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And this is why you don't change your site setup willy-nilly ...

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by phpbuilt, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    One niche I'm heavily into is the sex toy niche. It was my first go at SEO a while back, and I've always got my eyes on whats going on with the main keywords for it.

    sex toys = 550k exact
    sex toy = 110k exact
    sextoy = 74k exact
    sextoys = 90500 exact

    This is a buying keyword ... a very big buying keyword. These keywords are extremely profitable.

    Anyways, the #1 website for sex toys for the last many months has been sextoy.com. They ranked #1 for all those terms -- around 850k exact.

    One thing that always irritated me about sextoy.com was they kept changing their layout (I'm an affiliate of their CNV.com, and I scraped their layout to keep my prices up to date on my own website, and whenever they changed their layout my scraper broke).

    So anyways ... they instituted another big layout changeup. In theory, their change is for the better (they put keywords in the URLs now), so their URL looks like this now ...

    Code:
    http://www.sextoy.com/Flirty-Little-Secret-Luminizing-Body-Butter-with-Pheremones-45/sku-CNVOUI-14577634?a=sextoycom
    Instead of this ...

    Code:
    http://www.sextoy.com/prod_info.php?pnum=CNVOUI-14577634
    And now? ...

    They went from #1 to #36 for "sex toys".
    They went from #1 to #104 for "sex toy".
    They went from #1 to #5 for "sextoy" (horray for EMD bonus).
    They went from #1 to #11 for "sextoys".

    Moral of the story? Changing your template can really screw you up. If they don't recover, I'd say this was a multi million dollar screwup.
     
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  2. chad362wiley

    chad362wiley Supreme Member

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    Yeah +1 for EMD's lol
     
  3. Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage BANNED BANNED

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    How long ago did they make the change?
    How long did it take to fall as you've reported it?

    Thanks for the bit about the scraper breaking everytime they changed the site. That unintentional bit of functionality would be a good thing to build into a scraper on purpose. Have it read the competition's site every day, and if the site (or even parts of the site) is "X" different, send report to boss.
     
  4. Kosher1

    Kosher1 Power Member

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    It's temporary. They will get back up.
     
  5. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Even if they come back, they're losing more money than they'll be gaining with the new site structure.

    Bottom line is ... yes keywords in URL are good, if you're making a new site then by all means make your permalinks have the keywords in them. But after your site is already established, you never change it. It goes bad more often than it goes good.

    I wouldn't want to be the guy who convinced that this layout change was a good thing right now lol.
     
  6. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    sex toys they are #4...?
    At least in the USA this is the case.
    Not sure why you think this sort of thing matters to google, but any SEOer who's done this for any amount of time can tell you:
    1) do not change permalinks once your pages are ranking (you should do postname from the start)
    2) do not drop content out of the homepage (you can add content or change it, but be careful if you change it)

    Me being the curious e-commerce person I am, I checked their backlink profiles,
    It's healthy, though hilariously non-diverse. They appear to be using a lot of ALN/AR type links in with likely little ground work around it, kind of funny (this is a very common strategy in very high end pharma markets, as are xrumer blastings)
    very low domain variety with very high total backlinks (I would consider a 5000 domain to 1.4 million backlink ratio to be just about as spammy as it comes)

    So naturally I checked their competition, as I assumed someone was probably ranking with far less work (but way more intelligence behind their strategies)

    And what do you know, https://www.majesticseo.com/reports/site-explorer/summary/www.withoutmeasure.com

    This is why SEO is so great, you have people who have probably spent a small fortune ranking, while a non-keyword site ranks too just by having a better strategy (a much better strategy from what I can see)

    Hilariously withoutmeasure only started ranking back in May! On a keyword as timeless as the internet.
    Amazing what domain diversity and backlinking your backlinks (and web 2.0 pyramids) does for your rank. These blognetwork heavy sites are going to be murdered soon in Panda 3.0

    Back in March of 2011 sextoy.com had 35k backlinks from 100 domains... absolutely hilarious.
    No wonder their site dances with a change.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  7. TripleBeamDreams

    TripleBeamDreams Junior Member

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    They will bounce back, I change design every other week, testing and tweaking. I drop in rankings for a couple of days then I bounce right back in the top 10 again. But sure, I bet that's a lot of money being lost every hour they are not ranking on top.
     
  8. Patel

    Patel Senior Member

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    Gotta doo it right the first time. Changing site structure/design is a good way to get your rankings to go haywire.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  9. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    Not sure about how much they're losing, this niche does google places in many many cities.
    If they were ranking ABOVE google places before, definitely a lot of cash, but amazon is the only one there now.
     
  10. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You're looking at sextoy.com right? (not sextoys.com) ... sextoys.com ranks #4 for me right now. The singular is ranking #36 right now on my arizona VPS, and not even in the top 150 from the philippines.
     
  11. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    My mistake! Way too many similar ones in this niche
    Correct they have dropped way off the map. With their backlinks I'm not sure if they will recover unlike people here are suggesting. I've seen, roughly a dozen sites in the last 3 weeks getting nailed in areas where my sites rank well (high dollar terms) because of using almost solely blog networks to rank.
    That appears to be sextoy.com's entire strategy.

    How fast did the site drop after the site changed? Was it within 24-48 hrs? or within 2 weeks? may just be coincidence and the site has been hit because of their blog network reliance.
     
  12. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I had to fix my plugin about 2 weeks ago. Guessing the new change was around 14 to 18 days ago. I don't know if they just now dropped off the map, they could have lost their rankings a week ago for all I know. Without a doubt, less than 2 weeks ago they were #1 on everything and had been consistently for some 5 to 6 months.
     
  13. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    Going to take a shot in the dark (if it dropped like a few days ago) it was unrelated.
    Or only partially related
    I've watched a lot of sites lose very long term rankings in some very high competition niches in the last 3 weeks due to relying almost solely on blog network links (or at least for >50% of their links)

    One site had ranked #1 for at least 3 years for a very high dollar term, and it disappeared below top 100, when I inspected its links, it had almost entirely used spammed out blog networks to keep boosting its ranks, at least for the last 3-4 months.
    I was able to track the networks to HighPRsociety/ALN/AR respectively based upon some of the domain names.
    Another site ranking #4 for well over 2 mths (100% blog network links with no backlinks to his backlinks, all poorly spun PLR content) had the same thing happen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  14. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Also keep in mind this domain is since 1995. That's a 17 year old domain. I'm 100% convinced myself that it was because of their layout change.
     
  15. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    Not denying it, but if doesn't recover I'm guessing its the backlink profile.
    Just look at it my friend!
    Pretty much horrible.... you're looking at a 280:1 domain to backlink ratio here...

    And over 90% high PR blogposts?
    I've never seen a site survive more than a few months of late with this kind of strategy in place.

    You and I know what works right now (at least I think you know :) )
    If not shoot me a PM (if you're not phpbuilt don't PM me about it)
     
  16. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yeah. I think what happened was they rocked the boat, and as such Google was forced to reevaluate their entire new setup to see if they still deserved their rankings, and they didn't.

    In other words ... the trigger was the massive layout change, but a bad backlink portfolio caused the reevaluation to crash and burn.

    I've seen this pattern before though, on a site-redsign of my own about 2 years ago that I never recovered from (and cost me thousands upon thousands) ... overall its a horrible idea to change your template.
     
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  17. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    I've seen people do this a lot (paid SEOers/SEO firms etc)
    They build their castle on a link that is effectively quick sand unless used correctly (blog networks)
    They see the huge increases, they start spamming out more of them as a result, they ignore social bookmarks, web 2.0s, wikis, pliggs, and even forum profiles (not great but good domain diversity)
    They don't build the tools to properly give their content a real semblance of a foundation (backlinking these pricey backlinks with really high quality stuff, web 2.0 bots that send out 10k/day+ etc)
    They ignore things like high PR ******** comments

    They get arrogant, change some crap around on their site, and it sends them into a backlink reevaluation... and all of the sudden they're crushed forever (eventually this would happen anyway of course)
     
  18. acotut

    acotut Elite Member

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    In less then a month,they will be just were they were before.It's something normal,and preatty basic in SEO if u ask me :)
     
  19. Expertpeon

    Expertpeon Elite Member

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    I'm going to bet that they're gone forever on this one... at least out of the top 10 on sex toys.

    About 5 sites on there have way way better strategies.
    Looking at their strategy and knowing how google is right now, I was surprised that site ranked at all...
     
  20. acotut

    acotut Elite Member

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    If the layout and link structure is the only thing they changed,they will rank back.It's logic,google pays attention to the content before layout or link structure when it's about first places(1st,2st,3th etc...),they are just experiencing some google dance.

    It happend a lot of times to some clients of mine,and this was the result.