AlyssaS - 3:07 pm on Mar 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
The pattern that I struggle with is little-by-little ranking drops that just keep going. After a couple months, it's as much of a traffic hit as a fat penalty or a major algo change, but it's almost impossible to pin this little-by-little "traffic erosion" down to any one date.
I'm now involved with two sites that have been showing this pattern over the past 3 months. Any ideas what this kind of thing represents?
For what it's worth I'm pretty sure they reset personalisation of the SERPs back in Nov. Don't have data to back this up, just one anecdote involving one site.
Go to your November 2012 analytics and compare new visits to returning visits. On the anecdote site, there was a drop in return visits starting Nov 17th. What I think happened was the site got an algo hit much earlier, but thanks to personalisation it was still getting plenty of visits from those who had visited and stayed long enough before, and it had gotten set in their personalised serps. Once they reset it, those people went, and total traffic settled at a lower level.
Have to stress this is just my theory. Have been scouring the web for info on whether they ever reset personalisation and how and why, but came up with nothing. Seems like the SEO community isn't interested in it even though it plays a part in sending traffic. Anyone who has info to chip in, please do!