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So confused - rankings all over the place!

 7:01 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi all!

First time I have posted here in a number of years (this site was instrumental in my business becoming successful online).

Anyway...to cut a long story short, I am confused!

Over the past few years, my site has ranked well for a variety of keywords (pages 1-2). Over the years, the rankings have been fairly stable (up and down slightly for all words as you'd expect).

However, recently, my site has been free-falling and I don't know why? I don't over-optimise, I link build but not on a major scale (have around 50 link 'partners' with 1000+ 'natural' inbound links). I add 1 /2 pages of new content each month relating to my industry and have build everything slowly but surely.

For some keywords, I first noticed a small drop of around 5 places...only to then fall to 4-5 pages and then, more recently off altogether?!?

I have a webmastertools account and try and keep track of anything that could be looked at as a problem (404s etc) and always check for dead links.

I am aware of the Panda update but I don't think the changes occured in this period? However, to be sure, a few weeks ago, I went through the site with a fine tooth comb, getting rid of any 'thin' pages or anything outdated and tried to improve my site's overall look and navigation...

Does anyone have any idea as to what could be wrong?

Is it worth me asking Google directly?



 7:21 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can you pin an absolute date when it happened?


 7:26 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am aware of the Panda update but I don't think the changes occured in this period?

Your symptoms do sound a lot like some Panda reports we've seen. Panda updates have occurred at more than one period. We're trying to keep track of all the dates, and the list is here: Panda Iteeration Dates [webmasterworld.com]

At this point in time, there are 8 Panda dates that we are certain of:

Feb 24, 2011
April 11, 2011
May 10, 2011
June 16, 2011
July 23, 2011
August 12, 2011
September 27, 2011
October 13, 2011

The last two dates (and Oct 13 in particular) were followed by several smaller "aftershocks" on various specific dates - Matt Cutts calls that "Panda Flux".


 8:35 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

panda flux sounds kind of like a gastrointestinal disorder

It sounds more algorithmic than penalty, in which case a reconsideration request probably won't get you much.


 8:39 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

thanks for all the responses so far!

In some ways, I was hoping it was a penalty (as strange as that sounds), as at least then, I'll have to find the 'reason' for the problems.

If it's because of Panda...I really don't know what else I can do...I regularly write new articles, add 'stickiness' to the site to keep people on for longer and constantly look to streamline everything...all in vain, it seems!


 9:38 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Any chance you are dealing with technology related subjects?


 2:59 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyway...to cut a long story short, I am confused!

Keeping webmasters in that state of mind is a profitable endeavor for Google.

Have you been posting new content during the free fall? If so perhaps your best content is getting buried in your navigational system and/or your sites average article age is falling quickly (might be one of 200 ranking factors, only Google knows).

Robert Charlton

 6:04 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

...have around 50 link 'partners' with 1000+ 'natural' inbound links...
I'm not quite sure how to interpret this, so I can't say how significant it is.

Do you mean...
a) that you have 50 link partners, who account for 1000+ of your inbounds?
b) or that you have 1000+ inbounds, and that 50 or so of them come from link partners?

Depending on how many other inbound links you have that are actually natural, I'd be concerned if the answer were (a)... ie, the bulk of your links from 50 partners. If the answer is (b), there's likely no worry on the link manipulation front.

You don't comment about whether your drops correspond to the Panda dates. That would be helpful information for the discussion.


 12:29 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the delay in responding.

@MrSavage - nope; we're not in the technology industry.

@Sgt_Kickaxe - we post a new article at least twice a month, at most 4 times a month.

@Robert - I have 50 link 'partners' who I exchange links with. Then, 1000+ that are 'natural', as in, they link to me through message board reviews, recommendations etc (not a link exchange partner.)

The changes don't seem to correspond to any dates in particular?

One thing I have noticed is that for one keyword the past 2 days, I began at page 6, then dissapeared, and now we keep coming and then going again on page 4?!?

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