Can YOU help? --> Unanswered questions <-- (Other than Marcelo's Informational posts)

The July and August 2012 Crash of Elsmar

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#1
A serious decline in Elsmar showing in Google search results started on the 25th July 2012 and since then it appears that Google has rapidly faded Elsmar out of Google search. I would like to think it's Penguin, but such a rapid drop is - Well, I don't know. Believe me, I've been on webmaster forums and I can't come up with a reason. I have never done any "black hat" SEO, no "link farm" stuff, or anything like that. Nothing has changed on the site, either, so I just don't know what the "cause" is. The drop in the Google search rankings is so serious it endangers the future of Elsmar.com.

At this point I am doing everything I can to identify the cause, however it is not an easy task. My current plan is to keep Elsmar online for another 3 months and if things don't change significantly for the better I may be closing Elsmar down completely. It costs me too much money to pay the fixed expenses, not to mention my time, so that's the bottom line. Without the traffic, Adsense advertising does not pay the bills and I will have to drop advertisements companies have immediately. I will keep the advertisements up for the time being, but obviously I can not charge the advertisers even though I don't take down their ads. It may be things will pick up so I don't want to take the ads down right away. Since *very* few people ever Donate, donations are an insignificant source of income. However, at a time like this if any of you want to, a donation would very much be appreciated.

On the one hand I'm sad about it, but then again Elsmar has been online for about 16 years now. It has had a very good run. Up until the end of July 2012 Elsmar has been in the top 100,000 sites online according to Alexa and Quantcast going back many years. In fact, Elsmar (at that time QS9000.com) was one of the first 100,000 websites on the internet. Although Alexa and Quantcast are relatively "new" so they don't have data going back to 1995-96, my bet is until two weeks ago Elsmar was in the top 100,000 for many years.

I figure within 3 months I will know if there is anything I can do about it or not. Two weeks (now going on 3) is too short of a time to know anything or predict anything.

As always, I will be posting stats at the end of the month online so you can follow what is happening there. If you look at July's stats, the last update to that thread as of the time that I am writing this, you can see the drop off starting.

The latest forum visitor stats as of this writing

You will probably notice some changes in the forums such as content on the forum home page. I apologise for changes you may not like, and appreciate feedback.

I will keep you informed of what is happening.
 
#2
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Hilariously, Google, itself, censors searches for "google +penguin" - not even displaying the WIKI on Penguin. I had to use Bing to find a worthwhile link to learn about Penguin.

Just a brief read-through about Penguin seems to indicate that the exact service of discussion forums - lots of content which seems "duplicate" because it carries over multiple pages (quotes of previous posts) or many entries on the same topic - seems to incur big penalties.

Search engine algorithms differ so much. Lately, I notice Google searches on my name ("wes bucey" in quotes) run up a lot of ASQ forum stuff where I haven't posted in at least two years and tucks my Elsmar posts further down the page. Yet, by clicking the little line at the bottom of the Google page
In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 93 already displayed.
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.
I bounce from 90 hits to 260,000 hits whereas BING only gives me 41 hits total.

I just googled the term "quality manual" - a term we get a lot of questions about and no Elsmar hit came in the first 100 items.

I notice in the WIKI
Two days after Penguin update was released Google prepared a feedback form,[14][15] designed for two categories of users: those who want to report web spam that still ranks highly after the search algorithm change, and those who think that their site got unfairly hit by the update. Google also has a reconsideration form through Google Webmaster Tools for the 700,000 sites who received an email stating their sites demonstrated unusual linking.
I think you should offer feedback and ask how you might ameliorate the effect of Penguin while still offering your discussion forums. I have heard that Google does provide human intervention when a website has been unfairly downgraded because of some relatively simple feature which can be changed or eliminated. Bottom line on this aspect:
"Why wonder when you can ask?"

Without criticizing, I note also there is some discussion about Penguin in various places that it has an emphasis on page design and layout, particularly when "content" appears further down on a page. Perhaps this is what you refer to when you write "You will probably notice some changes in the forums such as content on the forum home page. I apologise for changes you may not like, and appreciate feedback."
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Believe me - My eyes are bleeding (so the expression goes) from reading about it and looking at everything going on. I will copy a couple posts from the moderator discussion which may end up at the top of the thread because they are dated earlier. If they do I'll try to fix the sequence.

I posted here in public (which may or may not be a good idea) as an FYI.
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#4
Re: Elsmar Google Search Drop - I'm not sure what's happening...

Essentially, it appears Elsmar has dropped in search ranking in Google which was my main source of traffic. There has been a somewhat slow drop in visitors over the last 6 to 8 months, but it has been very gradual. The peak was back in Dec 2010 - March 2011 or there abouts. Panda rolled out and now Penguin. I'd go into detail about them, but it would be long typing and there are a lot of pages about each of them in Google with better info than I can type here.

The below graph only goes back to May (that's all the further back the "view" can be set to show).


Here is another Google Analytics view - 1 April through yesterday:


Next month will be the first month Elsmar.com will not be in the top 100,000 websites in the world in 15 years.

SEO and being able to understand why is complex. There are several hundred "factors". That said, I haven't done much SEO stuff for several years or more. I haven't done any "black hat" SEO and have depended upon "natural" backlinks, status as an old, long running established "authority" site.

I can only tell you that I am looking at everything on Elsmar. I have updated a lot of my "static" html pages already, I have gone into Google's "Webmaster Tools" and updated a lot of stuff, I have been visiting and participating in, some discussions on a few of them. I have been looking at stats and trying to correlate them to things like the various Panda and Penguin updates (I think we're up to Panda algorithm update #10). I have had my iPad showing Google Analytics "Real Time", watching what pages people are going to, how many pages per second & minute, where traffic is coming from and several other things. Since this "started" I have been up to my nose in stats, reading about Panda and Penguin, and in general looking at every aspect I can think of.

See the attachment for what I'm working on now to try to eliminate and "duplicate content" aspects. Before had "Let Googlebot Decide" on all as default, so I check for duplicate content in WMT (Webmaster Tools) and yes - There are a lot of duplicate content issues. That's one reason I'm a total freak on thread titles. Part of it is "User Experience" and part of it is SEO.

You'll have to excuse me a bit but this is pretty dramatic for me right now. In short, I'm sorta freaking out because while I know how much everyone here would like to help there really isn't much anything anyone can do. A lot of sites have been killed, especially "Mon & Pop" sites, over the last 4 to 5 years as the internet has become more and more "Walmartized".

I'm lucky I have a fair amount of money saved and technically I can shut down Elsmar and not have any financial problems for 10+ years. The extra income has been nice, but I can live OK without it and I'd have a heck of a lot more free time, not to mention less worries.

Well - No debts and a simple lifestyle helps...

Anyway, I will continue to make changes which might be a factor and keep working on it in general. As I said, I'm pessimistic but will for sure keep Elsmar online through the end of December. I have started a "project plan" and change log. I'm also looking at other things such as splitting my old QS9000.com domain onto a different server and bringing that back. Of course, the problem is content.

There are so many things in my mind right now, and it's been a long day, so I'll end here for now.

Any and all advice/suggestions will be appreciated.
 

Attachments

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#5
Re: Elsmar Google Search Drop - I'm not sure what's happening...

For those of you who may be interested, in the .pdf file I attached above you will "parameters" and I spoke of "duplicate content" penalties. The below is to show you why I have to go in and define every parameter attribute.

However, as I do this it can make it *worse*, at least for a while, because it will kill many links/pages that are indexed, for example, with the "p" parameter (used to show an individual post in a thread) vs. the "t" parameter which is used to go to a specific thread.


Last night I even (finally) signed into BING's equivalent of Google's WMT and formally entered Elsmar.com. Since I just signed up it will be a month before I see any significant data there. I don't know that it will help (I doubt it will), and I should have done it some years ago for general purposes if nothing else, but the Microsoft search engines never did send me much traffic so I never worried about it.

I'm monitoring "Realtime" right now and I've never seen this few people on the site even on slow weekend days. India and the far east should be starting to kick in a bit (it's 1 AM EDT here in southern Ohio).

I can say that according to "Real Time" most of the referrals are coming from Boardreader.com - I see a lot of people here coming from links there.
 

Marc

Captain Nice
Staff member
Admin
#6
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Hilariously, Google, itself, censors searches for "google +penguin" - not even displaying the WIKI on Penguin. <snip>
Note that the + modifier in Google searches doesn't work the way it used to.
 
L

lfrost

#8
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

I echo Minkishots' post. I too would find it a hard loss to take.
 
L

lamorenita_QA

#9
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

I look to the Quality professionals who post here as the best to learn from. I do not want this forum to go away.
 
#10
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Wow! After playing a little bit with various search terms, it almost seems as if Google has blacklisted Elsmar Cove on some typical terms someone might search for.
ISO 13485 - one hit 1st hundred
ISO 16949 - one hit 1st hundred
AS9100 - one hit 1st hundred
 

Top Bottom