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Google traffic spikes for internal pages - then nothing

6:17 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi all. I've been trying to find possible answers to some behavior I notice with my site and search results/traffic from google.

The site is about 7 months old. Almost all of the time google only returns the homepage in search results. Google has all my pages indexed, but it only returns results for the homepage, whereas I have about 200 pages of good content that would be great matches for what the user is searching for.

Here's where the weirdness comes in. Every so often (such as last friday/saturday) all of my pages become "active" in the search results. So before where the home page (or nothing) would show up in the results, the content page would show up. All sorts of search terms return my content pages as results that normally wouldn't have my site listed anywhere. It quadruples my web traffic from google when it happens! It also usually seems to happen around a weekend.

I'd love to have this random behavior be a permanent thing where my content shows up and my traffic goes up.

Any ideas? Could it be penalties, new site stuff, etc...? From my research on this forum, it could probably be a million things, but I haven't noticed anyone with this exact behavior. Thanks for any info :)

6:36 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

This may be a kind of testing that Google performs on newer sites as they reach the end of the so-called "sandbox" filtering. I have heard similar reports as other websites mature and gain trust in Google's view. At any rate, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the relative "youth" of your pages.

But here's an alternate idea. I'm assuming that most of your urls are in the Supplemental Index. Google may be experimenting further with how they search over the Supplemental urls, and you see this new development being turned on and off during testing. If that's the case, however, we should soon be hearing similar reports from many other people.

7:00 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the info tedster. I had been wondering what supplemental pages where, so I just researched it. It doesn't appear any of my pages have the little word supplemental next to them in google. Perhaps if I'm really lucky, I'll get past this filtering someday and get that relatively nice traffic I had on Friday. I will also mention, this isn't the first time it has happened to the site. The last time was probably a month and a half ago, and before that it was two weeks, etc... So this has happened probably 6 or so times in the 6-7 months the site has been around.
7:06 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Google removed the little "Supplemental Result" tag last summer, but the database partitioning is still there - although they are trying to evolve it further. Lots of information about the Suppllemental Index in our Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.

However, my best guess is the first idea I offered. It's a good sign, and if you keep developing the site in a solid way, eventually you will see things stabilize for traffic to your internal pages.

5:13 am on Mar 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I've been looking for an answer to this question myself, we seem to get spikes of traffic at odd times on a new site we are developing and then nothing. It's almost as if they let us out of the cage for an hour or so then put us back in. When we back track our stats to google 8 out of 10 times we can see our site is ranking well for the search term but clearly we are being filtered in some way. It's either this or our keyword research is all lies and there is no traffic. I think Ted might be right, its a type of sandboxing. I might add in our case the new site is a subdomain from a very trusted site, when the pages do pop into the results they are at the very top.
5:37 am on Mar 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

It would be a good thing to do a server log analysis and see exactly what search terms are involved in the spikes.
3:55 pm on Apr 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Wow I've been looking for an answer to this very thng that has been happening to our site. Goggle gave us almost exactly 60 people a day for a whole month, and then the next month exactly 80 poeple a day. This month it's up too 110 people a day. it's like were taken off the shelf to recieve our 110 people and then were put back on the shelf untill the next day. it's interesting because google seems to give us a few people for different pages. Our site is only 6 months old and up untill two months ago we really knew nothing about SEO or googles tactics. It was just good to see a post such as the one above, to help us understand what was going on.
Thanks webmaster forum!
12:34 pm on Apr 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Yeah I am almost certain google has a way of limiting traffic it delivers. I have been running some adwords tests to try and work out "actual" search volumes but even that method does not always give you the whole story. The more ways they have to carve up the search results the better placed they are to sell the traffic.

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