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  1. #1
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    Google just died...
    ...on me!

    Hi All,

    I have my sight on my own domain. All of my traffic is organic (no paid ads) and around 80-90% comes directly from Google.

    Since February 20th (3 days) I noticed around 90% drop in hits coming from Google - I was shocked to see that.

    Background:
    1. I am a white hat kinda' guy - I attempt no tricks what so ever in order to amplify the amount of visitors coming from Google. All I do is write, what I believe to be, good content.
    2. I use 2 types of scripts in order to track my statistics: Google & Histats.
    3. I use two different (JavaScript) scripts in order to generate heat maps. One script is Seevolution I added two weeks ago. - Could any tracking script be the problem?

    What I find strange is that I still get few hits from Google but from certain pages (that are older on my site). Others simply seem like Google don't list them anymore?

    Did anyone ever experience such a drop of visitors coming from Google?
    What Could be the cause for that?
    Any Idea how I could investigate more? - any clues or tips on how to fix it?

    I am grateful about any ideas regarding that subject.
    Many thanks!
    J

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Do you have a Google Webmasters Tools account? If you do, you can go there and see what's going on usually.

    If your site is new, there is often a "honeymoon" period when your site is flying high in the serps, this gets adjusted down within a few weeks and the effort to regain your former high position is your next step in learning. A lot of help can be found on Google's site: Webmaster Guidelines - Webmaster Tools Help

  3. #3
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    It's not the right period to check your traffic. The week-end before Presidents' Day is always slow, Monday is a day off, Tuesday, people are recovering from their 3 days vacation. Wait of few days before making any drastic changes.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    superCool had something like this happen a couple months ago and it happened again to a different site last week. it hurts doesn't it?

    these sites have a few thousand datafeed pages and on each site a few hundred pages had recently gone away. the pages are named the same as the feed product name, and when the products were removed from the feeds or renamed, the old pages went away. all the old links automatically go away too... at least on the live pages, although the cached versions will still link to the dead pages.

    The first time this happened superCool was not sending a 404 response for the dead pages. He was showing a not found page with some adsense and search results for the desired keywords. Got some advice here and read on google help that you should send a 404 response. That may or may not have fixed the problem, but the site was back up in a matter of days.

    The site that fell off last week was the opposite. It sends 404 responses when the page is gone and about 450 404s have piled up so far this year (as seen in webmaster tools). Now superCool hears that google doesn't like getting 404s, even though google says that's the right thing to do.

    So superCool is going to work on his sites to prevent 404 issues. That seems to be what's causing most of superCool's problems (but who knows?).

    You should figure out exactly when the problem hit and then work back from there to see what you had done to your site in the days and weeks before. superCool found 3 changes he had made and reviewed them all for potential backlash from google. Seems like the 404s are the most likely cause for superCool. Either that or google is just messing with people to scare them into cleaning up their sites.

    Anybody got any other thoughts? Is superCool full of it?

    Good luck OP person. Hope you get it sorted out quickly. The site that was hit first is back on top and stronger than ever, so that's a good sign that your site can come back quickly.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    not enough info.

    Content - your own, spin offs, rss, or paid writers?

    Just recently beginning of this year they are looking more at quality unique content.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    Do you have a Google Webmasters Tools account? If you do, you can go there and see what's going on usually.

    If your site is new, there is often a "honeymoon" period when your site is flying high in the serps, this gets adjusted down within a few weeks and the effort to regain your former high position is your next step in learning. A lot of help can be found on Google's site: Webmaster Guidelines - Webmaster Tools Help
    Thank you 2busy,

    The site exists since May 2010 so it is not really new, so I don't think this is the issue. Why didn't I think of the Webmaster Tools?... Thanks again!

    I get sporadic 404 errors but one can really count then on two hands - nothing too bad. Even that I don't really understand why I get them.

    I use WordPress... hmmm... maybe if I update a page and someone tries to access it exactly in the moment I guess he/she would get a 404 - what do you think?

    I see there is a message section in the Webmaster Tool site but I have no message from Google there.

    I will keep on searching a reason...

    Never thought about Google as god before...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    It's not the right period to check your traffic. The week-end before Presidents' Day is always slow, Monday is a day off, Tuesday, people are recovering from their 3 days vacation. Wait of few days before making any drastic changes.
    Oh mighty Zeus :-)

    I didn't know about those vacation days, as I don't live in the US. And indeed the US is my main traffic source. Thank you for the tip. On the first day I noticed low traffic I thought - must be a glitch in the system, but this is already the third day.

    I just looked at the 3 last days of statistics from the angle of visitors location - seems like searches from the US did significantly drop in the last 3 days. UK is now leading on the "charts".

    Do you experience some similar drop in traffic from the US as well?

  8. #8
    15 years and counting
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    100% of my traffic is organic (90% US).
    I've live monitoring of my stats and I saw a big drop in traffic starting Saturday. It's getting back to normal slowly. Today is fine.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    superCool had something like this happen a couple months ago and it happened again to a different site last week...
    superCool... You ARE simply super cool. I like your writing style. As mentioned I also got few 404s.

    How does Google react to a 404? Does it instantly delete the cached page/ranking?

    I think I have an idea regarding: "Now superCool hears that Google doesn't like getting 404s, even though Google says that's the right thing to do..."

    Google prefers that you send out a 404 so it knows the actual state of the page, I guess they do it like that so they know they can "clean" such pages out of their cache. If you redirect to a default page they would probably cache that page too - which is not that interesting to visitors.

    So Google like the 404s AND will clear it out of the cache if they find any

    This is just an idea...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladidah View Post
    not enough info.

    Content - your own, spin offs, rss, or paid writers?

    Just recently beginning of this year they are looking more at quality unique content.
    Hi ladidah,

    The content is all mine. No spin offs. I have RSS feeds on my site as I use wordPress. No paid writers.

    Could it be that Google banned my site? - I can hardly believe it but I can't explain what is going on here.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justPlugIn View Post
    I think I have an idea regarding: "Now superCool hears that Google doesn't like getting 404s, even though Google says that's the right thing to do..."

    Google prefers that you send out a 404 so it knows the actual state of the page, I guess they do it like that so they know they can "clean" such pages out of their cache. If you redirect to a default page they would probably cache that page too - which is not that interesting to visitors.

    So Google like the 404s AND will clear it out of the cache if they find any
    This is just an idea...
    That's what superCool thinks makes sense too. Get it out of the index and move along. It really seems a stretch that 404s are causing these problems for superCool when there are lots of sites with many more. It's probably just a coincidence.... twice. Don't know what else superCool could have done to upset the master.

    Oh well, it won't hurt anything to put together a better solution for missing pages.

    good luck with your traffic!

  12. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    The Google rolled out an algorithm change at the end of January / beginning of February - it's going to take a few weeks of roller coaster action for many affiliate websites. Read on multiple sites that they really targeted affiliate sites this time around.

    Had several sites take a big dip in traffic AND in the SERPS the last couple of weeks.

    Ah, the Google Dance continues...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    100% of my traffic is organic (90% US).
    I've live monitoring of my stats and I saw a big drop in traffic starting Saturday. It's getting back to normal slowly. Today is fine.
    I am just wondering is that possible to monitor each day’s traffic from Google? I have learned that server may take some time chunk to refresh things and store it in database.

  14. #14
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    I've a dedicated screen with all my stats for all my sites coming from my servers logs. I know in real time my traffic, searches... what my visitors are doing or looking for...
    I can tell you that Google is getting crazy right now. Google bots activity is 4/5 times what it should be on a normal day for my sites. Must be related to their last algo change.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    It is hard to tell what is going on. There are sooo many factors and changes going on.

    As of yesterday after I posted here, I experienced a change in rankings too last night. Been stable for the longest time and now dropped 5 spots for my main site and been sitting there for about a year. Then it fluctuates from page 1 to page 2. I also see in WMT lots of crawl activity in feb.

    One of the new things that G has done is rewriting of my titles. I can see that they have injected my main keywords into some main theme pages, which I thought would give me a boost in rankings for those keywords but it seemed to have done the opposite.

    Google Changing Page Titles & Descriptions Google SEO News and Discussion forum at WebmasterWorld

  16. #16
    Member bestweblover08's Avatar
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    It happens only in case of seasonal sites. I have an Indian festival base site. During the month of May to July I get more than 3k visitors per month but just after that month my number of visitors are dropped to 1k or may be less than that.
    It can also happen due to not updating your site regularly. I don't think using any kind of java scripts can cause this type of problem and yes you should use Google webmaster tool to analyze what really is happening.

  17. #17
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    I also noticed that the single split-test I am running at the moment simply stopped working. I don't mean that it was deleted but I get no hits to it anymore.

    Can a Google split test have caused all the trouble? I doubt it but still I stand powerless before this sad change to my site's statistics.

    I will say it again: my content is home-made and with-loved-brewed plus I never tried any Jedi mind tricks on Google so I think it is not likely that I got slapped by it.

    Two days ago my site showed signs of recovery as the statistics went back to show hits on pages that "were gone" from Google for 4 days. But my rejoice was premature as now it went back to the old figures - I get very little hits from Google.

    Have a nice weekend :-)
    J

  18. #18
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    Going back in time, my hits from search engines (mainly Google) were as follows:

    2.20.2011-3.1.2011: 26%
    2.11.2011-2.19.2011: 59% (the time period directly before the "big fall").
    2.2.2011-2.10.2011: 64%

    How bad will it get?
    How long will it last?

  19. #19
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Gotta tell ya folks .....

    My main site has really seen (Good Lawdy, I hope I don't jinx myself ) a tremendous increase in hits in the last week or so.....

    Today was the best day I've see in a while.....

    Could be that Goog loves me or the fact that I have been adding new content on current events,

    Dunno!

    But the good thing is that the unique visitor count is up by a couple of thousand a day and I don't take that lightly.. I work for it.

    I've been arguing with people for years here about the copy and paste content site crud and now I am finally being proven right....

    You can't exist in the internet marketing field if you don't love what you do..

    That gives you motivation to CREATE content that people will want to find...

    Then you create user wanted / needed affiliate programs around those pages....
    Last edited by RemodelingGuy; March 1st, 2011 at 06:08 AM.

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
    StartRemodeling.com .... MySprinklerGuy.com .... MyGarageGuy.com ....
    We're Bettering YOUR Life by Improving Where YOU Live It ...
    Do What You LOVE & LOVE What You Do! ....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RemodelingGuy View Post
    Gotta tell ya folks .....
    My main site has really seen (Good Lawdy, I hope I don't jinx myself ) a tremendous increase in hits in the last week or so.....
    Today was the best day I've see in a while.....
    Could be that Goog loves me or the fact that I have been adding new content on current events,
    Dunno!
    Congrats,
    Don't you feel better to be back above all these crappy article spinning sites? That's one of the first Google updates I really like.

  21. #21
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    I welcome the recent Google change as well - in life you get no free meels (at least not for long time).

    The thing is: every piece of text I ever wrote on the Internet is 100% original. And still I got squished by Google.

    It still goes up and down but I start to get a bit worried about the final outcome. On the other hand everyone claims that original content will win so I have a pinch or hope...

    What if someone copied my content? - Will we both get the slap? Does Google check for the first source of content?

  22. #22
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    With each Google update you have collateral damages. It's unfortunate. At least this one was not targeting directly affiliate marketing.
    "What if someone copied my content? - Will we both get the slap? Does Google check for the first source of content?"
    You have several discussions about this subject at Webmaster World. Nobody knows if Google is able to recognize the original content.

  23. #23
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    Technically it is not that hard to keep track of the original content.

    Google knows exactly when it first saw a certain piece of text and on which page + domain it was.

    *With their ultra sophisticated algorithms, Google should be able to detect similar pieces of content AND putting all this effort into conveying truly "good" content they must also be interested in what is original and what is only a poor copy.

    --------------------------------
    *this is only my opinion...

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