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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 ?



 6:18 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Are you only seeing changes on Caffeine? It's currently served part of the time from one IP address.

More likely something else is affecting your traffic and you'll need to really drill into the analysis to discover what that is. For example, did you lose ranking only on some important keywords - or is it across the board?


 7:32 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Seems that important keywords are Ok. Still on positions #1 - #4. As for caffeine... I compared results using < an online tool > and they were same. I don't know if this site really works and uses real caffeine. It was mentioned and suggested on < a reputable SEO website > so I hope its accurate, but one cannot be sure ;)

I didn't experience such drop in traffic in 5 years history. Site has more than 300.000 backlinks (according to yahoo) and we didn't make any changes in last 6 months.
It seems to be that we lost tons of minor keyword positions. But I don't know how to get this information.

[edited by: tedster at 8:09 pm (utc) on Dec. 7, 2009]


 8:26 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It seems to be that we lost tons of minor keyword positions.

Perhaps a large number of your pages are no longer in the index? A number of other members here are seeing this right now.


 9:23 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi there.
I was one of the first people here to describe the drop in Google traffic (organic) which startet 15-20 days ago (as far as i am concerned). In my case i lost around 1000 unique daily visitors. what it looks like now is that the trend has slowed a little bit. Now, my blog is pretty stable and *it seems* that it is holding its positing. However a big slice of my old traffic is gone.

According to other webmasters this negative trend was (is) due to the caffeine algo which is alive at least in one datacenter and a deadly mix between thanksgiving holiday and the approacing Christmast. (during this period Google seems to give more importance to websites which have to do with gifts etc.)

Other webmasters also blamed a kind of Google Dance which shaked a lot of websites at the end of November (including my blog).

As for now, the situation for many websites seems to be reverting.

Your drop seems to be pretty big. Have a look at Google Analytics and see if your main keywords are still there and where your drop comes from.

My drop seems to come from those keywords belonging to the long tail which are pulled down in the serp. All my major keywords are still there.

that's my experience.

good luck


 9:37 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tried search few tens of pages in google cache and all were there with quite a fresh date. The oldest I found was from 29 Nov.


 10:07 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

There could be other reasons - we get a drop late Nov/Dec you need to compare few years and , I suggest , if you have the stats, compare which , if any, directories are affected.


 4:45 am on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I lost about 40% of my long tail traffic across all my sites. I believe it is the lack in constant indexing which results more URLs which are moved into the supplemental index.

The numbers for site:www.example.* query are dropping since the caffeine stuff started back in September. Also the AOL exported URLs are dropping.

So I think if there is some sort of partition which holds the supplemental results it will have an effect on long tail traffic during a time where there is no constant indexing.

[edited by: SEOPTI at 4:58 am (utc) on Dec. 8, 2009]


 4:55 am on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm glad to see this... something major has happened and I bet there are alot of others with the same problem. My example is even more extreme than the poster's. My site is very popular and has been around since 1997. I've lost 80k hits a day from Google since this problem began. Nothing changed in the way I was doing business. Same as usual. No tricks, no garbage.

The drop began at exactly 12 noon on November 29th.

Now, I have noticed some very strange activity in my Google Webmaster Tools reports. I keep seeing these "DNS Lookup Timeout" notifications for a small number of pages... between 5-12... it comes and goes. There is no reason for that error. I've never seen that since I began using webmaster tools in the very beginning. I have this feeling that something is screwed up with Google. I sure hope it gets fixed soon. 80k hits is alot to loose each day from a glitch.

I still come up #1 for my domain, my main keyword and I'm doing well with some obscure terms in other countries... but everything else is gone. The number of indexed pages is the same as usual and spidering continues as usual.


 9:36 am on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hey flicky,
i have the same error in G webmaster tool. Around 4-5 pages (they always change) i have this dns error. The error comes and goes. never had this error before!


 9:47 am on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can relate to these issues. I have a site which is down 10-15% in traffic. I have been able to rule out (with minor exceptions) important keywords and indexation as possible causes.

The only things left on my list are:
-Holiday SERPs
-other G' tweak


 2:22 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Are you using a 3rd party DNS service?


 4:06 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, just using my host's DNS as I have been for the last 10 years... can't imagine that DNS has caused this massive drop and if it was a blip, google would have corrected it by now.


 7:18 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

For long tail sites it is nearly impossible to analyse a traffic drop because it's all heavily fragmented. I still have to find a stats program which will be able to do this.


 8:09 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I also have been getting DNS Lookup timeout errors. I had 891 over the weekend, and now the error count is down to 86.

Of course, I don't realy have any DNS issues. I get crawled 100,000 +/- pages per day by google (i.e why just 891 issues? Why not all of them?), and I host my own servers in-house, and there was no problem recently. I have NEVER had this error before - I am obssessed with watching WMT errors counts and have been tracking them daily for about 18 months.

Oh, my domain search is fine, I have sitelinks, but I lost my ranking back in October.


 8:10 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Coincidently, my WMT crawl stats do show a huge spike down over the past few days, so maybe they DID just get 891 errors. Dunno, the chart hasn't updated since the weekend...


 9:14 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

ckissi: try this search
-site:www.example.com/* site:www.example.com/path/

This way you can see the supplemental results for a certain folder. What's disturbing, I see a lot of URLs with no cache date listed using this query. Almost all URLs where there is no cache date do not rank at all.


 6:37 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know of at least 3 other very large, established webmasters going through this. I'm surprised it's not being talked about more.


 7:49 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Tried site:www.example.com , not every item is showing the "cached" word next to the result, but when I tried "cache:www.example.com/page.html" for that item it shows its in cache (2.dec 2009)
I did't find any page so far that has been removed from index. At least I didn't discover any ;)


 6:05 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

-site:www.example.com/* site:www.example.com/path/

What exactly does this do? Any results that come up are _NOT_ indexed in the main SERPs, they are supplemental!?

Is that really true?

If there is no cache date, we assume it is supplemental? (I believe this may be true...)

Or, how old does the cache date have to be at which point we assume it to is supplemental? 2 weeks? 1 month? 2 months? Can we really draw the line somewhere? (I am unsure how this might work...)

(And I use the term "supplemental" loosely, I am not convinced there is a "supplemental index" per se, but I do agree an URL can be banished to the end of the SERPs, and not be considered for frequest crawling, and in that sense, be "supplemental".)

[edited by: helpnow at 6:14 pm (utc) on Dec. 9, 2009]


 6:12 pm on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do any of you guys have any issues with duplicate content?


 3:46 am on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am noticing this as well, in conjunction with a drop in total number of pages in the index, which slides downward daily.

Hopefully the slide stops and more frequent indexing is adhered to after the Holiday.


 10:13 am on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do any of you guys have any issues with duplicate content?

Very limited on the site affected. <5% of pages have duplicate content - and those are noindex pages.


 10:35 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Does "mid-September" mean anything to anyone? I see about 40% +/- of my pages have cache dates of around September 14/15/16. (I have tens of thousands of pages, so it is hard to nail down specifically...) Meanwhile, I have many pages which get updated within hours, and lots more pages which are on a 7-10 day cycle to get updated in the SERPs.

But I am curious to see if anyone else finds the mid-September timeframe significant.

Oh, I see above someone spoke of pages been taken out of the SERPs completely - yes, I've got that too: if I am to trust the WMT sitemaps, then I have about 50% of my pages not in the SERPs. Crazy. I've stumbled over some of these pages, and they are clean - rich content, unique, etc. No reason for them to be removed from the SERPs.

Too many moving parts in this puzzle...


 10:41 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI: Can you explan this to me from above?

-site:www.example.com/* site:www.example.com/path/
This way you can see the supplemental results for a certain folder.

Sorry, but, still dying to understand better: What does this do, exactly?


 12:11 am on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

With the query above I find URLs which have probably less value in the index.

site:www.example.com/* is an old query which has been discussed quite a few times here on the forums to show supplemental results for a domain.

I see a lot of URLs with no cache date usting the query and most of the URLs where is there no cache date do not rank at all.


 5:08 am on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify it:
site:www.example.com/* or site:www.example.* was supposed to show the URLs which are NOT in the supplemental index.

I'm still using this query every day to analyse traffic. Since September the numbers for site:www.example.* are dropping across all my domains. I can see a traffic drop each time the numbers for site:www.example.* drop.

Since their is a traffic drop which is connected to the site:www.example.* query I'm sure their is a connection with the supplemental index.

Before September the numbers for site:www.example.* increased throughout the year and so traffic increased.


 9:18 am on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Like CainIV said Me too, i am having a drop in the indexed pages (webmaster tool). they seems to drop by the day. Do know what to do. This trend seems to have started around october. (but my site started in dec 2007)

I am hitting my head here and there to find out the cause (such as duplicate content within my site) but have no clue and apparently everything is as normal as before in my site.

Just a question. For example I have 2000 posts in my blog.
In webmaster tool i see that the total number of indexed urls is, 1100.

if i use the site: command in Google it shows 1800...which one do i have to believe and why?



 3:22 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I noticed some seasonal results in SERP over my positions. Seems that google prefer HW things now.


 3:55 pm on Dec 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google Analytics is showing that my dip started on Monday 7th Dec and since then I'm loosing 50% traffic daily.

After digging deeper into Analytics I can see that one of the most popular sections of my site is falling in the serps. This section held the top 3 positions for well over a year for thousands of key phrases but today I am no longer in the first 5 pages for lots of them.

I'm looking at some of my competitors and can see they are also dropping, at least they are still on the first page though.

I do hope these are temporary changes but I'm not going to wait this one out. Its time to go over everything that has recently been added, changed or deleted on my site.

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