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Dramatic change in rankings within a site

 10:40 pm on Feb 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

One of my lesser (page views wise) sites has undergone a transformation in the SERPS between 14 Feb and 24 Feb. It's not unwelcome because the page views haven't changed but the income has gone up.

It's a very simple site about widgets. First level is blue / red / green / black etc widgets. Second level is individual widgets within each category. There are no other levels / differentiations.

It always was a very high earning site per click but the volumes were very small. Less than a thousand page view a day.

Prior to 14 Feb and going back forever, the most popular pages were always at the second level - individual widget pages. Suddenly over the last week or two the individual widget pages are less popular but the blue / red / green / black etc widgets are now vastly dominant.

Same overall page views per day, just a shift in emphasis. It's welcome because the earnings have doubled.

The site has been running for four years so why the sudden change in the type of pages viewed? Any ideas? I haven't updated the site for eight months or so.



 1:22 am on Feb 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

One way this might happen would be if the rankings for your main keywords shifted around, so that the keywords for the higher-level pages rose in the rankings, while the other keywords dropped. Another general factor affecting which pages do best is the internal linking pattern, but you indicated that hasn't changed.


 1:41 pm on Feb 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Did anyone mention your pages in the social world?


 2:53 pm on Feb 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Social media I bet


 11:25 pm on Feb 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would be surprised if social media could produce this effect, maybe I haven't explained well enough.

For example lets assume pre-February my top level pages had 200 views per day and the second level pages had 800 views per day.

Somewhere around mid February this suddenly changed to first level pages getting 600 views per day and second level pages getting 400 views per day.

Same overall level of page views but the split between first and second levels changed suddenly and dramatically. Social media can't increase the views on level one pages and lower the views on level two pages in the same time frame, surely?

I doubt it. Possibly some algorithmic change in G, or possibly a reporting error, has significantly changed the distribution of page views whilst at the same time leaving the overall number of page views the same. The earnings may have increased but that's a factor more to do with the type of pages being viewed I think.


 2:18 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just a thought: did significant numbers of visitors to your first level pages click through to your second level pages and then end their journey there?

In other words could Google have thought that, on the whole, the most useful pages in your site were the second tier ones, and decided to cut to the chase?


 8:27 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Frantic Fish - I think you're correct. It's some change to the algo and the exact details may be so buried in cause and effect that I'll never know exactly.

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