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Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic on 18 July 2014
unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 8:07 am on Jul 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone,

My website is in the travel industry. It's 3 years old. I have original content - unique descriptions and pictures mostly for the offers in my region, but also many affiliate descriptions and images for the rest of the country.

Initially my website was hit by Penguin 1 on 24.04.2012.

Back then my website lost it's rankings for it's main keywords (the webpages targeting those keywords disappeared from the SERPS or were at the end of the SERPS, e.g. position 700-800+).

Also many long tail keywords containing my main keywords jump from 1st or 2nd page to 5th to 10th page. It was page and keywords specific demotion.

Also then i noticed that "related:my-site-dot-com" doesn't return anything at all.

No matter what I've tried the situation didn't improve until Penguin 2.1.

My website successfully recover on 04.10.2013 - in my opinion thanks to the Google Disavow Links Tool.

Now on 18.07.2014 suddenly (overnight) my traffic drop to the lowest levels ever.

This time most of my pages are nowhere to be found - they still exist in the index - but are not shown in the SERPS, e.g. 900+ pages or are in the Google supplemental results.

I wasn't doing any changes at least for the last 6 months.
I don't see any toxic links pointing to my site, or Russian referral spam.

I have around 28 000 pages in the index - according to GWT and using "site:my-site-dot-com" command.

I was getting 2000 (in the winter) to 5000 (in the summer) page views (mostly from Google), but after 18 July 2014 it is barely touching 1000 page views!

Almost 90% of my pages are demoted, still some pages are ranking on the first page of Google and even first position.

And I'm still performing very well in Bing and Yandex (my website is translated in Russian).

I've checked some of my unique pages with Copyscape and they're not scraped, also I saw that I haven't been assigned a manual penalty in GWT.

Is anyone else noticing this?

Thanks.

 

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 8:45 pm on Aug 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Ask yourself whether your pages would have value for the user even if you stripped out the booking links.


Of course if I strip out the commercial features my pages will still have value for the user - they will get the same pictures, description, location information and prices like any other information site.

The top international and local sites also contain the same info about the hotels - same pictures, location info and description so I don't think that this is the problem with my site which was ranking fine for 2 years and never had a problem with Panda before.

Also I said in my region I have original (not affiliate) information which is about 20% of the total website pages. So I guess Google doesn't want/need my unique content which is on the first page in Bing & Yandex. Unfortunately in my niche Google dominate the SE market.

If Google was showing better results above me then I wouldn't complain at all.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 4:48 pm on Aug 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ unikat:

Aside from the unique booking system, does your site have unique photos, information, reviews, etc?

Or does it have the same photos, information, reviews as other sites?

I think what EditorialGuy is trying to say is that you are going to need BETTER content than the other mega sites, since they have so much more link juice / authority than you do (sorry if I am misrepresenting your concerns, EG).

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 7:51 pm on Aug 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

20% of the content is original (my photos & description). The rest is affiliate content.

My concern is that something has triggered the Panda on that days, but i don't know what exactly. If it was only about the duplicate affiliate content my website should have been dead long ago.

And why the "related:" operator returns completely unrelated sites? This is happening for several months now.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 8:25 pm on Aug 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

20% of the content is original (my photos & description). The rest is affiliate content.


I'd guess that's the problem. From Google's point of view, the tail is wagging the dog.

clazzdev



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 4:38 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've run into the same problem. Impressions for my ecommerce website just tanked out of nowhere on July 18, spiked the following two days because of a media interview, and then fell again and has remained really low with only two well-ranked keywords. :(

clazzdev



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 6:26 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I just realized what may have caused this. On July 17, our provider's servers went down for a number of hours. I have no doubt now that this is somehow related to the loss of impressions we currently receive.

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 12:15 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

@clazzdev
My server was fine on July 17 but anyway my website lost its rankings.


20% of the content is original (my photos & description). The rest is affiliate content.

I'd guess that's the problem. From Google's point of view, the tail is wagging the dog.


I've removed the affiliate content. Lets see what will happen.

It's not good about Google to penalize the whole website because of affiliate content (if that's the case here).

Why don't they just stop ranking affiliate content but let the rest of the original content to rank?

Kiran84



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 1:48 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

My website was hit on 31 July, lost about 60% organic traffic from google overnight.
Strangely the site is still top result for some keywords but others are pushed down.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 2:30 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's not good about Google to penalize the whole website because of affiliate content (if that's the case here).

Why don't they just stop ranking affiliate content but let the rest of the original content to rank?


Probably because they're concerned with site quality, not just page quality.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 3:24 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

"Why don't they just stop ranking affiliate content but let the rest of the original content to rank?"


I don't want to come off as accusatory, because I am not trying to blame anyone.

But it might not be a penalty so much as a devaluation of the affiliate content.

It may be that prior to July 18th - for whatever reason - the goolge algorithm was giving you more credit than you deserve for the affiliate content. Maybe somehow all that affiliate content was giving you a boost in authoritativeness on the subject.

It may be now that google HAS simply discounted the affiliate content and where you are ranking now is based solely on the value of the original content you have.

It is therefore possible that even without the affiliate content, you won't see a ranking boost - meaning you won't see a "release from a penalty."

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 3:25 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ Kiran94:

It would be best if you started your own new thread about your situation and provided enough facts that people could provide helpful input to you.

Kiran84



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 4:48 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am only trying to access if it is an algorithm change or a site specific penalty.
There is lot of chatter on webmaster's forums about established sites losing ranking recently.
either some ranking criteria has been devalued or impacting negatively.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 6:40 pm on Aug 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

There is lot of chatter on webmaster's forums about established sites losing ranking recently.


Sure, and some sites (both established and new) have seen improvements.

People often go to forums when they've lost rankings or traffic, but not too many do so when they've gained. By nature, "support forums" attract people who are looking for sympathy and solutions.

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 7:29 am on Aug 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Probably because they're concerned with site quality, not just page quality.


I don't get this, really.

For my clients it doesn't matter if they will get the same affiliate information. They find my website because they're looking for information and accommodation in my location. This is my unique and quality content (around 80% of the traffic and landing pages). Then they browse the rest of the site, to see where else they can go.

Why I shouldn't show them what accommodation offers are there in the rest of the country?

If they go to another site or even to the source they will get the same info but often poor service. So why isn't my website a quality one?

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 12:37 pm on Aug 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Because there's a gazillion other websites out there already, just like that, and your monetization is not Google's priority.

(I mean "your" collectively, not just specifically you)

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 3:52 am on Aug 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

The real problem is that Google penalize my website.

It doesn't rank me (except for quoted text) in the first page even for my unique content, e.g. a travel sites that only I have on my website.

I guess this is how Panda is working, because there is no manual action message in GWT.

clazzdev



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 3:59 pm on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

As an update, still have not recovered from this.

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 7:42 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Me neither. I have removed all of the affiliate content without success.

sports2014



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 5:04 pm on Aug 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

I had something similar happen checkout [webmasterworld.com...]

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 11:55 am on Sep 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have recovered 1/2 of my traffic & my rankings on 26 August 2014.

The only change I made: removed the affiliate content.

clazzdev



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 12:11 pm on Sep 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've recovered back to my original rankings for most of my pages, starting last week Tuesday.

unikat



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 6:34 pm on Sep 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

@clazzdev
Did you change anything on your website, because I'm thinking to return back the affiliate content that I've removed?

clazzdev



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 6:38 pm on Sep 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

@unikat
As far as the content goes, we haven't made major changes to our content except for some formatting here and there. However, there are also pages we haven't touched and they're back to their original rankings.

campbelson



 
Msg#: 4689390 posted 7:14 am on Sep 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hi guys,
Just to share my own sudden and unexplained drop in sessions (minus 80%!) overnight, and lasting for days now.
My website was growing steadily since its first analytics reading on March 16 2014.
Then on September 13 2014, sessions dropped to around a quarter of their steady pre-drop postions.
here is a screenshot of my sessions curves per day and week.
Such curves can be seen in massive stock market crashes due to identifiable factors. But here he have no possible explanation.
[weborigene.fr ]

It doesnt matter what the site is about. Nothing can explain such discrepancy, a part from sudden changes in google's secret algorythm.

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