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Starting back on Aug 16th last year I was one of the sites that dropped about 80% of the traffic from Google - after years of having no trouble whatsoever.
I retained good #1 positions for some "niches" two word phrases - however those started decaying away over the next 6 months.
I then saw one two word phrase go away that dropped traffic another 10%
Over the last month or so Ive been watching logs - and noticed unusual searches coming in - where that last phrase to go was still sending searched to my site - but only from specific countries, although still in the English results and not in the country specific results when I look at that countries search - example would be "hot widgets" - in the US results its gone completely.
In the Aussie, New Zealand and Irish Google domains its still #1 - all of these are with the hl=en parameter
Doesnt make a lot of sense to me as you would think if for some reason the US results were being censored (and yes its happened before to me) then they normally would be censored in all English results around the world - although I can tell by the other sites that have always been 2-10 that its not being censored in any form.
The other part about losing the 80% I have no ideas on and have been redesigning the site for the surfers I do have - noted that a friend who was dropped about 6 months before me has just started coming back in a big way.
I do use Google sitemaps and the site gets botted every day with no issues - actually a little more than it used to - and have never had any dupe content or even grey area issues that Im aware of - its been around for 7 years and has been rated by most in my industry in the top 10 sites of its kind for as long as I can remember
I am totally lost as to what can cause that country glitch - how do you rank #1 in the English results in other english speaking countries - but not in the US? If anyone has any ideas Ive searched for a month now but cannot find this issue talked about anywhere
Our home page doesn't seem to rank anymore on Google.com, other pages in the site do. However, everything looks like I'd expect it to on google.co.uk (searching the web or UK).
Our site is hosted in the UK but has a .com domain.
The site doesn't spam, we just try to create new articles each week for our industry.
[edited by: tedster at 1:20 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]
If I change my browser to show results from the .com.au or even the .co.in(India) and keep the english results and do NOT change it to sites from the specific country - it still shows as #1 and evidently has been this way for a few months based on logfiles.
The site is hosted on a dedicated server in the US that resolves to a US based IP as well as the hosting company being based in the NAPs in Miami
Last piece of info that might be helpful is that the results on most of these phrases have been replaced by .edu message board posts used as the new spam technique that Google evidently hasnt figured out yet - most college message boards allow open posting and write a new url for the keywords - Google seems to love these even though following the links in the top 10 for most of the phrases (of which typically 5 of the top 10 are normally these spammers new tool) most are either cloaker redirects or have gone 404 when the IT admins at the universities find them
Have reported them many times but I guess this is a case of "if its coming from MIT and Harvard it must be alright"
If anyone is seeing this (what I named it anyway) algorithm-misplacement please PM me as talking to a few that already have this is a widespread problem