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Huge drop in traffic for the last 2 weeks.

 1:45 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)


I would like to get feedback from webmasters who experienced huge drop in traffic because of these (caffeine) changes. We lost almost 40.000 daily visitors.
Site is well established and quite old with lot of natutural backlinks, online since 2004.
What do you think ? Are these changes temporary or permanent ?



 10:23 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, the drop continues, it looks like they don't index at all at the moment.


 6:10 am on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

FYI - I am getting big shifts back in rankings (page 8 items back to page 1, etc.) and recoveries on indexed pages (pages that had gone missing are now coming back). I'm not fully back on either front, but this is the first major undeniable shift back towards "normal" in 3 months.


 9:23 am on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

How much traffic you lost in previous weeks ? Is it more than 40% ?


 3:22 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was down more than 40%. I would say about (...doing the mental math...) 75-80%. But, I had some on-site issues too. I have been off since Oct 12. And I was not dowwn not across the board, some listlings were still #1 with a double, so it was not a penalty per se...


 4:50 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oct 12 is early date. We started to see drop at the end of the November and most of the webmasters mentioned the same date here, so I think your is some kind of penalty, probably "keyword based" some webmasters here mentioned something like that could happen.


 5:16 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Could it be the economy ?
If people are broke, perhaps they do no spend or cannot spend so much time on line ?


 5:22 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, we experienced huge drop from one day to another. Until that the traffic was stable for years. Me and I think 99% of others here are sure it's "google related".


 8:54 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

What about traffic from Bing and Yahoo?

Compare the Google traffic against those two. If all dropped, then it's user behavior.

If only Google dropped, then it's a change at Google.


 9:32 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

yahoo + bing = no change ... only google traffic changed


 9:33 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

We are experiencing the same huge traffic drop. Big problems with indexing. Under an impression that many pages are not being indexed. Anyone has insight on this issue?

Are all sites like this or only few? How long will this go on until it settles down?


 9:57 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Erku...nobody knows so far but the symptoms seems to be the same:

1) Drop in Google traffic
2) Bing and Yahoo are pretty stable
3) Some or a lot of pages seems not be indexed or have been de-indexed (it has not to do with duplicate content. For example, I have an exclusive interview with a famous antispam company which is not indexed at all! What a shame! A lot of people could have been interested in it!)
4)Google drop started to be observed around November
5)Nobody has a clue
6) Everybody does not know what to do to fix it (most probabily you dont have to do nothing...plus i do not like this attitude. If something happens everybody thinks it is his own fault! Google is NOT God and it can screw things pretty badly! Everything coming from human beings is faulty and Google makes no exception!)


 10:07 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Frank... Exactly !


 10:08 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)


Great summary.

I think the same happened last year too. Just before the Christmas holidays. It settled sometimes in January. Is there a particular google DataCenter that seem to be the forefront and we can check and see how things are changing there?


 10:22 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)


It's not Christmas related. We didn't experienced this from 2004. So it must be something different.


 2:03 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

So what do we do? just sit and wait?

Another thing we see on our webmaster tools, in Dec. Google increasingly is spending more time crawling our sites. They are, Drupal, Wordpress and Pligg based. So it's not the application, but if it's the server, where should they look?


 3:43 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

One important key is the quality of your analytics and/or server log information - Webmaster Tools is often not enough information to get to the root of a problem. Can you zero in on whether this issue involves spidering, indexing or ranking? And further, if it is a ranking problem, then what keywords and landing pages are involved?

I prefer having both analytics from calls to an external server AND from the web server itself. That gives a much more complete picture of activity.

When all is going well, site owners often have little attention for the quality of their information - the rest of the business absorbs their energy. Then comes a problem and the need for clear information to support decisions is right to the fore. Whatever solutions anyone uses, the ability to ask and answer fine-tuned questions about website performance is a must.

It's something like have a water-tight roof on your house. You may only appreciate it when it rains.


 4:11 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Of those experiencing a drop in traffic, does your site promotion consist of any or all of the following?

  • Link development by submitting to many article directories
  • Directory submissions to more than ten directories
  • Submissions to Social Bookmarking sites
  • Blog Comments


 6:08 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

None (Just tweeting new articles, if that counts..)


 6:38 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google algo needs steady freshness for URLs, since URLs are not reindexed in the same way as before they end up without the freshness factor and drop from the index or are pushed back in the SERPS.


 8:22 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

@ckissi: thanks!
@Erku: not sure. i do not think so. Actually last year my traffic in november and december increased and my niche has nothing to do with christmas and gifts (blog dealing with technology)

i am sitting by the river watching the river flowing...by the way, at the other river bank i can see Matt Cutts laughing at us!


 9:18 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think freshness factor is necessary for maintaining a SERP position. I have many number one and top 3 and top 5 positions that don't move except for maybe two to three weeks out of the year. I also see other sites with the same. And this is for longtail and competitive SERPs.

It's interesting to see the up and downs of SERPs that are more volatile and speculate why. All SERPs are different. Here are some of the reasons I think some fluctuate:

Link Arms Race
I think some SERPs contain sites whose webmasters are actively accruing links and this causes fluctuations.

Lack of link variety
Rock solid ranks generally belong to sites that have a wide variety of inbound links. There are sites that never move, it's like they have a ten year lease on the first position. From my observations, sites that tend to have a pattern of inbound links that lack certain other kinds of inbounds tend to get whacked when the algo changes and starts to favor a different mix. And remember, not all data centers are using the same algo mix. So this is, imo, what causes the jumping around people see. Scoring high across the entire spectrum of different kinds of links, imo, this is what is going to keep a site rock solid.


 10:39 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

It seems my main keywords are back at #4 & #3 on Google.com as they were previous to Dec 7/9th.

Not sure the exact date they came back but it was after Christmas Eve as this was the last time I had checked them.

Analytics shows a traffic increase yesterday, more so than what I was getting for the past two weeks. Its not seasonal traffic as my site gets peak traffic for Christmas due to its content.


 2:29 pm on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I experienced about 20% traffic drop starting Dec. 14 on one of the sites, the trend seems to be improving starting yesterday. The same thing happened last year. Coincidentally, my other site which is ecommerce related does extremely well around holidays.

Little bit OT, but if there was a way here in WW to take input from webmasters experiencing poor performance/traffic drops.... about their sector, APIs in use, basic site structure of the site, content sources and syndication points, hosting environment, traffic type and nature and size and similar factors, one would be able to dump this structured data into database and look for common patterns.

This might help to better understand what are the common elements between effected sites. On the other hand there can be so many common trends/elements between sites that one might get false positives and while detecting common trends they might be completely irelevant to the issue at hand.


 6:05 pm on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

The traffic are still dropping ....


 5:20 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are more trusted links needed now to keep the same numbers of URLs which are fully indexed in the main index.

I've tested it with a single quality trusted link and it helped.

What I'm not sure about is if a steady link growth is needed.


 5:44 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't know if anyone can shed some light on this but in June this year my site lost a lot of rankings to the home page. I discovered that when I did a 'site:example.com' search my home page was listed at position 300+.

This issue corrected itself in November but today the problem has reared it's ugly head again.

Will I have to wait patiently for several more months before it corrects itself again?


 5:59 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

troyid: if I were you, and I was this summer too, I would search for every possible type of duplicate content. I lost my home page in the SERPs, couldn't find it at all, including my sitelinks, found 4000+ dupes of my home page, used the google URL Removal Request to delete them all, and I had my home page and sitelinks back in 2 days.


 6:00 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI: do you mean, trusted links for your whole site, or trusted links per URL.


 6:13 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

helpnow: How do I delete duplicate content using the URL removal tool if the duplicate content belongs to a domain that doesn't belong to me?


 10:09 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

helpnow: just a single trusted link which points to the root URL


 10:55 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Since I was asked to go outside a few pages back, I figured I'd sit back and watch the progression of this topic as I have an interest in finding out the commonalities amongst those experiencing this huge drop in traffic.

Maybe OT but, I found a handful of sites that have taken major hits in the SERPs. They share something in common. Speed. Every single one of them was slow. Their servers were slow to respond and the browsing experience was less than satisfactory.

Is it possible that you've fallen prey to this whole page speed thing?

Oh, the other thing that handful of sites had in common was AdSense. Since it was just a handful of sites, that doesn't really prove anything. Personally, I think I'm close to the target.

Okay, I'll go back outside. :)

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