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Any help appreciated re Google traffic changes (timeline incl)



8:19 am on Nov 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

If anyone could give me a few pointers on what to look for I would be most appreciative. I have and old established website selling widgets to fairly niche market. It's probably the oldest of all the sites selling widgets from Thailand. Because it seemed to be 'grandfathered-in' very little SEO work was ever done to it. Up until recently impression on Google results shown at the Google webmaster page had been averaging 2000 a day and from this we would get an average of 80 clicks and two or three conversions. (I guess this isn't so great.)

Anyway in September we started to see some strange changes. Between the 10th. and the 20th. September we saw erratic spikes as high as 6500 impressions, but on the 28th. September it died. We found ourselves down at 400-600 impressions.

Now going back through comments on this and other forums it seems like on the 28th. September a Panda update rolled out plus an EMD penalty. The latter can't be the problems as it isn't an EMD. Could anyone tell me what the 28th. September update was penalizing?

If it helps I will show some of the data below. We did have a minor recovery on the 12th. and 13th. of this month but we are still running at about a third of what we used to get from Google.

Initially averaging 2000 impressions a day

28th. September 1300
29th. September 400
30th. September 2000
1st October 3500
2nd. October 600

then averaging 4-600 except

11th November 700
12th November 900
13th November 1300
14th November 700

Since averaging 700

Thanks in advance

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:29 am (utc) on Nov 22, 2012]
[edit reason] removed specific market, replaced by "widgets" [/edit]


10:56 am on Nov 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

average impressions vs. clicks

this looks like your titles and/or descriptions in the SERP are not attractive to the searcher (can you tell how your keywords are ranked?)

If this is the case G will lower your overall impressions based on the CTR...

note: having 2- 3 conversations by 80 clicks isnít that bad (as long its from organic searches not ads)


2:38 pm on Nov 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks SEchecker. Yes the impressions to clicks isn't great. One of the reasons is that we were placed very high in some very general keywords that didn't really belong to what we were doing, if that makes sense. Where we are hurting is with very specific long tail phrase searches where we used to be number one, we are just not there anymore except for those few with zero competition.


9:54 am on Dec 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

So we were hit again on the 22nd December halving our impressions again so it's now down to 250 a day. When i search for copied text from our page I have a Chinese site above me in the top two places. Both pages are almost copies of each other. I take it they are scraping me.

The weird thing is when you first click on the search result it shows as having a pagerank of 3 but by the time the page is fully open it shows a pagerank of zero for both pages. My original page is the third position has a pagerank of 5. Does this make any sense? Do you think this what has caused my problems?


4:42 pm on Dec 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I hate to say it Danny, but join the club. Many of us are seeing the exact same declines. Today is SUPPOSED to me a very busy day for us and a marker for the coming year. So far, the coming 2013 does not look particularly cheery.


2:13 am on Dec 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry to hear that you have similar problems backdraft7. I do wonder if the latest update is handling duplicate content correctly. Whether it's the originator getting punished rather than the copier?


10:16 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Still clutching at straws. I thought that Chinese scrapers may have been responsible for our demise, but the more I look at it it may have been me unknowingly pushing a self-destruct button back in August last year. The damage became visible after the late September Panda update.

During that August I built some RSS feeds into Google Books. Google Books is one of those products that Google has almost abandoned. There wasn't a real good reason to build the feeds except that I wanted to add a lot more fields to our website's mysql database of the books we sell. This would have given me a database that we could use on some of the larger bookselling sites in the US as well as making our website easier to use schema.org microdata tags on. The RSS feeds to Google Books was another way of using this extra data and Google Book pages still turn up in the search results.

Google books needs separate feeds for each country it supports. These country specific feeds have to include prices in the local currency. This was not a problem as we have already set up our cart software, Oscommerce, for multiple currencies. All it meant was that the feed links to the book pages had the currency code tacked on the end as in "&currency=AUD". We did this for five country/currencies and put about 300 books into the lists. (Not all the feeds have the entire lists as some had only a few French or German language titles in. Google Merchant saw this as about 1000 new items in the combines lists.

Two days ago on a Majestic SEO timeline of new links to our site it shows a sudden jump of about a 10,000 discovered links in August. When I look at incoming links I can't see any link farms just mainly organic links because the site has been around so long. Google Webmaster did say it could see duplicate titles on the site because of the added currency codes so last month I programed in a canonical statement in the page head to point everything to the clean book pages.

The thing is have I really been punished for my RSS feeds into Google Books being seen by Panda as suspicious linking? Is it that the feeds produced the impression to Panda of duplicate pages? Or is it nothing to do with the Google Books feeds of course? I do wish I had never built the feeds now;-(

What should I do now? Remove the feeds or leave them in the hope that Google corrects the algorithm? How can I inform Google that this is maybe a problem?


6:45 am on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

I highly doubt it's rss feed related, I cut the feedburner feeds to my site back in early October and saw no gains.

I highly doubt it's scraper related, I ensured that my site can't be hotlinked and I went to town on my logs in late October blocking nearly everyone from specific foreign language countries and who had previously scraped. My "not selected" number of pages listed in GWT now stands at two, down from several thousand. No improvement.

Is it, perhaps, U.S. traffic you have lost primarily? I'm wondering if it's foreign owned sites seeing declines from other countries regardless of where the site is hosted. e.g. if you live in Canada but host in the U.S. your Canadian traffic would slightly improve while your U.S. traffic would fall off a cliff?


7:10 am on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Sgt Kickaxe

I wonder if it is a geographical problem but also connected with the RSS feeds. I didn't make a feed for the US as it now involves Adsense so I did them for five other countries.

Otherwise it's still confusing because other retailers in my locality and my niche are not being punished.


1:10 am on Jan 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hah, more trouble - the home page's page rank is now showing zero. A fall from 5 just the other day. No page rank showing for the whole site. Last month Google said there was no manual spam actions by them on the site. A change from PR5 to PR0 sure looks like a manual penalty. Has anyone else seen anything like this?


7:57 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

A change from PR5 to PR0 sure looks like a manual penalty.

Any penalty would affect your Google search traffic , not just toolbar PR. There are many reasons that the toolbar might not show a number for a page... including a technical error anywhere in the path between your browser and Google.


3:04 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks tedster, our search traffic is down to a fifth of what it what it was before September last year. Anyway the PR came back in the afternoon, but I asked others to look when it had disappeared and they saw the same as me.

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