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Understanding Recent Drops In Google Traffic - Some Questions For You All
Gorgwatcher




msg:4108083
 7:47 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

It seems that a major change is happening in Google since mid of January as reported by many reputable names like whitenight, tedster and others. This thing has been reported by many webmasters and seo's in several other forums other than WebmasterWorld. I am listing down some questions for all of you to please answer. The similarity in answers will decide if this thing is limited to some websites or industry or is this a general thing now. Please answer in yes or no with short explanation.


1. Are your traffic Decline is from usa and UK?
2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other search engines too?
3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?
4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?
5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?
6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?
7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?


Regards
Wish you all best of luck :)

 

FranticFish




msg:4108135
 9:00 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been noticing less crawling, less regular crawling, and unreliable indexing in general.

New pages that are well-linked just aren't in the index (verified by using site: AND checking for unique text) whereas older, unlinked pages that have been 301s for months are still showing.

I've seen cache dates as far back as January on some sites just this week.

tessa




msg:4108149
 9:42 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

My site has dropped to page two from page one
Hits have halfed
Googlebot has been far more than usual
Internal pages have lost places
This morning my site is now showing just the title and not the description for certain search terms
My site is in the UK

dusky




msg:4108207
 12:39 pm on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

It may better if this thread is merged with [webmasterworld.com...] as the topic is heavily related and most answers are there already.

steerpikegg




msg:4108224
 1:22 pm on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi, here are your ansewers. This is for a UK home and garden retail site.

1. UK
2. Google only
3. Yes, new pages indexed very slowly
4. Sudden drop and slow decline from there
5. Yes
6. 3-5 days old on average
7. Yes

1script




msg:4108526
 7:56 pm on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let me give it a try:

1. Are your traffic Decline is from USA and UK?
both

2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other search engines too?
Google only

3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?
not really. But I have to make a note that due to the forum nature of the affected sites the same URL could be 1 level deep when fresh and 10 levels deep when very old. Googlebot appears to come for both old posts and new.

4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?
Sudden 90% decline on March 15th

5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?
Some did but some (~30%) did not. and rank where they've been (or better, actually). It's the truly long tail (1-2 searches per day type) that have completely disappeared.

6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?
I can see new posts cached in a couple of hours. That was the norm for the last couple years.

7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?
Depends on how you measure: WMT sitemap indexed pages seem to be stagnant (40% average) but not dropping (note so self - write that number down over a week or so). site:example.com search though has been completely wacky.

@Gorgwatcher: hope we can get some good data from multiple sites here. Watching only one's own sites can render one insane.

TheMadScientist




msg:4108570
 9:27 pm on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

1. Are your traffic Decline is from usa and UK?
No.

2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other search engines too?
It's up in Google and Bing. Down in Yahoo!
(If Yahoo! is still considered a SE.)

3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?
Yes, but it has since recovered.

4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?
It's gradually climbing.

5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?
Nopes...

6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?
I don't allow caching.

7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?
It's actually rather steady rather than declining.
Have had to use site:example.com/directory/ to find directory page counts though.

BTW: Welcome to WebmasterWorld. Those are a couple of very reputable posters you have noted. I'm guessing you're a long-time reader and new poster? LOL @ the UserName you've selected. ;)

Not sure if my post helps you solve any issues or not, but this is what I'm seeing.

Gorgwatcher




msg:4108713
 3:43 am on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ TheMadScientist thanks :)

and the user name do get attention :P

I guess every one started as a silent reader in WebmasterWorld. the only reason for not participating is that at WebmasterWorld there are some very experienced users who almost point out all he issues which you are thinking about asking here :)

BTW ..has anyone analyzed that is this change affecting every industry of just limited to some specific category.

I can confirm this effect in apparel/fashion industry.

@1script
100 % agreed with you Sir. I guess in this thread we have some categorized and filtered data points on which we can compare the changes.

If you have any more point to this question please do add it. Thanks for your helpful answer

@dusky Thanks dusky for your suggestion but the only purpose of this thread we created is to filter and confirm the changes. You can see now that majority of the fellows here are agreeing most of the above mentioned points except crawling and indexing points. This gives us now an idea that may be caching or indexing are not a part of the current change.

JLaurent




msg:4108865
 1:02 pm on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello all, long time lurker, first time poster due to being slapped hard on March 15th.

1. Are your traffic Decline is from usa and UK?
France, 70% drop since mid March
2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other search engines too?
Only Google.
3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?
No, we are still heavily crawled.
4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?
-70% overnight, basically all the longtail wiped out.
5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?
We have maintained our rankings for the Home page and internal pages on all our keywords, some of them very competitive.
6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?
Caching has not changed.
7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?
Same according to WMT and the site: command, the latter seeming as unreliable as ever by the way.

[edited by: tedster at 8:07 pm (utc) on Apr 2, 2010]

cien




msg:4109098
 8:31 pm on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

My site is a vbulletin 3.8.4 forum with Vbseo 3.3.2 installed and Google reports no malware on it. Forum has no centralized topic, it's a general topic forum. Was doing fine until a month ago.

1. Are your traffic Decline is from usa and UK?

ANSWER: Worldwide

2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other
search engines too?

ANSWER: Never had any significant traffic from other engine than Google.

3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?

ANSWER: NO, actually I had never seen so many Google spiders on my vbulletin forum before since the drop. I am having close to 60 spiders at the same time all day eating my site up. All I see is Google spiders since my overnight drop in traffic.

4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?

ANSWER: Sudden, about a month ago, overnight. From over a 1000/day visitors to 100+/day.

5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?

ANSWER: Most keywords I guess. I don't target any specific keywords.

6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?

ANSWER: Some. Homepage is cached everyday.

7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?

ANSWER: No, actually it is increasing by a 1000 pages every other day. I have close to 120K pages indexed under site:mysite.com

I need a shoulder to cry on... Your turn Bill. lol.

wneennsdjj33




msg:4109155
 11:06 pm on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let me join too... Around March 20th my site's traffic dropped too... I lost 80% of my google traffic.

1. Are your traffic Decline is from usa and UK?

ANSWER: Worldwide

2. Is Traffic Drops only from Google or from other
search engines too?

ANSWER: Only Google

3. Did you notice any decline in GoogleBot Deep Crawling?

ANSWER: NO, googlebot seems to be crawling as it should be.

4. Is the traffic Drop is sudden or gradual decline?

ANSWER: Sudden, as i said: 80% of normal traffic

5. Is your rankings on your major keywords drops?

ANSWER: All of my SERPS dropped...

6. Are your website internal pages caching normally?

ANSWER: All of them cached normally.

7. Decline in Indexing Status Of Your website?

ANSWER: No, actually my indexed pages have doubled since the "traffic decrease" (strange!?)

i need a tissue to dry my tears too...

Gorgwatcher




msg:4109265
 5:38 am on Apr 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ mad scientist.
You are the only one in peace i think :P ..Since your websites are improving unlike other you better publish your ebook now :P


@all SEO experts who participated in the thread.
has anyone analyzed that these changes are specific to one industry or is it general?

TheMadScientist




msg:4109480
 5:30 pm on Apr 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe I just wasn't very good before and I'm getting lucky for a bit until all the true authority sites that are being dropped erroneously regain their positions... OTOH I do remember thinking 'pattern are important' at least once, for some reason, and trying to factor that in to my approach, so maybe it's working?

cien




msg:4109486
 5:47 pm on Apr 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

To update my post above, today my domain was upgraded from PR1 to PR2. Lots of Google spiders still but barely any users. Hoping they open the floodgates already.

Gorgwatcher




msg:4109978
 3:39 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ mad scientist
well it atleast filter the data.

fred9989




msg:4110080
 10:29 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Could it be the drop in traffic is partly due to reduction in long tail searches?
The size of the supplementary index seems to have been vastly increased (c. doubled in fact), which implies many pages in the regular index are now not showing up as they would have been quite recently.
For example, on one Google search in my sector, the message "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the nnn already displayed.
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included." now appears after 400 or so searches rather than 900.

Gorgwatcher




msg:4110095
 11:53 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

@fred9989

there are threads discussing bout the drop in long tail keywords and it is true to me atleast.
So yes it can be a possibility however I am not sure that showing the duplicate results message appear on what queries and what was there previous status.
but it is a good point to analyze

cien




msg:4112826
 8:11 am on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Any update guys? Any ranking improvements? Google is really giving me the treatment. Number of indexed pages is decreasing. Lost 13K pages under site:mysite.com in the last 3 days. Have 107K indexed. Barely any visitors since hell day about a month ago. Also Google Webmaster Tools doesn't let me adjust the crawl rate anymore. It says:

"Your site has been assigned special crawl rate settings. You will not be able to change the crawl rate."

So, now I have a couple of Google spiders all day on the forum from 60 I've had for the last month.

piatkow




msg:4112842
 9:06 am on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

For me (UK) after a slow decline traffic is up, position for key search terms is up (better than before decline), now seeing results on long tail searches.

I haven't been watching the googlebot or caching.

Reno




msg:4112908
 1:10 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Everything is holding steady for me ~ SO steady I continually wonder about the so-called "throttle effect".

I'm just asking a question here: With 120,000 pages, they are obviously being auto generated with some sort of program. No human could individually design that much content and still have a life. So is it possible that the sheer size of the website is working against you? Surely Google must know what we know, and maybe they're signalling their displeasure with a machine built site? I have no mega sites and my traffic is almost always within the same (acceptable) parameters, so I'm just wondering.

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

cien




msg:4112988
 3:25 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's a 7 year old vbulletin forum with a lot of user posts, no auto generated content.

Reno




msg:4113005
 3:34 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Then in regards to the actual postings by your members -- did you see a noticeable difference in the frequency (either much more or considerably less) occuring before the Google traffic drop?

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

1script




msg:4113088
 5:47 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

@cien:
"Your site has been assigned special crawl rate settings. You will not be able to change the crawl rate."
I don't think this setting matters much. I don't have it on my affected sites.

I also don't see any improvement in Google traffic. However, I have an observation: the set of keywords that my sites do still rank for has shifted since March 15th (the day the traffic died). Even though a few keywords are still going strong, even after March 15th, vast majority on those that bring Google traffic have completely changed. The set of the most ranked keywords has been stable for at least 1 year before March 15th, 2010. It now looks like it's been "stirred up" and the sites have to be re-ranked from the ground up on all of those keywords. Is it any similar to what you are seeing among your ranking keywords?

TheMadScientist




msg:4113093
 5:58 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

"Your site has been assigned special crawl rate settings. You will not be able to change the crawl rate."

Speed is part of the algo now.
Your crawl rate has been reduced (I'm guessing).

What type of signal do you think G is getting about the speed of your site, what would a reduced crawl rate tell you about G's perception of the speed of your site, and what do you think you probably need to address as a priority? IMO It's not the uniqueness of your content... ;)

tedster




msg:4113103
 6:20 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Speed is part of the algo now.

I'm reading a lot of people on the web who are saying this - even some "big" names. Given the low dependability of the speed data I've seen so far in Webmaster Tools, and the fact that Site Performance is still under the "Labs" category and not under "Diagnostics" - I highly doubt that the algo is currently using any site speed data.

As far as I know, all Google has said to date is that they are "considering" making it part of the algorithm. Have you seen an updated announcement, or any testing data that shows site speed has moved beyond the "considering" stage?

TheMadScientist




msg:4113118
 6:34 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nah, that's a good point, I haven't heard the announcement myself, but I have seen it reported here by some claiming it's in there, so I thought maybe I missed it, and I do remember hearing it would (should) be in there after the first of the year and my first thought would be even if the dependability of speed data is low, I think the 'degree of slowness' necessary to produce a reduced crawl rate could be a strong indication, even on a weak signal, and would take the reduced crawl rate as a fairly good indication there is something definitely wrong with the speed of my site and I would treat it as if it's part of the algo even if I don't have definitive proof at this time, because I do remember hearing it could (should?) be expected after the 1st of the year (or something to that effect), and if I handled the situation as if it were part of the algo, I would, at the very least be providing a much better user experience, and would also have a fairly definitive idea when I got done if it is part of the calculations or not.

Do I think a 1.35 sec average load time compared to 1 sec average load time is probably going to be an issue, nah, but I think where 1 sec to 2.5 sec is the norm and the standard crawl rate is the norm and there's something causing the crawl rate to be reduced and you cannot override it, there's a fairly strong signal in there the site has a speed issue and it might not be a good choice for visitors...

Personally, I'm doubtful if speed will ever be the cause of one site (page) passing another where there's a .5 second load time difference as long as they're both 'within the norm' but I could see it being a much stronger signal of 'lack of quality' where a site is 'definitely below the standard' load time.

So, since site speed is a 'low reliability' indicator in the opinion of many, personally I doubt 'super speed' will catapult a site to the top of the ranking, but do think 'super slow' on a 'niche relative, comparative basis' could tank a site. It's the way I would use speed as an indicator anyway... To me, super fast is cool, but it doesn't mean your site is great, but super slow comparatively would probably give me an strong indication your site is not the correct result.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 6:58 pm (utc) on Apr 9, 2010]

vandread




msg:4113130
 6:53 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well Google has now announced that speed has been added to their algo which might explain the recent ranking drops several webmasters here have experienced (active for the last few weeks according to the post over there).

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

TheMadScientist




msg:4113133
 6:56 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for posting...

1script




msg:4113137
 7:01 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Speed is part of the algo now
I think here we have another one of those FUD factors Google peeps like to throw around to cloud the waters and distract SEO-aware crowd from the real ranking factors.

There is no one such thing as "site speed". There are at least several "speeds" I can count on any one of my sites: there is a speed with which a static HTML page is served (VERY fast), then there is speed with which a "static" content from a database is served (like individual post pages on a forum site, less fast), then there is the speed with which changing dynamic content is served - think forum category pages, then there is a VERY slow (all relative terms of course) text search speed. Which one is more important for Google? How would you even calculate the "average" they show in WMT. BTW, what they show is completely bogus, at least for my sites. What if a great site is hosted on a shared server and somebody else hogs resources?

If you say the faster the site the better it means: "I prefer static HTML sites on dedicated servers." If you are on a mission to organize the worlds information, that doesn't take you very far. The description above probably only matches some old government sites out there.

I'm not saying "site speed" (however you define the term) is not a ranking factor - I don't know. But if it is, it must be the one than makes least sense of them all.

aristotle




msg:4113145
 7:25 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there anyone here with a really slow site according to Google labs, say average speed > 5 seconds as shown in GWT? If so, have you seen a Google traffic drop over the last few weeks which might be attributable to this?

(I'm talking about the Google labs claimed speed, not about the site's real loading speed)

This 57 message thread spans 2 pages: 57 ( [1] 2 > >
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