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My Site Rankings Plummeted Last Year and I Don't Know Why

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by mooseboy, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. mooseboy

    mooseboy Newbie

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    I've had a site for five years that I really only began doing SEM for in the summer of 2011. I signed up to directories in my same niche (about 30) and wrote some articles (about 5) and submitted those to the top article sites. My onsite SEO is/was real good. After doing this I never ranked real high in anything but I ranked high enough to get a few leads off the site a month, which is good considering what the site is for. But then last year around August or September I stopped getting leads. I was busy with other stuff so I didn't look into it until November when I noticed on my analytics account that the traffic went way down and I pretty much vanished in SERP with 10 keywords that I always was on page 1 - 3 with. The only thing I could think of being the problem was some links I bought for real cheap early last year. But the more I read the posts here, it doesn't sound like 200 would really raise a red flag. I also didn't get any notice from Google.

    One thing that I had done and am still doing is I have about 8 pages that are virtually the same but have different file names, meta info, h1 and h2 tags, and about 10 differently named anchor links going throughout the site. This was to target specific cities in my area. So the only thing that changes is the name of the city, but it's done throughout the page at all levels. I've noticed many of my competitors doing the same thing and they rank high.

    Could this page duplication be the problem or could it be those 200 bad links I bought? Or all those niche directories which now Google doesn't like?
     
  2. Ptrick125

    Ptrick125 Regular Member

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    Is it possible that your competitors bought a bunch of links?
     
  3. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    Mooseboy,

    You might want to take a look at your backlink profile and see what links are actually pointing at your site. If you can see that the onsite stuff is fine, you have to look elsewhere. As ptrick mentions, it is possible that someone could be pointing bad links at your site in an effort to get ahead of you in SERP's. Have you also considered that maybe other websites are simply out ranking you for the same keywords?

    Here is an interesting post on how links cause ranking changes,

    http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2170399/7-Ways-Links-Cause-Search-Rank-Changes

    Best,

    Shawn
     
  4. mooseboy

    mooseboy Newbie

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    I did a check on my backlinks and they all looked good. But it seems that not all the backlinks are showing up in the reports because I can go to a site where I clearly see my backlink and it is supposed to be a ******** link, but it doesn't show on the report. All my Ezine article links aren't showing either, nor is my Squidoo lens that I did about a year ago. So I'm wondering if other links aren't showing either that are possibly hurting my site.
     
  5. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    Yes it is entirely possible that there are links not showing. I'm not sure what the stats are for third party tools but I know Google claims to not show all links that may be present.

    Frankly if you know that there were some things that could have gotten the site penalized and you know you haven't made any enemies online then those bad links are probably whats hurting you. Have you tried contacting the webmaster to get them taken down?
     
  6. mooseboy

    mooseboy Newbie

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    Yeah, I got a some links removed and others I put on the disavow list. One PR 6 site I had over 2000 backlinks from so I got those removed. The ranks went up for a few days and now today they're back down again. My other newer sites just keep going up and up.
     
  7. -0o0-

    -0o0- Junior Member

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    Unfortunately, it isn't only just about links anymore. Factors such as frequency of new content, social signals, bounce rate and pageviews are all having a greater impact on your ranking than ever before. Have you looked into these on your site?
     
  8. hmeister

    hmeister BANNED BANNED

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    I had a similar problem. I was number 1 for over 4 years and then I dropped to no.4 and then onto page 2 and now I languish on page 8.
    I have since found out that mine was a Panda update in Sep 2012. I had far too many pages with similar content and just slightly different titles such as "What is a blue widget" and "How do blue widgets work" and "All about blue widgets in 2012"...You get the picture.
    In all honesty, most of the pages were pretty crap and a terrible reader experience. I looked at my bounce rates and they are at an average of 78% and as for the duplicate, crappy content...I have been busy doing other things but I will be sorting it all out next week.
    And finally, even though other sites did the same as me, they stayed high in the SERPS but in the last few weeks, two of them have also dropped massively so it looks like big G will get us all eventually.

    You could try a great tool called Chart Intelligence - a plugin for Chrome which tells you exactly what affected your site and when. I downloaded it today and have been using it all day!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. imperial444

    imperial444 Elite Member

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    It might be Panda. Try to go with Panda recovering services in BH Section