|A page that went over >100Ko dropped - and never came back.|
One of my client added a geotargeting code on the homepage of his site, which increased the page weight to 136Ko. The page was ranking for really competitive keywords at that time, been stable in the top 3 ranking sites for more than a year. When it got crawled (after the code implementation), it suddenly dropped to the 2nd page for all the keywords and never recovered so far.
I know that Google couldn't fetch the entire content at that time (i used WMT -> fetch as GoogleBot and got the "page has been truncated" message). It has been fixed immediately of course, now the page is around 50-60Ko and fully crawlable (all the content is indexable, everything is fine)
I'm 100% sure that nothing else that could have caused a ranking drop has been done at that time - our only issue was this page that went over 100ko. I'm wondering if someone ever had a similar experience?
Can you provide a more specific timeframe?
How much time passed between adding the code and when the rankings dropped?
How long have the rankings been down?
Also how are you 100% sure that nothing else could have caused this? Have you double checked all of your backlinks and other off site optimization?
If you look in Webmaster Tools Labs Site Performance, you can see a historical chart of Google's measurement of the page load speed for the past six months. You might be able to see the effect of adding the new code, and also removing it later.
Less than a day before adding the code and the ranking drop. The rankings have been down for... well, almost 8 months now, it was beginning of December 2010!
Yes, I'm 100% sure, and i'm also pretty sure that this was correlated, as I made a similar test with another site some weeks after, and the exact same thing happened: page went 100ko, Google could not fetch the entire content, clear ranking drop from the 1st page to the 2nd one.
The load speed was not excessively high, goes pretty fast to download 100ko. I'm just wondering, as Google is also mentioning it when "fetching as Googlebot", if such a thing can really cause a drop in rankings. The weirdest thing being: i never came back after that.
I have experiences with screw ups as well. My experience is similar, you screw something on the site up, you lose rankings, you fix it, rankings don't came back. The two screwups that I had experience with were:
1) noindex meta tag on important pages (went unnoticed for a month)
2) A geo-targeting bug in code that resulted in googlebot downloading nearly blank pages (went unnoticed for three days)
In these cases, rankings took approx 1 year to return.