Msg#: 4419733 posted 10:52 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
The ultimate question - is Google giving us a penalty which we can just rectify or have we just been moved down to our rightful position in the SERPS and no immediate changes are going help?
We had over 300,000 visitors a month through Google pre-Panda. Post Panda traffic from Google has almost halved. SEO visibility according to Search Metrics has decreased from over 20,000 to about 6,000.
A number of "potential" causes - any of which with some hard work we can turn around (doing all is going to be very difficult though!). Nothing black or grey has ever been done, but the list of things that we "could" be being punished for stretches to around 8 things.
Do we look at each possibility and weigh up the probability and just deal with it accordingly?
Is there any way in which we can categorically find out if we are doing something wrong inadvertantly?
Msg#: 4419733 posted 4:05 am on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
At the end of the day - design your sites to help users - keep time on site as high as you can, scrutinise your site and remove poor content you know dep down is crap, and then HOPE google's machine learning algo's actually know it's a decent site.
Google has taken a very questionable direction with all the 'Panda' approach of judging sites based on a set of rules 'learned' by real human reviewers and then applying that as a set of blanket rules all over the web. Unfortunately no algorithm will work for everyone, especially statistical abnormalities, which are labeled as 'bad' even though they are 'good'. It's the side effect of millions of sites on the web, and a planet load of spam constantly being produced. Google's trying to keep up, but does so at the expense of misdirecting people to completely the wrong sites...
Search is pretty broken at the moment for all but broad terms. Anything specific will return both relevant, and completely irrelevant results. For example, this morning i searched for '(name of VPS web host) has sold out' and number 8 result was a news story on the band radiohead. Go figure that one out.
Msg#: 4419733 posted 3:50 pm on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
What makes it interesting from my perspective is that we have a site that is very large and varied. Due to the size and scope there are more potential "offending" elements.
Actually - let me rephrase that. I know we are not doing anything bad and we never have, but there are always things one could be doing better.
The classic example is news articles. If you write some good content, but the news is effectively pulled in from different sources and re-written (and not uniquely researched by journalists) then maybe this could be a determining factor.
Maybe some of the content we have on the site which is not 100% purely related to our niche is causing a problem (even though users still seem to like it and is relevant for our market).
Another possibility is interlinking and IA. Could we be doing this better? Yes.. definitely. Could it have a major effect though - I doubt it, but am not sure anymore.
And then what about page loading. If our page loading is just under the average for websites could this be hurting us and have been a reason for our Panda hit? We run a few dedicated servers as it is and improving that side without knowing if it will have an effect is.. well, costly!
Rant over for now - I'll update on here when we have addressed each of the potential areas (which we are committed to doing), and keep you all informed in the hope that it will also benefit others
For those who have sat through this - thanks for your time!