Lost all my rankings over night - any idea what happened there?

by dkt91
23 replies
  • SEO
  • |
Hey guys,

I am fairly new to the IM game but feel that I have been making some good progress lately.

Anyway, yesterday something really odd happened. My best site, a lawn mower review site lost basically all of its traffic literally over night. All my visitors came from about 80 different long tail keywords with five of them being responsible for 80% of the traffic.

From constant 60 - 90 daily visitors over a period if three weeks, first down to 12, then down to 3.

The point is that I have not the slightest idea what this could have been caused by.
  • I have not done any backlinking yet so it is utterly impossible that Google has penalized me for a too aggressive strategy.
  • I have written some real quality content that is actually helpful to people.
  • Bounce rate and average time spent on my site look absolutely acceptable, too.
  • I have not made any changes to the website
I do understand that some ups and down are totally normal when it comes to traffic but such a drastic drop over night looks really odd to me. My site is still indexed, I have checked that already.


Is it possible that all this has to do with the fact that my site is quite new still? It is about one month old now.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this issue will be received with a smile! Thanks in advance, guys.

#happened #idea #lost #night #rankings
  • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
    Google is still updating their system so hang in there. In the meantime if you feel you have done nothing wrong then head over to the form Matt Cutts has supplied and let him take a look at it. The next few weeks are just refining everything and removing false positives like yours. It's easier to remove false positives than to remove bad eggs.

    The easiest way to think about the changes Google are making is a simple filter. If you had 1000 websites in a spreadsheet and you wanted to delete the sites with the words "payday loans" in the url then you would hit control + F (find and replace) and delete the entry, this is a simple filter. Google can run this in pretty much real time with an algo, filtering or collecting the information the bots crawl then refreshing the index or updating it almost instantly.

    Google are most likley looking at website characteristics then running them through the database to find other websites that match these characteristics, there may be many characteristics and many innocent websites caught up in this mess, so it takes a collaborative effort to put things right, just complain and wait...
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  • Profile picture of the author dp40oz
    You could have been hit by an onpage content penalty or Panda. A lot of penalties come from when too much of the content across your domain is very similar. Even if its unique, if its all scything the same sort of thing your best bet is to combine similar topics into big more authoritative pages rather then different pages for tons of similar long tails.
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  • Profile picture of the author dkt91
    Thanks, guys!

    I really don't think that I have done anything wrong there so I'd say (and kind of hope) that my site is a "false positive".

    My site is about lawn mowers and I have not created that many pages at all - it is more like dp40oz suggested. Overall, my site has just 6 pages (including Home) and each of them is presenting a different type of lawn mower, including an overview of the best models of the year, tables with technical details and comparisons of the winning models, etc. - 700 words+ quality content there. Plus a bunch of posts with in-depth reviews about specific lawn mowers. But those have not really accounted for any significant traffic numbers.
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    • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
      [QUOTE=dkt91;6226619]each of them is presenting a different type of lawn mower[QUOTE]

      Panda doesn't have an issue with "different types" it's when they are the same it becomes an issue. For example you could have pages about;

      flymo model1, best price flymo model1, where to buy flymo model1?, compare flymo model1 prices

      This is the issue above but if you have diffent pages around different makes or models then you should be ok.

      flymo model1, flymo model2, other lawnmower2, etc
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  • Profile picture of the author dkt91
    The posts are all named like:

    LawnMowerModel1 Test
    LawnMowerModel2 Test
    LawnMowerModel3 Test

    And the pages are named like:

    Electric Lawn Mowers Test
    Hand Lawn Mowers Test
    ...

    Consequently there shouldn't be any problem, should there? It is just really odd because it literally happened overnight without me changing anything and it did not even occure on the day they launched Penguin Update.
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  • Profile picture of the author developerholic
    I too have been affected of the google penguin update over the last weeks. Im thinking of redesigning my site and re-evaluating my contents. Some posts has low post word count/
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    • Profile picture of the author dmtaylor247
      I would make the urls look a little less keyword optimized.

      As for the pages this could be an issue, since your site is tightly focused it could be hard for you to put them on different categories or tags i.e;

      Tests
      Reviews
      News
      Specs
      Models

      They would all be like mentioned "keyword test", "keyword review" etc not a good idea, but you could just break the categories down into "make" and then have posts under them;

      make1
      -model1
      -model2
      -model3

      and then possibly find clever ways to tag them like by best price,

      Best price
      -model1
      -model4
      -model2

      or best performance, most popular (sales) <== consumers generally like to follow the crowd and buy whatever everyone else thinks is good, so building a comparision style structure is probably the best way to go.. and use editors picks and best rating to reinforce confidence.

      I would have 1 post for each "model" and everything on it, specs, reviews, overview, description, pros and cons bullet points, conclusion and user reviews. Then categorized into "make" categories, then tagged with the above (best rating, best performer, best price, most popular, editors pick) depending on how good they are and then sorted with some sort of category sorting plugin thingy..
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  • Profile picture of the author Chronic IM
    Hello!

    Google is doing some serious updating lately. You just have to wait and be patient. In the meantime, you can add updates and write-ups to your site so more visitors would check out your site. You can Redesign and update it while you wait.

    Best of Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author freeson
    I think may be your competitor doing some negative SEO to your website such as sending thousand of spammy backlinks to your website and .. then Google penalized your website.
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    • Profile picture of the author marcp
      Originally Posted by freeson View Post

      I think may be your competitor doing some negative SEO to your website such as sending thousand of spammy backlinks to your website and .. then Google penalized your website.
      Hi I found a PDF you wrote about back linking strategy. Is it still effective with the newupdate?
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  • Profile picture of the author developerholic
    Now I just checked up my rankings and it is back I did some major rewrites to my short articles. I plan to do the same thing on my other articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author minisite
    If your website is new then its dancing. It is usually referred to as G00gl5 dance. New websites also tend to get sandbox, meaning that new websites will get good serp when it is first launched and then the search engine sandbox it for at least three months. The best way to remedy this problem is to keep adding new and quality contents as often as possible.
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    • Profile picture of the author thewolfpf
      Originally Posted by minisite View Post

      If your website is new then its dancing. It is usually referred to as G00gl5 dance. New websites also tend to get sandbox, meaning that new websites will get good serp when it is first launched and then the search engine sandbox it for at least three months. The best way to remedy this problem is to keep adding new and quality contents as often as possible.
      Doesn't make sense that new sites get good serp and then ranked within the next three month. If that was the case some companies and people would buy new domains all the time instead of focusing on real SEO.

      It may have been in the past but Google always said that they rank sites based on content besides it's well known that websites that have been registered for a longer time frame are looked at with more respect then new sites that may be set up just to spam people.

      At least that is my understanding unless I misunderstood something you were referring to.
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  • Profile picture of the author dkt91
    Thanks for the help guys. So I guess I'll just lean back for a while now and see what happens. Add some new content, probably start linkbuilding. Maybe that way it will move its way up again soon. I will post in this thread if I find out anything that could be helpful for other members.
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    • Profile picture of the author zannix
      That was just a dance. You'll be seeing a lot of that until your site is at least 6 months old
      Signature
      All you can do is all you can do - Art Williams
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  • Profile picture of the author minisite
    Definitely add new and unique contents so that G00gle wills start loving your website. And keep us updated on your website and let us know if anything drastic on your search results has changed.
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  • Profile picture of the author rizoalbert
    Keep doing SEO.Your site will be back soon.
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  • Profile picture of the author dkt91
    Starting to believe that the reason why I lost those rankings is that my pages lost their "freshness" if anything like that is possible.

    Reasons:

    1.) I built the complete site post-Penguin and I have not set any backlinks yet so I cannot be penalized for bad backlinking practices (did not receive any negative SEO either). Furthermore the drop in rankings just happened over night but there wasn't any major update taking place that day/night.

    2.) Articles I published more recently are still ranking kind of well. In fact, one article about a certain product is now ranking at the top of page 2 in Google for a keyword that I had one of my main pages rank for on the top of page 1 before. This main page, however, has fallen back quite a bit (page 6 right now). The article that is ranking on page 2 now is related to the keyword it is one page 2 for now but not as much as the page is that used to be one page 1.

    So that's kind of my guess for now. We will see how this story goes on.
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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by dkt91 View Post

      Starting to believe that the reason why I lost those rankings is that my pages lost their "freshness" if anything like that is possible.

      Reasons:

      1.) I built the complete site post-Penguin and I have not set any backlinks yet so I cannot be penalized for bad backlinking practices (did not receive any negative SEO either). Furthermore the drop in rankings just happened over night but there wasn't any major update taking place that day/night.

      2.) Articles I published more recently are still ranking kind of well. In fact, one article about a certain product is now ranking at the top of page 2 in Google for a keyword that I had one of my main pages rank for on the top of page 1 before. This main page, however, has fallen back quite a bit (page 6 right now). The article that is ranking on page 2 now is related to the keyword it is one page 2 for now but not as much as the page is that used to be one page 1.

      So that's kind of my guess for now. We will see how this story goes on.
      Have you ruled out server/hosting issues? Maybe a mistaken rewrite rule. Double check everything technically.
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      • Profile picture of the author dkt91
        Originally Posted by mosthost View Post

        Have you ruled out server/hosting issues? Maybe a mistaken rewrite rule. Double check everything technically.
        Yeah, definitly ruled out now (unfortunately).

        Other than that, unfortunately now changes yet. Site gets about 1-4 visitors per day now as opposed to over 90 before it suddenly dropped. I am adding new content from time to time but so far nothing has happened.

        Will let you know if anything happens!
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  • Profile picture of the author mrhamzie
    Its down to google update
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  • Profile picture of the author dkt91
    The site is getting back slowly, at least it has been for the last two days. Between when the traffic drop occured and the day before yesterday my site had about 0-4 visitors every day. Yesterday, however, it got 24 and today it has received 34 visitors and the day is not over yet. So this is definitely a good sign that the site is getting back on its feet.

    What I did:

    * Add some fresh content (not much though, 2 - 3 posts)
    * Reduce keyword density slightly
    * Moderate link building
    * Wait

    Will keep you updated and thanks - your support has been invaluable!
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  • Profile picture of the author nasuryono
    It's possible that your site is in the Google Sandbox, since it is fairly new.
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