Could be flux, Reddit has been ranking #1 for a popular term I monitor for as long as I can remember. They dropped off the face of the earth for about a week, now they're back.
MajesticSEO and OpenSiteExplorer are two of the more popular link checking tools. Majestic has a "New link" and "Lost link" feature that should help in this case (specifically new links w/ anchor text.
Here is the traffic to my site from the keyword in question over the last 8 months. Each dot represents 1 day.
I did some deoptimization in early June which Google loved for a while, but then they dropped me like a hot rock and I'm worse off than when I started as far as the keyword in question. I made some tweaks in early July but nothing after the 8th.
What I've noticed on Google is a page on my site appearing on the first page for the keyword in question during the high-traffic periods on the graph, and then disappearing from at least the top 20 pages.
I checked the Panda dates, but the only one that looks interesting is July 24th which is the day after the highest point on the graph, but that was only a data refresh.
Panda 3.9 affected about 1% of search queries and according to those gurus, it's still significant.
|I checked the Panda dates, but the only one that looks interesting is July 24th which is the day after the highest point on the graph, but that was only a data refresh. |
At this point if you still can't find anything, I would:
(1) Panda - go back and check your site for any dupe, thin, redundant content. If you de-optimized your site recently and have gone through a significant site design, chances are you also had a full recrawl and made Google evaluate your site in a new light.
(2) Backlinks - You mention you have WMT. You are able to get a feel of some of your backlinks on there. Check that out and see what kind of keywords and sites are linking to you. Others have also mentioned the free tools by the 2 other sites above. Anything there?
|Panda - go back and check your site for any dupe, thin, redundant content. If you de-optimized your site recently and have gone through a significant site design, chances are you also had a full recrawl and made Google evaluate your site in a new light. |
I haven't noticed any change in rankings except in searches for this single keyword.
|Backlinks - You mention you have WMT. You are able to get a feel of some of your backlinks on there. Check that out and see what kind of keywords and sites are linking to you. Others have also mentioned the free tools by the 2 other sites above. Anything there? |
It's mainly garbage sites from what I can tell. There are over 400 domains listed with over 1800 links total. What should I look out for? Can I find out what anchor text is pointing to me in WMT?
I just noticed that I'm on the first page for "widgetie" (which is not in the dictionary) but still nowhere for the keyword in question which is "widgeties" (which is in the dictionary along with "widget"). Is this significant?
The info in my last post above must be significant, I just don't know what it means! :)
Here's a recap:
I used to be on the first page for "widgeties" (which is in the dictionary). I'm no longer anywhere in at least the top 5 or 10 pages for that keyword, although I'm on the first page for "widgetie" which doesn't appear anywhere on my site (and which is not in the dictionary). I have excellent rankings for all kinds of keywords like "round widgeties" and "puffy widgeties".
Does this clearly indicate a penalty specifically for the word "widgeties"?
Tonearm, a couple of possibilities come to mind. This could tie back into the post-Penguin phenomenon in which people who used to rank well for a plural phrase like "red widgets" no longer did, but still ranked decently for "red widget."
I also have a number of phrases where I no longer rank so well for the primary keyphrase, but if you add another word or so to it ("red widgets for kids"), my site shows up. At first I thought I was penalized for a specific word, but the more I looked at all the very different phrases where I'm seeing this, the more unlikely that seemed. I think it's more a "lack of enough positive signals" than a penalty on any particular word. It just doesn't seem patterned enough to be a specific penalty, if that makes any sense (and I yield to anyone who knows more about it than I do).
BTW, whatever these things are, they are stuff I never saw until after Penguin.
|It just doesn't seem patterned enough to be a specific penalty |
Unless I misunderstand what you mean, doesn't ranking well for every word on my site plus "widgets" and not appearing anywhere in Google for "widgets" alone, constititute a pattern?
If I'm understanding you correctly, I don't think it does constitute a pattern. My understanding is that you're ranking badly for "beach towels", your target keyphrase, but ranking well on "beach towels for bunnies" and "beach towels for dogs" and "plush beach towels" and all manner of some words _ your target keyphrase. Is that correct?
This is what I'm seeing on my Penguinized site - I no longer rank for "main keyphrase", but I do rank for "main keyphrase" plus most any additional wording that has anything to do with my page.
If that's what you're seeing too, then I think it's just a ranking thing. I think Google has decided I'm no longer the best offering for "red widgets" but if people want "red widgets for puppies" and my page mentions puppies, I'm a contender.
I could totally be wrong about all this, of course. Google moves in mysterious ways.
Interesting, OK. Can you find your site in the top 10 pages or so for "main keyphrase"? I'm not in the top 10 pages at least and I used to be #4 on page 1.
No, I'm nowhere to be found or below 400 for most of the "main keyphrases." Like this:
--"red widgets": #789
--"red widgets with pickles": #32
--"red widgets for lemmings who love squirrels": #1
The more the user adds to the query, the higher my page ranks as long as the words they're adding are on my page.
I don't know that this can't be a penalty, but when I said it didn't feel "patterned" enough, what I meant was it's not a -950 penalty, or a -500 penalty. There's no consistency to how far down I am in the rankings (that I can see, anyway). So I'm guessing it's just an evaluation change Google has made.
(But this Penguin site is the first site I've ever had Google not rank well, so I don't have much experience with penalties, so I yield to anyone who knows better.)
If your product is indeed appealing to lemmings with strong preference for squirrels, why would you NOT want to rank exactly like this? For an ecom site at least, I think it would benefit everyone (you, visitor, Google) if you get 1 visitor who can actually buy rather than 1000 visitors who are not even interested.
|--"red widgets for lemmings who love squirrels": #1 |
And I get it, you can probably upsell something to that uninterested 1000 by showing "related products" somewhere on the page. But the effectiveness of that upsell would be nothing compared to getting the right person in the first place. So, it sounds to me that the "elongation of the tail" is not even a penalty per se and very much a feature (and a pretty good one, too)
|If your product is indeed appealing to lemmings with strong preference for squirrels, why would you NOT want to rank exactly like this? |
I never complained about the long tail...? We're discussing a post-Penguin phenomenon, and whether it's a penalty or just a new ranking issue. I think you missed a point somewhere.
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