Matt has me on the balls - Super Strange SERP Behaviour

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by subster, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. subster

    subster Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Apr 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Hey Guys,

    today I will publically ask for help. I already asked a few BHW members per PM within the last months, but this problem is simply to strange and my guess is, that there is no solution for it.

    Project stats:

    - eCommerce since 2009
    - 5.865 indexed pages, should have some authority
    - has industry links, from the big brands of the items selling on the site
    - Keywords have not much competition, but high demand
    - bilingual site
    - 75% unique content / 25% copied produt descriptions

    Okay, the problem first:
    - Traffic/Visibility drop since summer 2012


    - since then almost all keywords with traffic on it maximum top20
    - Keywords are constantly (really since 1-2 years! not just a dance) bouncing all over the place. Even keywords which are not so interesting, and we never built 1 single link to it.
    Here some screener for this constant strang behaviour. I track with two trackers, all report almost the same, with a small shift.

    Here are two patterns of bounces i experience ALL the time with this site:



    History & Background:

    2008 we started with an OSCommerce ? shop .
    2009 First Link building campaigns with social bookmarks, directories, blog comments and usual stuff in that time
    2010 Web 2s and blog networks followed in small amounts
    2011 same but with a few more blog networks
    2012 switched to web2 and only unique content to surround the contextual links.

    The big drop you see on the visibility screener (first screenshot in this post) 24th of june 2012. The day we changed the shop script from an
    OSCommerce to a XTCommerce Fork. ALL product urls have changed.
    +I redirected (if I talk from redirects I always mean proper 301?s ).
    As we had about 5K live products to this date the .htaccess file would have been bloated to the max if I?d redirected url by url.

    What I did instead was redirects in this manner:

    RewriteRule ^direct/product/url-410? [R=301,L]

    This way all old urls inside a category will be redirected to its main categories new url - I think you understand the snippet above.

    2013: still heavy bounces and bad rankings. Link building campaigns from unique content only, nothing seems to work.

    Many keywords drop 200 spots, kick back upwards but only 150 spots, then drop again 300 and so on...

    Why I don't think it is the redirect alone:
    New brands we took into sortiment, are ranked pretty bad from the start often too and if not drops are kicking in after some time. All thus, with pretty easy keywords.

    They are all pretty low volume'd - and it should be no problem to rank them all on first page (we have a very targeted niche, so they are still good)

    Well, after looking again into GWT 4 month ago I found over 4K 404's - I clearly thought this would be the reason for the drops as the user experience must be bad with that much 404s.
    So I built more and more redirects and now GWT shows only about 800 404's, however the rankings still bouncing wild. More than 1 time I cleared all 404's to 0, but Google pulls fresh out of its ass again and again.

    We used different link building techniques, mainly web2's, social sites, tiered stuff but always with unique content from tier 1 since some time. The product pages are MAINLY unique. There was a pretty hefty year where we were forced to copy due to the relation between new products and employees. So there is copied content on site, however we tried to have it online + indexed first in our industry and working succesivley to get rid of it.

    Interesting sidenote: The has an corporate blog under its own domain with 400 articles, all unique, articles often longer than 2k words. It had around 300 to 400 visits per day. I thought - okay fresh unique niche content will help the site so I integrated the wordspress blog into the shops design and ran it under the shops domain, instead of its own old. Redirected the blogs domain to where you can find the blog now. Visibility boosted up again. For about 3 months. Now the blog has just 20 visitors per day also.

    This project is so flawed and I really could need a helping hand. I corrected 404s, had experts take a look on the link profile and disavowed what they told me to disavow, we rewrite all the duplicate product descriptions one by another, fill content-weak sites with better content, but nothing changes.

    I am eager to hear your advices, what would you do? Who would you hire? I even would hire people, if I'd know they are not that sneaky snakeoil salesagents again. I wrote the people I know and trust on BHW and asked for help, but even they passed on this.

    Let your postings come! I am desperate with this...
  2. lancis

    lancis Elite Member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Milky Way
    Home Page:
    The only way to understand is to eliminate:

    Onsite checklist:
    - Are there repeated titles/descriptions for different pages?
    - Does the content match whats stated in the title/description?
    - Is the URL structure simple?
    - Are there internal backlinks that cross link the entire website?
    - Terms & conditions, privacy policy, about, sitemap, contact pages present?

    - Who are your visitors, what are their resolutions, can they navigate the site easily? For example, if you get mobile traffic, and your design is intended for 1024px wide screens - there is a problem, they going to bounce. For example, if they are males, and you push female products, they are going to bounce. Etc.

    - Are you a brand or yet another website on the Internet? I.e. how much traffic do you get from people who search your "site name"?
    - If less than 70% of your visitors are coming for keywords that are not related to your brand specifically, there is a problem - you depend too much on Google.

    Offsite SEO:
    - Are you better than your competition?
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  3. subster

    subster Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Apr 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Thanks Lancis,
    This basic stuff has been already checked.
    Only thing is that the design is not responsive until now.

    The shop itself is an often searched brand - it gets a good % of its traffic by searches of the shopname. Visitors come only from really related keywords.

    For offsite seo: There are others with better backlinks, but fewer. Quality still matters it seems ;)
    Being not better than the every competitor would be no reason for this crazy bounces.

    Thank you for your time and help!