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Where has all the good traffic gone?

 9:44 pm on Jun 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I own both solid content websites and affiliate websites, it seems that the affiliate sites simply aren't receiving the same quality of traffic they used to anymore.

Google is monitoring people's online habits as part of their ad targeting, is this data being used to send certain visitor types to certain places in search too ?



 12:01 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

They have gone to Google's adwords ads at the top of the search results I think.


 12:47 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

how are your content sites doing? Those aren't exactly being loved by the "new" Google neither.

The good traffic has gone into a handful of (mostly crap) sites that are extremely good at churning out content. I don't think I can link specific URLs, but they follow the Demand Studios/Associated Content model.


 2:09 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the party Kickaxe. Some of us have been dealing with this for months, so if your site has only recently seen a drop consider yourself lucky. Our site's Google traffic has been in the dumps since early March. :-)


 6:25 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

the general idea is to make SERPs 100% of ads. so you see where the good traffic is going :)

Robert Charlton

 6:29 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

They have gone to Google's adwords ads at the top of the search results I think.

This aspect of the question, as well as questions regarding what might be siphoning off traffic from apparently high ranking sites, has been kicked around for a while on this thread....

SERPS UP but traffic down
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4156111.htm [webmasterworld.com]

It's a discussion that's worth checking out. I'm thinking the question here might be different.

Sgt - Just to clarify... If I'm understanding the directing of your post, are you thinking that personalization might be affecting organic results for affiliate sites? What kind of demographic factors might be involved?


 7:14 am on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking several things are different, this was a package of changes and it wasn't rolled out evenly but it's upon us all now.

The top 3 spots mimicking natural search results is surely draining some of the natural traffic, no doubt.

Arronsky, my original and unique solid content, wikipedia-like in quality, guide sites that took several years to build are indeed faring poorly. My sites with affiliate offers much worse. I own less than 10 sites and none of them are spammy in nature (Bing/Yahoo love them still).

Long-tail searches are now a joke(in comparison to Google's pre-Mayday rankings), I can't find anything easily anymore if it requires 4 words or more.

The only competition I face now, in a rather tightly knit niche no less, is from a pair of sites that do what Google has always said don't do. Don't abuse sub-domains they say yet it's paying dividends for one of the two. Don't steal other peoples content they say yet the other site is 100% pure mashup with zero added value, not even a hint of extra features. These sites both have millions of indexed pages, all dynamic, all stealing from smaller sites... they appear on page one for every keyword combination in the niche.

It's been 2 solid months now and nothing has improved on any of my sites or on any of those belonging to friends of mine or sites I've worked with in the past who ask me what's going on.

Is this the future Google wants? I find that hard to believe. I earn a living online and I am more than capable of creating the mother of all mashup sites and to make the software available to others and to pump these sites out quickly... dynamic is easy, cheap and of little added value but there it is. 2 of them right in front of me where my sites have stood for years.

Serps? 3 Google ads, 2 spammer sites and a kickaxe in a quandry. Even WW traffic is down and many others I consider top quality. Whatever comes next doesn't feel like it's going to benefit visitors or Google, I really don't understand this move from Google nor did I ever expect it. I keep looking for positive signs but I see none, really none. I can only imagine what will be said if Google puts out a much improved revenue report next quarter.

I've been pro Google my entire webmaster life, these latest changes have me taking a solid look at Google right now.

My original question, is Google using the ad targeting data they collect to guide visitors in search as well, requires an answer. The good traffic, where is Google sending it?


 2:44 am on Jul 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well said Sgt_Kickaxe, I agree with you completely.

I refuse to believe that Google is happy with the new long-tail SERPs! They are useless, and people complain a lot about them. Google must tweak it a lot (towards the previous SERPs) sooner or later... or people start using search engines that deliver satisfactory results.


 1:53 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

More feedback for the "new and fresh" Google :(

We run vertical specialist B2B news sites ; all have 20 stories or so written each day by journalists - most unique content with interviews, comment and analysis. No Press Release spamming in sight.

- Organic Google to our news traffic down by 30%. Google traffic to our market research reports down by 60%.

- Some items linked from home page are not even indexed by Google - yet alone in real time. This is despite Googlebot visiting multiple times per hour.

- Searches for rich text based content pages show them buried underneath either the home page or a content index page.

- PDF files vastly preferred to their HTML page counterparts

- Short tail searches much better, long tail all over the place; completely unpredictable despite weeks of analysis

- News bot also random - one ites now rarely indexed, other doing perfectly well.

- Weeks of optimising page load speed has resulted in our reported load times increasing.

In summary, utter shambles. No idea how this has benefited users.


 2:36 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

What has changed is Google is now in full public company swing. They must turn a profit to keep investors happy, or the stock will drop.

You bet they want people clicking on ads and staying on Google. If a visitor clicks your organic listing, Google makes nothing and that donít bode well with investors.

Like others, I used to be a Googler but came to realize some time ago that Google is not my friend anymore and I need to do whatever it takes to compete. If that means spamming the cra! out of the index, then so be it. Iím in a war with Google to get my listings to the top and even then thanks to the layout changes, your odds are still not as good as they used be.

The sooner people quit thinking that Google isnít happy with the results and they will revert back, the quicker they can get started changing their strategy to compete in the new world order.


 2:55 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am more than capable of creating the mother of all mashup sites and to make the software available to others and to pump these sites out quickly... dynamic is easy, cheap and of little added value but there it is

totally agree, large mashups sites are very easy to create and perhaps this is something you may want to look into doing on another domain,another host and domain registration deatils at least then you have 2 chances of being in the top 10 for your niche!

Google forces us to keep pumping out sites because they remove the old ones.


 3:43 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

PDF files vastly preferred to their HTML page counterparts

PDF's are popping up everywhere as if it is the new trust factor. If I'm noticing that you can bet the spammers have.

Plus it doesn't seem like duplicate content from these article sites is being penalized anymore. Mashup article sites are literally swarming my areas particularly on the longtail. It's becoming the defacto business model.


 4:02 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Many of our competitors are catching on, dozens of large alexa 1000-5000 range sites are now starting to mashin 5-20 paragraphs worth of gibberish.

here is what we are seeing
- top 5 related widgets
- latest 5 related widgets
- keyword spam clouds
- whole paragraphs of "widget related keywords"
- latest twitter widget snippets
- most popular related widgets
- search related widgets with 1-2 lines of scraped content

All of this is being added to the original page.

Several things come to mind now.


Clearly the filters for webwide duplicate content footprint pattern matching has been dramtically ratcheted up. By filling an existing page with cleverly designed quasi useful spam the page is now scoring higher due to a uniqueness factor with almost no footprint.

God can only guess why but any type of social networking aspect onpage and offpage is giving these pages a dramatic boost.

So what I am seeing at least is basically uniqueness and social networking factors being scored extremely high almost regardless of usefulness of page content.

I am also seeing a dramatic downplay now to age, pr and trust as signs of quality across hundreds of sites I monitor.

If this is the direction Google is going I am moving on.

Have fun hiring people to spam twitter and facebook all day. Funny thing is the sites now dominating my area of the web are all based out of China and India. Cheap labor pools of social networking spammers and human scrapers now rule the roost!

Yay, so glad I followed the rules.


 5:02 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Drall, Your post should be nominated for one of the best of 2010. You are clearly seeing the whole and eloquently sum it up.

I say Google is intentionally doing this to drive up Adsense and Adwords revenues. Those algos and filters have clearly been tampered with to accomplish this.


 9:35 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well said Drall.

Social network related things have way too much importance (I see their point/function in certain areas), but maybe Google is overcompensating for all their own failed social network projects (buzz, etc) ;-D

I'm also doubtful about Twitter: in certain fields 100% of twitter search results are (self/product/website) promotion messages. People are not going to be too happy/entertained about that.

By the way: Bing search share up 7% in June (Bing search share has almost doubled in 12 months)... Google search share is downnnnnn.


 9:44 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am seeing traffic up 5%, sales down 90%, for some sites.

Just crazy.


 9:46 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google seems to be listening, sorta, the mashup sites that sprang out of nowhere to sit in front of my site (which took many years to build) are now sitting behind my site instead.

Since that happened across a wide range of keywords all at once I can only assume that Google "tweaked" something and perhaps toned down the effects of mass mashup spam and social media use as indicators of quality.

Almost there Google, mashups are still FAR too prominent, kindly tone them down just a liiiiitle more. The mashup chickens don't belong in front of the donor eggs they harvest.

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