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Botched Server Move, Architecture or Penguin?

     
1:56 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I am pretty sure I got hit by Penguin, but I also made big changes to my site right before Panda hit.

- Moved to a dedicated server. It got botched due to a cache issue. Google saw two versions of my site for about a week. It would see the new one and then the old one....then new...old. It was fixed on April 19.

- I also removed over 1/2 of my sub-category pages, product pages. 5000 pages to 2500 pages. I completed this on April 22.

- By removing my sub-category pages I restructured my architecture. (I think). Google is reindexing. Internal links in GMT are slowing falling. ie internal links to my homepage now 1000 less. (as expected). I am getting tons of 404 errors (over 5000 from recently removed pages and very old pages) - as expected.

- started working with a SEO company end of February 2012. They optimized my on site content - <h>, meta, title...and they begin building one-way links to my site.

My traffic fell off to almost nothing on and after April 24th. (site still in Google)

All in all, simply bad timing on my part. I am having a tough time figuring out if I was pecked by the Penguin, pecked myself, or both.

Is there a way to tell if I was hit by Penguin, or I just did too much too fast and caused Google to drop me due to all the changes? Both?

Thank you!
3:07 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



It does sound like a tangle - and no, short of some message in WMT I can't offer a definitive way to tell which of these factors is active for you. A little more time should sort things out a bit more for you.

You should verify the technical transition to a new URL structure no matter what (301s as appropriate, with no internal lnks going through a 301.) And definitely watch out for what the third party SEO company is actually doing to generate 1-way links, too.
11:25 am on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Looks like you did lots of changes. Did you change domains? I don't know how you validated whether or not these changes improved matters or not. You said you moved to a dedicated server from what? A vps? For example a dedicated box isn't necessarily faster than a vps and subject to what you invest. Did page load times worsen or improved? Any connectivity problems? Did you change the dns settings?

You removed 2.5K of pages but you did not place 301 redirects to equivalent or nearest pages, since pages removed, were contributing to your site's rank and these requests are associated with your site's content.

Then you did various content and link changes, how did you validate those? Are you saying you paid somebody and he placed a ton of external links to your domain to improve SEO?
1:31 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@ Tedster

Thanks for the response!

You should verify the technical transition to a new URL structure no matter what (301s as appropriate, with no internal lnks going through a 301.)

I did not change the URL structure. I deleted categories that were similar to others and products no one was buying.

watch out for what the third party SEO company is actually doing to generate 1-way links

Will do. I am waiting for the first report.

@ enigma1

Thank you as well for the response!

Did you change domains?

No. But we did switch where our name was registered.

You said you moved to a dedicated server from what? A vps?

A shared server. We moved to the VPS - dedicated. Well known company, expensive package.

Did page load times worsen or improved?

At first they worsened, then after removing code bloat, they improved.

Any connectivity problems?

No

Did you change the dns settings?

Yes.

You removed 2.5K of pages but you did not place 301 redirects to equivalent or nearest pages, since pages removed, were contributing to your site's rank and these requests are associated with your site's content.

I thought since I deleted them, it would be better for Google (the SEs) to see them as gone as opposed to 301'd. But on second thought, I should have 301'd the sub categories since they were related to the main category.

Then you did various content and link changes, how did you validate those? Are you saying you paid somebody and he placed a ton of external links to your domain to improve SEO?

We changed our title tags, h1 and h2 tags, and body content based on their recommendations (in early March). They do not do the tons of external link method; rather, they build links slowly over time, natural looking. But I am waiting for the first report...will check their work.
 

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