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What kind of Google algorithmic change burned my rank so fast?

6:35 pm on Mar 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 11, 2015
votes: 0

Hello, I'm the owner of a growing download website: [removed url]

In August 2014, I decided to make all my possible to make the website as SE friendly and user friendly as possible, here are the changes I made:
- Completely new design and content
- Url rewriting
- No follow attribute on auto-generated pages
- A minimum of textual content
- A really fast and mobile friendly website
- No ads on follow pages
- A little backlinking strategy (soft)
- A flawless html (meta tags, titles, alts, etc)

Then the website started to grow, I started from 10k uniques/day in August 2014 to reach 45k uniques/day on January 2015, my rankings on very competitive search queries like [popular shorttail download phrases] (and I'm only talking about english keywords) were really high ("[shorttail keyword]" -> 2nd position just after the famous [competing website])


A crazy thing happened on 10/02/2015, I realized on Google Analytics that my "new visitors" percentage was slowly decreasing, then I saw my ranking dropping, all this happened slowly, like 0.1 position less each day.

At the beginning I though it was normal after christmas but it continued to decrease and today when I'm writing this, I lost like 35% of my trafic and rankings and it's still decreasing!

So, for a little recap:
FROM 01/15 to 03/15
-35% trafic
-2 to -6 points to ANY query I was ranked on (nothing is increasing the whole 5000 search queries ranks are decreasing)
-50% click rate on Google's impressions/click rate system
impressions rate stay unchanged

What am I doing wrong?
If something has changed, how can I get back my rankings ?

I read somewhere that my growth was probably due to the fresh new content I put online in August and that it will be normal for the site to get a pushback some months after but I'm pretty sure there's something wrong that I can improve because the ranking loss is so hard that I doubt it is a simple normal pushback.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your help, please don't judge my website, I know a lot of people are hating this kind of tools but it's just the only project that worked for me.

Little note: I know the website is poor in terms of textual content but it's the case of any concurrent website for these search queries.

Réda Allali from France.

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 2:42 am (utc) on Mar 12, 2015]
[edit reason] edits in [brackets], please avoid specifics as per the terms of service. Thanks! [/edit]

12:18 am on Mar 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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

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votes: 335

You say a crazy thing happened on February 10 and later you say you thought it was normal after Christmas and then you mention January 2015. I am confused. When did traffic specifically from Google organic start to drop? What was the rate of decrease?

What have you done to your site to improve its SEO since the work done in August?
12:31 am on Mar 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Mar 11, 2015
votes: 0

Thanks for your reply, organic search traffic started to drop on 10th February and is still dropping, I lost like 35% traffic from organic searches from February to March. I made no additional change since August, maybe my english expression is bad so sorry for the confusion.
10:21 am on Mar 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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

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SEO is something that needs to be regularly nurtured. It is not something that you can do once and expect great traffic for eternity. You should start a full SEO review of your website. Look at analytics to find which pages had traffic and have lost the traffic. Then manually review their content. Look at your backlinks. Have any of the backlinks been deleted? Start to develop new backlinks that also generate traffic so you will be less dependent on Google.
3:06 pm on Mar 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User from GB 

joined:Feb 27, 2015
posts: 27
votes: 1

There may be another option here; Google may simply not like your website.

Without knowing the url it's going to be guesswork but that kind of decline suggests that Google is finding that your content is either not sufficiently unique or indeed copied. If you are a download site what is it that differentiates you from everyone else and why should people visit you instead of the [competing website]? How exactly are you different? Is your downloadable content legitimate? Clearly there are lots of reasons why this might be happening, these are just some guesses.

The bottom line is that if the decline is on Google alone and you are still ranking on Yahoo and Bing then as goodroi suggests I'd be doing a comprehensive review. Something somewhere is probably wrong.
7:55 pm on Mar 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The problem with software sites is that all uses the same description, from the PAD files.

Same problems with e-commerce sites.

Duplicate content on thousand of sites, malware all over, toolbars etc.

Google is crunching your pages and is discovering that the content is duplicate.
4:32 am on Mar 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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

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Agree with goodroi. You likely fluked your way to the result you had e.g. fresh crawl and now you are dropping back to where you should be.

The fact that you started with 10K then to 50K for 2 months and only lost about 15K means you are still 2X or 3X above where you started.

That's impressive RIO for an amateur.

Saying there is a problem with MORE than what you had isn't a problem.
7:47 pm on Mar 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Mar 11, 2015
votes: 0

Thanks you for all your answers I'm happy that it was only related no fresh content since I earned like 15k more active users each days visiting [removed sitename] only via direct url, problem of websites like mine is that content can't be refreshed too often, I'll focus on my backlinking.
If you have any advice to give or something strange you noticed on my website, please tell it to me. Thanks for all.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:11 pm (utc) on Mar 17, 2015]
[edit reason] Removed specific site name [/edit]

3:00 pm on Mar 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 20, 2005
votes: 0

red flags:
"Url rewriting"
"A little backlinking strategy (soft) "
"A minimum of textual content"
6:35 pm on Mar 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 14, 2008
votes: 4

OP - I have no good feedback for you. Just letting you know that we also noticed an issue with Google organic traffic since the first-second week of February. We think it could have been a duplicate content issue since we launched a co.uk website that was identical to our .com domain (even using hreflang as suggested). We've since 301 redirect to .com and we've begin to see the decline slow down.

There is chatter of some unknown algo change in February.