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Multiple malware warnings due to ad network... Panda factor?

7:26 am on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 29, 2012
votes: 1

Been lurking this site for a long time, and I'm very thankful for all the consolidated information and opinions on various issues.

I'm in a predicament and would like to ask for your opinions. I believe my site was hit by a Panda refresh in February this year.

I think I may have been hit by the layout update as well, but it's really hard for me to tell, since around the same time, google flagged my site as unsafe due to issues with an ad network serving up malware. I fixed the issue and requested a review as fast as possible from google, but you know that process doesn't happen right away. In the meanwhile, SERPS gradually dropped and visitors are redirected to a warning. The warning gets removed and traffic is back, but almost never as high as before.

This continued to happen almost once per month, for the next several months. I honestly don't know why I have such crappy luck with these malware banners. Not to mention the malware warnings that appear again are almost on or close to updates, so it's hard for me to differentiate.

Could having multiple malware issues within 90 days cause rankings to slip even worse than before, despite being fixed?

My site is a pretty high traffic site, before panda or whatever hit me in February 2012, I was getting about 160,000+ visits per day (800,000+ pageviews per day). It's been gradually slipping down to 100,000 visits per day.

Site is a forum with over 4 million posts. Site gets scrapped daily by bots, but they do link back, only that it's a no follow link.

Some things I noticed:
I was hit by the may day update in 2010, but never even felt it since earnings did not drop at all. Apparently I recovered from it with 2 months without doing anything, even getting higher. Panda didn't touch me at all in 2011.

My overall bounce rate has been averaging 40% for the longest time. But suddenly on the 18th of last month it dropped down to 10% and has been there ever since. Not sure of its because of the changes I made or something with the tracking has adjusted.

Things I've done to hopefully fix my traffic problem :

-Removed meta keyword tag.
-Removed meta description tag on all thread pages.
-No index all category pages (sub forum) that isn't page 1. There used to be tens of thousands considering how many posts my forum had.
-Deleted roughly 200,000 posts that were old and or thin.
-Really sped my site up with almost everything imaginable.
-Removed ads, there's only 2 ad blocks per page now. One on top and one on the bottom.

Traffic would stay the same, until a malware or update comes along. After which, it comes back but never higher than before? I haven't received any malware attacks for an entire month now.

Would appreciate any input, thanks.
7:13 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

joined:June 21, 2004
votes: 276

It seems you have focused your efforts on removing things from your site. I would suggest you also work on adding some positive points.

Getting rid of anemic forum pages is good idea but what have you done to encourage more high value posts? Think about hosting a contest for the best post submissions. At least email your top members thanking them for their long & detailed posts.

Look at your analytics and see which keywords have high bounce rate AND low time on site. Then try to improve the content & usability for those keywords. This will save your visitors and also increase the chance that your visitors will blog about you (possible backlink source) or mention you on twitter (possible traffic boost).
9:33 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 29, 2012
votes: 1

Hi, thanks for your reply.

My site has a big user base, generating about 7,000 new posts per day. So getting fresh content isn't really an issue. (So that's +1 for freshness algo)

For years, I've never had to bother with link building/or keyword monitoring since everything happened naturally, until 2012. I will do as you suggested and try to analyze my pages that dropped.
10:47 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

joined:Oct 26, 2002
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Is the site still getting infected? If so, what steps do you take when another event occurs?
11:37 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

New User

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joined:Sept 29, 2012
votes: 1

The infection wasn't physically on my site or files, but coming from the ad network.

I would locate the creative that's troublesome and reject it as well as report it to the network. After a google malware review, the warnings go away.

As I've said I haven't had this issue for over a month now.

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