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Gained Site Links But Lost Traffic Overnight
kidder




msg:4313871
 10:43 pm on May 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Overnight one of our websites (2006 vintage) made the jump from minor site links to the full monty of 4 x 4 site links. Just the one search term which is our exact domain but I'm happy to take it. Checking the daily stats reveals a massive drop in Google ref's... about 80% down. We suffered a similar drop in traffic about a month back and that lasted about 48 hours so I'm hoping this is similar event but I can't help but feel a little nervous with all of these negative Panda related reports around. We've been running business as usual with this site and trying to focus more on the end user experience, the website is an information style wordpress blog with adsense that we update about 5 days per week.. We've been doing regular "promotion" and just 48 hours ago we setup a dedicated twitter page (so much for social signals) - Would the site stand up to the human eyeball test? I would say easily although the link profile is probably a
    little
suspect we don't go overboard.

So we have these factors
5 year old domain with no history of dips or penalties
Fresh Google Site Links
Wordpress
Adsense
Regular addition of good quality content
Moderate link work being done
New Twitter page
80% drop in traffic - primary terms and long tail.

 

learnseo81




msg:4315040
 2:18 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster,

Yes, I read those threads very carefully yesterday and I concluded that google was testing user engagement with websites and most websites returned to their earlier glory.

Seems like google is doing it again. In my niche, front page is changing very rapidly. Sites moving up and down, then up and then down.

One guy who has at #9 yesterday is at #81 today morning. Not sure what's up. I'm not going to change anything on my website for minimum 2 weeks and maximum 1 month.

My main concern is YO-YO serps. If my serps completely settle for 3 days in a row, then I'll plan my further strategy.

Do you agree with my approach?

tedster




msg:4315041
 2:30 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think that any plans based on existing (previous and now outmoded) models of how the SERPs work are going to be all that useful right now. Heck, a lot of people still doubt that the yo-yo even exists!

At least a three day wait sounds like a reasonable thing to do. But in several years of watching yo-yo SERPs, no one has pinned down what site factors make them happen or stop. So I'm not sure how you would plan further strategy.

learnseo81




msg:4315045
 2:50 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

@tedster

Thanks for your feedback. My strategy is to wait (Maximum 1 month) till the SERPs completely settle. If things doesn't come back to normal (Although I'm 99% sure they will come back to normal), I'm not going to contact google for a reconsideration request because neither I've paid links nor I've thin pages.

I'll make my site even better and see what happens. Will keep everybody posted about this and take advantage of this. Although this site was a HUGE part of my regular income but I'm taking this opportunity to conclude something. This site has to come back in SERPs!

tedster




msg:4315055
 3:35 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the SERPs will settle into a new normal, but we'll never go "back" to the old normal again. Those who stay with SEO will have a fascinating learning curve this year!

learnseo81




msg:4315059
 3:41 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just saw a #3 result going to #44 and a #8 result going to #51. Google is doing some serious testing and I won't change anything until things settle.

The new normal might be a little up or down. I don't think there will be any drastic changes but only time will tell. Thanks for your insights and I'm here to learn SEO as my name implies ;)

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4315067
 4:52 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sitelinks represent a buildup of pagerank on your category pages, they don't represent an overall "vote" of any kind for your site. I strongly suggest you interlink related articles a little more to drain some of that category rank back to where it belongs and you'll notice both a bump in rankings/traffic for articles and the loss of sitelinks.

Planet13




msg:4315072
 5:08 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sitelinks represent a buildup of pagerank on your category pages...


I have never heard that stated directly before. I would love to hear what others have to say about this.

I strongly suggest you interlink related articles a little more to drain some of that category rank back to where it belongs and you'll notice both a bump in rankings/traffic for articles and the loss of sitelinks.


Again, if that is something that you (or others) have done with repeatable results, would love to hear more.

Also, are sitelinks ALWAYS at the category level? Does goolge ever give sitelinks at the product (or article) level?

kidder




msg:4315077
 5:11 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is a type of PR sculpting right? I just look at our different sites from the users perspective and I let that be my guide. Thanks for the feedback I wonder what others think of the idea.

indyank




msg:4315088
 5:24 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

On my sites, all pages with sitelinks are at the product or article level except for the home page.

tedster




msg:4315093
 5:55 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sitelinks represent a buildup of pagerank on your category pages..

Maybe, but I think it's only part of the story. I'm nearly certain that user data is another part, and even query phrases that clearly target a particular area, whether it has strong backlinks/PR or not.

kidder




msg:4315098
 6:43 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

We appear to be shifting back and forth from minor site links to major on an hourly basis. The major ones are category based and the minor ones are content pages. I don't think the traffic drop and the site links changing are connected.

networkliquidators




msg:4315332
 3:19 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heh, with serps, I'm sure it's just Google throttling traffic. This week im receiving approx. 1750 visitors every day to one of my domains. From Mon to Thursday there is a fluctuation of 10 visitors up or down each day from 1750. This behavior is typical for my site and is annoying.

Examples:
Mon 1752
Tues 1743
Wed 1759
Thur 1742

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4315384
 4:37 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've tested and it's repeatable. To drain rank from category pages you don't link from them to other pages, instead you interlink the articles together within each category. If an article page links to all categories as well as a few other articles the rank increases on pages and drops on categories. Don't overdo it, categories with little rank don't pass much to the articles within, there is a balance, proceed slowly.

indyank




msg:4315394
 4:44 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sgt_Kickaxe, Is there any optimal number for categories and do they attract any traffic from SEs?

I use noindex for all category pages and that is one reason I don't have sitelinks for them. Probably, if category pages don't bring in much search traffic, adding noindex might also help I guess.

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