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Troubleshooting "big Traffic Change For Top Url"


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36 replies to this topic

#16 Jill

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:04 PM

Is Google now substituting synonyms in search results?

 

Yes. They have been for quite awhile, in fact.



#17 squidjam

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:23 PM

Ugh. Kinda irritating. I guess so much for all the keyword research stuff the gurus have been teaching...to some degree.

 

Jill, I just noticed in Webmaster tools that there are 7000+ links coming in to my site from one website. That can't be good. Could this be the source of my loss in organic traffic?


Edited by squidjam, 05 September 2013 - 01:54 PM.


#18 squidjam

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:50 PM

So when I look at the info in Webmaster tools for this site that supposedly has 7000+ links coming in, Webmaster tools only reports one page on that site as having the 7000+ links.
 
It's not a spammy site. It's a Canadian women's magazine website.
 
I don't see but one link on that page. I don't get why Webmaster tools would be reporting 7000+ incoming links. The link isn't in a footer that's on all pages or a forum or anything like that.

Ideas?

Edited by squidjam, 05 September 2013 - 03:51 PM.


#19 qwerty

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:52 PM

You know the URL the site is supposedly linking to, so check the source code of some of their pages. If you don't find it there, it's possible the link has been removed (or I suppose even that WMT has hiccupped and the link was never there), so try checking your backlinks in a different tool, like ahrefs or Majestic.

 

[edit] I just noticed that you found one link on one page. I doubt very much that WMT is telling you you've got 7000 links coming from that one page. It's probably 7000 from that domain.


Edited by qwerty, 05 September 2013 - 05:54 PM.


#20 squidjam

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:33 AM

I don't need to check the source code of the pages of that site. There is one URL on that site that Google Webmasters (GW) is reporting to have a link to my site. I can clearly see the link to my site on that page.

 

GW looks like this:

 

Pages linked from      Total Links       Total Linked Pages

         othersite.com          7,059                    1

When you click on the domain name, GW gives you the URLs on the site it reports that link to your site. In this case, there is only one page on that site that it says links to my site.

 

So is this saying that there are 7,059 links to my site on that other domain?

 

And still, by original question and reason for starting this thread remains pretty much unanswered. There are no real answers. I'm trying to learn to be able to detect issues on my, or other, sites and it seems like it's not that easy. It could be something or it could just be nothing.


Edited by squidjam, 06 September 2013 - 08:43 AM.


#21 qwerty

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:35 AM

Yeah, based on what you've written, it seems like Webmaster Tools is saying that one page on that site is linking to your site 7059 times. And I think it's likely that unless that site has been hacked, that information is inaccurate.

 

Have you tried checking your backlinks with other tools as I suggested yesterday?

 

And in regards to your original question, there really isn't an answer. Over time, you get better at uncovering issues and determining how serious they are. There are tools that can be helpful, but nothing trumps experience, and even then, it's pretty common to find that you've got multiple issues to fix, but no obvious direct connection between one issue and one effect it's having on your traffic.



#22 squidjam

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:59 AM

Thanks qwerty. I think that info in Webmaster is weird and wrong. I appreciate your comments as well about there not really being an answer. The more I try to learn about all the SEO stuff the more I feel like it's just a best guess scenario. Sure there are some things that I can say definitely not to do. But there are so many changes happening right now. And then there's the problem of who to believe and what to believe... So many self-appointed experts.

 

I don't have a subscription to hrefs so I get very limited info. I hadn't used Majestic before and didn't know you could use their free version for sites you own. I verified my domains by linking it to Webmaster.

 

When I look at the backlinks in Majestic, that domain name only comes up once and it's only that one page, not over 7000.

 

I honestly don't see any weird links. There are thousands from one questionable domain, for instance. There aren't a bunch of links from russian sites...I'm just looking for anything that would look weird and I don't see anything. I didn't think I would but you never know. I've never paid anyone to do any funky backlinking for me.

 

Like Jill said...probably not something I've done wrong. But here are the only two things I can come up with:

 

1. Sometime in mid to late July, I did a 301 redirect on the page on my site that received the bulk of the traffic (I'm talking well over 80%). The original URL looked like

 

sitename.com/faq/widget-features/name-of-the-article

 

The category "faq" in that URL only had five articles in it and I wanted to consolidate things. Didn't really need that faq category as "widget-features" was the only child category in it, so I moved all articles to the category "widget-features" and deleted the "faq" category, so that the new URL is

 

sitename.com/widget-features/name-of-the-article

 

The 301 redirect is working correctly. I've checked it myself several times. Would the 301 affect SERP and organic traffic anyway? I'm really tempted to just recreate that category and make the URL what it was before. It doesn't make any sense to me but I'm still tempted.

 

2. That same page that gets the bulk of the traffic is an article I used from the Ezine Articles article directory. It's been on the site for over 5 years. Don't know if it would suddenly be looked upon as a negative. I've thought about just rewriting that post in my own words and eliminating the "about the author" info at the bottom and the links that go to the author's site and ezine articles.

 

Could someone please give me their opinion on these two issues? That would be super duper fantastic! ;)

 

I feel like I'm getting somewhere....just not sure where.  lol


Edited by squidjam, 06 September 2013 - 12:00 PM.


#23 qwerty

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 12:53 PM

I can't imagine that dropping three letters and a slash from a URL could be harmful in any way, unless you had been getting search traffic that involved the inurl operator in the query. If anyone's out there searching [widget features inurl:faq] they're certainly in the minority. If the 301 is functioning properly, I don't think that's the source of your trouble. But just to be on the safe side, did you update your internal linking to that page, or are you still linking to the old URL and letting the redirect kick in? Google says they're fine with that (as long as you don't create a chain of redirects), but Bing isn't, and neither am I. I think (but can't prove) that any internal link that doesn't get a 200 response is a signal that you're not keeping a clean house.

 

But the fact that this isn't original content could certainly make a difference. Try selecting some random text from the article, opening an incognito window and searching on that text, both with and without quotation marks. Does your version come up first? Does it come up at all?



#24 squidjam

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:25 PM

I can't imagine that changing the location (and hence the URL) of that page could have such a negative effect either, especially since the 301 redirect is in place and working.

 

My internal linking to that page looks fine as recategorizing takes care of it as far as WordPress is concerned. I have a few pages that link to it, and I need to correct those URLs so that they have the corrected URL and not the old one. Thanks for that!

 

I've done a search of one paragraph of text from that article in an incognito window and my site does not show up. Several sites have used the same article and NOT credited the source at all. Arrrrgh! So they're publishing it as if it were theirs. Ah, the Internet.

 

I'm trying to find a tool that will show me all the internal links on my site easily. Webmaster has a tool and I've found it pretty good but not perfect.

 

Thanks bunches qwerty. I'm always open to suggestions :)



#25 qwerty

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 02:40 PM

I've done a search of one paragraph of text from that article in an incognito window and my site does not show up. Several sites have used the same article and NOT credited the source at all. Arrrrgh! So they're publishing it as if it were theirs. Ah, the Internet.

It's not so much a matter of you being hurt because other people using the article are claiming it as their own while you credit the actual author. It's probably that Google has determined which copy of the article is the one they should treat as canonical, based on where it was published first, where the author says that s/he contributes content, where the most sites are linking to it, etc.

 

I think it's time for you to come up with your own unique, original article that can serve to replace the copied one.



#26 squidjam

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 03:37 PM

Yes, I just mentioned that others were using it without crediting it as an aside. Not surprising that people just lift content whereever they want...

 

I have thought for awhile that I wanted to rewrite and replace that article. It could use some improvement and in face I did rewrite it months ago with the idea of replacing it. I need to look at my rewrite again, tweak it and go for it.



#27 squidjam

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 05:47 PM

Just wanted to update this thread for the heck of it. Hope it's helpful in some way.
 
I rewrote the article on my site almost a month ago.
 
My traffic situation has not changed. Compared to the same period last year, my traffic is down 90-95%.  Heck, compared to just 2 months ago it's down
that much.
 
I'm getting some weird and questionable results in Analytics, though, when I look at search queries this year compared to last. It's showing ZERO queries for every keyword during the same period last year. That makes no sense at all.
 
About those backlinks in Webmaster Tools:
I've looked at my backlinks in Ahrefs and it's reporting 1,300 backlinks to my site.
 
However, in Webmaster Tools, it's now reporting a total of 12,053 backlinks, with a whopping 9,147 coming from that one site! But like I say, when I click on the name of the website it's reporting all these links from, it only shows ONE page. When I look at that page, there's only one link to my site. When I download all the links from within Webmaster Tools, there's only one link from that site in the list.
 
I've been following nichepursuits.com for awhile and he's reporting a situation where someone has built a bunch of backlinks to his site and that negatively affected his site. I guess this can really happen?
 
Which makes me wonder about three things:
1. Should I use the disavow tool on the (supposed) links from this one site? I've heard various things about the disavow tool. Not sure it is even valid. The website that the link is on is a Canadian magazine website. It's legit.
 
2. Almost exactly a month before I saw this dramatic decrease in traffic, I had received an email from someone who wanted to buy my website. He seemed legit and I was cautious. I didn't want to sell unless I got a decent price. He assured me he was serious, seemed normal, had an actual face connected to his email account. He wanted stats on the site which I finally agreed to give him. He wasn't willing to buy for anywhere close to reasonable. Just wondering about that...
 
3. I just noticed recently that my domain name, with the word "the," exists. It was registered two years ago. So I have "greatwebsite.com" and someone else has "thegreatwebsite.com." I suppose this isn't unusual. Can you do anything about that? It's not really copyright infringement I guess. They don't even have a live site going yet, just a huge, horribly pixelated graphic up with what the site is supposedly going to look like and a video in the middle that auto plays with a woman saying the site is coming soon.

Edited by Jill, 09 October 2013 - 07:27 AM.


#28 chrishirst

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:34 AM

I'm getting some weird and questionable results in Analytics, though, when I look at search queries this year compared to last. It's showing ZERO queries for every keyword during the same period last year. That makes no sense at all.

 

It's for the same reason(s) as in the last post in this thread >>> http://www.highranki...verviewkeyword/



#29 squidjam

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:12 AM

I never thought about the fact that all Google traffic is now not provided would remove all queries info from data from last year.

 

Why wouldn't I still see at least the queries from other search engines and other sources instead of zero?



#30 Jill

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 05:42 PM

I never thought about the fact that all Google traffic is now not provided would remove all queries info from data from last year.

 

It wouldn't. Something else weird must be going on. Did you used to see this information.






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