I've had a website for almost two months and traffic had been rising overall but today I've seen the traffic has dropped massively at about 1AM UK time:
Search impressions: http://imgur.com/1JUO8 (The final date in the graph is the 8th Dec)
It's a coupon website but I've been strictly following Google's guidelines on affiliate sites including being wary of keyword stuffing and the like.
Anyone know why this has would have happened and what I can do?
You're looking at a partial day. Your first graph goes up to today, the 11th, so that dropoff is because that day has only been able to accumulate one hour's worth of traffic so far.
Sorry i should have been clear. That screenshot was taken at about 4PM UK time. 97%+ of my traffic comes from the UK.
I really wouldn't worry about this - at least, not yet. The sudden drop in your traffic does look dramatic, but there could be all kinds of reasons for that - even something as simple as the server being down for a while. You've got to take a longer term view when looking at your traffic.
Also, be aware that most sites rank relatively well in Google in their first couple of months, and then often lose ranking quickly. That's simply because fresh content generally scores over pages that have been around for a while, and a new site is, by definition, completely fresh.
As for your second graph -the own showing impressions and clicks in Google, that really doesn't say anything. The fluctuations look perfectly normal.
I suggest you monitor your traffic over the next week, and only start worrying if it is still way down at the end of that time.
After taking a quick peek at your sit, I wouldn't have a clue what keywords your site would rank for. Check out Google analytics and see where your traffic comes from.
Google have recently updated their main algorithms, and one thing that is now weighted a lot more, is the balance between sitename, headlines, pagetitle and keywords. It can take anywhere between minutes and months before your site gets re-indexed, so there can be quite a lag between the algorithm update and shift in ranking.
This is my traffic over the last few days, scary!
It's possible I've been hit by a recent Top of the Fold Update? http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4521883.htm
I have 300x250 ad in the top right hand corner and on most pages there was one text link ad link appearing above the fold.
The comments on the above link I mention state that most sites wont recover from google algo changes. Would you say that's accurate?
@Miki I really find that Search impressions hard to understand, what wouldyou say about this more updated one (if anything)...
Predicting whether or not sites will recover from anything is rather nonsensical because nobody knows how algorithms will be changed.
Bearing in mind that 1024 is more or less accepted as "standard" width, a 300 pixel wide ad is substantial and clearly no contribution to the informative value of the page and therefore quite reasonable to be seen as a reducing factor for your serp ranking.
I doubt Google are going to reverse that opinion, and quite rightly so.
That does make a lot of sense. First thing I've done is remove that ad (and the text ad).
It certainly makes sense to remove the above-the-fold ad on a trial basis, but I doubt if that one signal would be enough to cause the big drop in impressions that you saw. (By the way, keep in mind that "above the fold" doesn't just refer to advertising; it covers anything other than the main content of the page.)
However, I still maintain that it's too early to draw any conclusions. You're looking at figures for a very short time span. You really need to wait a few days to see if this is a one-off problem or the start of a trend.
OK, I'm going to resist the urge to do anything to the site for a week now. I'll continue to update content as I have been and carry on regardless.
Yes, that's the best plan. Review the situation in a week's time, and let us know how things stand.
It's now just over a week since the drop in google traffic and this is what happened:
- My traffic peaked on Monday Dec 10th then plummeted (as per the original image and first post)
- All of a sudden it increased 3 fold on Wednesday Dec 19th!
- The traffic dropped again on Thu Dec 20th :/ (It's only slightly better than pre-Dec 20th due to the final bit of google traffic between midnight Dec 19th and 3am Dec 20th).
I'm more stumped than before as to what is happening. Please let me know if you need any more info or graphs.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Cybergen, this really just proves what I was saying all along. These sort of spikes and dips are perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about. There's really no point in looking at individual day's figures. It's the trends that are important. Do you have any data from December 2011 that you can compare these figures with?
For what it's worth, I also saw a spike around the 18 - 19th December, but in only one of my sites. Like yours, it was a three-fold increase. Now it's below what it was before. And my other sites are all slightly down on last month, with no spikes in sight. But I'm not trying to draw any conclusions from any of that.
Mikl, you are clearly a more calm man than I am! I'll keep you updated as I go.
I only started the site in November so don't have much more to go.
Being a control-freak, it's just a little frustrating to not know where I stand success wise but I'll have to learn to with it!
Ha. It's not often anyone says I'm calm. Thanks for that.
Do check back with us in a few weeks time to let us know how things are going.
There are many sites competing with you in your niche, so, do not expect to be on top always. Just focus on white-hat SEO strategies and extend your marketing tactics to other forms like PPC. PPM and so on.
Such rapid changes are usually the effect of non-stable rankings because of bad content, which ranks change a lot when Google updates the calculation algorithm.
I second that, or the search engine working out your new backlink profile, which would also be unstable given the duration of being live.
What type of industry are you in? Be vague if you have to, but I would add to the conversation that you could be seeing a seasonal shift in search behavior. I have a site that saw a similar shift last month, but it was due to the main keywords being seasonally driven - looking at the clicks line that was far less volatile in the downward shift than the impressions tab.
In the screen you put up, was that for overall rankings or a specific keyword? I'd be interested to see if it was a shift in one keyword that did this. In one of the other screens there's a keyword that shows as generating 12,000 impressions, with the next one at 4,500. If you control for this single keyword how does the graph look?
cybergen, What's the scale of that graph? I don't see it anywhere. If the peak is 15 unique visitors or 1500 unique visitors, that would make a huge difference in the seriousness of these changes and if it can be attributed to normal traffic fluctuations.
If I was you, I'd be checking to see where the traffic is coming from on the peak days. Is it all organic search traffic or do you have some other kind of advertising, email blasts, twitter traffic, etc.?