Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Message Too Old, No Replies

Are you noticing problems with sites 8 years old or more?



9:30 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I'm currently fighting that annoying battle with 21.5 (ghost). I've begun to notice a pattern (even with smaller, but old sites). I need to know if this is somewhat founded or not:

If you are 8 yrs or older (have never engaged in black hat obviously) can you answer this: How has your traffic been changing over the last 8 months?

Are we, those with sites 8 yrs or older getting punished for having picking up so many random links throughout the years? (old closed sites, sites that have been replaced by 'spammy' new businesses, stuff that has simply become crap over time)

BTW: After 10 years I've realised how much I appreciate WebmasterWorld, you've been a valuable source for so long - cheers.


7:43 am on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

My main site is 12 years old and at this time struggling. Never involved in black hat, but the content has been copied over and over again.


8:07 am on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

13 year old site. US E-commerce. Panda 1.0 victim, never recovered. Seeing slow, steady decline in google organic traffic. Nothing we do (and we've done a LOT) has any effect. We're being throttled a little more each week. Last 8 months has been more of the same except for some wierd gyrations around Christmas. Why? What are you seeing?


8:46 am on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Top Contributors Of The Month

It is frustrating. I have 2 sites that are a bit "younger" than 8 years - 6 and 7 years old respectively. Never engaged in blackhat / greyhat / whatever for either site. Both got hit by Penguin 1.0 when they were 5 and 6 years old respectively. Never recovered to this day - in fact, they just slipped away a few spots at a time, from all the "fly in the ointment" links they win. They get loads of spammy links ...directories, aggregators, sub-sub-sub-sub domains from obscure Brazlian domain names and the like. There's so much link "detritus" that keeps coming in when I see latest links on GWT. I think they are simply a victim of their success. The more successful a site is, the more it's on the radar of scrapers / spammers, the more likely it picks up these rubbish automated scrapings. They DO win a lot of useful links too - links that give me genuine referal traffic - perhaps even Google may look at those kinds of links as spam too?

I launched 2 new sites late last year to "replace" these sites - the new sites now outrank the older sites, but the new sites don't really rank anywhere useful for me to make any money. I'm also now reticent to even try to make these a "Google success" - what's the point? It just puts them on the radar of spammers / scrapers. The older sites rank lower than the newer sites, yet the older sites make more money from non-search repeat traffic. An example of the balkanised web here - not visible to Google, but I have my own little "subculture" of customers / visitors who have bookmarked / recommend these sites.

The old sites still rank #1s and #2s in Bing / Yahoo! on popular keywords but that only brings in a small amount of traffic.

I've given up on the concept of launching a site in the hopes Google will love it. As mentioned, when Google do love it, spammers / scrapers come in and tank it. Not really neg-SEO I'm talking about here - I don't mean they do it deliberately - they do it inadvertently. I operate in niches that won't win huge authority links to protect them from these spammy links. I guess I need to go "proactive" to win such authority links....oh but wait, Google don't like guest posts or advertorials....just need to sit and wait... :) - no thanks, Google, there are 500 other things I could be doing to actually bring some money in rather than wait on wishes.


1:12 pm on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

How has your traffic been changing over the last 8 months

All my sites are the same or way up. I have one client ecommerce site that's been on a slow drop, but I know what's wrong with it; they've added too many product pages that are way too similar and their site architecture has deteriorated.


5:55 pm on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@nutmeg - just to confirm, what's the age of those sites, what type of content are they? How many pages in the index?

Also: Would you say you are well versed in SEO, do you regularly adjust those sites for the latest techniques in Search Engine Optimisation?

Thanks for replying.


7:15 pm on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Also: Would you say you are well versed in SEO, do you regularly adjust those sites for the latest techniques in Search Engine Optimisation?

I've been around the block. I would speculate they are well interlinked and passing good PR if only in a few instances. Its not the same as lone small businesses. Many of the old techniques still work but availability is limited by the number of sites you work with. Doing the same as most in these forums I would expect similar results.


11:44 pm on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

um, it's *netmeg*, most of them have been around since the 90's or early 2000's, and I would say I know a little something about SEO. And that's why I don't do "techniques".


11:54 pm on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

lol, sorry *netmeg* :)

What type of sites are you talking about?

Sorry I should have made it clear, I'm trying to find out if this only hit well behaved UGC sites, or generally all older domains with random backlinks over the years. Those that weren't actively doing any / or much SEO.


12:26 am on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I have a lot of different types of sites. The older ones tend to be event sites and a couple of affiliate sites.


12:35 am on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

10 year old info site that was hit by Penguin in April 2012. Similar traffic pattern as others mention here a slow loss in traffic.


3:29 am on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

We have a 10 year old info site that's been losing traffic steadily, too. We have a big problem with other sites copying our articles either in their entirety or sometimes just paragraphs. We also seem to have someone creating spammy sites and loading them with links to us. We've never done any link building campaigns, but because we have good content, we have always had a lot of sites link to us.


10:00 am on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Started dying with Panda 1.0 and has just died since. Every move I made just hurt it more.

My 15 year old site is a huge authority. No one has anywhere near the amount of content or back links in the niche.

Also no one has anywhere near the amount of copied content or spammy backlinks generated by black hatters to those duplicate sites which in turn link to us.


12:10 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Google is practicing an online form of age discrimination which was particularly noticeable with Panda 1.0. I broached this topic on 1/28/12:
[webmasterworld.com ] but it didn't get much traction at that time.
In the offline world, an age discrimination matter would make big headlines. In the online world, it goes unnoticed except by webmasters impacted by the algo changes.


12:32 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Well I'm old, and my sites are old, and we're all doing mostly ok, so I don't think you can pin it on age discrimination.


12:45 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Perhaps then we need to also survey - how popular / large was/is your site?

The webmasters I spoke to all had popular / large (lowest was 30k users a day) / UGC sites.

(we're down from 180k a day, to 120k visitors a day)


1:03 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

15 year old site. 20,000+ pages.

I'm down from solid years (7-8) of 70K users/day to 21K/day. Started falling after Panda.

I'm already working on Plan B, but as this thread shows me; I better get plan C and D cooking too.


1:15 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mine is 16 yrs old off over 50%. I suspect it may be a common linking site. I know there are a couple that there is no way to get rid of and the disavow is a joke.


1:37 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well, we are an established publisher in the 14th year of our business and have been hit by panda on all our domains. The way I see it the more content and traffic you have the more likely you are going to fall a prey to Google's attack on the Internet. Most likely you are operating on keywords that people search for and bring the revenue and that is where the spammers play too. Also older domains are more likely to have techniques that were desirable at one time (remember how even search engines endorsed anchor text or linking to other websites or building directories, etc.?) but are now a reason for our downfall.

So it is not a conspiracy per se, it is just that the bigger and older you are, chances are you are more likely to get caught in one of the changed parameters in the algo.


1:55 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

One of the things I might ask about the older sites that have been hit - how many times (if ever) did you ever go through a site overhaul - i.e. different design, maybe change to a CMS (or a new CMS), whole new layout, etc. My sites (which are seasonal, but traffic in season can approach several million pageviews per day) have been through at least three complete makeovers, while I continue to try to find the best possible site architecture between desktop and mobile (and being events, up to 70% of my traffic is mobile on some days)


2:09 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

My site has been totally reworked 3 times. It has structured data now, is dynamic, speed is excellent, code is validated, much is html5 etc etc. And I am being out ranked by sites that are so basic there is no CSS, no true shopping cart (email them what you want to order), sites with no security on the shopping cart etc. It isn't an issue that we didn't stay up with technology. I will admit the mobile side has been tricky just because it seems like the rules on the what the best practice has been moving some.


2:37 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

My site isn't as big as those mentioned, but is one of the top sites in its niche - at least among the independently owned sites. We have done several site updates and redesigns over the years, the last one being to move everything into a CMS that uses URL rewriting to match our file names and have new material have the same file extensions as the old. We did see some loss from the change to the CMS, but it was minor and appeared to be a one-time hit and I suspect because at the same time we had to 301 redirect a number of important pages.

We added a mobile version of the site a month or two before traffic started to slide. That does not appear to get enough traffic to account for the huge drop in traffic the desktop site has seen.


2:41 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

google_punish(age, site)
if (age > 8)


3:12 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I'm not necessarily talking about being technically up-to-date, I'm talking more about changes for the users, like speed, navigation, how far everything is from the home page, reducing time to check out, etc. Having an HTML5 site that validates and includes structured data is great, but users aren't going to notice or care.


3:18 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@netmeg - on average once every 2 years for me. Which is too much, I'm going to try and slow down 'innovation' now - as it upsets our regular users.

People need efficient ways to interact with the site, these should be implemented gradually. Facebook and others have also learnt that lesson the hard way.

I assume most of the webmasters posting here are pros, or at the very least extremely experienced. It seems the more experience you gain, the more you expect Google to not **need** SEO. That may have caused part of the problem.

I have personally ignored 'SEO' thinking since around 2007, i focused on high speed backend stuff, new ways to represent threads, voting systems, moderation systems, high speed text format rendering, social graphing, navigation, easy localisation, convenient media sharing, easier text input etc - it's cost me dearly I think.

I probably should have been more focused on backlinks and my SEO profile. (If I could go back in time, I'd do exactly that)


3:39 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

My 12 year site was likely hit by one of the Pandas. I'm down 50-60% traffic since Dec 2012.


3:46 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

The checkout is one page. We also have a simplified Paypal checkout option that retrieves all the data from paypal so there is very little the customer has to do to checkout. Also every customer gets emails on when the product is shipped and tracking data. That is one of the issues with this whole issue. You build the site for the customers and customers like it but once you get hit you reevaluate the entire site. By doing this does it cause duplication. Do we need to paginate more? Sure better for Google but not the customer. With little guidance from Google this is like going hunting and just shooting at bushes hoping you hit something.

You do events so maybe things are able to be sorted by dates, venues, artist etc. At what point when trying to make things easier for the customer does that become duplication? Who knows. From a user standpoint I think we are good. We have the site, easy to access the data, very fast, have all the pictures compressed etc. Speed wise in the top 90% or higher. Checkout is fast. Clicks to items is minimal. Issue is you can't sell without the traffic. Currently over 75% of my traffic is coming not from search engines but from customers that have bought from us before and have us bookmarked. We also send out monthly deals that generate traffic. I had a woman call Friday and she said I searched the internet and went all over Amazon and couldn't find this and somehow I found you and it was right there. In our niche we were between 1 -3 for years. Another issue is as a business grows it takes a structure just to handle the shipping and inventory. Many of the little sites don't have the means to do that and you don't set that up overnight.

I do understand your point and when customers make recommendations we do look at them. This whole site was custom made based on comments from our customers.


4:10 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've got two sites around that age.

1) About 7 years old. Content has been pretty static over the years. Two major overhauls in UI. Traffic has been consistently 40k visitors a month for last 4 years. Up about 20% this year. No UGC.

2) About 13 years old. 3-4 major overhauls. Little UGC. We slowly add new content to the site. Less frequently update old content. Seen year over year growth consistently. Traffic has been > 1m visits/mo for years.


5:43 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Like PJman, my site was one of the earliest online in my professional niche - the 90s. Issues began with Panda 2.2 and that which Matt Cutts said should work (and every other SEO) didn't. Only one thing did which I am experimenting with now again to see if it provides the same results. Part of the reason for our decline is (a) way too much time trying to figure out what Google wants and too little time on producing the great content we have (large forum, large faq), (b) competitors who have exploded as a result of a and our being in the dark, and (c) some sites completely gaming the system for an extended period of time that Google may end up doing something about but still hurts us noticeably in the meanwhile.

Traffic has had only two or three periods of growth, the largest being my experiment. Time to try again.


6:08 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I believe Google used to give domains a ranking boost for being a certain age, and in the past year or two they have reduced that boost or maybe taken it out of the algo altogether. If so, this would mean some older domains lost a factor that was helping them more than they realized, while domains like Netmeg's simply had enough else going for them that they sailed through without noticing any difference.

Loss of a boosting factor could look a whole lot like a penalty to the webmaster. That's yet another reason why it's getting harder to diagnose any site's individual problems.
This 48 message thread spans 2 pages: 48

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month