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I work for a company that buy's sites like candy. They bought one a while back, and was going to begin migrating it over to our servers next week. On the 27th (or so) they changed the nameserver info, but not the location of the site. All of a sudden, the site's SE traffic dropped by 80%. The only thing that we're thinking is that when a site is bought from someone, it loses it's PR since the new owner doesn't have the 'trust' of the old owner, or some #*$! like that. LivePR claims it's still a PR5, but Blogflux (who I normally use) claims it's a PR0.
The site literally went from 14k a day from google to 2k a day, overnight. It's been steady at 2k for a week, after being steady at 14k for at least a year. Seems like a huge coincidence that the day the name server info changed the SE traffic drops.
I highly doubt it's incoming links, because the site's traffic base has historically been from google, and the site never traded hardlinks. Even if the previous owners notified a bunch of sites to pull their links, they all wouldn't hit instantly on the same day.
Also... I just realized something, the domain is registered "Private". You know, like so when you go and whois the thing you don't end up with anything. I'm trying to find out if it was privately registered before, but could that be anything?
Does anyone know anything about this? Heard of it happening before?
[edited by: tedster at 12:43 am (utc) on July 4, 2008]
I'm guessing there's been a nameserver error when the change was made. Double check that change and make sure the site is live from more than just your internal server :).
The only other possibility is that the site's been banned somehow. If that's the case, check how many pages you've got indexed in Google. If there's none, you've got a problem (though again, could be nameserver perhaps?).
In any event, I suspect the PR is misleading unless the site just got banned. And it's not indicative of much anyway.
My guess? The nameservers or a similiar technical issue.
I'm going to have them take a look at a nameserver problem, since that's the only thing that I believe could be a problem, but I doubt that's it.
Some people do that to hike up the price.. keep in mind that GA is not setup correctly it will tell you that everything is organic. So dont take ga's word for it...
I totally agree with Ajaxunion about Analytics not showing the correct data or where its coming from, always had issues with G not making the difference between Paid and Natural Traffic
...to ensure your site hasn't been hacked - as that what happened to my client (a hack attempt that was stopped in its tracks within an hour or two - but then triggered a major traffic issue). Inquiries through backchannels into G confirmed this was the cause of traffic drop.
With that said, the timing of your nameserver change is a little hard to overlook isnt it.
[edited by: tedster at 5:34 am (utc) on July 11, 2008]
[edit reason] de-linked the url [/edit]
That makes sense, but it just doesn't feel right. The previous owner sold us the site months ago, and getting everything transferred has been a slow process (the guy was dragging his feet a little). It took him a month to get us the required server info, and then we took maybe two days to set up the zone file on our nameserver. What are the chances that the same day we change the DNS he pulls all his bought traffic?
Also look at google WMT and see if you recently lost links to your site. That may have caused the issue it.
Sometimes when people sell domains they pull all the good links they had to it and redirect the links to a better place.
Link juice can really make a difference as to where you appear in the serps.
Thx. There is a ton of garbage on the server its hosted on, so it might be in our best interest to get the site moved over to our servers asap. We are just scared to tick off G any more than we already have.
I've got someone looking to see if we lost some links, and I'm waiting on an email back from the seller to see if he had anything pulled.
However, unless the owner has experience in an industry that has traffic trading in place, I think the best answer so far is a name server issue...