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i have almost doubled in traffic and referrals, however rankings for all my major keywords have dropped massively
I'd say your traffic numbers mean more than whatever you might see on the rankings at amy one time. Search results can be different for different visitors, or at different times of the day -- but a visitor from Google search is a real data point. Rankings can be will-o-the-wisp.
my traffic droped ...
There are all kinds of complexities that can be behind traffic changes - up or down - and lower traffic does not necessarily indicate a penalty. You really need to drill into your traffic data and see what terms are now generating significantly different traffic and study your situation at this more granular level.
Thanks for the welcome
i know that searches and traffic are different points of reference, in this case i monitor both, using both webmaster as well as analytics. i do not rely on the one to determine the other in this case. What i need advice on is the number of indexed pages and ranking, as these have dropped significantly. I monitor both these on a two week basis at the very least...
Google exert penalty by auto robots or he do that with humans always?
Probably 99% of penalties are by the algorithm - if not more.
Even when a problem is identified that requires a penalty, it may wait until the algorithm can be updated to accommodate it.
[edited by: tedster at 3:50 am (utc) on Nov. 13, 2008]