Posted by AlanBleiweiss
This past March, I was contacted by a prospective client:
My site has been up since 2004. I had good traffic growth up to 2012 (doubling each year to around a million page views a month), then suffered a 40% drop in mid Feb 2012. I’ve been working on everything that I can think of since, but the traffic has never recovered.
Since my primary business is performing strategic site audits, this is something I hear often. Site appears to be doing quite well, then gets slammed. Site owner struggles for years to fix it, but repeatedly comes up empty.
It can be devastating when that happens. And now more than ever, site owners need real solutions to serious problems.
As this chart shows, when separating out the “expected” roller coaster effect, Google organic traffic took a nose-dive in early February of 2012.
First step: check and correlate with known updates
When this happens, the first thing I do is jump to Moz’s
Google Algorithm Change History charts to see if I can pinpoint a known Google update that correlates to a drop.
Except in this case, there was no direct “same day” update listed.
A week before, there’s an entry listed that references integrating Panda into the main index more, however discussion around that is this change happened sometime in January. So maybe it’s Panda, maybe it’s not.
Expand your timeline: look for other hits
At this point, I expanded the timeline view to see if I could spot other specific drops and possibly associate them to known updates. I did this because some sites that get hit once, get hit again and again.
Well now we have a complete mess.
At this point, if you’re up for the challenge, you can take …read more