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Major Ranking Losses on 2008 June 4 - 5



12:34 pm on Jun 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I can now join the catastrophic loss club! UK site, PR6, rock solid rankings, 400k pages indexed, fast loading - 90% loss of traffic since 2 days ago. Last time the site went AWOL was early February for a couple of days.

Looking up what I used to rank for approx 20,00 medium to long phrases then all top listing just disappeared BUT results can now only be described as awful - in fact on one query results 11-20 contained sites from Poland, Germany, Czech, .info and not a single .com or .co.uk - when will Google admit that they really screwed up big time this time?

As my site is a .com hosted on uk servers then it seems that I have now moved to the index for Mars. Time to move to the dark side methinks rather than stay in the Google lottery.

[edited by: tedster at 7:08 pm (utc) on June 6, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from [webmasterworld.com...] [/edit]


6:55 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sorry, our drop occured June 4th not June 1st as I said above. We use Statcounter and that went down on June 1st.

We have 40-50% drop in traffic which for us is not enough to make it worthwhile


7:36 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I put in our domain name to see who is linking or mentioning us.

I discovered that the NY Times has a link which is nice, but there are quite a few .cn sites saying source www.ourdomain.com and other sites which don't look right. I even clicked on one and it said it had been hacked by Turkish hackers, another tried to download a trojan but Macafee stopped it and popped up the altert.

Wev'e also been getting for months now emails sent via or contact form full of nonsense and links to URL's which I presume are dodgy so we always delete them. Not sure if this is anything to do with it though

Sorry to whinge on but just I'm just trying to find out why 50% of our traffic from google has dropped off and I don't know what wev'e done wrong.

If I know I can fix it.

Pass the Dutchie

10:41 am on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A keyword which has been providing us with a steady flow of traffic for 5+ years has over the past 3-4 months been jumping around the serps between position 3-11 almost on a daily basis. As of the 5th June the site for this search term is sitting at position 70. Overall traffic down 30%. (source: Google Analytics)

Seems to me that this site which has held rock solid since 2003 has now been had some sort of penalty applied.

The site is clean and has had very little seo over the past few years. Perhaps it has 2-3 new links added per month on related sites.

This problematic keyword in question previously had a bounce rate of 30%. However, for the past few months this bounce rate has increased to 41%. (source: Google Analytics)

In comparison, for the site's main, more specific keywords the site has an average bounce rate of 17%. To date these keywords remain unaffected by the latest changes.

As this is such a sharp drop in the serps which can't be attributed to link exchanges or the competition I have a feeling this has something to do with bounce rate and/or click through rate for a specific search term with high bounce rate and/or click

I don't want to draw any conclusions at this stage but I have the feeling that Google has turned up the dial on click-through/bounce rates especially on older more established sites.

I also notice that we have bounce rates on key terms as high as 78%. These pages are somewhat related to our site but only as brief information pages relating to our services. This page seems to remain unaffected but it worth to note that the key terms of this page with a 78% bounce rate have no competitive or commercial value.

I would ask those affected by these latest changes to check their bounce rates over the past 6 months for those affected keywords.

I would also suggest posting here where your site now appears in the serps for those affected keywords.

In my case it's the position 70 penalty.

Pass the Dutchie

4:06 pm on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

now the site in question for this key term is position 80!


5:42 pm on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That is almost my position entirely with my site that is down. It is geared toward one particular area, but has minor subjects that are very far flung. I've had a quandry in the past on whether to develop really large sites with lots of breadth, or more smaller sites that are very specifically targeted. Obviously, at the moment the small targeted sites I have look good, as they haven't been squashed.


11:42 pm on Jun 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't think the bounce rate idea fits completely. It might be part of a freshness grading in the algo, but I do see examples of websites that have bounce rates of up to 60% and they have not moved in rankings in Google.


12:48 am on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

This whole penalty is not new. They changed the algo to catch even more innocent sites.

I had exactly this penalty applied to about 20% of my sites. The latest round covered all of the sites I run.


2:53 am on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I can atest to the high bounce rates not causing this. By design we provide nearly all information users are looking for on the first page they land on and our bounce rate is "high" (however, our time on site is much higher than our competition according to Google and Compete). We have not seen this penalty applied (praise the Google gods). I also know of many sites with this type of setup that have millions of users a month and are still in the top of the rankings.


2:13 pm on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

After checking hundreds of queries I'm quite sure this is the well known -950 penalty. It usually hits larger sites (with long tail traffic) since those sites have more text across different URLs and therefore more co-occurrance factors.

So ... on-site factors are probably the key ...

[edited by: SEOPTI at 2:17 pm (utc) on June 10, 2008]


4:08 pm on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From June 3 to June 5 went from 6000+ uniques per day to less than 1000 uniques per day.

Site is in hosted in USA, about USA. Content is pretty static, maybe 10 or 15 minor changes and updates in a week. Decent inbound links. No bought links whatsoever. Site has been growing naturally for 2 years. Now it's toast. Had Adsense on most pages.

Sad times.


7:31 pm on Jun 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In my case this is definitely not the -950 penalty. A handful of my pages are still listed in the top 10, but hundreds more are ranking anywhere after #15. There is no pattern that I can see. Several of my key terms seem to be completely gone. I do, however, see several of my competitors hanging out around -950.

Someone might have already mentioned this, but for my main term, the total number of results (& top 10) listed in Google have not changed since June 4th. This is really odd...for months it had been changing several times a day.


7:40 am on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It happend to me too. For 2 days now my site that used to get 4000 visitors daily is now getting 300 a day. The keywords for which I used to rank very well ( first page ) are now gone. For some of the keywords I rank ok, however for the most part of them I am nowhere to be found, or they appear after 200+ results.

What could be the possible reason for this ?

Another thing: I used to rank very well for a highly competitive keyword. When using google.ro, I am nowhere to be found for that keyword, however I rank #1 when using Google.com. Very odd!

[edited by: StudioWorks at 7:41 am (utc) on June 11, 2008]


8:08 am on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

StudioWorks, that sounds like a devastating but still "garden variety" penalty. Given the date, it's probably not part of what happened to this group of sites on June 4-5.

There's lots of reading material related to various penalties in the Hot Topics [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page. you may find some inspiration there.

[edited by: tedster at 12:08 pm (utc) on June 11, 2008]


10:11 am on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you tedster for your reply. I have found thouse topics very interesting.

However, I dont understand why I still rank #1 for my most important keyword on google.com and on Google.ro i am on the #130 position ( managed to find my site there just now ).


11:39 am on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

We may never understand what's going on right now across some of the Google country-specific domains. There are some really crazy results along these lines. I can only assume that something is not working the way it was intended by Google, or at least not in every case.


2:22 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am approaching the one week anniversary of the carnage applied to a site that provided a 6 figure $ income that is now providing a 4 figure $ income and I must say that I am finding it hard to just sitting here and waiting to see if anything changes rather than implementing a strategy that should get me back a decent 5 figure $ income by moving the commercial advertising aspect of the site away from Google Adsense with no visitors to paid links with high PR.


2:28 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As a guy who lives solely in the world of paid search, it's strange to see people here whose livelihoods depend so much on organic traffic.

I imagine many of you also buy at least some paid search traffic as well. In that case, would you say the results of this organic ranking change will affect your paid search traffic buying?

Just curious,



2:36 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I do not buy paid traffic because it is uneconomic to do so IF you are on smaller margins, basically you just end up transferring your profits into Google's coffers.

Also, I have witnessed many smaller businesses in the UK that have suffered as a result of Google's instabilities go and spend themselves out of existence to try to gain more business to pay for the fixed costs of their business. Organic traffic helps keep business costs down!

A business with high fixed costs should clearly not depend solely on organic traffic but my very low fixed costs mean that I can achieve a ROI of between 1,000 to 25,000 percent normally, if I can get the organic traffic. It still hurts when your ROI goes from 25,000 to 1,000!


3:13 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Call it what you want, I would call this an update of some sort.

I think it is time to give this phenom a name. It is time for a female name.


3:31 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



3:45 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I am making a few changes that should keep people on my site longer and reduce my bounce rate fingers crossed this helps. My site has been all over the place since May 9th.


3:59 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Adicia - which was the greek goddess of injustice


5:47 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

There can only be one choice of name for this phenomenon.

Hecate, Greek Goddess of The Crossroads - I would even recommend reading about Hecate and you will find that she fits the bill perfectly (including the references to her three headed dogs!).

She knew what the rest of us did not.

[edited by: confuscius at 6:42 pm (utc) on June 11, 2008]


6:37 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

For reference sake, there's another thread that is most likely discussing the same phenomenon as this one - in fact, it was probably the first to be posted here:


One factor that makes this moment a bit different from other times when many sites noticed a loss of traffic is that many are thrown from a stable position into a kind of ranking roller coaster. Quite a chaotic situation.


8:50 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My site is 2,5 years old. On June 5th my site lost most of it's Google referrals. Google referrals dropped from stable 4k to 1k per day. For my domain keyword I'm still the first on SERPS, and for some main keywords also. But for other keywords we are nowhere near the first page, and some spam sites using our rss feeds are in the first resultrs... weird.

I'm not sure if this is a Google algorithm update or it is some kind of penalty. What do you think?

Recently I've sold two paid links to unknown advertisers, could it cause this? Besides that, I didn't change anything to the site except the regular update...

How long do these penalties or updates usually last? Will it ever come back?



11:16 pm on Jun 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Will it ever come back?

From my experience over the years with some similar updates. The quick answer is no, it will probably never come back.


1:19 am on Jun 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of my 2 websites was affected, the other was not. Both are hosted on the US on my own server. The affected website gets the majority of its traffic from google images. About two month ago, I started changing some of the pages URLs into nice URLs, similar to those of wordpress. I was only able to change around 5% over a month, so it was a slow change, with 301's from the old to the new pages. I have seen continuously a slow sustained decrease from Google text search, and no decrease from images. My interpretation for the slow decrease was that old pages are no longer linked from the website, newer pages will take time to show in the index.

I used to get around 300-400 Google text searches, and more than 7-8K from images. Since June 5th, I'm getting referrals from Google text only with rare phrases, where my website and may be another one are the only results, or search using the domain name. Site is PR5, 55K pages cached in Google, natural links appear everyday, no outbound links except few from the weblog section pinging other posts. No incoming paid links from anywhere.

The text in the pages is mainly composed of page titles and tags entered by visitors. If one views the page as text, it won't make sense in terms of grammar or English - in case they tried to validate text meaning.

Those are my websites symptoms.


5:17 am on Jun 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From my experience over the years with some similar updates. The quick answer is no, it will probably never come back.

In the past 5 years, I think this is the fourth major update that has thrown my site into chaos...on average about once a year. My site has rebounded every time, and when it comes back the traffic is always higher than before the update. The longest I've ever had to wait is 3 months...and that was after I was hit by the -950 penalty last spring.


5:27 am on Jun 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Are any of the sites being hit forums? I sometimes wonder if this may hit certain types of sites. A busy forum, say for example webmasterworld may have a certain level of immunity due to the very nature of the software and constant stream fresh content. I notice a few of the posts say "no changes have been made" or similar. Maybe this is a contributing factor. Keep the bot busy and returning and it might give you some protection... This is just an observation based on the stabiltiy of certain sites we have in our network.


7:06 am on Jun 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Kidder...you do hit a good point, which is perhaps web 2.0 applications will gain a stronger rank, as they show Google a couple things...

1) you can handle adding new concepts to your site

2) most "surfers" enjoy other people "live" opinions when looking around the net

anyway...I have avoided web 2.0 concepts in to my sites for many reasons...having to review and update all the time (a lot more work) and I truly feel that just supplying great, helpful content should be enough for the long term in SEO

But your point is well taken for me...web 2.0 applications are very popular and I would not doubt if it is a new concept for filters and algo by Google to weed out sites....Black hatters are very lazy (at giving the net what they should) and white hatters keep up with the needed trends to stay alive long term...

so it would make sence that sites not keeping up could get some new filters and in the end perhaps Google is testing new 2.0 algo's which somehow went a bit mad causing all this mess for many...

maybe I am being crazy...but it sort of makes a bit of sence...way to many "really good sites" seem to be going down on this one...

It has been a few months now for me to confirm that this is not just a fluke...something a bit bigger is going on with this one....

This 242 message thread spans 9 pages: 242

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