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40,000 visits down to 2,000.

Yet MSN and Yahoo! have double referals..



3:29 am on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hey all,

I run a travel related content site and have been also hit by the changes made during the last week of March.

I've been following the threads and haven't seen anything that is reason for the drop in traffic to my site, though I've looked at all the suggestions from other threads.

Robots.txt fine

301's etc all working fine

Dup content - Possible problem as I have a forum and googlebot spidered a bunch of irrelevant pages which might be seen as dup content. Since been removed using the Remove URL tool.

What's particularly interesting is that while Google's b-slapped me, Yahoo and MSN have each nearly doubled in traffic (though still not nearly close to the traffic from Google). I'm totally white hat and the site only has maybe 10 pages with travel related affiliate links.

Google still shows 10,000 pages indexed as well. I haven't changed anything on the site so I'm not sure where the problem could be.

Any suggestions? I never realized traffic had dropped so much, but a 95% drop in traffic doesn't just happen. I've already emailed google and asked them if somehow there's been a penalty applied to the site.

Thanks for any tips guys -


10:06 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The 'Canadian' site?

Do a search for -travel site:yoursite.com and I get none of those 7500 pages indexed, only titles no text. All the /forums/ ones.

So you are too much about travel and so get penalised for it.


10:31 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just tried to look at your site and found it unavailable. the Google cached version of your homepage from 22nd Feb 2005 does not look as if it is as comprehensive as it should be also.


10:31 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>95% drop in traffic doesn't just happen<<

Yes it does. It happened to 5 of my sites. I am still trying to figure out what the problem is 3 months later.


11:50 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>95% drop in traffic doesn't just happen<<

I'm living, breathing proof that it does for no
reason that I can identify


12:02 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Of course it can "just happen". I expect that it happens to thousands of sites every time google adjusts the weighting of the different factors that they consider.

If your site does not appeal to a diversity of google factors, then you are in trouble if the ones that are supporting your ranking suddenly go out of style.


3:19 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks for the responses.

If you do a site:thesitename

It shows many pages, not just the forum pages, with full descriptions. I haven't over-optimised for the word travel, certainly not. Maybe a 10th of the pages in the site actually are about specific travel.

The only thing I can think of is dup content. I use mod_rewrite on the forum pages however I think google has indexed a bunch incorrectly and thus it's cancelling out a number of pages.

The site appeals to many different factors and keywords, though I'm sure the majority of the traffic comes from the forum threads. This is the direction I'm leaning in..It's gotta be something to do with dup content.

I still don't think a 95% drop just 'happens' for no reason (and I don't want to debate that right now..it's irrelevant). You'd be amazed at how varied the referrals are that I get, there isn't any group of keywords or phrases that drive the majority of the traffic.

Basically I'm just trying to make sure there isn't anything obvious that's killing me, and if anyone's been in the same situation what they've done to try and rectify it.

Google wrote me back and said they haven't penalized the site in anyway. I'm definitely thinking dup content though.

The extra pages that I think might be flagging a dup content penalty aren't showing any titles or decriptions. I've seen this note from google in another thread

"Also, please note that although a robots.txt file prevents our robots from
crawling your pages, it will not prevent our robots from adding a link to
your page without crawling it. Sometimes our robots add links to the
Google index without crawling them. When this happens the URLs appear in our search results without a title or cache. "

So I'm thinking if it just 'links' to that page but isn't actually indexed, it wouldn't in theory create a dup content penalty.

Anyways I'm rambling. I'll let you know if I figure anything out.


5:05 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks to some help from a fellow WebmasterWorld member, I've found that there's at least one site linking to me via a 302 redirect. Now the page it's linking to still appears fine with a cached date of yesterday, though I'm still going to try and get the other site's 302 removed.

Also found an older page on the site that was an old version of another page, and I've now deleted that to prevent any dup content problems. Also have added some more forum URL's to the Google remove URL tool, we'll see if that makes a difference.


5:31 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google has been taking down innocent sites right and left. Just wait it out is the best advice. You might do yourself more harm than good if you try to change things. There is no way to SEO your way back in over the short term. Google changed its algo. They'll change it again in a month, then again in another month.

Just don't give them the satisfaction of running to Adwords.


5:49 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah, that's what I figure Rollo.

I'm just trying to clean up anything that might be contributing to the problems, or may create further problems down the road.

I'm not doing any seo 'tricks' per say. Just lots of content and standard white-hat stuff (think Brett's guide).

It's just one thing for traffic to tank 50% or so, and another for it to tank 95%. Just strange.

Google's also showing an old set of backlinks too. Still hasn't found my Yahoo directory link from 6 months ago (or maybe it has..just not showing in a backlink search). That might have something to do with it.

lost in space

7:38 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I did a search on Google for your site under "Copyright 2004 yoursite.com, All Rights Reserved." and found a 302 redirect to your site from some hack .co.uk site last cache date 11/2/2004.

This could very well cause a problem in Google for your site. I have an old travel site hits down more then 95% since November 2004 and there are 302's to my site as well. I revamped my site many times and it only made the problem worse. I believe that eventually Google will work it out.

* Hay Google please factor the AGE of a site before tossing it out when lazy hacks steal our content.

It is heartbreaking to spend years working on a site and lose your traffic overnight, I hope you have a fast recovery.


7:56 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hey, can you fill a dummy in on how to find a 302 redirect? I've had traffic dip 50%, and maybe this is my problem too.



8:01 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Apart from these 302's and what's already been mentioned, the best advice I've gotten from my guru friend who also participates on WebmasterWorld is:

Look at your internal linking structure
Use meta description even tho many SEO experts say it's outdated
Use alt text
Get more backlinks the hard way (not by buying them from those wacko sites that sell them) - and not just to your main page but also to deep pages
Put up more content

Personally, I also am going back to older techniques I used (before G rocked my world) like submitting important pages to a bunch of SEs...

lost in space

8:23 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I found 302's by doing searches on Google with
something unique to my site pages i.e. copyright info,
phone number or e-mail address in quotes "something
only found on my site". If you find other results in
google with your unique info on a domain name that is
NOT yours and that site redirects to your site suspect
a 302, it can be futher confirmed by using a header



9:53 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ok, I understand how to do that kind of search, but then I don't understand the header checker- it does look like on one site, e.g. that they have a 'link' to my site that first goes thru their site... could be a redirect- I know about meta refresh redirects, but don't really understand 302's.

Thanks :-)


10:16 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

"from some hack .co.uk site last "
A question of spaming the Internet.all those .co.uk directories...just a waste of the www ...someone has to do something and take out by low that software used by so many .co.uk scums (spidering any page you want and create tones of trash using our meta title and description)
This is a serious problem spaming the net mostly from .co.uk scum directories, does the Parties in the UK have something in there electorial campaign about fighting internet Spam? a question to Blair ,Kennedy ,Howard?


10:37 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

nm- I read Claus' document on 302's
you can find it by G search on 302 redirects

not much we can do about them- but it does make me wonder if the reason G moved toward more use of the meta description tag in the new algorithm was to make it harder for these scraper sites.


11:05 am on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

bbcarter if you have lynx installed (cygwin or on linux) just do the following on the command line:
lynx -source -head [the-url-you-want-to-check...]

if the page is redirecting it'll tell you how (which http error code)


2:32 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah I found that 302 redirect. Attempted to email them about it too, they had a "broken link? email us!" beside the listing of my site. I thought gee, this will be easy then. And of course the email bounced.

Any other ideas of how to remove a 302?


6:59 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

To remove 302s, I can highly recommend



7:21 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Cornwall - I went through that earlier today.

I'm a little nervous about telling it to remove my index page. Has anyone else done this successfully?


8:52 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You do NOT remove YOUR page, you only put the no index meta on your page. You then nuke THEIR page

For goodness sake do not nuke your page. READ the instructions give in that thread carefully and follow exactly

I can personally attest to removing around 40 pages that were 302ing me.


9:05 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Right, that's what I meant. Of course I wouldn't remove my own page (sorry I didn't make that clear).

I'm just afraid of having my own page dropped from the index.

Anyways. I'm gonna give it a shot :)


10:38 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Whilst I cannot guarantee what will happen to you, I can say that I recovered a site from nowhere to first page of 19 million results.

I will never know if the cause & effect was 302 zapping or just the wheel of the algo coming my way again

But I can tell you this, made me feel miles better zapping those b*****s ;) And it certainly did no harm

Remember to take the robots no follow off as soon as you get the message from G that they have removed the target page(it only takes about 5 seconds from submission to removal confirmation.) If you leave that on, then you would have a problem!


11:18 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Sounds like you are having a better day today than you had yesterday.


11:34 pm on Apr 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah.. Yesterday was crazy.

It's made a difference to me to just do things like update my 301's, use the removal tool, stuff like that. Even if it has nothing to do with the current problems, it makes me 'feel' better to be able to do something. And it's all stuff that would need to be done anyways.

Thanks again for all your help. I'll update if I see any changes in my serps, and try to measure if any of the changes/fixes has had an effect.


1:32 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

And don't forget to get new domains and make new pages , even if all the changes are made , sitting and waiting will only prove frustrating if nothing happens as a result.


1:47 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

The urge to do something is understandable, and it's certainly possible that 301 redirects for www vs. non-www versions of the same pages and other fixes will be helpful. But such fixes at the Webmaster's end aren't likely to be a panacea for what's ailing Google.

Just yesterday, I was searching for [name of small town in Greece], and one of the top search results was a Priceline page headed "Cruise to [name of small town in Greece]." The page's editorial content consisted of two or three sentences that could have been lifted from an encyclopedia or a guidebook. That was it--everything else on the page was from a template. When that kind of page ranks high on a Google SERP, it has nothing to do with 301s, 302s, www vs. non-www, etc. The search result indicates a problem at Google's end, and that problem is one that only Google can fix.


3:27 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I followed your post in the thread where you mentioned similar problems. I hope things have started to recover for you.

Ultimately you're right though, it does come down to some fundamental problem with Google. We've got sites that are somewhat in the same area (travel) and serps these days are terrible since the last week of March.

Nothing to do but wait it out.

And update on the 302 - The hijacker's been taken out by the URL removal tool! Worked like a charm.


4:48 pm on Apr 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

That thread about using google removal tool to nuke the 302 page.

A lot of people were successfull at it but since then google has come out with

It will take six months for your site to re-appear

So I havn't witnessed anyone removing anything since google put that little snippet on the removal tool.

I would really like to know how it works on 302's now, wether it's your site or their site that supposedly disappears for 6 months.

be warned

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32

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