Google giving competitor 10x more traffic, why?!

23 replies
  • SEO
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Good morning guru's.

I am somewhat puzzled by Google, aren't we all at some point?

To give you an idea of the setup, the websites are probably best described as similar to DeviantArt.

One of my competitors is receiving a massive 250,000 visits per day from Google, vs our 25,000. That in itself is kind of depressing.

I have a feeling something is fundamentally wrong, I'll go in to that in a moment.

We have 12million indexed pages, vs their 280,000. They have as many pages, but for whatever reason, Google doesn't index as many of theirs. They don't use no index or robots.txt to prevent indexation of pages. Considering we have a massive amount more pages indexed, I'd figure we'd get more traffic.

Another competitor, who buys about 1,000 new links per day, has 20million pages indexed and is receiving 650,000 visitors a day!

Anyway, back to the site in question, they have about 20% more links than we do, but IMO, we have higher quality links.

A little irrelevant but our domain is PR5, vs their PR4.

They have FAR more ads than we do. Actually, we have a max of one per page. They have closer to 10.

Here are a few theories, as to what could be holding us back.

1. We use a CMS that was originally a forum, but it's been massively developed to become so much more. However in the code, there are a significant number of references to the forum software. Could this be leading Google to believe all of my pages are forum pages?

2. In a bid to aid user experience, each page has a sentence of dynamic text, describing the content on the page. There are a handful of php variables, relevant to the page and content. Whereas the competitor(s) don't bother with any text. Is this text actually harming the pages?

Any other ideas? It's quite depressing. Especially as we spend our time building the best possible site, whereas our competitor does very little, other than buy wads of links. Their website is disgusting and spammy.
#10x #competitor #giving #google #traffic
  • Profile picture of the author cagliostro
    How do you know the traffic of your competitor ? You guess or what ?
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  • Profile picture of the author realmaverick
    No. I know their admin, I've seen their analytics screenshots and all of the other indicators suggest so too. Top 7k Alexa etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author julien731
    12 million pages ? And there's no DC in it ? I would be surprised. Anyway, it's not the number of pages that counts, but the quality of SEO. If their optimizations are better and they get more inlinks, that makes sense. But one thing you didn't talk about: you showed the visits per day, but how much visitors come from search engines ? If They get half of their visitors by referals or direct trafic, it's not an SEO issue.
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  • Profile picture of the author realmaverick
    Around 70% of both websites traffic is coming from Google.

    No duplicate content. We have 2 million members.

    Their optimisations are all very similar to mine. With the exception of the small "excerpt" we have on each page.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    You list a lot of stuff, PR, indexed pages, links per day....but you left out the most important thing:

    How is YOUR site ranking in Google, and how is HIS site ranking in Google? What keywords drive traffic to what site?

    The easiest explanation is simply that his site is likely ranking better in Google than yours for whatever keyword(s).

    Especially as we spend our time building the best possible site, whereas our competitor does very little, other than buy wads of links. Their website is disgusting and spammy.
    There is a reason people do SEO, whether it's "bought" links or not. You can have the best site, without proper and ONGOING SEO you wont go anywhere.

    You would need to start there and probably NOT focus on your on-site factors, "better CMS", PHP lalala...it's all irrelevant. He simply does better/more off-site SEO...
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  • Profile picture of the author Cyber Rankings
    What is your on-page SEO like.

    The most common reason for this is that they are targetting more keyword per page. A lot of people when creating a new post or page will simply go after the top 10 keywords.

    When i create a new page on any of my websites i spend around 2-3 hours creating a list of around 500 keywords to go after. This usually means that one page can end up ranking for 2k-3k long tail keywords.

    If you have majesticSEO just through their site into the keyword checker and see what anchor texts they are using. Next you want to compare this to what anchor texts you are using (when creating links) it's very likely they are targetting a lot more.

    Also are their posts longer than yours? Obviously the more content you have on one page the easyier it is to rank for more keywords which again could be a key factor.
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  • Profile picture of the author realmaverick
    For the keywords I've checked, I almost always rank higher. Though occasionally they outrank me. It's mainly the long tail traffic, that gives the sites their traffic. The users artwork.

    On page SEO is good. Targeted titles, h1. H1 varies compared to the title, to give a more natural appearance.

    Target 500 keywords per page? Both sites have very little textual content. Ours have more, but I have a feeling its the dynamic text, that maybe harming us?

    The competitor has next to no text at all, other than <h1> and text in links.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cyber Rankings
      Originally Posted by realmaverick View Post

      For the keywords I've checked, I almost always rank higher. Though occasionally they outrank me. It's mainly the long tail traffic, that gives the sites their traffic. The users artwork.

      On page SEO is good. Targeted titles, h1. H1 varies compared to the title, to give a more natural appearance.

      Target 500 keywords per page? Both sites have very little textual content. Ours have more, but I have a feeling its the dynamic text, that maybe harming us?

      The competitor has next to no text at all, other than <h1> and text in links.
      I would suggest putting more text on your website but with millions of pages it's no really an option.

      You see when you have a lot of text on a page with just a few backlinks you will find your still be ranking for a lot of long tail keywords without really trying. It's hard to give a more indepth suggestion without reviewing both yours and your competitors site properly.
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    • Profile picture of the author pdrs
      Originally Posted by realmaverick View Post

      It's mainly the long tail traffic, that gives the sites their traffic. The users artwork.
      Could it be possible that they have some more popular Artists than you guys?

      Keep in mind that Google doesn't "give" traffic to anyone - they just display results from their index based on what you searched for, the user goes where they want based on a few factors but it's mainly: Have they been there before or an eyegrabbing/useful TITLE

      If the competing site in question has a better/catchier Title/Meta/even URL or quite possibly they have artists that are in more demand your not going to get that traffic even if you do out rank them.

      On sites of this size return traffic through Google is always a big factor as well as many people will go searching for something they were on previously or go looking for more artwork/content from a specific user.
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  • Profile picture of the author realmaverick
    Also are their posts longer than yours? Obviously the more content you have on one page the easyier it is to rank for more keywords which again could be a key factor.
    Just want to reiterate that they have no text content. Not really, 99% image based most of the text is in the form of links to more of their content. The same is true for all of the websites in our niche. As I say, I did add a paragraph of text to each page, using php variables relevant to the page. It's my concern, that this is what's hurting me. Anybody have any views on this?
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  • Profile picture of the author realmaverick
    There is a blog, that obviously has text content, as does they forum. But surprisingly they aren't the traffic drivers, nor are they the sections that gain links.
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    Realisation: 10% of the members on WF, are making money from the other 90%.
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  • It doesn't matter how great you think your site is... clearly the only thing that matters is what Google thinks about your site.

    If you really believe it's your CMS then it's time to pull the plug on it. Get your site on a different platform, port everything over, go live and live with the results.

    The Net is not about YOU, it's about THEM, it's not about what you DID YESTERDAY, it's about what you do TOMMORROW and if your competitor is kicking your butt... that's your fault.

    Alexa is pure SH__. It's useless.

    Good luck.

    "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten" - George Carlin
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      • Profile picture of the author retsek
        Originally Posted by Europe Classifieds View Post

        Changing a CMS platform on a big/established website is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention that technically can't be done (very hard).
        a disaster only if you don't know what you're doing.

        I've went from custom/obscure CMS to Wordpress and plain ole HTML to Wordpress several times, in all cases rankings only improved.
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          • Profile picture of the author retsek
            Originally Posted by Europe Classifieds View Post

            Really ? Apparently you have no idea what you are talking about.

            For example Try to move from a DotNetNuke NET Cms to something else, with 1000s blog posts, 10000s forum posts etc etc. Can't be done. We are not talking about a 100 pages website in this thread.

            cheers
            If you couldn't do it in one instance, you can't generalize and say it's impossible to change CMS on established websites and do it without adverse SEO effects. That's just wrong. (and ignorant).

            And btw, I am speaking from experience dealing with national newspapers whose sites and blogs total in the tens of thousands of posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author retsek
    Obviously they rank for longer tail keywords which you do not even know about or aren't targeting. If you have access to the Analytics, then you'll see that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
    Well Google do treat forums differently to a normal website or blog. They know what a forum should rank for and what it shouldn't. They've spent years ensuring they're serving the correct content to the end user. So if your site is recognized as a forum by them and it's not really a search where Google believe a forum should rank, then the non-forum/more useful (in the eyes of Google) will rank.

    You've also got that many pages but yet is it unique content?

    Also who is newest into the niche? As you've said 'your competitors', I guess they're doing the exact same niche/thing as you?
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  • Profile picture of the author lovboa
    Banned
    Maybe this is just a true testament why mini 5 page niche sites can outrank larger, older sites- Backlinking.
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    • Profile picture of the author MaverickUK
      Originally Posted by lovboa View Post

      Maybe this is just a true testament why mini 5 page niche sites can outrank larger, older sites- Backlinking.
      And how did you come to that co conclusion may I ask?
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      • Profile picture of the author lovboa
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MaverickUK View Post

        And how did you come to that co conclusion may I ask?
        Originally Posted by realmaverick View Post

        Especially as we spend our time building the best possible site, whereas our competitor does very little, other than buy wads of links. Their website is disgusting and spammy.
        Because this is how I feel when I do a search for information on Google only to see a poor-quality made-for-adsense site sitting at the top spot.
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  • Profile picture of the author FraserC
    Is it possible that the fresh content algorithm was very relevant for your niche? That has apparently affected 30% of queries, but it made a huge impact in specific niches, like sports and news.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    Originally Posted by realmaverick View Post

    Anyway, back to the site in question, they have about 20% more links than we do, but IMO, we have higher quality links.

    A little irrelevant but our domain is PR5, vs their PR4.

    1. We use a CMS that was originally a forum, but it's been massively developed to become so much more. However in the code, there are a significant number of references to the forum software. Could this be leading Google to believe all of my pages are forum pages?

    2. In a bid to aid user experience, each page has a sentence of dynamic text, describing the content on the page. There are a handful of php variables, relevant to the page and content. Whereas the competitor(s) don't bother with any text. Is this text actually harming the pages?
    20% more links to where? Are we talking about to the homepage only? So? What about those thousands of other pages?

    PR 5 compare to PR 4 on the homepage only....so what? what about the other thousands and thousands of pages?

    1. Could be...except the Warrior Forum posts rank highly on a very consistent basis, as do other forum posts depending on the phrase, competition, etc..

    2. Are the variables valid for all visitors including bots?
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  • Profile picture of the author webdevpro
    Are you sure they are not using paid advertisement? Or what is the bounce rate of you site compared to theirs as this factor also impacts the organic traffic besides the quality of the contents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kauzmo
    My guess is they are getting traffic because their images are ranking. A properly named and tagged image can do wonders for traffic.

    I have an adsense site that I am working to rank. It is no where near page one but it is still generating traffic because of properly formatted images. My site may not be on page one but my images are.

    Your competitor maybe driving traffic with ranked images.

    Of course I could be insane too!
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