|Slow drop in traffic... consistent with Panda? |
I hope I'm asking in the right spot. I've unfortunately made the mistake of actually relying on Adsense as a source of income to pay my mortgage & am now in some serious trouble. December was the best month ever, January was fairly average but I expected that, February horrible, March dire.
Looking at my stats since July, it probably started dropping around August, but the January Panda update you can see a much bigger decline. Still not a sharp drop as I've seen with others, but a roll downwards. I went from 18,000 visits in July to 9,000 visits today. January 21 was 15,000, today, 9,000.
The thing is, the only "crime" I am aware of committing is having a 250 x 300 above the fold and yes, like many others, Google told me to do that. I've removed it & am desperately waiting on the next Panda update to see if I will bounce back. What annoys me is my content was good, I have NEVER really bothered with dodgy SEO. My motto has always been to write good content. I'm now being beaten by a particular site with rubbish. I thought they were trying to clean up the net. How is that?
But anyway, my question is, is Panda always a sharp decline or can it be a slower one?
in my experience the changes have been sudden and dramatic, I got hit October 2011 as you can see in the attached graph, then strangely a dramatic recovery exactly 12 months later.
[edited by: bill at 2:45 am (utc) on Mar 7, 2013]
[edit reason] no links to image sites with THAT much promotion [/edit]
Yes, mine is nothing like that. Definite decline, but not a sudden drop like that. My friend said when Panda hit her, her traffic dropped 45% overnight. Mine is down 29% since January, but that's been a decline day by day. Maybe it's an algorithm change but not necessarily panda. Which almost makes it worse, it means I may not bounce back.
That bounce back of yours is impressive. What changes did you make, if you don't mind me asking?
I have one article, it's always been my top article. It's been absolutely murdered over the past couple of months. From 23,000 visitors a month down to around 12,000 and it continues to slide down. It was my most popular article, really really researched & in depth. It's definitely not a quality issue.
I would monitor in analytics if it is across the board of all your pages or you have lost traffic on specific pages...keywords to start with...
I really wish I could say how and why it came back, I tried so much over 12 months then it just came back. I removed pages that didn't get any traffic, I went through all pages and corrected grammar and spelling,improved bounce I made the site more interactive, looked into social..the list is endless.
Yes, I'd say probably 90% of my traffic is down. I used to rank no. 1 with almost all of my articles. If not no. 1, I'd be no. 2.
I'm doing the same as you. I did have a FB group but never really used it much. So I've been interacting there. I've looked at my weak content and either improved it or scrapped it. Added more images to articles, done the author tag thing, and I had around 15 articles provided to me by "experts" in my field. Some were okay, some were very poor. I'm slowly going through all of those articles and re-writing them. The benefit is they're all consistent plus it dawned on me that those "experts" had also given the articles to other websites too, which meant duplicate content.
It's frustrating to throw so much at this and see a continual drop in traffic when it's a good site. It's not one of the crappy sites Google is supposedly targeting. I have never engaged in link building, dodgy SEO tactics. I just wrote lots of content.
Do you have an idea yet who is replacing you? Who is getting your rankings or your traffic? I'd take a look at them. I'd check to see which keywords/phrases are no longer bringing traffic (to the extent that I can tell) and whether the decline is sitewide, or only for some specific pages. Do you maintain a GWT account? Take a look at your search queries and your back links.
Are you in a competitive niche? I'm sure you do have a good site, but if the competition has heated up, having a good site may not be enough.
It's a pet site, and there is one particular site who's pushing me down a lot in the health area. Their articles aren't any better than mine.
With the breeds, a former "gardening" TV show, who still has a magazine is beating me. But those profiles are the area of weakness, a lot provided by breeders & really not well written. So I'm working on those. Re-writing anything I didn't write myself.
I have WMT but only got it about 3 months ago, so not much data. I could compare keywords this year to last year via analytics. To be honest though, I'm not very good at figuring all of that out. I've never worried about keywords, I just figured if I wrote lots of good articles, I'd get more traffic & for 11 years that method worked. I did use WMT to compare current keywords to a month or so ago & can see a major area of weakness is the cat breeds. They're ranking on average around the 8 mark. I'm hoping re-writing the profiles & adding some nice photos will help.
Looking at WMT, I have thousands of back links. Urgh. That annoys me a bit. I have no control over links. I get that Google may not want to use them to rank a site, but punish one?
I've been obsessively watching my live traffic all week, the numbers are a bit higher today. Adsense is still in the draink though :(
You would think that loving a site, loving writing would be what Google love.
It does, but at the end of the day, there's still only ten spots on page one, and gazillions of people competing for them. Including some with some pretty big pockets, and you *are* in a competitive niche.
Do you get a lot of repeat visitors? For a site such as yours, I'd be working on loyalty, making sure people come back often and share your stuff. Running an email newsletter, so every now and then you can remind people to come back to your site.
If you haven't done any linkbuilding, then don't worry about the links. I doubt they are causing your problems.
Google just released a watered down version of their Search Quality Rater's Guide - you could take a look at that and see if you can find any hints in there on how to reasonably gauge your site vs the competition.
(that's a 43 page PDF)
Yes, I have noticed another site that's beating me is an international pet food brand, they're also advertising with Adwords. Again, their content is okay, but it's not really in depth.
I try to be optimistic that the site will pick back up, it's never engaged in anything underhand. I hope it's just a case of that ad at the beginning of the article, which has since been removed.
Thank you for the link, I will have a look :)
It's not likely the ad. But Google has put a much bigger emphasis on trust and authority, so that's why you're going to see brands beating you out more and more, even if their content is merely adequate. You need to figure where the brands are weak, and dive into that with both feet.
That's the frustrating thing, these articles aren't even written by experts. The quality isn't better, so Google are not improving the web in what they are doing.
I find the pet food site doesn't really have that much. It's all "fluff" type articles. My site has everything. Medical, fluff, breed info. I'm just looking at the breed info on the pet food site, one breed in particular & it is woeful. But it outranks mine :(
Google seem to be a bit screwey. I can see what they're doing, but I don't actually agree it's in the best interests of visitors to prioritise brand over quality.
@Saffron, medical sites can be affected by an recently launched announcement. Google said will decrease the rankings for the sites owned by non authoritative webmasters / people without medical education.
If you have sites affected by Panda, just run some random Copyscape checks. You will be amazed by results...
I hadn't heard of that. How frustrating. How do they actually prove this?
I've had a famous TV vet recommend my website on his show. It's not like the content is poor quality. I guess I'm doing the right thing now in actually focusing more on "pet care" type articles then? I've pretty much covered all there is to cover with health, so it's more stuff like "keeping your pet happy, playing with your pet, why does your pet do X, Y, Z" type stuff.
I've run a few checks with copyscape, but they're saying I've reached my limit.
I just checked a medical term in Google. Sites outranking me are...
A genuine pet medical site
Another common term...
The same medical site
Site written by vet