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Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic on 28 June 2014 and still continuing



8:41 am on Jul 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone :)

I am a WordPress Blogger and I post articles on Computers and Technology.

On 28th of June 2014, I lost 80% of my blog's traffic. I have read in many forums/websites that many webmasters suddenly lost their rankings in Google Search Results on 28th of June 2014.

Before this sudden traffic drop, I only placed one slot of AdSense ad which went above the fold. After traffic drop, I immediately removed the slot and also made adjustments to my blog's layout, so that good amount of content remains above the fold even after placing the same ad slot in future.

I was convinced that my blog suffered Page Layout Algorithm Penalty, but now after reading the experience of other webmasters I don't know what's happening?

Can anyone please help?

Thanks a lot :)


11:11 pm on Jul 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@Planet13 - You're assessment is spot on but I'd have to argue that webmasters are caught up in a multi-front war whether they like it or not (both the war between the big fish in the pond and the war against spam). Call those who are suffering as a result, collateral damage if you will. Those who are benefiting, I'd call lucky on one level or another, even if the success has a lot of hard work and careful consideration behind it. Roll the dice and the lucky ones can become unlucky at a moments notice. I think in this setting, webmasters have to consider themselves "at war" with the environment being created around them. I agree, I don't think G is at war with webmasters in general, but they are definitely dropping bombs (figuratively) and webmasters are getting wounded (or worse) in the process. Not sure it has anything to do with fair but sure feels like a war.


11:44 pm on Jul 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Then certainly you are at war with those competing with you for the highest rankings - whether it is the big brands or the spammers or whomever.

I think that Musashi and Sun Tzu would have pointed out that google is the battlefield upon which we fight (or the prize which for which we fight), and not our opponent.


1:00 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I fully agree with @webcentric here. Of course Google didn't wake up June 28 morning thinking "It would be great kill this bunch of sites". But periodically there is a group of webmasters (not spammers) getting hit by some update against spammers. There is no point in sitting and crying nor going to ask Google to stop doing this. I think we (the ones interested) should focus in solving this.
The fact that two other sites of mine has the same or better search traffic is not helping too much. It's great they keep the traffic. But that isn't making the affected site better. :)

I've been cross checking keyword performance between days before June 28 and now. I see up to 100% lost in search traffic for some keywords, and improvement in some other keywords:

Lost   Count
100    2
90     12
80     7
70     5
60     6
50     10
40     3
30     5
20     8
10     3
0      6
-20    1
-30    2
-50    1
-60    1
-100   5
-150   1

Lost column is percent lost, count is how many keywords are in that state. Then I have lost 100% traffic for 2 keywords, 90% for 12 keywords and such... I've gained 100% in 5 keywords, 150% in one.


2:10 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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First of all, I'm not a keyword tracker and the size of my impacted site and the variety of topics (over 400) makes it pretty tough to keep track of such detail except in very specific target cases.

Having said that, I'm going to go back to something I'm pretty sure I mentioned and see if it presents commonality for anyone else experiencing this date-specific drop in traffic.

I recently submitted new sitemaps to Google. Actually, I submitted them on the date that this happened so it's hard to believe that the reaction was that quick but, I think I've seen other similar complaints (either in this thread or other recent threads where new sitemaps were submitted and followed by a drop). Because my sitemap submission involved some hefty restructuring of URL's, I'm beginning to wonder if it caused G to throw the site into a sort of sandbox while it began the process of evaluating the changes (we're talking 301 redirects getting triggered along with new pages appearing as a result of the sitemap crawl). I have evidence in WMT that Google thinks I have some number of redundant pages but not a lot. The number fluxuates up and down from day to day. Currently, Google has removed less than 10% of the old URL's from the index and added about 5% of the new URL's. So, it's conceivable that G is still figuring out what exactly is going on with my site, maybe even seeing it as an entirely new site.

So, I'm wondering if site restructuring has anything to do with this. Also, I'm thinking that if it does, it doesn't need to have happened on the day in question. It's a long shot but if some new algo tweak got triggered on that day that impacted sites that recently and significantly changed their sitemaps, it could have thrown any number of sites into sandbox mode.

I'm not talking about, small additions to a sitemap. I'm talking about submitting sitemaps that, for all intents and purposes, make it look like you just submitted thousand of pages of new content when in reality, all you did was redirect existing content to a new address.

So, I'm wondering if that theory holds any water or triggers any familiarity with anyone impacted on this date. Just to emphasize, the date could have been when the algo made it's move but it could easily be acting on sites where such changes took place farther back in time.


3:51 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

My main site's sitemap hasn't changed in the last few years (except for adding one or two URLs) but WMT states it was processed on June 28.
Dates on the blog sitemap doesn't match that date. I added a new sitemap on July 8 with 160 urls and WMT says it has 156 indexed.


4:22 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

classic case of negative SEO?


4:33 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

but WMT states it was processed on June 28

Not sure but that may be a regular process of checking the sitemap for changes. The date is awfully coincidental though.

I added a new sitemap on July 8 with 160 urls and WMT says it has 156 indexed

A sizable addition but not huge by any stretch of the imagination. Note that this was 20 days prior to the drop. If Google checks sitemaps monthly then your last update might not have registered with some aspect of the algorithm until some monthly check took place. The last time my sitemap had been access prior to changing it was June 2nd if memory serves me correctly. This is all speculation but adding large chunks of content quickly could be raising red flags in Mountain View.


5:32 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't want war with anyone especially a virtual one. In real life many would submit before I even start.

All I want is that Google should notify Webmasters in Webmasters Tools about what's wrong with their site and why they have stopped sending him traffic/removed his results? Even if it's an algorithmic penalty, notify us.

As of now no one knows what happened on 28 June and everyone is shooting arrows in the dark. Some people are removing back links, some are removing pages, some are staring at their computer's screen etc.

Google and Matt Cutts have made this whole thing a big joke. Notify Webmasters EVERY TIME about what's wrong with their site and why you have stopped sending traffic / removed his pages from search results and be done about it.


5:57 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Notify Webmasters EVERY TIME about what's wrong with their site and why you have stopped sending traffic / removed his pages from search results and be done about it.

I think you want the impossible (even for google) and you're discounting the possibility that absolutely nothing is wrong with your site in Google's eyes and rather, they've just decided that others are better (naturally pushing yours down). Hey it's a reach, I know and I'm with you where a little more transparency is concerned but demanding reasons for things that may not even be related to a problem with your site but rather your site's relationship to the rest of the content on the Internet is a bit over the top. This all burns my cookies too, but let's be reasonable. Should they also explain to each and every webmaster who puts up a new site why they're getting little or no traffic yet and when they can expect an increase in traffic and how much they should be getting by a certain date?


6:31 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I agree with you but this is not the first time Google did something like this to me. Last year I had to discontinue a domain name which was 5 years old and was making me good amount of money.

Google suddenly considered all my articles as duplicate copies of FEEDREADER! This site embedded each and every article of mine using iFrame.

I applied for DMCA, Submitted report to web spam team many times, used iFrame Killer Script and waited for more than 6 months. Result = 0 (ZERO).

90% of my articles were not pushed down, they were completely removed from search results. Remaining 10% of the articles were on the top 3 pages!

I even removed links (both internal and external), disavowed domain names etc. As usual NO RESULTS. NO Message under Manual Actions. Nothing.

Google crawled my site on a daily basis, but no matter what I do my site never appeared in search results.

This is not fair.

As of now also my articles have not been pushed down, they have completely disappeared from search results. But this time they are slowly appearing again. So I am hopeful.


Jim Westergren

10:11 am on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Try the new "Fetch and render as Google" in WMT:

You will see directly if Google can't access some CSS or Javascript files (blocked via robots.txt) and this can cause huge problems.


1:49 pm on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

@webcentric I don't do real SEO on my sites. All I do is keeping the content and structure as Google guidelines recommend. As you can see I have small content sites. 95% of my backlinks are natural (they exists because someone else decided to link to my site) and around 4% are from my forum/profiles signatures, some tweets I send, an such, and maybe 1% could be some forum post I made linking to one of my tools.
Within the 95% I call natural, there could be some spam sites replicating my content. I don't know. I have thousands links from Russian and China because one of my applications was translated into those languages. Though deciding whether these are spam site or not is very challenging :)

@Jim, I checked that already and find a couple of JS blocked by Wordpress default robots.txt but I don't think it has something to do with this problem.

After checking some of the keywords with 90%+ traffic drop I think that (at some point) those were the most unrelated to my content. Maybe it's too early for telling this. But we could have been hit by a small algorithm update/adjustment.

I don't think that G is "doing this to us". But I always feel that G could be kinder with us webmasters. You see what is happening now. If we are shooting in the dark is because G doesn't turns the light on.

Steven Davis

4:15 pm on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, something huge happened in or around that time, but many large companies that have been effected are keeping it quite due to the negative publicity and possible impact on valuation. Below is a Search Metrics organic visibility chart for eBates.com they were walloped around that time:

[suite.searchmetrics.com ]


4:34 pm on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

@drkblog your pages were pushed down in search results or they disappeared completely from first 10 or 20 pages? I don't understand your blog's language... Messi :P

Martin Ice Web

6:30 pm on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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

@lolam, referal spam and your stats are two different things. While your stats show you the rewritten url from the bots the referals are real site views. It is a get request from the bot. While g* does throtteling websites the referal spam could cause a problem within google, while they have a problem not filter this bots.
Keep in mind. bots get domain names from google search!


7:09 pm on Jul 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd have a look at the wordpress theme and check that all the code is good and the structure of the site and so on. Maybe there is some errors there causing problems.The above the fold ads have to be quite blatent to trip the algorithm in my experience so it is probably not that and your competitors have ads too right. Take a long term perspective. If you have lost a bit of traffic now it will even out with your hopefully better results next year.


1:11 am on Jul 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

@lolamjambuna For a lot of keywords my posts keep appearing in the first page and even in the first place. As I usually don't check my blog performance in searches I can't be sure about the posts I don't see now. Maybe they weren't there before either.
Traffic distribution among popular posts is the same as before. So I can't even think of some specific posts being penalized.


11:10 am on Jul 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In May 2014, with the latest Panda changes, my site starting hitting all the main keywords again, appearing high in the results, until about June 26th, reaching an all time low around the 28th June.

My experience mirrors those of zarathustra2011 almost exactly. Huge drop over the last two years , 70% of my traffic gone, and then in May all of my major keywords returned to their original page one results. May 19th to be exact.

I have not been effected by the June 28th change that I've noticed, in fact I think my rankings probably improved after that one.

Still don't trust that these rankings will stay this way but it is nice to be back on top for the moment.


4:12 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Today I asked a friend of mine in the US to check google results for some keywords. And he can see pages from both my blog and main site in the first position. With this I discard some kind of regional filter.

Three days ago I added a post in my blog (really short story about a problem with my android phone) and it's at first place in google results (using "pages from my country only" option).

I think it's obvious my sites hasn't banished from search results and Google keeps indexing and showing new content from them too. Yet the traffic from Google is really low compared to previous months.

@lolamjambuna Where are you from?


4:21 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am from India.

Very few of my posts are ranking on the first page. Majority of them disappeared from the first 20 pages. I have done some major changes in my blog and Google is re-crawling and re-indexing everything from scratch. If my traffic gets restored then I will post a list of all the changes that I made here in this thread.


9:58 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nice! I'm from Argentina as you already noticed.

According to WMT my average position for some keywords went from (around) 1.2 to (around) 5.5 or lower. For example, one page from my main site was performing:

keyword1 ... 22% CTR - Avg. Pos 4.6
keyword2 ... 40% CTR - Avg. Pos 1.0

And now for the same keywords:

keyword1 ... 12% CTR - Avg. Pos 7.7
keyword2 ... 40% CTR - Avg. Pos 1.0

It doesn't look like something that hit the domain nor the page. It seems a keyword thing. I'm reviewing both sites and fixing everything that look suspicious.

One thing I noticed as soon a this started is WMT reports 39,000 links from my main domain to the blog (domain.com.ar -> blog.domain.com.ar). After seeing this I found out domain.com.ar was duplicating www.domain.com.ar so I placed a 301 redirect as recommended by Google. But right now I think this has nothing to do.


10:55 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Never mind -- Was thinking about it wrong.


11:58 am on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

No change on my 10 year old since the 28th June - it's totally obliterated. I subscribed to a certain site to check backlinks, and have disavowed everything spammy, because some of the top anchors were things like gucchi hangbags which was very alarming! I don't know if my drop has been a result of negative SEO, but it's quite depressing. Will have to wait a few months now to see if there's any improvements. It really can't get much worse - google now only accounts for 18% of my overall traffic.


6:24 pm on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just checking if anyone in this thread has seen any improvement or recovery since June 28th? I haven't and I'm so puzzled. 70% of my traffic is suddenly gone (since 28th).

I have always focus on original, high quality content and I know people like my stuff because they are emailing and thanking me all the time. The site has thousands of Facebook and Google+ likes (which are all real) - I know this doesn't matter SEO-wise or anything but this also indicates (at least to me) that people really do like my content.

Now there's a whole bunch of low-quality sites ranking higher than me and I'm not sure what I have done to deserve this. Never used any black hat techniques, not even any white hat stuff. No messages or penalties in WMT. Link profile looks OK. No scrapers. I have been building just quality content and I'm not quite sure what to do next if the traffic doesn't recover from this.


8:33 pm on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I will say that one page I just checked has climbed back out of the sewer. This page has had a number one ranking (for at least one phrase) in Google consistently for a number of years. On the 28th it dropped onto the second page but now it's back to number 1. I'm also seeing signs of life with other pages but it is ever so incremental. Anyway, I thought perhaps any sign of improvement would be encouraging news and thought I'd share.


5:18 am on Jul 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nope: [i.imgur.com...]

I don't see anything wrong with my site/links/anchor texts and I don't have any hope! Unless Google notifies me about the problem how can I fix it?

I have completed my first Kindle Book and will be submitting it to Amazon soon. Google is becoming total PITA and have destroyed my primary income source.


7:51 pm on Jul 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

The only thing I noticed (in my site) is that even when traffic went really down, CTR went up. Maybe G is playing with the traffic quality.

[drk.com.ar ]


11:53 am on Jul 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

^ Nice Find :) But still :(


12:02 pm on Jul 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member

I went through every backlink I could manually evaluate - removed any .info sites, nearly all directory sites (not ones I ever submitted to) and also disavowed all these spammy back links with anchors relating to branded fashion, created by someone in China, that go to 404 page anyway. About 1000 domains blocked in total. Not sure it will do any good, but there's nothing more I can do.
When I search for my original text, unless it's a relatively new page, I am literally at the very bottom of the results now, below the lowliest and scummiest looking scrapers. My pages are still indexed and I still hit number 1 or 2 for some keywords but google represents around 18% of my overall traffic, whereas before it was around 50-60%. It was rather cruel to find my site back where it used to be in May, only for it to be removed again around the 28th June.


1:51 pm on Jul 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

My site is linked from thousands of software directory sites from all over the world. Evaluating the quality of those links, specially when a lot of them are not in English or Spanish, is impossible. I can't afford paying to some SEO site because I don't make money out of my site. At the same time, the traffic loss doesn't change my economy.
What I'm doing right now is updating a software tool I made some time ago. This tool is a link checker initially thought as a mean for finding broken links. I'm thinking of adding a feature for crawling a website and finding all the pages linking to certain URL. This way I could source the tool with a domain linking to my site and have a list of pages where the link is. I think this would help but I'd like to hear what you think about it.
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