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6 March 2013 update - was it content or inbound links related?



2:46 pm on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

My site was hit on 6 march , 90% google traffic lost . I have a domain and many subdomains with interlinking between them . All vanished from google results , only a few long tail keywords remained on top
The domain had 3 inbound sitewide links and various links from directories . 92% same anchor text . Linking back with one sitewide link to one of those 3 domains from my main domain and from all subdomains. I believe the domain was candidate to be crushed , if is has not been already - i have few pages on main domain and i never checked their rankings
The subdomains ( 99% of content) had links from the domain and from some blogs , but only a few and only on interior pages
On page content was good ( unique , relevant and not thin ) and ranking very well till 6.03
Google said no manual action
What i did :
A ) asked to remove the inbound sitewide links and i also removed my links to those sites ( 90% inbound links clean but it should take a while for google to take that into consideration ) - nothing good till now on rankings
B)played with one page which before the the 6.03 was ranking 5-7 . After the hit was on page 3 ( 26-27 )
-moved to a site of mine which is good ( from google perspective ) . The page ranks positions 8-9
-moved to a new created blog with no prior content - ranks 11-12.
- Move to a new subdomain on the crushed domain ( with no linking between domain-subdomain ) - ranks 25-26

Sure , only a pages is maybe not relevant

I have searched a lot but i could not find explanation for 6.03 google hit . Was it related to content or to inbound links ? Or something else .
Why all subdomains got hit ?
What would be the answer ?


1:12 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I'd say you're right - there's been very little discussion of this particular update. In fact, only a few webmasters reported a change, but those that did seemed to feel a major impact.

I really doubt that this was just content or links. If it was, I think it would have been more widely noticed. However, impacting all your subdomains sounds very harsh to me.

Do you have any clues? Are you aware of any issues (past sins) that your site might have?


2:11 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was also hit hard on the March 6th update. I removed 2 Amazon scripts and recovered within 10 days. One script was a geo-target script and the other was a short-code script. I hope that might help you.


2:34 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

We've seen the 5/6 drop and I can tell you the only thing we've done lately is add a ton of new products to our website. All original product descriptions, no affiliate links, no scripts, nothing shady.

We also do not actively go out and solicit links. Nor have any shown up that look like anything negative SEO wise.

I'd lean towards this being something related to content. That is what we're looking at now, as that is really the biggest and really only change we've made.

We had a MASSIVE spike in googlebot activity from 4/24 -> 5/1 with crawl rates now being 1/4 of what they've been for months.


6:38 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

@tedster :
No black hat SEO . Only those sitewide links , but they are gone ( it should take a while for google to eliminate them ) So if the ranking drop is link related , this should solve the issue
I also have links from price comparison websites , but they are nofollow , so they should not matter anyhow
What i do not understand is why a new subdomain , without interlinking with the domain behaves as if it is hammered from the start . As i said in the previous post i had made some tests with a page moved . And the same page moved to a fresh blog ( no previous post , no inbound links ) ranks well


7:34 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I can confirm that on 6th march a major brand website got hit. This is not a client I manage, I just do some analytics tasks, so have access to see what is happening.

This site got hit hard in 2011, recovered in 2012 and now plummeted to more than 70% fall. Thats thousands of visits less a day for them and still hasn't recovered. They were involved in some very silly backlink schemes in 2011 and seems that they've done something in 2013 that destroyed the site's organic performance.

It is a Greek site and their "SEO" was leaving comments in USA & UK "SEO blogs" with obvious manipulative anchor texts to the client who is totally unrelated of course :)


8:12 am on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I also lost almost all the keyword ranking for one of my site from mid march onwards, it happened gradually. Again no message in GWT.

Martin Ice Web

2:10 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I did wonder why there were no webmasters talking about it. We lost on the 8 march about 40%, again. I could not think that this was link related, but keyword related.


3:10 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I had a big recovery on my Penguinized/Pandalyzed site on the 9th. This could be totally unrelated, but I'm throwing it out there because it might possibly be part of the same update.

It LOOKS like mine has to do with Panda, and if your March 6 update is about content, it could be Panda related.

Martin Ice Web

3:36 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


i did a lot of moving from Artikel and categories to new subcategories, with a lot of Redirects, the time around this update. I found Google now has both, the old and the new URL in WMT. But the old one Redirects to the new one. I tested it. I think the we have an error with Google regarding DC with pages not realy updated by Google.


6:31 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)


Exactly the same thing happened to me before the 6 of march . In february google started ignoring the 301 and I had the same pages twice .

Martin Ice Web

7:47 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month


has google catched up the redirects up to now, or do you still have the sites twice? Is there any way to communicate something like this error to google?

I checked it and my redirects are working fine. It is very confusing that google does not catch it and make it double. So if on 6. there was a panda rescoring for our sites , then maybe we are victims of a google error.


8:08 pm on May 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

The 301 was from domain to some subdomains
After i realised the issue and the fact that google is ignoring my 301 , I 404 all pages on the domain after 6 of march . Found no way to communicate that to google . The number of pages in the domain started decreasing but there are about 1000 left as we speak . I thought about a duplicate content issue which hammered my subdomains on 6.03 , but i do not understand one simple thing : if i create a new subdomain now , and i put a new page , it ranks very bad despite no inrelinking between domain and subdomain . Same page moved to a fresh blog ( no inbound links , no previuos post/article ) it ranks much better . As if what happened on 6.03 is a domain penalty including existing subdomains but also subdomains created after 6.03
I will do some testing : create a subdomain with no linking with the domain and using a different theme


5:22 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

Now, this is interesting. I got rid of some 301 redirects between last December and April of this year, and my site saw a recovery on May 9.

I don't have any subdomains.


9:06 am on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you still have redirects ?


2:25 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

colonelu81, I had two types of redirects.

(1) I 301'd my old domain to a new one for rebranding purposes.

(2) I had 301'd some short articles to longer versions, trying to beef up my content.

The #1 whole domain 301 is still in place and will be for years, but I dumped all the individual article 301s.

Martin Ice Web

8:27 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

diberry, that would correspond to my expirience that right after putting many 301s the site went down.

Did you see both sites in WMT listed for same title and META Description?


10:51 pm on May 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

No, I used the "new address" feature in WMT and then deleted the profile for the original domain. Of course, deleting it only means I can't see it anymore - Google may still have it listed that way for all I know.


2:20 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I am seeing changes since May 6th across some of the sites I watch.
I am suspecting freshness and authority has been factored in.Also, I believe Google has started to punish sites suspected of selling links.


7:49 am on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)


Did de the 9.05 recovery was full or only partial recovery ?
I supose you the site was hit on 6 of march ?


2:19 pm on May 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

colonelu81, I was hit by Penguin in April and then saw improvements on the Panda refresh in July. Then Panda refreshed in August and I sunk to a new all-time low. My current traffic is back to what it was in August. So it might be a full Panda recovery, or it might be a little joke Google's playing until next month when they will slaughter the site. :) But the Penguin issue is still in full effect. Sorry I can't give you a less complicated answer.


10:56 pm on Jul 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Same here, 10 years + old site, with 1 million unique visitors/day!
Every day I see a new low since the fatal and strange day of 6 March!
Another inflexion point was 6 of April (another dead end).

After this, my stat is like a Slow Arsenic Poisoning. Each "rolling update" is like a small dose of poison.

I've search all over about those specific dates, but no real info about the causes.
Some "unconfirmed minor updates", but for me is a disaster...

The "funny part" for me, is that I was unscratched by the Biggest Panda or Penguin!

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