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Path specific Google penalty? Rest of site is OK.

     
10:10 pm on May 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hey all -

Interesting month so far to say the least. In a nutshell:

Beginning May 15th we've been seeing a significant decrease of traffic (read -30%) to a specific path only. All other traffic to other paths have remained consistent and/or growing.

Example:
root/pathA/widget1 - widget1000 pgs <---falling consistently & FAST
root/pathB/widget1 - widget1000 pgs <---static
root/pathC/widget1 - widget1000 pgs <---growing

Has anyone seen a penalty from the big G that impacts only a specific path and all pages contained within that one path, while other paths perform normally or even better?

No manual webspam alerts.

We are testing now removing advertisements from atf and are beefing up content where we can and is valuable to the user. Also in process of reviewing and removing any spammy backlinks...which thank god I'm looking at now since I discovered we were the victim of a neg. seo attack late last year (aka comments someone made on payday pages)
7:55 am on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've seen penalties just for a specific directory often.

I saw auch a penalty for a big player in Germany when Panda 4.0 was rolling out last week. Even ten years ago I had this kind of behaviour [webmasterworld.com].

If it's a penalty then rankings from pathA is completely gone. In this case I guess that rankings won't come back even if you change the content. If it's just a decrease then it might just a result of a change in the ranking algorithm and rnaking might be recovered by modifying the content.
4:42 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the response doc_z.

When doing a search for site:root/patha/ all of the pages are still indexed.

For some searches for content contained in /patha/ we still rank well, but since we are gradually and consistently loosing landings (5-10% this day compared to same day last week) I'm assuming that eventually all pages contained in /patha/ will drop significantly.

When this happened to you years ago, did you ever test changing /patha/ to /newpath/ to see the results? It's an option on the table we are considering.
6:04 pm on May 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I saw auch a penalty for a big player in Germany

<topic drift>
I can't figure out whether this was a typo for "such a penalty", or whether your mind changed languages in mid-sentence.
</topic drift>
7:19 am on June 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I wanted to write "I saw such a penalty for a big player in Germany" but my fingers are sometimes faster than my brain ;-) (indeed my mind changed the language).

In the example I mentioned all pages were still indexed but there are not ranked anymore (which means no listings in the first 100 results; before the update they had a thousands of top ten rankings). In the meantime I saw that they try to fix the problem by removing the pages in the directory with the penalty (you'll get a 404). However, the other directories are still there and ranking well.

Yes, years ago I moved just from one directory to a new one and rankings came back after a while. However, I think these days it's getting more complicated... I would move the content and also try to improve it.
2:39 am on June 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I assume you 301 permanent redirected each page to the correct page in the new directory?

I agree things are probably much more complicated now than they were in the past. We are working on improving the content as much as possible, but much of it is UGC and takes time to build up.

Thanks again doc!
5:03 am on June 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I assume you 301 permanent redirected each page to the correct page in the new directory?


No, I didn't do that 10 years ago and I wouldn't do that today. I didn't want to have any connection between the old and the new directory.
8:32 pm on June 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I thought that might be the case (no 301 redirect) and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to help with your feedback.

Unfortunately we do not feel as though we are a spammy website, and aren't willing to throw away a # of honest-to-god links/references to our /patha/ pages.

Our plan will be to increase the # of characters on our /patha/ webpages and hope for the best.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond and help us with our issue. You rock doc! ;)
 

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