a whole bunch of links and is penalizing. Are most of the .info sites affiliate or adsense sites?

sahm




msg:3670141
 4:53 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sahm, you have lost only 50% traffic. We have lost huge in a site, dropped from 20000 to 4000

I realize some people may have lost more traffic than I have, but losing more than half of your web site income is significant. My site is small compared to some, but we're still talking a loss of thousands of $$ a month. I have definitely learned not to count on the money from Adsense to pay the bills :)

Sounds like google devalued a whole bunch of links and is penalizing.

If links to my site had been be devalued, then this "penalty" would also be affecting all my competitors. That doesn't make any sense. The majority of the links pointing to my site are one-way links from sites with a similar theme as mine. I mainly advertise my site by writing articles, and hundreds of my articles are posted all over the internet.

oasisfan




msg:3670176
 6:55 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sorry, our drop occured June 4th not June 1st as I said above. We use Statcounter and that went down on June 1st.

We have 40-50% drop in traffic which for us is not enough to make it worthwhile

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