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Deep crawl, DNS errors in GWT, Traffic Drop Nov 14



5:24 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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On Nov 13 our site had an incredibly deep crawl according to GWT - biggest in a very, very long time (100% higher than the average daily crawl). Which is kinda odd because my own internal stats that track Googlebot didn't detect it (so I'm wondering what exactly it was crawling!)

On Nov 14 we started losing traffic, about 15% from the day before (and our traffic should be increasing each day this time of year).

Mozcast shows the SERPS with a fever of 102 for Nov 14 so I assumed this must be another Google slap (Panda hit site) but then I noticed in GWT that googlebot encountered some DNS errors with the site on Nov 14.

There wasn't much chatter about an update happening on Nov 14 here in the forum so I'm trying to determine what happened. Would DNS errors encountered by Google cause a traffic drop? (and I have been working with my webhost to see if there are any DNS issues and we can't find a single thing wrong).

Did anyone else experience a drop in traffic (ie Panda update) on Nov 14? This site had been in a recovery from Panda up until this hit so I'm concerned we've backslid now for some reason.


6:38 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

No traffic drop here (only on 4th September) but did have a "Google couldn't access your site because of a DNS error. " in GWT on 14th November... never had one before.


6:41 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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"Googlebot can't access your site"
same here same day Nov 14th


6:44 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, that's a relief anyway that it sounds like it's a Google issue. Now if they'd just realize their mistake and give me my traffic back :)

Weird coincidence about the timing though.


7:08 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A couple of questions:
Have you tried searching for your site using some of the keywords you know you ranked well for? Have your rankings really dropped? If yes, is there any pattern? What is affected - longtail or money terms?

What does Analytics say? Has any particular section of your site lost more traffic than other sections?

Have you checked GWT if there's a manual penalty notice?

Although occasionally deep crawl is an omen, there may be a completely innocent explanation for a deep crawl. Do you know if the bot struggled accessing any pages? Have you checked if Google has dropped any pages from its index?


7:21 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Have your rankings really dropped?

Some of our rankings have been bouncing around a little the past few months while the site has been showing Panda recovery. However, our key terms still seem to be in their regular positions. I really didn't detect any ranking drops, just traffic loss.

I did just discover an hour ago or so while looking at the SERPS that our snippets/ratings have disappeared from our pages in Google. The structured data testing tool shows that they are still properly configured (which I expected them to be since I hadn't made any changes there). Their disappearance could very well explain our sudden traffic drop. Our type of content really benefits from that markup in the SERPS.

Hopefully Google hasn't decided that we aren't worthy of them and it's just a temporary thing. We were early adopters of the markup back when Google had to approve you to get them showing in the SERPS. At a quick glance it looks like some of our immediate competitors may have lost theirs too, but I did note that the Fortune 500 competitors still had theirs... of course.


9:21 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I can also confirm lots of DNS errors on the 14th. Also, looks like a loss of structured data for ratings as well.


3:46 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I can also confirm lots of DNS errors on the 14th. Also, looks like a loss of structured data for ratings as well.

Ditto. From the 14th, lots of DNS errors and rich snippets have disappeared from our top pages, but remained for many of the less popular pages.

Since most of our competition also uses star ratings (and other data), we're kind of missing out.


4:25 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

We got that DNS error message, too. What, if anything, can be done about it. The data center that our site is at says there's nothing wrong with their dns server.

hurricane sh

6:49 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Happened to one of my sites as well, lots of DNS errors and traffic drop, three times more pages crawled by Google bots since Nov. 14th.


7:14 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Since 9 Nov I suffered a 30% loss on eCPM :(
BF is coming, Christmas is coming... but the advertisers are waiting for... ?

Everyday is a new low...


10:47 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Confirmed DNS issues on the same day. Google quirk


11:10 am on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I believe the DNS quirk might be correlated to the loss of rich snippets. After looking around, some other good or great sites also lost rich snippet display around that time.


8:33 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The only sites in my niche that have snippets showing are some of the big brands (and not all of them). There is a site in my niche that Google loves (the owner is a former Google employee) and her snippets for our niche-specific markup are gone. I can't imagine Google would let that happen to their beloved friend (since nothing they've done has ever hurt her site) so I have a little hope that this is just a temporary thing.


8:37 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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"Googlebot can't access your site"

got the same dns message on the 14th


2:43 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Yes something happened 14 nov
it lasted or affected the weekend
Traffic went slightly down, yet I don't see any (dns) errors on my side
BUT zero mails from readers (my sites constantly receive mails)
Adsense earnings were hit, the report mirrors my traffic loss

And yesterday I just plugged my 3G modem only to receive notifications from Google that my computer is sending too many searches at once (it was turned off, disconnected, no wifi, it was a 3g dongle) and I was just turning on the laptop (no suspension, it was off). Weird.


3:17 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Same day..DNS error.. But traffic looks fine


3:18 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone seen any of the missing rich snippets return?


5:01 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I got the same dns error issue on GWT but no traffic drop as such. Though AdSense earning drops considerably after that dns error.


5:54 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am receiving similar messages for my one of the website which is using google's page speed service. I never had issue with that website before. I am considering to switch to cloudflare now.


6:28 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Slightly OT, has anyone affected seen their Google +1 fluctuate? I've not seen any DNS messages but traffic is all over the place & starting on the 18th our Google +1 count is going up & down like a yo yo! That is assuming anyone other than us bothered with the +1 badge!


7:15 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Sorry ohno, can't help you there (removed the +1 stuff a while back). But given the flux I'm seeing in everything Google-related right now it wouldn't surprise me if that's bouncing too.

I decided to check in GWT to make sure Google still recognized that we had the structured data markup on our pages (the testing tool showed it fine but wanted to see what GWT said). It shows all the pages I expected it to as having the appropriate markup but here's the interesting thing - it shows them all as last being "detected" on Nov 14 when normally they update daily.

Did anyone who got the DNS errors, and who uses the structured data on your site, NOT lose some or all your snippets from the SERPS?

brotherhood of LAN

7:38 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

mod's note, try keep the conversation specific to the original post as G+ is not really related at all- given the deluge of info we get about Google every day I'm sure you understand- thanks.


8:39 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A bit before all this happened I started getting "Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete." when 'trying to' access GWT. 'Try again' button gives no improvement.

Google Chrome and Opera continue to work fine in accessing GWT.


10:03 pm on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We have some DNS issues listed in GWT as well. We also have GWT showing up in Vietnamese with no option of selecting the language... so annoying.


7:06 am on Nov 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

/\ Didn't that happen before in the past? I'm sure I recall that when May Day first hit?


2:10 pm on Nov 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a question. Have any of you that are experiencing these errors looked the speed of the server and compared the site experiencing the errors with maybe another site you work on that may be on a faster server. I didn't get the error but I saw some stuff where a page was generating a strange response but the page is fine. I wonder if Google is sending requests so fast that it is hard for the servers to handle it. I am thinking page speed might be fine yet the traffic volume on a particular page may put a drain server.(say like a product page where all products use that same template)


2:32 pm on Nov 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We haven't had any issues with response time. And the DNS errors we got said that basically Google couldn't look up our domain, which I don't really see being related to page response time (and we have other sites on those servers, none of which experienced the issue).

Maybe response time from the nameservers themselves could be at fault - but our webhost looked into that and they couldn't find anything nor had any other of their customers had any issues (and our other sites use those same nameservers too).

The DNS errors we had were limited to Nov 14 - which seems to be the last day a lot of the data in GWT was updated for this site. I'm still only seeing the structured data as being last detected on the 14th and the indexed pages count in our sitemaps haven't been updated either. Crawl data has been updated as has search queries though.


2:44 pm on Nov 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Another huge crawl on the 17th/18th.

Site response time is 150ms


2:51 pm on Nov 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We had a fairly deep crawl yesterday.
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