You know I find “My Google traffic dropped all of a sudden - I didn’t change anything - I did nothing wrong” threads fascinating. Especially posted with URLs on non-widgetized boards. Sometimes I submit an opinion, although the questioners usually don’t like my replies, but more often I just investigate the case for educational purposes.
Abstracting a fair amount of tanked sites I’d like to share a few of my head notes respectively theses as food for thoughts. I’ve tried to put these as generalized as possible, so please don’t blame me for the lack of a detailed explanation.
- Reviews and descriptions ordered by product category, product line, or other groupings of similar products, tend to rephrase each other semantically, that is in form and content. Be careful when it comes to money making areas like travel or real estate. Stress unique selling points, non-shared attributes or utilizations, localize properly and make sure reviews respectively descriptions don’t get spread in-full internally on crawlable pages as well as externally.
- Huge clusters of property/characteristic/feature lists under analogical headings, even unstructured, may raise a flag when the amount of applicable attributes is finite and values are rather similar with just few of them totally different respectively expressions of trite localization.
- The lack of non-commercial outgoing links on pages plastered with ads of any kind, or pages at the very buttom of the internal linking hierarchy, may raise a flag. Nofollow’ing, redirecting or iFraming affiliate/commercial links doesn’t prevent from breeding artificial page profiles. Adding unrelated internal links to the navigation doesn’t help. Adding Wikipedia links in masses doesn’t help. Providing unique textual content and linking to authorities within the content does help.
- Strong and steep hierarchical internal/navigational linkage without relevant crosslinks and topical between-the-levels linkage looks artificial, especially when the site in question lacks deep links. Look at the ratio of home page links vs. deep links to interior pages. Rethink the information architecture and structuring.
Take that as call for antithesis or just stuff for thoughts. And keep in mind that although there might be no recent structural/major/SEO/… on-site changes, perhaps Google just changed her judgement on the ancient stuff ranking forever, and/or has just changed the ability of existing inbound links to pass weight. Nothing’s set in stone. Not even rankings.
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