UPDATE: I have actually recovered from this hit. Details here »
I thought I will never do this, but today I am especially talkative so I thought I’ll share this…
This screenshot of my Google Analytics is showing a drop on one of my websites. As you see, traffic dropped by approximately 50 percent. The drop happened on June 29, 2012 so it’s hard to tell whether it was still the effect of Panda update that ran four days earlier, or it was some other mysterious update. I still don’t know!
What was really weird about this drop that it happened exactly at 00:00 my time, which is GMT+2 (I live in Beirut). Most of my visitors come from the US, however it looked like this traffic drop was scheduled and “customized” especially for me. How sweet!
This wasn’t a manual penalty (I asked Google). I didn’t do keyword research or any kind of keyword stuffing simply out of principle. When I say this I don’t mean it’s wrong to research keywords and put them in all proper places. What I mean is I really can’t build my websites like this. I started that way and it felt fake. A few month later I went through my old pages and removed all extra keywords. The traffic was still on rise and continued to rise. Apparently I didn’t gain or lose after removing keywords (which was long before we ever heard of Panda or Penguin).
I also didn’t build links because I wanted to abide according to Google Webmaster’s Guidelines 100%. I used offline materials to research for articles (which costed me a lot of money) and hired native English speakers to help me write content. So I will never agree that my content was thin. Never.
Since this drop I added over 70 pages to my website and traffic is still approximately same. The traffic is still somewhat high, but I abandoned that website. It rolls on its own now. I don’t want to waste time on it anymore.
7 months later I am finally over this. I don’t feel sad about it anymore and finally stopped caring about my traffic numbers. It’s the nature of this business (is it really a business??), it’s just not reliable. If that traffic ever comes back I know I can’t count on that income. I just can’t afford to build on sand.
If you are doing this for fun then you already won. But if you are planning to do this for business, this probably isn’t worth your time.