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Seven months old site - 80% traffic drop a month ago

 6:33 am on Dec 2, 2013 (gmt 0)


I had redesigned my site <snip> 2 months back. The site is only 7 months old now. I had changed URLs of inner pages(but have setup proper 301 redirects).

Since the past 1 month I have had 80% drop in traffic. And I am not able to recover from this.

I haven't got any google manual action notifications.

Also when I search <site name, without ccTLD> on google, only the first result is my website. Rest all are spam websites.

Can any body help me find the problem.

Please help, thanks in advance.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 12:18 pm (utc) on Dec 2, 2013]
[edit reason] Exemplified [/edit]



 12:54 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello manish_iitg and welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Redesigning a new website (including site-wide URL changes) after only 5 months of site going live could be problematic as you have introduced a major changes very soon in the life of a new website and Google often does not like this.

Additional problem is that a new site dropping after 6 months happens often - which is sometimes known as "honeymoon period being over". Unfortunately, with your site, this coincide with your redesign, so it could be more difficult to tell whether it is redesign that caused the drop or the end of the "honeymoon period".

And lastly - it could be that you are victim of some Google algo changes - there have certainly been enough reports on SERPs fluctuations during November.

Can you do any analysis to see where did you lose the traffic? Which pages lost most traffic, which queries, what is the current ranking for these queries, was the traffic loss an "off the cliff" type of drop on a certain day or was the traffic lost little by little over the period of one month?

Also, does the date of the traffic loss align with any known Google updates?


 2:36 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

hi aakk thanks for your reply.

The traffic drop started on Nov and by Nov4 it reached its bottom. I checked but didn't find any algorithmic updates in these dates. Maybe its the honeymoon period itself.

Another things i have seen. If you search <site name, without ccTLD> on google.co.in, only first 2 results are correct. Rest all are spam websites <snip search url>.

any idea why this happens. Before it used to show my <social profiles>.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:09 am (utc) on Dec 4, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specifics, per forum Charter [/edit]

Robert Charlton

 4:23 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

manish_iitg - Please note that per the Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com], we do not allow you to mention either the name of your site or the query you searched for in Google search.

Apparently, you are not ranking for your site name where used to rank. In particular, you feel you should be ranking on your site's own social profiles, etc, in positions 3 through 8. While very often you should, this is not always the case.

Possibly, the problem is related to the url change you mention, where you changed the URLs of your inner pages and set up 301 redirects. Can you tell us roughly on what date you made these changes.

aakk9999's explanation of your making such a large change during the Google "honeymoon period"... or a Google algo change... is very possibly the explanation. Another possibility is that there may have been some errors in your redirects, or that the redirects are recent enough that Google hasn't yet sorted it out.

It may also be, if you expected some of the pages to be from your own domain, that your site has been hacked. Hackers often cloak their work to be seen only by Googlebot, so you will need to use "view as Googlebot" in WMT, or a user agent switcher, to see if your pages have been changed.

A PS regarding the social profiles etc that have disappeared from page one. Have they dropped to a lower page, or have they disappeared entirely? I'm thinking that if you'd built links to them and they disappeared entirely, it may be that you'd built too many links to them with the same anchor text. That's an unlikely possibility, but I thought it might be worth checking.


 5:14 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi Robert,

didn't know about the charter, will keep that in mind.

i had made the URL changes on 5th oct 2013, site was redesigned on 1st Oct 2013.

the social profile and other links can be found in lower page i.e page 7-8

if site is on honeymoon period, any how long will it take. or what steps should i take to recover the traffic.


Robert Charlton

 7:41 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

didn't know about the charter, will keep that in mind.

manish - Normally we don't discuss the charter and forum operation on public threads, but I'm guessing you also don't know that we have a private message system, Stickymail we call it, with a link to your "inbox" up in the very top line of all pages on WebmasterWorld. Settings for the mail system can be accessed via the stickymail prefs menu on the left side of all the mail system pages.

Back to your topic...

i had made the URL changes on 5th oct 2013, site was redesigned on 1st Oct 2013.

So your rankings dropped about three-and-a-half weeks after your changes went live. What did you see between Oct 5 and Nov 1? Did your 301ed pages rank at all before the drop?

What kind of CMS are you running?

the social profile and other links can be found in lower page i.e page 7-8

How would you characterize the kinds of pages that are ranking between your pages at the top of page one and the places where your social profile pages are starting to appear? This is about 7 pages of results. Without getting into specifics, is there any vocabulary in common between your site name and these pages that would cause them to come up?

Have you checked your header responses? Also, have you viewed your site as Googlebot... and since there are no manual actions, have you checked for any messages in WMT about site technical problems?


 8:10 am on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

yes, i had changed almost all url of my website. and yes, all url had a drop in rank. URL are showing only after page 10

Without getting into specifics, is there any vocabulary in common between your site name and these pages that would cause them to come up?

the common vocabulary showing up in the pages is the word '<snip>' and '<Snip> Comparison' in the title. My website is a <snip> comparison website

MODS NOTE: Please check your sticky mail inbox [webmasterworld.com]
[edited by: aakk9999 at 10:45 am (utc) on Dec 4, 2013]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:48 pm (utc) on Dec 4, 2013]
[edit reason] removed specific keyword mentioned but restored partial answer, added formatting [/edit]

Robert Charlton

 7:44 pm on Dec 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

manish - Again, we've had to remove specific keywords from your post. Please read the Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com].

From what you say... if your traffic dropped after the redirects, it seems likely to me that your redirects had something to do with both the traffic drop and the drop in rankings of your social profile pages. It may be that there was a technical error, or it may be that it's taking Google time to reconfirm trust.

Possibly you were keeping the profile pages ranked by internal links from your site, which became ineffective after your internal pages were redirected.

Another possibility is that the changes on your site might have provided an opportunity for your site to be hacked, but I'm only guessing here. It's something you'd have to check carefully. It may or may not be coincidental that you and the pages now outranking your social profile were targeting the same set of keywords.

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