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Deleted many pages and Yahoo traffic disappeared

Do massive site changes result it a penalty?

     
2:27 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A few months ago we had begun to allow search engine spiders to spider our internal site search results along with their related searches and so on. The result is a massive increase in the number of spiderable pages on the site. Shortly thereafter our Google traffic went to crap and I suspect it was the explosion in the number of pages.

Last week we closed the door on spidering our search results and began returning HTTP 404 for those pages in an attempt to snuggle up to Google once again. Immediately our Yahoo traffic went ZERO. I mean not one of our legit pages that used to bring a lot of traffic is bringing even one user. Slurp has been spidering the site like mad since we made the change and our pages still appear to be in the index when I do an advanced search but no traffic.

Has anyone experienced this kind of shake up? Should I just be patient?

12:26 am on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A major redesign of a website can cause Google to apply the penalty effect/sandbox to it. This would explain why you dropped in Google. Then when you removed many internal pages you also lost internal links in Yahoo. Which could explain the drop in Yahoo. Internal linking can have a big impact on your rankings. Also if your search results page were very similar you could have opened up duplicate content to the search engines, which would have cuased problems.

In other words you need to be careful when you make changes. Changes do not cause poor rankings, misconceived changes & mistakes do. I would get back to basics, create good unique content and recruit links.

1:19 am on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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notsleepy, you seem to be assuming that closing off those many added pages is what got you hammered in Y!. It could also be that Y! hammered you for the same reason G did...and just took longer to do so.

As to why you got hit, we have a pet theory (not necessarily subscribed to by a majority here), that adding too many pages too fast can get your site killed in G.

Dup issues could be another explanation for your troubles.

Could even be too much too fast at G, and dup at Y! And those are just the obvious places to start looking. :/

2:32 am on Jan 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>>It could also be that Y! hammered you for the same reason G did...and just took longer to do so.

That sounds reasonable.

In my experience a google sandbox doesn't apply to a redesign. It might take a month to two months to get the new stuff indexed and ranked, but that's the same as the way it used to be, which depends on what part of the indexing cycle you redesigned and how often your site is scheduled for a full crawling.

8:56 pm on Jan 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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back in October I decided to change all of my site links from relative URLs to absolute URLs. By early November my yahoo traffic started to plummet and has dwindled down to nothing. Google on the other hand seemed to love these new URLs and my traffic has gone up with them. I am wondering if my site is just victim to the same problems everyone else is having with Yahoo, or if Yahoo dropped my pages due to the new absolute URLs and hasn't reindexed since. It's hard to know
6:56 pm on Jan 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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notsleepy, you seem to be assuming that closing off those many added pages is what got you hammered in Y!. It could also be that Y! hammered you for the same reason G did...and just took longer to do so.

You are correct. I cannot make that assumption.

10:47 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey notsleepy,

I accidentally deleted a whole bunch of pages on my site once and the site disappeared from Y!. (So there were a whole bunch of pages that linked to a 404 pg) After I uploaded the pages again, the site came back after 1 week in the original positions.

So yeah, it could be possible.

11:58 pm on Jan 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Would changing all of your links from relative to absolute URLS cause the same thing to happen?