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Sudden Drop In Traffic

 
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:04 PM   #1
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Sudden Drop In Traffic


A few weeks back my traffic went from 800 visitors a day to about 200. This drop was basically overnight. This is the lowest my traffic has been in years, so I am trying to figure out what caused it, correct the problem and get my traffic back.


So I start researching what can cause these sort of things and discovered that my site was loading slowly.

I found this tool, and have been using it to speed things up and correct problems:

https://gtmetrix.com/

Have optimized my images.Brought my score up from an F to a C.

I also started using google webmaster tools. There's been no manual actions taken against me.

I'm still ranking well for terms that I used to, using this tool:

https://www.brightlocal.com/local-se...CID=31k1_j9fil

Is there anything else I should be checking for? Any other tools to use, or ways to figure out what caused the sudden drop?
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Old 12-26-2017, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Any chance this is just a seasonal topic? I see you ranking well and are easily found on the few permutations I tried. Perhaps it being colder and new business simply slowing down due to the holidays?

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Old 12-26-2017, 04:39 PM   #3
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


It seems a bit too sudden for that. Traffic went from 600 one day to 200 the next. Last year, by comparison, traffic very gradially went down during the winter--and even in the dead of winter, never dropped so low as it is now.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:42 PM   #4
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Have you created profiles in webmaster tools showing only USA traffic?
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


I'm new to webmaster tools and not sure if I've figured it all out just yet.

My traffic is starting to increase again, yesterday being the first day with a noticeable increase.

A couple weeks ago, when I first learned of this situation, my bounce rate was up to 84%

Since improving the site's speed, that number has dropped back to 80%

EDIT Okay, so that "noticeable increase" yesterday...that could be just because of this thread.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Headed View Post
It seems a bit too sudden for that. Traffic went from 600 one day to 200 the next. Last year, by comparison, traffic very gradially went down during the winter--and even in the dead of winter, never dropped so low as it is now.
Another aspect to consider is your competition. Many times people become complacent as their rankings are good. One month turns into one year, and then a competitor actively starts marketing (organically and paid), which then provides them more traffic at the expense of others. This can hold stronger when someone is a specialty service since the search terms may be tighter.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:12 AM   #7
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Google changing it's algorithm would do it.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Might be an algorithm update or competitors. Like I said though, my traffic is now, after 4 weeks, beginning to climb back up.

I've made the site load faster, and I've also deleted a bunch of spammy pages. Over the years, I've had a bit of "help". Had an seo guy write some town pages for me. Basically redundant pages with only town name changed. I've began deleting these. Hopefully I don't delete any that rank, but if I do, fine, I'll rebuild and be ready for Spring time with all top notch content.

I almost want to start another thread about town pages, and how to do them right.

The town pages that I made myself, for the most part, are like this:

I do a job, in a particular town, then write a blog post about that project, with well documented before, during and after photos, plus I try and get a good 500 words or so, without having bull**** in that text.

Example: http://www.devineescapes.com/flagsto...pennsylvania/%

I've had help twice over the years, both created these lame ass town pages with spammy garbage in the text.

Spammy page example:

http://www.devineescapes.com/pa/frackville-landscapes

I've made other changes, but page speed and deleting pages that are devoid of real value seem the major ones.

I was also looking into canonical URL's.

Did a bunch of research, found out how to insert a bit of code and resolve the issue....but when I went to put the code in, it seems that the yoast plugin already handled that for me.

Last edited by Rock Headed; 12-27-2017 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


You need to find the setting in wordpress to fix your URL structure. it will remove the ? mark at the end. A link pointing to that url will point to nothing once its fixed down the road.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:20 PM   #10
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Try this for setting up filters.

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/8-googl...tics-features/
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:29 PM   #11
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Headed View Post

I almost want to start another thread about town pages, and how to do them right.

The town pages that I made myself, for the most part, are like this:

I do a job, in a particular town, then write a blog post about that project, with well documented before, during and after photos, plus I try and get a good 500 words or so, without having bull**** in that text.

Example: http://www.devineescapes.com/flagsto...pennsylvania/%

I've had help twice over the years, both created these lame ass town pages with spammy garbage in the text.

Spammy page example:

http://www.devineescapes.com/pa/frackville-landscapes
If your going to make a town page , unless you want to make an individual town page for every service, your town page should showcase a large selection of your services. The one you have is essentially a blog post for a job in a town.

When creating a lead capture page it should led the customer know you can do what they are looking for, your work is good, you have been around a while and has a contact form for them to fill out, phone number visible.

Most people dont browse my site, they land on 1 page and contact me.

When you make a blog post for repointing flag stone you should link out to your "masonry repointing" URL under services, then in the post somewhere mention that you also do "brick repointing" if thats what they are looking for and link to one of your brick repointing blog posts. Keep your linking in the correct family of services, roughly called siloing seo wise.

but fix your url issue or all your interlinking will need to be redone.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:05 PM   #12
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


I have town pages (that I wrote) like you describe. None of them rank. Instead, in those same towns, my gallery pages rank--on page 2.

Some of the town pages that I wrote are like the one I linked to above, for specific projects. Some of those have ranked, and some have brought me business.

What I don't know--is the existence of those non-ranking town pages helping the gallery pages to rank? IDK, but for now I'm deleting a lot of those town pages--if those particuliar towns stop ranking, I'll write new town pages.

My site is huge, like 140 pages and 110 blog posts.

I'm still confused about the URL issue...will tackle that one again another day this week. If my links all need to be re-done, that's a lot of re-doing.
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:09 AM   #13
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Headed View Post
Had an seo guy write some town pages for me. Basically redundant pages with only town name changed. I've began deleting these. Hopefully I don't delete any that rank, but if I do, fine, I'll rebuild and be ready for Spring time with all top notch content.
I noticed in a previous post you mentioned hiring a SEO guy too, just from a few months ago. Is this guy still with you? Any chance he is doing anything else behind the scenes that happen to be impacting you? Purchasing links? Posting endlessly on unrelated websites? Stuff like that. Not all SEO folk are good at Content Marketing and instead just blindly attack SEO similar in nature to how you explained the redundant pages. But they many times will try other short-cut tactics to offset the ease of creating those simple pages.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:34 AM   #14
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


As far as I can tell, that seo guy from a couple months ago did just about nothing at all.

Agreed to optimize my site for 5 cities and 3 terms, for 200 a month.

First month, wrote 5 town pages. Full of generic copy like "flagstone patios are made of natural flagstone that can come in a variety of textures, colors and sizes".

Each town page had a paragraph about the town itself--what year it was founded, an excerpted paragraph from the wiki page for that town, a photo of the town's "welcome to pleasantville" sign.

--and that seems to be ALL he did. I can find zero evidence of any offsite work.

....

Okay, I just dug out an old email. I asked him why he had not logged on to me website to do any work in over a month, he responded:

Quote:

Devin,

We are doing some work inside the web site and some of it outside the
web site. I don't think Wordpress records everything that changes. A
lot of what we do is back end stuff.

Things we have done are additional edits of all the city pages for
grammatical errors, punctuation and flow. We removed all old pages that targeted cities and put new links into pages that linked to them so they
go to the right new page. We also registered on 5 new directories.
IDK, I fired him in early November.

I believe him about the 5 directories. I hope he left my "grammar punctuation and flow" alone.

Can't say for sure whether or not he did any black hat...possibly.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:57 AM   #15
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


There was also a December algorithm adjustment that could have possibly created an impact on your site. I never get obsessed with these things since traditionally my clients slowly bounce back as the data adjusts itself. Just making you aware of another topic that may have impacted you, including not knowing what the SEO person did too.

https://searchengineland.com/google-...-update-288682
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:57 AM   #16
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


That link took me to here

It does seem the new update might be targeting town pages:

Quote:
By far, the biggest bulk of sites that I saw got hit all had tons and tons of landing pages target massive arrays of keyword permutations. So for example, if they are a travel site, they would target all the destinations they service and also add landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and sometimes even go beyond that. If they were a service business, they would target [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B] and so on.
This last update apparently happened in mid december though, whereas my traffic dropped in later November.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:10 PM   #17
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Quote:
Agreed to optimize my site for 5 cities and 3 terms, for 200 a month.

First month, wrote 5 town pages. Full of generic copy like "flagstone patios are made of natural flagstone that can come in a variety of textures, colors and sizes".

Each town page had a paragraph about the town itself--what year it was founded, an excerpted paragraph from the wiki page for that town, a photo of the town's "welcome to pleasantville" sign.

--and that seems to be ALL he did. I can find zero evidence of any offsite work.
Yikes... Sounds like you hired one of these guys offering SEO services who took the "local kingpin" ecourse or something similar offered in the internet marketing/affiliate world?

There was a lot of them posting here over the last couple years, still is it looks like. Very spammy approach to SEO which creates a hurdle for anyone else trying to help.

Without knowing specifics your traffic drop could be related to many different things, or maybe it's some kind of bot traffic inflating your numbers. 800 visitors a day is a very busy contractors website.
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:42 PM   #18
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Yes, I've wondered what percentage of my traffic comes from bots and considered that the recent drop could just mean the bots left.

However, I'm not running a typical contractors website. There's a few informative articles which get national attention. Yes, there's value in that for me. I don't have a typical contractors business model.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:36 AM   #19
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Headed View Post
Yes, I've wondered what percentage of my traffic comes from bots and considered that the recent drop could just mean the bots left.

However, I'm not running a typical contractors website. There's a few informative articles which get national attention. Yes, there's value in that for me. I don't have a typical contractors business model.
I recall looking at your site many months ago. Really shocked you'd be subjected to some kind of penalty / algo update. Did you ever get that url issue fixed?

Did you check through google analytics to see if specifically your traffic from organic cool dropped? Or you could check search console to see if your search impressions really tanked?

Maybe your analytics code isn't loading on every page?
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:44 PM   #20
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Re: Sudden Drop In Traffic


I figured out the URL thing today. Have set canonical URL's for my most significant pages, will do the rest soon.

Just starting to learn how to use analytics. Certainly I don;t have it fully set up and am not taking advantage of what it can really do just yet.

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