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Strange Drop In Google Rankings


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10 replies to this topic

#1 greggb

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:17 PM

Hi all. A site of mine that's coming up on two years old suddenly dropped way of the SERPs at google today. This after having its best day ever (by far... traffic has risen by over 50% in the last few days) yesterday, thanks to google.

It's an incredibly spam-free website, very little advertising, all original content, and I do nothing even close to black-hat. It has good metrics... very low bounce rate, high time/visit and pageviews/visit. It has the best metrics of any site of mine.

It doesn't have a huge number of backlinks, but it has enough that I don't think this is related to a change in backlinks.

There are no technical problems at the site - I have errors emailed to me from my server hourly and it hasn't had any problems.

A "site:www.mysite.com" query turns up the same number of pages as it has for a long time.

I don't get a huge majority of traffic from any specific keywords. I get a lot of traffic from long-tail searches. But now it's only turning up in a few long-tail searches, and there pretty low.

Any ideas as to what might be happening? A few of my other sites are doing better than ever now, so it seems odd that this one has dropped.

Thanks!
Gregg



#2 Jill

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:23 AM

Typically these things are just glitches. Since it just happened I'd suggest to just give it a few days to see if your traffic levels off again (I'm assuming you lost traffic not just rankings?)

#3 greggb

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:28 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 28 2010, 05:23 AM) View Post
Typically these things are just glitches. Since it just happened I'd suggest to just give it a few days to see if your traffic levels off again (I'm assuming you lost traffic not just rankings?)


Thanks for the response Jill. And yeah, I've lost most of my google traffic. I checked again this morning and google still shows the same number of indexed pages it's had for a while. I'm not showing up anywhere on SERPs though. So I'll just wait and see what happens.

Thanks again,
Gregg

#4 Jill

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:06 PM

Do you show up for your company name and longtail searches?

Have you done any potentially shady link building lately?

#5 greggb

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:14 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 28 2010, 10:06 AM) View Post
Do you show up for your company name and longtail searches?

Have you done any potentially shady link building lately?


I come up for a search for my company name, and a few obscure longtail keywords now. Where before I'd come up for a few more major terms and a ton of longtail terms.

I haven't really done any linkbuilding lately, and when I linkbuild I don't take any chances at doing things that could get me in trouble. Now I do have a directory on the site where people can list their businesses. It's possible that my directory has a link or two to sites that might be doing shady things, SEO-wise.

I'm still showing about 5500 indexed pages in google. I might go ahead and set it up with google webmaster tools if things don't return to normal in a day or two.

And again, this came after a huge boost in rankings that lasted for about 3 days.

Thanks,
Gregg


#6 Jill

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:38 PM

QUOTE
Now I do have a directory on the site where people can list their businesses. It's possible that my directory has a link or two to sites that might be doing shady things, SEO-wise.


I would highly suspect that this might be the problem.

You may wish to get rid of that directory. Does it serve a purpose on your site? Is it providing value to your visitors?

#7 MaryKrysia

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:00 PM

QUOTE
Now I do have a directory on the site where people can list their businesses. It's possible that my directory has a link or two to sites that might be doing shady things, SEO-wise.


A directory like this is very dangerous and leaves you open to the potential of linking out to a site that has been identified by Google as "not to be trusted." This happened to me and it took a year after removing the link to earn back Google's trust.

I would get rid of the directory immediately.

whitehat.gif

#8 greggb

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for the advice, and it sounds like you both agree.

The listings in the directory have actually all been hand-picked by me or someone helping me, with the exception of those that have been added by users, which are all approved before being published. Not to say a few of those couldn't be bad...

These people aren't linking back to us, so this shouldn't look like a link exchange in any way. I've always figured google was smart enough to spot a directory. I run across a lot of small directories like mine on sites with good rankings.

And the plot thickens. I just did a site:www.mysite.com and see that Google is showing 7700 indexed pages (up from 5500). Rankings are still pretty low.

Should I be so quick to take my entire directory down? We really have put a lot of work into it, and it's setup to be a good resource. I used to get google traffic right to it in longtail searches. The descriptions are even hand-written.

BTW, this isn't a site for my business. It's a membership site that I advertise a few affiliate products in, in case that makes any difference.

Thanks again for the thoughts,
Gregg

#9 MaryKrysia

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:47 PM

Because of my own bad experience with a web site changing from web hosting to email harvesting during the few years my site was linking out to it, I would say to ether review each outgoing link in your directory and take a close look at the sites you are linking out to or remove the directory.

Frequently monitoring the outbound links on your directory sounds like something to consider if you care about your site's rankings and want to keep the directory.

#10 greggb

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:12 PM

QUOTE(MaryKrysia @ Jul 28 2010, 05:47 PM) View Post
Because of my own bad experience with a web site changing from web hosting to email harvesting during the few years my site was linking out to it, I would say to ether review each outgoing link in your directory and take a close look at the sites you are linking out to or remove the directory.

Frequently monitoring the outbound links on your directory sounds like something to consider if you care about your site's rankings and want to keep the directory.


More and more people are telling me the directory is bad news. Though I'm fairly certain all of the sites on it are clean. And you figure... any site that has or is a directory has to have the same problem in linking to bad sites. I bet dmoz has even linked to a few bad sites before.

I setup google webmaster tools and found out that googlebot has crawled as many as 3000 of my pages in a single day in the last few days. Google started crawling my site like crazy, adding pages to its index, giving me some nice traffic, then it totally dumped me. I guess it found a new friend or something.

Anyhow, thanks for the comments.

#11 Jill

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:08 AM

Don't be too quick to take down the directory if it's something you've worked hard on and is not something that just anyone can add a site to.

It's too soon to say that that's what the problem is.

But do review each site and remove any that now seem to be spammy.




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