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Overnight Ranking Downgrade on Google's SERPS

 11:16 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Over the last 4 weeks my site has seen a steady Year on Year increase in traffic from google organic searches as a result of a link building campaign which had boosted ranking for 5-6 keywords/phrases and consolidated ranking for 6-7 previously well ranked words and phrases.
And on monday Google updated our PR to PR4.

However, today i noticed that traffic from google organic was 50% lower than previuos days in the week and on further inspection all but 1 out of 12 key phrases/words that appeared on the 1st page of the SERPS as late as wednesday 20th October had been relegated to as low as the 9th page.

Even the phrases that had ranked in the 1st page of the SERPs for over 2 years were no longer there and some of the landing pages for many keyphrases/words changed to irrelevant pages.

I also check the incoming links to the site using Yahoo Site Explorer and they have been reduced by 50% since i last checked on wednesday 20th October.

Does anyone know what is the cause of this?



 5:50 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, tobylogue.

There are a number of things in your post that we can discuss, but the one that I think is most relevant is your "link building campaign". What kinds of actions have you been taking to build links?


 6:14 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

So far our link building campaign has included:

1. Article Submission with targeted keyword anchor text in the hyperlinks so far totalling 120 submission in the last 5 weeks

2. posting in industry relevant blogs and forums with between 1 and 2 links submitted per post. So far 40 links have been submitted using this method.

3. Submission to 15 directories with PR between 3-5.

4. Page Creation on sites such as squidoo, hubpages, mixx.com etc.

5. Public relations campaign to secure links from industry relevant sites based on product and site reviews.

We have not undertaken any black hat tactics and from the advice we've been given we are not building links at an unnatural rate.

Could this have something to do with the recent indexing problems Google is experiencing?

I have also noticed that the landing pages for a given search term have changed over the last couple of days.


 6:15 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think you should use other Link checker tool to check the back links as Yahoo Site Explorer may slow down the service due to there is no index use for Yahoo search. You may consider use like MajesticSEO or Open Site Explorer.


 6:45 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nothing seems very out of line in the link building efforts you described. Have you also been attracting spontaneous backlinks from "new fans" around the web? You can only get just so far on your own steam, in my opinion, and then your backlinks need to see some kind of a ripple effect spreading out.

Google is not only experiencing some indexing troubles right now, they also appear to be in the midst of a major update. That's pretty much a tradition around Halloween time every year. As users enter more into purchasing intention, the SERPs get shifted into their holiday mode - and then shift back in the new year.

This year, with the Caffeine infrastructure in use, the details of this change look a bit different, and I doubt that it's stable yet. So definitely don't overreact, but do study everything you can about your situation. I agree with the sources recommended so far for backlink data.


 4:13 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd say a major update started about two weeks ago and is rolling through niches. Wait it out that's all you can do, I 100% agree with Tedster.


 10:15 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is really up to something, I think their new algo is gonna be real hard on small time webmasters


 10:47 am on Oct 24, 2010 (gmt 0)


As the products we sell are geared toward this time of year, especially christmas time, and our traffic levels peak between November and February every year, i find it strange that we have experienced this shift particularly as all the signals with my site over the past few months have been positive such as an upgrade in PR to PR4, more pages indexed by google and improved rankings for high traffic keywords/phrases.

I hope it's a temporary blip.


 6:31 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

"as a result of a link building campaign which had boosted ranking for 5-6 keywords/phrases and consolidated ranking for 6-7 previously well ranked words and phrases."

Might have done them too fast and Google noticed.


 7:05 pm on Oct 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

over the last few months, every link building effort of mine has been met with reductions in traffic, it would be hilarious if it where actually funny

naturally, the established sites wax stronger, and any attempt by newcommers to get a bit of the cherry is met with scorn and derision by the various folk who watch these things

they do a sterling job in defending the status quo

So a few new site will resort to adwords to see some action, usually, they'll burn through their money fast, one or two will make it, perhaps by chance, perhap by design, perhaps by favour, perhaps by brute advertising effort, they'll be held up as heros for us to emulate , and legions of Webmasters will try to follow and,,,

the circle repeats

Rant of frustrated Webmaster over, damp squib actually


 3:31 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The issues I have is that since 22nd ALL our "Decent" positions seem to have tanked, yet our competitors remain as they were!

Not easy to explain this to the boss when sites are only 2 months old, do some questionable linking, get better positions, and remain largely unaffected with this so called update.

What do you do in this frustrating situation?


 3:52 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Nickyboy, Welcome to the forums.

Not easy to explain this to the boss when sites are only 2 months old, do some questionable linking, get better positions, and remain largely unaffected with this so called update.

ranking in two months :) You should have alerted your boss that it could change anytime...google did not probably have all the filters in place (or you managed to overcome them) when your sites enjoyed the good ranks...


 3:57 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Karter2, the only ones getting rich in adwords is google. It's like Vegas, only the house wins.


 4:44 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's a pretty big statement, sottsonline. Adwords clearly makes good money for a LOT of businesses.

There are companies spending 7 figures per month, and they watch their ROI like a hawk. Adwords would be a dead duck if it didn't make money for the advertiser as well as Google.


 5:16 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking the majority don't make money with adwords. I'm sure it's like everything else if you game the system you can make a fortune.

I'd be much more trusting of adwords if it was an open system of bidding. I have a hard time thinking prices would be so high if it was an open auction system like eBay. Who aside of google actually knows what the other party is bidding?

How do we know what determines the quality score? Is the amount spent part of the ranking factor?

I shouldn't have gone off topic. I'd pull up some stats I once read on an industry survey of profitability of adwords for sellers but of course I can't find it after the recent tweak. The overwhelming gist is most hope to just break even.

As a side note make sure you are seeing drops in the actual logs. I removed google analytics recently from our site and I think the results are smoother. I wonder if some of you are seeing ga glitches.


 5:26 pm on Oct 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Nickyboy , i think could be a filter due link building.Try to add new pages targeting other keywords than the actual ones (to not increase red flag) and build links without targeted anchor text for new articles and old ones.

Also, i would watch at onpage optimisation to reduce a little targeted keyword percent.

@scottsonline,this is the market,we are free to use other ad services.Comparing with what was before Google, i can say is a pretty good evolution now.Let's hope will be better.

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