Adding content DROPPED our rankings?!

24 replies
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Hi all,
I am working on a big project with a client and we added a ton of new content to our site... about 500 genuinely really good, useful, unique, authoritative articles to 500 pages which were previously very thin.

We were expecting to see the articles bring not just traffic to those pages but increase our authority and rankings overall.

Instead our overall rankings have gone DOWN since we added the content. How can this be?
#adding #content #dropped #rankings
  • Profile picture of the author expmrb
    Are you sure that these new articles are unqiue and not copied from other sites?
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny0204
    It really seem to me like your content may not be as unique as you thought..., and Google has penalized your website for it.

    Have your checked the Unique percent yet?
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  • Profile picture of the author DanSharp
    I am quite sure they're unique... I have plugged sentences from them into Google and nothing comes up besides our site... how do I check the "Unique percent" ?
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  • Profile picture of the author DanSharp
    I should have been more clear on how I know they're unique: I've spot-checked many articles and pages using both Copyscape and plugging sentences into Google, and there's never been any hint of trouble.

    Additionally, many of these the articles are simply so niche, with such specific requirements, that it would have been very hard for our writers to find anything to plagiarize... they were often required (just by the nature of the job) to get information from forums and the like.

    I have handled many jobs where it was basically a question of telling the writer, "go on EZA and find something to rewrite." This was NOT one of those jobs!
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  • Profile picture of the author rjames90
    please check your content by copyscape before it upload to website
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  • Profile picture of the author GlobexWeb
    I think You Pasted alot of content and alot of links inside those links ... and google thought that you are just a spammer ... and they decrease your athority..... ITs my point of view ....

    If you have all original content then that may be the problem .....
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    • Profile picture of the author TrafficFlow
      The only other explanation is that your site is doing the Google dance and will bounce back up. Next time add the content gradually rather than at one time. Otherwise it may look unnatural to Google.
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      • Profile picture of the author justinmkunst
        I agree with Traffic Flow, almost any time I make major site changes or add links my pages seem to drop in rank before they go up. Some times it takes a week or two for it to restore, I would be patient. When did you add the content?

        If the content is unique and on topic, you shold have no problem by my book.
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  • Profile picture of the author TechnoExponent
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    • Profile picture of the author DanSharp
      Thanks, the ranking drop occurred in February/March so algorithm changes may have been part of it.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by DanSharp View Post

        Thanks, the ranking drop occurred in February/March so algorithm changes may have been part of it.
        You added/edited 500 pages of the site.

        No offense, but unless the ranking drop happened before you made those changes, I am going to bet it was more likely something that you did than something Google did.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Unique content doesn't really matter as much as people think it does.

    Someone from Screaming Frog recently took Google's SEO Starter Guide, posted it on their own site, and then ranked the page in the top 5 for "search engine optimization". They outranked Google with Google's own content.

    Any speculation as to why your rankings dropped is just that. Speculation.

    With adding that much content at once, my best guess is one of two things. First, Google is trying to make sense of it all and decide where to rank you. They probably did not crawl and index it all on the first visit. That is one possibility.

    The more likely possibility is that you changed your internal linking structure on the site with adding a rearranging so much content.

    Links are the #1 ranking factor. Content's importance in ranking is way, way below links. So if you screwed up the link structure, it won't matter how much "better" you made the content of the site. You are likely going to lose rankings.

    For some reason people are still over emphasizing the importance of content when every bit of evidence points to it not being that strong of a ranking factor.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    Originally Posted by DanSharp View Post

    Hi all,
    I am working on a big project with a client and we added a ton of new content to our site... about 500 genuinely really good, useful, unique, authoritative articles to 500 pages which were previously very thin.

    We were expecting to see the articles bring not just traffic to those pages but increase our authority and rankings overall.

    Instead our overall rankings have gone DOWN since we added the content. How can this be?


    Odds are you've confused Google by overhauling 500 pages all at once.

    When you change a webpage you have to wait for Google to reindex and preferably recache the page, that's your proof Google knows about the updated page/s.

    Keep in mind Google will only index/reindex about a dozen pages per domain at a time. So... If your old pages were slow at indexing/reindexing then it's going to take weeks/months before Google cycles through 500 pages... and then they have to recalculate the SERP positions for both you and your competition.

    SEO is a slow process, don't get in a hurry.
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    • Profile picture of the author SpeedVerb
      I'm definitely in agreement with you on this. Patience is key. Dan, give Google time to reclassify and index your site appropriately. Nothing happens overnight.
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi DanSharp,

    As MikeFriedman pointed out, we can only speculate as to why your rankings dropped.

    Here are a few things to consider:

    More Content - More content does not equal better content. If the content you added does not add to the utility value of a page it can cause that page's ranking to go down. This is commonly seen when adding fluff content to a website.

    Trust - Trust is a big factor in Google's ranking algorithm and trust is earned over time. If the content of a page changes significantly then the Trust factor for that page will reset. It is often better to not significantly change content that is ranking well as it may reset the Trust factor for the page.

    Typically, a better approach is to add new content on new pages rather than add content to an existing page. Nothing wrong in changing a pages content if that page does not rank well, but if it already ranks well you are likely to lose that ranking by adding content to the page. So, consider whether your changes are really improving the content before making them, especially if you like where the page currently ranks.

    Quality - Google's Quality algorithm will score a page for a number of qualitative factors. When adding content you are increasing the potential number of sources of quality issues, if the number of quality issues exceed a threshold it will cause a penalty that can effect the ranking of all the pages of your website. There are a lot of potential quality issues to consider, including spelling errors, grammar errors, excessive use of passive voice, complex expressions, run-on sentences, layout issues, etc. You should find and fix every quality issue in your content before posting it.

    Utility Value - The utility value of your content plays a significant role in the ranking of your content. If the new content is perceived by Users/Google to have less utility value then it will not rank as well. Makes sure that your content is adding real utility value from the perspective of people that are searching for the terms that you are trying to rank well on. mere increasing the volume of your content does not necessarily increase the utility value of your content. Eliminate the fluff and add useful stuff that makes people want to save, copy, bookmark, talk about, and share your content.


    HTH,

    Don Burk
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  • Profile picture of the author Jessica Harden
    If you have added 500 pages of content with in the short duration i.e. one after another. Than Google might have considered it as spam.

    Also if maximum of the content shared is not original and quality content than yes because of duplicate content issue, you might have came across with the drop instead of increase in traffic and ranking.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by Jessica Harden View Post

      If you have added 500 pages of content with in the short duration i.e. one after another. Than Google might have considered it as spam.

      Also if maximum of the content shared is not original and quality content than yes because of duplicate content issue, you might have came across with the drop instead of increase in traffic and ranking.
      You could add 5,000 pages in a single day. Google doesn't look at that as spam. They don't care.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

        You could add 5,000 pages in a single day. Google doesn't look at that as spam. They don't care.
        It's the 500 slap.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jessica Harden
        Yes, you can add 5,000 pages but than it is considered as one of the Black Hat Seo technique.

        In White Hat SEO, if you keep adding such a huge number of pages on daily basis, than it can backfire website.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I tend to agree with what some have said. It's not necessarily the quality of your articles. It's the fact that you have simply gone ZAP...TA DA!!! 500 articles on the site. in one hit. or in a very short time.
    Maybe you need to remove a lot of them and then drip feed them back in.
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  • Profile picture of the author contomlon
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