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Big drop in Google ranking - June 27?

from first page PG to dust speck in the distance

     
8:37 am on Jul 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My Dutch content site seems to have suffered a big drop in Google ranking. This must have happened a few weeks ago.
Several of my articles did really well, PR in the first 5 hits, or at least on the first page. Now they have dropped several pages. At first I thought I must have been blacklisted or so but I can't think why. The only thing I could come up with was that I added alt texts to a few images on the site. I can easily change that of course.

I looked into it and I cannot find the reason at all. I signed up for google sitemaps but it does not report any errors or faux pas'.

So I don't know where to look now. Any input very much appreciated!

[edited by: engine at 1:33 pm (utc) on July 21, 2006]
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4:20 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Concise and descriptive alt attributes are not likley to cause what you've described, but it can do little harm to revert if you feel it might be playing in.

First thing to acknowledge is that Google sometimes makes mistakes. Also sometimes things happen mysteriously and then go away just as mysteriously. In addition to these possibilities, completely out of our control, you can go over your site for any technical issues that might have just begun to show their effects. Here are some threads that are worth a close reading:

Checklist for Sudden Drops in Rank [webmasterworld.com]
Dropped from Google - a checklist to find out why [webmasterworld.com]
Dropped Site Checklist [webmasterworld.com]
The url-only problem [webmasterworld.com]

5:43 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Tedster, I read the relevant topics and I don't think I "fouled" on the points mentioned.
The thing is that I use homestead to build the site and I have other sites set up exactly the same way, also in the sense of site optimalisation. The main one of the others is my jewelry shop so I would hate to see that one drop. But it seems that one has gone up a page! For some mysterious reason.
Very annoying not to know what causes this. Both sites are updated frequently, the jewelry site more often. Both have unique content, I write (almost) everything myself. I just don't get it.

The search continues. I am gonna remove the alt texts anyway, even though it's minor, only 3 elements on a page.

7:41 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Several of us are trying to piece together evidence from sites that suffered ranking problems on 27 June. Is this the neighborhood of when your troubles appeared? If it is, does your Home Page appear as the first result on a Google site: query, or is it perhaps far down the list or even missing?
8:29 pm on July 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes that date could be about right, looking at the stats.
My site is still ranked but dropped quite a bit. The most popular article used to score at position 2 or 3, now it's at position 22. That is not even that bad but bad enough not to get any hits. I can't find a lot of the other articles.
The homepage only shows up if I query the url itself.
11:56 am on July 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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[google.com...]

Using the above query, and replacing yourdomain.com, do your dropped pages appear last?

3:13 pm on July 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes!
The most popular article that I mentioned earlier is now almost at the bottom (of 45 hits which is about the number of articles I have).
What does that mean? Did Google make any changes on June 27?
4:54 pm on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've had that problem for months now, the pages that appear bottom of site: don't show in the serp terms they are targeting (even after being top10 for ages), and don't get any google traffic. The only way to find them really is to type their URL into google directly.

I really don't know what's the cause of it, but maybe if you can PM me the URLs, I can look for similarities?

6:53 pm on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Nick0r, I just sent you a PM.
7:10 pm on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just taken a quick look. I'm pretty convinced now it's some over-optimization penalty... I think I've discovered this in my dropped pages and I've made some tweaks so hopefully I'll see them bounce back.
7:34 pm on July 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm I could only think of the alt texts as over optimalization, and I tweaked that. But as I said, my jewelry site has the same optimalisation.
9:04 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think I can see a gradual improvement, I do get hits from google now. Not the same ones as before but still.
And the crossing of fingers continues...
9:57 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Armande

do you have google site map on your other websites as well?

9:59 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm no not yet. Probably a good idea in order to be able to compare...
10:07 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm having the same problems with two of my websites and the only difference between those two websites and the other 11 a manage is the google sitemap implemented on those two that disappeared ..a coincidence?
10:13 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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From my pov it's a coincidence.
I didn't sign up for google sitemaps until AFTER I noticed that my rankings had dropped. I had not bothered with it before so in my case there is no reason to be alarmed about that.
I still am not sure what the use of sitemaps is btw.

[edited by: Armande at 10:15 am (utc) on July 27, 2006]

11:44 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a google sitemaps running but I really don't think that has any power over the SERPs. I honestly think this is something really basic like a keyword density filter, even though the pages I've seen so far listed at the end of site: aren't terribly spammy, they may well be over some sort of keyword threshold.

[edited by: Nick0r at 11:44 am (utc) on July 27, 2006]

11:48 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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He, I just had this exact problem happen a few hours ago. A ton of pages are dropped way down. site: shows them all last. Doing keyword pearches for them returns just the main domain instead of the page about it.
11:55 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yep same thing just happened to me *sigh*
11:56 am on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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BTW, I noticed that only the pages in a certain directory got hurt. All the pages in /directory/ were dropped hard and can't be found. All the results show up as my root domain on the keyword searches.

My site is still listing for all other pages not in that directory.

Any of you notice this directory thing?

Anyone mind PMing some URLs? I don't think it's over optimization because some pages that got hurt aren't optimized at all.

[edited by: Soze at 12:16 pm (utc) on July 27, 2006]

12:14 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Tons of pages dropped a few hours ago. It's 27 again.
12:20 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Armande, your focus on the alt texts as a possible problem is wrong, you're groping at straws here. If anything, alt texts should help you. Google indexes the alt texts too, and adherence to the disabilities act is not a bad thing. I have alt texts with images all over my sites and have no problems whatsoever, it is rather a good way to get an extra keyword or two in every now and then when it works with the image content and sentence structure.
12:24 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Same here.

I even noticed a highly ranked page linked to Wikipedia has completely disappeared from the results. What on earth is going on?

12:27 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is the future: Rotating results!
12:30 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Quality pages, on subject, on a PR6 site drop from 4-5 in the serps to position 60-90 - whats that about?

Obviously some sort of filter that doesnt like the pages? - the fact that they provide information on the subject and links to other pages about it is no longer relevent.

I did see this about a week or so back on an earlier page, it went from 2 in the serps to 40 and has slowly drifted back, its now at 9 for the same term. This page hasnt been hit again.....yet

I do wish Google would stop f@cking about with the index trying to stuff genuine webmasters - since BD roll out, the index has been nothing more than a complete unstable shambles imo.

12:30 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is everyone now finding the pages for their lost spots at the end of site:domain
12:37 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am having almost the same problem with my website and strangely enough there are other websites that have almost the same content and they are always on the first page except mine which keeps falling back and I doubt its an optimisation problem because I had a friend of mine who is a pro to optimise my website!
12:44 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes DoingItWell, groping at straws. I am not changing a whole lot. Also there were only a few alt texts and the key words showed in the actual content as well.
But had to try something!
12:53 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is everyone now finding the pages for their lost spots at the end of site:domain

Yes. Why is that?

12:56 pm on July 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No clue yummybanas. Want to PM some urls? I'm curious. Maybe we can find some consistancy
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