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Gained Site Links But Lost Traffic Overnight
kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 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.

 

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 3:02 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Wow - 80% is a huge drop. Please do keep us updated as things go forward.

Do you use WebmasterTools? If so, does it give you anything - a message? or a drop in any reported stats?

And since you are on Wordpress, have you checked for any hacks that ended up with parasite content/links?

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 3:30 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Same here. My site dropped overnight and searching for my domain also shows sitelinks which were not there before. Not sure what's going on. My traffic dropped to 90% or more. Fingers crossed.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 3:34 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

@kidder

Can you check If SERPs are bouncing? I'm searching for certain keywords for my site and I see myself on #67.

Ten minutes later I'm on #56

Ten minutes later I'm on #42.

Then back to 67 and this is happening randomly to all pages. Not sure what's up!

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 4:24 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Right now for our biggest traffic term we are on page #48, most of the traffic we have left is Google images. I will check again for position a bit later. It has a similar feel to last time where we came back stronger. I've also found a scraper with one of our articles on it ranking in #1 for the title.. Nice one Google, lets hope that corrects.
@Tedster, webmaster tools looks all ok to me, no issues worth reporting and I can't see any obvious hacks just yet. "Bad data push" perhaps? Time for more pills and water. 80% was a conservative estimate.

Planet13

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 4:31 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Moderate link work being done


What exactly does that mean? Moderate when compared to sites that do no link building and just rely on natural links?

Or moderate compared to your competitors?

How many links and how quickly?

Paid? Reciprocal? One Way? Blog posts? In context? Forum profiles? Exact match anchor text?

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 4:58 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

@kidder

Please keep watching your main term and let us know how much it bounces.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 5:03 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Moderate and random enough to feel almost comfortable about, our link count (15k) is much lower than the large and well established players in the industry. In terms of numbers we don't ever exceed 20 - 30 links per week and we mix it up. The top site has over 2 million back links. I'm not ruling out links as the issue but you can't hurt a site by simply pointing links at it right? wink.... wink...

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 7:45 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

@learnseo81 - Looks like we have some bouncing around, we are now out to page 55.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 7:50 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Page 55? Means something like on #550 result? or like #55 on 5th page? It sounds like a huge hiccup.

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 8:10 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

There seems to be an update to sitelinks and a few more pages on my sites have been awarded sitelinks.But there are no improvements in traffic.For the past 5 days, I only see an increase in the percentage of Direct traffic.I am not sure of the referrers for this DT but it does come from all parts of the globe.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 8:27 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

That would be page 55, its ugly right now but lets see what the next 24 - 48 hours brings.

g1smd

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 9:05 am on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Save yourself some clicking by using &num=100 for 100 results per page.

Planet13

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 2:24 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not ruling out links as the issue but you can't hurt a site by simply pointing links at it right?


I don't have an answer for you, but I believe some of the moderators on this forum thread have said that, yes, you CAN hurt your site by pointing too many links at it. I tend to believe them.

If it isn't too many links, then seriously, what could it be?

Did your content change significantly?
Did you just add a huge number of pages of content?
Did your CMS / structure change significantly?
Are you being scraped?
Have you been hacked?
Are page load times longer than before?
Are there lots of user reviews out there saying your product / service is terrible?

The only consolation I can see is that your site is bouncing around in the SERPs. From what I have read, an Over Optimization Penalty / Link Spam penalty would, in the past, knock you down a consistent number of spaces, and you wouldn't see any movement for a designated time (like, exactly 3 months, or exactly 9 months, or whatever).

I don't know if this has changed for OOPs or not. I would definitely search the forums for recent posts on OOP and see what others are saying.

Maybe all those links you built have simply been devalued and google is just trying to figure out where you would rank without the link juice from them based on your content alone?

Anyway, keep us posted.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 2:31 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe all those links you built have simply been devalued and google is just trying to figure out where you would rank without the link juice from them based on your content alone?

That's an intriguing idea - and it does seem to fit the situation pretty well. When it comes to backlinks, "everybody else is doing it too" is not always a winning strategy, long term.

Planet13

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 5:01 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

When it comes to backlinks, "everybody else is doing it too" is not always a winning strategy, long term.


Wasn't "everybody else is doing it" the same mantra recited in the aftermath of the Florida update back in 2003?

I am not trying to be nit-picky here, but I know that google HOPES to achieve a certain amount of diversity in the SERPs, so I am not 100% sure that emulating what everyone else is doing is going to dethrone the kings of the SERPs.

I know Panda has had mixed results, but I think the INTENTIONS were clear; google is going to TRY to make it harder and harder to game the algo. I definitely want to try to be one step AHEAD of the competition instead of one step behind.

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 5:18 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't have an answer for you, but I believe some of the moderators on this forum thread have said that, yes, you CAN hurt your site by pointing too many links at it. I tend to believe them.


I believe them too.

The site might be suffering from an anchor text penalty (where you have an exceptionally high % of external links with the same anchor text). The solution is to acquire new links with different anchor text to dilute the effect.

BTW, this is why it is worth making an effort to get natural links - they tend to come with a huge variation of anchor text, and provide stability to your site (it's hard for a malicious competitor to tank you by sending hundreds of spammy links with the same anchor text, as the natural links will dilute the effect).

Planet13

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 5:29 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

...they tend to come with a huge variation of anchor text...


good point. when I look at the natural (unsolicited) links pointing to my site, most of the anchor text is similar to this:

domainname (without the www or the .com)
domainname (misspelled)
Click Here
Click Here to visit
www.mydomainname.com
visit www.domainname.com
I really like these widgets
I wish someone would buy me these widgets

And, of course,

these are the ugliest widgets I have ever seen

I have no doubt that exact match anchor text is one of the quickest ways to get your site to rank well. Thus, I also have no doubt that google is keenly aware of that.

the only thing is, bouncing SERPs sounds more like an Algorithm issue than a penalty issue to me, but I (luckily) don't have any experience with penalties, so I can't really give any insight.

AlyssaS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 7:01 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

the only thing is, bouncing SERPs sounds more like an Algorithm issue than a penalty issue to me


I think it's an automatic filter. There seems to be loads of them just lurking in the SERPs, and you trip them when you reach a certain position or level of click-throughs in SERPs.

OP says he lost rankings a day after he achieved site-links in his listing. Site links are usually achieved once you become an authority (judged by incoming external links). Once he got that status a filter was automatically run, and his site failed one of the tests. Most of these filters are based on on-page issues, but I think there are a few triggered by off page stuff.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 10:39 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Update - We are past the 24 hour mark and still down on page #55 for the main term I'm tracking. We still have our Google images traffic and a few random long tail search clicks but that's all. Recently we did include an iframe search widget in the posts, it runs after each product review and gives the users an opportunity to get the best prices from the various suppliers in their area. I discounted it as a potential problem because its not the first time we have used it on the site.

The idea that generating regular new links to a 5 year old website is enough to induce a penalty is disturbing if that is what has happened here.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 11:09 pm on May 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

More tracking reveals yet more changes. Results for our term no longer return 55 pages, but stop at page 50 unless we repeat the search including omitted results and I'm not going there. Our main URL no longer appears in the first 50 pages however we have internal pages now showing on page 23, 29 & 35 for the search term in question. Odd.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 1:37 am on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

@kidder, I don't know what we can conclude from this. It all seems very weird and I'm guessing that some kind of update is in progress.

yesterday I searched a term, It shows 56,60,0000 results. I searched that again and then showed 51,90,0000 results. I don't know how results changed in a fraction of second. Might be indicating an update?

g1smd

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 1:39 am on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Using
&num=100 to show 100 results per page, check the site:example.com -inurl:www and site:www.example.com searches.

Make sure one search returns zero results. For the other search, ensure your root URL is shown first in the list.

If you have done theses searches before, say several months ago, has the ordering of the pages in the results changed signficantly?

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 3:13 am on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm starting to see our well written unique content appearing on scraper sites when I search the page titles, word for word and the #*$!s even steal the images. These are adsense sites so I just took the guys publisher code from the source and I'm going to drop it into a couple of hardcore adult sites. One good deed deserves another.

mhansen



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 12:29 pm on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Purely speculation, but an 80% loss of google referrals is pretty extreme and (to me) screams of the result of some kind of algo based filter, if not a manual interaction.

This is one of the times when Google could really gain some webmaster respect by actually sharing "WHY", or at least giving you a specific pool of reasons why your established site tanked.

Gaining authority and getting site-links could easily mean that you rank much better for some commercial keywords, thus triggering an automatic flag and manual review for site quality.

Again... all pure speculation, and in the "what would I do" realm of actions, very little to nothing! Aside from making sure the site is not "Adsense or Ad-heavy"... and since its WordPress, "Make Sure it loads very quickly"... I would just sit on for 30-60 days and see what happens.

If you MUST do something to please your own curiosity or need to generate revenue again, work on Facebook, Twitter, Local, Niche forums, ANYTHING to generate an alternate steady stream of traffic, and let Google settle first.

randle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 3:07 pm on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Possible Plan of Action to Consider;

Try not to panic, very often things will just return to normal. Could just be a temporary Google anomaly.

Don't change anything on the site till the dust settles a bit, and you feel much more confident on what the problem might be.

In terms of numbers we don't ever exceed 20 - 30 links per week and we mix it up.


Go back at least 4 weeks and completely scrutinize these links you have been "generating". Maybe you got er,, a bad batch shall we say. Generally speaking, if you are the one in control of the links that point to your site, your creating a bit of a profile wether you realize it or not.

If you don't currently do any PPC, its times like these that provide the proper perspective on that form of traffic. If you get knocked down, try and come out of it stronger than before.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 8:54 pm on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

The last thing I did yesterday was to take another look in WMT and I did find our sitemap was not there. I submitted it again, just now I'm seeing our site pop for its major search terms again, long tail traffic does not appear to be back just yet but it looks very much like we are back at our normal traffic levels. I doubt the missing sitemap was the issue but it was something.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 1:28 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

@kidder

Glad to hear that your site is back. Sitempa doesn't matter. I've seen many sites with no sitemap at all dominating SERPs. Must be a coincidence or something else.

learnseo81



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 1:30 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anybody,

Can somebody explain why kidder's site went that much down in the SERPs and now back again? It was certainly not a penalty but something else!

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 4313869 posted 2:03 am on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

A 100% explanation - no. But if you've been playing the home version of the Google game since Summer 2008 [webmasterworld.com] and if you are familiar with the discussions linked from this thread [webmasterworld.com], then check out this current thread:
Are we entering another Panda user-engagement calibration phase? [webmasterworld.com]

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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