The July and August 2012 Crash of Elsmar

#31
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

That looks promising, and I hope you are on the right track. We will know soon enough.

/Claes
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
M

MIREGMGR

#32
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Is there a remote possibility Elsmar looks like a link farm with all the links we freely supply to help folks find their way to a detailed or "official" explanation? An algorithm only looks at data, not altruistic intent.
An interesting analysis.

If it's right, I'd be one of many problem-causers because fairly often I include links to FDA and other regulatory-information sites.

If you end up contacting Google, perhaps one of your points might be that neither Elsmar nor your posters benefit financially or in any other forseeeable personal/commercial way by pointing visitors to a governmental or otherwise-non-commercial site. Obviously neither FDA nor any other regulatory site pays for referred traffic. A link-farm analysis should only consider link-targets for which it might be reasonably inferred that pushed traffic would result in some sort of compensation.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#33
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

An interesting analysis.

If it's right, I'd be one of many problem-causers because fairly often I include links to FDA and other regulatory-information sites.

If you end up contacting Google, perhaps one of your points might be that neither Elsmar nor your posters benefit financially or in any other forseeeable personal/commercial way by pointing visitors to a governmental or otherwise-non-commercial site. Obviously neither FDA nor any other regulatory site pays for referred traffic. A link-farm analysis should only consider link-targets for which it might be reasonably inferred that pushed traffic would result in some sort of compensation.
We're looking at that aspect.

NOTE: Links to FDA and other regulatory-information sites are *good* links (links to "good neighborhoods").
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#35
Re: Elsmar Visitors - 16 August 2012

That is on my schedule. I made up a project plan and have been going through the site pages, updating and making changes which have been over due, etc. I want to write a coherent, "appropriate" request. Actually there are two avenues - Reconsideration and reinclusion.

That said, if the drop is algorithmic a request won't help.

I have read a lot of "stories" by people who have made such requests and they all vary. Some get responses and some never do, while some get a response 2 to 3 months later. Some say they have helped, others saw no improvement.

The drop we saw here was so immediate and so sharp, I would think it was a manual penalty, but you never know. SEO is a total guessing game these days.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#36
24 August 2012 Update

Here is the "latest" update on the drop off:

Over the last 3 weeks I have done quite a lot to try to figure out the reason for the almost instantaneous drop off. I have also taken a lot of actions to mitigate what I *think* might have caused this, and I am continuing to make more.

I can't really say too much at this time because I'm still learning. I really haven't worried about a lot of things, including watching the WMT stuff. There are others who have done the same as me - That is not worry about SEO and concentrate on content - Who were hit pretty hard.

A note to Jan - Thanks - One of the things that has been discussed with respect to forums is that threads with only one post are "frowned upon". How Google knows, if it does know, I don't know. And I can't say this is definitively an aspect, but better safe than sorry.

The problem in reacting to this stuff is if you read 20 articles on Panda and Penguin you find different opinions, so it really comes down to mostly conjecture. Even when Matt Cuts says something, it is typically so vague that it is difficult to know what Google "wants". Such is the case with defining what "good" content is, and that's not to mention how Google "knows" what good content is and what isn't. And when you get in the webmaster forum discussion you'll find 2 or more people with practically the same site (layout, etc.) where one is hurt and the other isn't affected.

In short, what others and myself are trying to do is reverse engineer Google's Black Box algorithm to figure out what it's looking for, but much of it conjecture.

Examples:

SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is

--> A BUNCH OF ANCIENT AND NOW DEAD LINKS DELETED.

I have been going over the stats from past years, doing stuff in Google's WMT, identifying errors, reading *many* articles on Panda and Penguin, I am involved in a number of discussion threads on several "webmaster" forums, and I have revised hundreds of the old site "static html" pages. It has been a long 3 weeks and I still have a lot to do.

One thing to remember is although *we* may think the Cove has substance that doesn't mean Google sees it that way.

Right now, it *appears* that there is a potential recovery:

G%20Analytics%20to%2023%20AUG%202012.png

But, when one reads things like these:

WMW%2022-24%20AUG%202012.jpg

It is hard to say what the future will bring.

I am doing my best to evaluate potential problems with consideration to Google's Guidelines and everything I have been reading. While I do not expect to regain out peak of January 2011, at least any time soon, *if* the trend of this week does continue hopefully over the next month or two we will get back to where we were earlier in the year.

I again apologise if I "freaked people out" by starting this thread. I'm not sorry I did because I have always wanted the visitors here to know what is happening. I went into a state of shock having never before seen such a drop off in visitors and for 2 weeks it looked like the drop would continue to get worse. Were that to happen there is no way I could have afforded to continue to financially support the site past the end of December. Over the last 2 years my fixed expenses have gone up over 400% to accommodate the visitor increases. As many of you know, there was a server migration in DEC 2011 which caused a lot of problems, most of which are now fixed. That migration was to improve page loading and to accommodate the extra visitors we were getting.

Well, I could say a lot more but I'd be here all night typing. This is mainly meant to be a basic update. Hopefully the upward trend in visitors will continue.

As a last thought: The internet is changing very fast these days. Everyone and their brother has a web site up. It is being increasingly commercialized. Social media is taking the forefront. I am trying to deal with these issues as best I know how. It seems like every week these days Google is changing it's algorithm in some way. There is a limit to being able to react to every change. Heck - I (as it is with many others) have no idea what was changed in the algorithm so it is impossible short term to react.
 
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G

gavinjordan

#37
Re: 24 August 2012 Update

Hi Marc

Someone has probably mentioned it, and I'm sure you have considered/analysed it, but could it just be seasonal plus Olympics? Business for us and adwords enquiries here in UK just completely collapsed same time for us - I have completely renegineered web-site etc but I think it was purely seasonal. Here in the UK today is the bank holiday marking the end of summer - I'm hoping there will be a radical upturn!
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#38
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

I can vouch that this morning I have been swapping back and forth from threads to Google as a test, and I saw Elsmar.com pop up at the top of the list (where we belong :D ) when the search involved key words beyond "ISO 9001" etc.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#39
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Jennifer - I appreciate the feedback.

Yes - It has been improving some since last week. Today it looks pretty good.

I do think part of this is the popularity of "social" sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and Google is pushing it in search results. Those of you who have accounts on one or more of these social site will be helping if you (for example) +1 good threads and such.

I don't think Elsmar will ever regain it's January 2011 peak, but one never knows.

@gavinjordan - It might have played a part, but it coincided with the 25 JULY 2012 Panda/Penguin "refresh", and I would find it hard to believe a site like this would nose dive as it did in such a short time (practically over night). The other aspect is several people here, including me, were checking Google search results for things that ranked pretty high here in the past. We found that results from Elsmar had virtually disappeared from the rankings for many previously high ranking terms for a couple weeks. I will agree it was probably a combination of things which included the Olympics.

BTW - Labor Day is coming up in the US next Monday so I expect a significant drop starting Thursday/Friday just as happens at 4th of July and Thanksgiving/Christmas. September and October will be when we really know what "recovery" we will see here.
 

Wesley Richardson

Wes R
Trusted Information Resource
#40
Re: Notice to All Visitors - Significant Drop in Google Search Rankings - August 2012

Hi Marc,

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...N=B007SPIWIW&linkCode=as2&tag=entfreebkpst-20 (REMEMBER THIS IS FROM ABOUT 2012 - THINGS HAVE CHANGED DRAMATICALLY...)

According to this book, Google has a new search engine SEARCH ALGORITHM called Panda.

Of course people have been trying to figure out Google's algorithm for years, because of the marking implications. One of my brothers, who creates web sites, has gone to several seminars on the topic of how to optimize web sites aka, search engine optimization (SEO). But no one outside Google really knows. They also keep modifying their methods, so my guess is that as soon as someone does figure it out, it will have changed.

This latest Panda seems to be a much different method of prioritizing the order in which web sites appear.

I am sure the measure is important, but realize that you have a very strong core of supporters, and we recommend Elsmar Cove, to whoever will listen. It is a great site, and great source of information. Try not to be discouraged, you provide a great service.

Wes R.
 
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