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Desperation Time: Need a Magic Bullet to Recover from Mayday
Planet13

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Msg#: 4178142 posted 7:42 pm on Jul 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Things are quite bleak right now...

Is there anyone who has anything at all resembling a Magic Bullet for regaining rankings / traffic after the May Day update?

Has anybody figured out whether right now, as of July 2010, if there is ONE BEST THING TO DO to get rankings back up?

Unfortunately we don't have enough resources to try everything that you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization, link building, social networking, adding more pages, refresh content, etc.,).

If you have any stories of "I did this and low and behold, my rankings improved," please share them with the group.

Thanks in advance.

 

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 9:08 pm on Jul 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

The only I can say is I dropped like a stone as a result of MayDay, then did nothing, then saw my traffic return to it's previous levels almost exactly one month to the day after the fall. I have no idea if things will stay stable, so I'm walking on eggshells and will proceed with extreme caution from this point on...

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

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 9:22 pm on Jul 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I forget offhand who it was, but a few weeks ago somebody who was hit by Mayday -- the true Mayday, long tails, not the kitchen sink that everybody is using it as an excuse for -- mentioned simply building a few links to the affected pages.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:30 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

...mentioned simply building a few links to the affected pages...


I think I remember reading that somewhere here to - specifically someone saying they got a PR 5 Backlink that seemed to bring things up all across the board.

Any other suggestions out there?

Lorel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:46 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately we don't have enough resources to try everything that you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization, link building, social networking, adding more pages, refresh content, etc.,).


In that case you might have to go for AdWords.

RP_Joe



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 2:37 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there anyone who has anything at all resembling a Magic Bullet for regaining rankings / traffic after the May Day update?


I think Google has been pretty clear on this. They will not allow Magic Bullets.


Unfortunately we don't have enough resources to try everything that you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization, link building, social networking, adding more pages, refresh content, etc.,).


The whole purpose of mayday was to eliminate websites who don't do on page optimization, adding more pages, refresh content.

Google thinks this is important to users.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 3:42 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The whole purpose of mayday was to eliminate websites who don't do on page optimization, adding more pages, refresh content.

That wasn't exactly my understanding. Here's what Google's Maile Ohye said:

Mayday was a significant update that really impacted long tail terms. A lot of people were leveraging long tail phrases for lots of traffic but it was frequently done via automated methods. We’ve looked to eliminate spam, and that’s been a big priority for us. At the same time, there were people developing not quality content (not a violation of guidelines, but also not providing value). What it does is for long tail queries, is we now just consider them queries like anything else. We are going to put as much value in those search results as all search results.

[toprankblog.com...]

Now the actual effect may have been different from this is some sectors, but this was the intention.

RP_Joe



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 4:29 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Planet13
If you can add one page a week, that can help.
If you don't have the staff, consider outsourcing it. Its better than doing nothing. Doing nothing is very bad for SEO.

Lapizuli

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 5:27 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's so hard to say without seeing your site, but if you haven't come back from Mayday, the problem is probably content.

Give users content they want. Poll your users as they land to find out what that is.

Subtle things can make a difference: ease of navigation, ease of skimming (or if it's multimedia, ease of viewing/listening).

Get somebody's grandma to look at the site and see what she has to say about it. Or somebody in your market who's not very web savvy. Ask them to point out ten bad things about the site. (People you know will always point out the positive unless you specifically ask for the negative.)

And make sure you're targeting the right keywords for your content and not keywords that don't offer value to the users that search with them.

conor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 9:43 am on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

The Magic bullet is Quality Content that garners Quality Links

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 3:20 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately we don't have enough resources to try everything that you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization, link building, social networking, adding more pages, refresh content, etc.,)



I'm sorry to be the harsh one, but it needs saying; if you can't or won't do any of that, why do you think you deserve better rankings?

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 3:30 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

^^^ Ditto to netmeg ^^^

you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization, link building, social networking, adding more pages, refresh content, etc.,)


It is entirely possible to rank well solely with well constructed pages from the title bar, meta descriptions, navigation structure and on-page and image SEO.

All the basics which should be done as a De facto standard; linking, social networking etc can come at a later stage.

Concentrate on getting this right before you do anything else.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 3:48 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

maybe he'd already done all that before mayday, and was ranking well with it. and then mayday came along.

tinkering with that other stuff probably won't help, in that case. he wants to know what new thing has changed with mayday.

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 4:17 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

maybe he'd already done all that before mayday


Doubtful, why would one write:

to try everything that you are SUPPOSED to do (on page optimization


To me that is admitting there is a basic problem and that is what should be tackled as the priority.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 7:36 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi there, Everyone:

Thanks so much for your suggestions and thoughts.

if you can't or won't do any of that, why do you think you deserve better rankings?


That is a good question. Since we aren't allowed to link to our sites here for everyone to look at, I would hope that you would allow me the benefit of the doubt that since it is a ten-year-old site, and I have concentrated on making the content over the years very focused and informative and UNIQUE (wikipedia links to several of our pages as resources, for example), that the content is pretty good.

However, most of the content covers historical items or religious concepts, and the information doesn't change on a regular basis, so I haven't been updating the information as much as I would like. If anyone has any suggestions on how to update content on ancient artifacts / religious concepts, I would love to hear it, because I am at wits end...

maybe he'd already done all that before mayday, and was ranking well with it. and then mayday came along.


Thank you for mentioning that. Although traffic and rankings were slipping a bit before MayDay, the mayday update really knocked us on our behinds.

It seems like we are facing the same dilemma as other sites where google is turning the traffic on and off on certain days - one day we will get lots of orders (we are an ecommerce site) and the other days it will be dead quiet. The faucet is either on or off...

As for updating content, the other problem is that our resources as a business overall have fallen as the recession has deepened (we have a few brick and mortar stores) and I am having to work 7 days a week in our shops as well. so, while not trying to take shortcuts, I guess I am asking that if the content is authoritative and well focused (and I think the on page SEO is quite good - optimizing it any more would, IMHO, look quite spammy), where might you look first? Soliciting links? Adding new content? Updating older content?

Again, thank you for taking a look at this thread and sharing your thoughts.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 7:44 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

For some sites affected by Mayday, I am finding that traffic is not the problem!

Conversions/sales have dropped by 90% -- and the site data in WewbmasterTools is complete garbage: and in no way resembles what a site:example.com search returns.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 8:05 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I guess I am asking that if the content is authoritative and well focused (and I think the on page SEO is quite good - optimizing it any more would, IMHO, look quite spammy), where might you look first? Soliciting links? Adding new content? Updating older content?



I am of the firm opinion that most of us are the same way about our websites as we are about our kids and our pets - unable to be entirely objective.

So, when I am stumped on something - anything - having to do with one of my sites, I reach out to someone (who may or may not be in the industry depending on the nature of the issue) and ask THEM to take a look at my site with an eye for possible improvements.

But as far as I know, there is no magic bullet. No easy way out. Me, I'd probably start looking at my business model to see if there was some way I could expand or enhance it, if the brick and mortar are falling off and the site isn't getting the traffic and the content isn't refreshable.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 11:02 pm on Jul 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Me, I'd probably start looking at my business model to see if there was some way I could expand or enhance it...


Thank you, Netmeg, for your input.

One strange thing about my business; although it has an "Eastern" influence to it, it is not Islamic, but, for some reason, following 9/11, our business saw an increase, while most people were seeing a "mini-recession" immediately after 9/11

Again, our business is related more toward Indian culture and religion and not Islamic / Arab culture (and there is nothing on our site related to 9/11 at all), but I think that people were a lot more "religiously aware" for the first few years after that tragic event.

I had been looking at a change / addition to our business model, but that was because I have seen google rank so many spam / mash-up sites so well over the years (and continue to still do so) that I have been thinking of joining the party (on a separate domain, of course). I know that would be for all the wrong reasons, but when you have a wife and four-year-old child to feed, well, ethics tend to take a back seat in your thinking...

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:02 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

and the information doesn't change on a regular basis,


My sites are evergreen as well and it had been 10 years since I had last SEO'd one of my main sites. In those days it was easy to rank well however I decided to check every page, tweak, adjust and generally bring the pages up to the latest best possible practices.

It's actually been a BIG task, something I thought that may last a couple of weeks has actually taken a couple of months however the results have been startling. Virtually every page is now back ranking #1 not only in Google and Bing but also in Yahoo! where I had always had problems.

The site structure and images have not changed whatsoever, I simply started with the titlebars and ensured they were even more accurate than ever, meta keywords, yep I still do those, meta descriptions, changed the h1 and h3 to ensure it matched the titlebar, made sure all images had completed alt and title information, added synonyms where applicable, I also put these in the meta keywords, plus extra technical descriptions which were also reflected in the meta description.

Like you I didn't really think anything much needed doing however the results speak for themselves.

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:49 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I simply started with the titlebars and ensured they were even more accurate than ever, meta keywords, yep I still do those, meta descriptions, changed the h1 and h3 to ensure it matched the titlebar, made sure all images had completed alt and title information, added synonyms where applicable, I also put these in the meta keywords, plus extra technical descriptions which were also reflected in the meta description.


And that got you a boost? Very interesting.

A year ago, sitewide tinkering in such sensitive areas would have earned you a series of page-penalties (-30 or -60 usually), with the strong possibility of a sitewide -50 depending on other 'suspicious' criteria (link related).

If you avoided that, the dreaded -950 OOP (everyone forgotten about that?) would be just around the corner.

Maybe Caffeine and 'orthogonal'* algo changes have ended the era of penalties-for-penalties-sake, when Google shot first and asked questions later (usually exactly 90 days later).

*apologies for borrowing MC's terminology, but it's a good word. Better than [simultaneous, concurrent, related, independant, contemporary]

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 1:23 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

A year ago, sitewide tinkering in such sensitive areas would have earned you a series of page-penalties


A year ago we have also done such changes sitewide (changed 200+ duplicate page titles, adjusted headings, internal link anchors etc) and also suffered no penalty, in fact oposite - there was no drop at all and ranking started to improve immediately with significant positive results (avg. 10+ pages improvement) and is still holding.

Otherwise, how could you ever attempt to fix the site without suffering 3-months penalty?

Or do you think that Google would be be making a distinction between "sitewide fix" and "tinkering"?

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 1:41 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

De-duping has been fine for ages- certainly since it was in GWT, and possibly longer. I confess to never having de-duped a site, and have only analysed it since G started making a big deal of it.

Similarly, dropping the brandname from the title element has not caused problems for quite some time.

However, changing titles without changing content- particularly if you make incremental changes on the same page (as opposed to a single change from historic to final version)- that was positively dangerous

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 5:27 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I had been looking at a change / addition to our business model, but that was because I have seen google rank so many spam / mash-up sites so well over the years (and continue to still do so) that I have been thinking of joining the party (on a separate domain, of course). I know that would be for all the wrong reasons, but when you have a wife and four-year-old child to feed, well, ethics tend to take a back seat in your thinking...


Ah yes, but the beauty thing is you probably don't have to resort to spam and mashups. Just take a different angle on what you're offering. Add a blog. Add some niche information. You're selling products - how are people using your products? Solicit user generated comment of some type. Get people to start doing your work for you by sharing what you offer. Make some videos. I've never yet seen a niche so dull, so stagnant, so entrenched, that it can't be enhanced, fleshed out, expanded upon, or made lively. Not even in the religious field.

The thing is, when it's all said and done, it's just as much work to keep a spam/mashup site up and running and ranking as it is to keep a good one going. Maybe even more. I admit it, I've tried. They might get temporary bumps, but usually the hammer comes down eventually.

And there's nothing unethical about multiple sites with different angles on the same niche. In fact, it's smart. Fewer eggs in one basket, in case one basket gets upended.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 6:19 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

changing titles without changing content- particularly if you make incremental changes on the same page (as opposed to a single change from historic to final version)- that was positively dangerous

I'm happy you highlighted that one, Shaddows. Old skool SEO involved such regular, incremental title tweaks and it was a good way to probe the algorithm. No doubt that's the reason for this penalty. Title tweaking and internal anchor text tweaking are two very ticklish spots on Google's underbelly.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 6:59 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

what a complete load of nonsense SEO has become.
we get punished for daring to change a word on our own page?
who dreamt that one up.

maybe google wants to scare us into leaving everything as it is, so they don't have to bother updating their index every month.

its not a penalty at all, is it. if it happens like you say it does, then its because the index has grown so large and unwiedly that it takes a while for the 'new' page to be slotted in where it belongs. in the meantime it just has to wait its turn, like every other new page.

if you've got the kind of site that gets crawled every five minutes then it will likely go straight back in. but for the rest of us mere mortals, we'll end up sucking our thumbs while we wait.

there's nothing wrong with changing your page, and people shouldn't be scared by mythical penalties.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 7:33 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ah yes, but the beauty thing is you probably don't have to resort to spam and mashups. Just take a different angle on what you're offering. Add a blog. Add some niche information. You're selling products - how are people using your products? Solicit user generated comment of some type.


Thank you again, Netmeg, for the suggestions and inspiration.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 7:37 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

...changed the h1 and h3 to ensure it matched the titlebar...


Is there a reason you omitted H2 tags?

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 8:15 pm on Jul 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there a reason you omitted H2 tags?


Yep, when we first built this site using CSS we used h2 within the lhs navigation, not entirely correct however it's worked for us.

A year ago, sitewide tinkering in such sensitive areas would have earned you a series of page-penalties


A few months ago this specific site was coming under pressure from quite a few spammy sites, especially one particular section of it, plus I also noticed formerly well-ranked pages in other sections were losing their previous #1 rankings therefore I decided to really focus the "problem" section and did as described above.

Within a few weeks ALL that section's pages were back to the top in both web and images search hence I took the decision that the entire site needed updating, cleaned-up the coding where necessary and making them even more focussed than before.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:02 am on Jul 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

...hence I took the decision that the entire site needed updating, cleaned-up the coding where necessary and making them even more focused than before.


And have you seen results from that (either positive or negative since you did it on a (more-or-less) site-wide basis?

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4178142 posted 12:05 am on Jul 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh, and one more thing to note about my site;

Since January of this year, my site had been trending upward in terms of traffic and sales - about 5% month over month, until Mayday hit. That is why it was so much of a surprise and caught us so unprepared.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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