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My home page has these 150 internal links plus about a dozen good external links.
Up until the last week of July the 150 product pages were ranking very well for some fairly uncompetitive (yet vital to me) phrases.
But for the last 7-10 days most of them have slipped an average of 50 places since esmerelda, halving my total traffic. :(
However, my home page is holding its good esmerelda rankings on some very competitive phrases.
So what's the reason for the drop given that I have done nothing to the site recently? It can't be simply being overtaken by sites who've added links because then my home page would surely have fallen too.
I think the new Google algo is now devaluing internal links, thus hurting my product pages as they have no external links at all. Internal links still count but are much, much less beneficial than before.
Anybody seen similar/contrary evidence to back up/refute this theory?
If what you're saying is true, LOTS of people would be affected. I'm not experiencing the same problems as you.
If this has only been going on for 10 days, I would wait a little longer before jumping to any conclusion.
I don't think Google has really devalued the internal links to the extent that you thought...BUT the problem is your tactic of inter-linking all the internal pages together as well as the homepage. It used to be "highly" effective in boosting the internal pages, but recently and especially about a month ago, I observed that this tactic is "not" that "highly" effective anymore. That could be the reason your product pages get drop to its real value.