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Site virtually disappeared, Google referrals near zero

301 redirect problem? DNS issue? Dup content penalty? Other?

1:58 pm on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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joined:Jan 24, 2005
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Over the last couple of days, my Google search referrals for one of my sites have dropped from 100+ per day down to nearly zero.

For some keywords and key phrases, this site used to rank at 10, 20, 30, or thereabouts. For several keywords, I had top ten and even #1 rankings. Now, for some terms, the site ranks ~750, and for other terms the site is nowhere to be found. Most keywords have vanished, but a small handful are still there (one still ranks #1 even).

Possible causes:

--301 redirect problem? I had misconfigured my Apache httpd.conf to redirect www.mydomain.com to mydomain.com. I say "misconfigured" meaning to say that the directives I used were incorrect and probably had no actual effect.

--DNS issue? My designated primary DNS server went down due to a botched OS upgrade a couple of days ago. (Somebody else administers the DNS server at a different location.) UltraDNS reported a "Secondary AXFR Failure" two nights ago, about the time the Google referrals began to drop. Coincidence?

--Duplicate content penalty? The affected site is for a software project. A mirror site went down several days ago. For Google SERPs, many pages at the mirror site rank higher than pages at the primary site (i.e., my site). (Why I didn't foresee a dup content issue with that and other mirror sites, I can't say. Doh!)

--Something else? Early in the week, I did a minor site redesign, mainly involving the addition and repositioning of some Adsense ad units.

I have since fixed the 301 redirect problem (and verified the redirection at Webmaster World's Server Header Check page), designated a different primary DNS server, and requested my mirrors to shut down (and even blocked access from those mirrors). I have also submitted the site to the Google Submit Your Site tool.

Anything else I should do? How long before I might expect to recover from this disaster?