I am a little hesitant to write this post but since I am making the news on Seroundtable I figured I will at least mention this on my own blog :).
A few weeks ago Google’s Matt Cutts announced softer Panda update which will release some sites that have signals of quality but fall into gray area… I don’t know what I did to fall into gray area but apparently this was case with one of my sites.
I posted this image from Google Webmaster Tools in Webmaster World forums and it eventually made to Seroundtable:
After a couple of days it actually became even more pretty:
Unfortunately while impressions rose even more, clicks settled and don’t rise anymore.
Here is how my Google Analytics (Google traffic only) look:
The last day is Friday, so it’s typically lower than Monday through Thursday, so I expect traffic to rise back on Monday.
If you are curious you can read my Panda story here.
In short, I was hit for the first time on June 29 2012, four days after official Panda announcement and lost more than 50 percent of my traffic. Then I was hit on May 9 2013 by Phantom update and lost another 50 percent of the remainder. What happened now is that while my rankings look like pre-2012, i. e. I seem to rank for everything I used to rank in the past my actual traffic is more like pre-May 9, which is still only 50 percent of what it used to be. It feels like old positions simply don’t bring as much traffic anymore.
And here is my favorite shot:
Google traffic only.
You can see I had some good days before June 29 2012. You can see how my traffic was slashed in half overnight and stayed that way for about a year. Then another hit came on May 9 2012. I freak out and remove Google Analytics altogether to prevent myself from watching stats, hence one day drop to 0. I don’t last though and re-install Analytics next day :). You can see my latest recovery at the end, however it still feels like peanuts comparing to beginning of 2012.
What did I do? Hard to tell. I always believed there was nothing wrong with my site, hence whatever I did wasn’t an attempt to fix my site. Having said that, there were tons of changes to the site. I know this doesn’t help, but I won’t mislead you with speculations.
UPDATE: One month later and it dawned on me that the recovery is nearly 100 percent. The traffic climbed even further and then there were some pages I removed and put into separate site. That site became immediately successful and if I combine traffic for both sites I am very close to what it was before, perhaps 100-200 uniques less (per day) but really close.