Many webmasters including myself have experienced similar issues starting around october 22nd.
This is not related to adding adsense to your site.
In my opinion, google has tightened up their filters for the holiday season so slight over optimization in one area can cause your site to have a penalty. Exact title matches combined with slightly aggressive anchors used in backlink building can trigger this.
How far have you dropped for your keywords? Where did you rank and where do you rank now?
My advice to you would be to hold tight for a month or two and see how things play out. If they dont return to normal by then, you can try to slowly start tweaking things on your site to restore rankings.
Exact title matches combined with slightly aggressive anchors used in backlink building can trigger this.
Hmmm, I got hit with the Oct 21 ranking loss and have not heard this before, my site does not have any aggressive anchors with linking but definetly uses exact title matches for most pages... wonder if this is what caused it as I have done everything to fix the problem with no results...
What would be the best way to begin fixing titles for pages?
In the december thread I mentioned that I got the sense that exact match title tags were being dropped down. I had 2 sites in the top ten for the same 2 word search phrase, both with "free widgets" in the start of the title tag. On my secondary site which I dont mind experementing with I removed the "free widgets" from the beginning of the title tag and the morning of december 18 (yesterday) it has recovered all its positions, now even outranking my main site for "widgets" and "free widgets"
This website still has the words "free" and "widgets" in the title tag but separated by other words and not in the start of the title tag.
Now, I cant be certain this was the cause, but I am pretty sure it had something to do with it. If my main site does not recover its rankings within the next month or two, I will be applying the same strategy to it.
First, here is site that was showing nice growth over the past three months, and then took a sudden hit in traffic between the 21st and 22nd. I've only shown one example here, but this is happening across the web.