A week ago, I got an interesting alert in my Google Webmaster Tools dashboard for my personal blog (Ajith’s Blog Reloaded). In fact, a similar alert was sent to my linked gMail account as well that I hadn’t cared to open.
With all my excitement – thinking that I got a major traffic boost and recognition from Google – I clicked that alert and there came the shocker with the following description.
Search results clicks for http://ajithprasad.com/[post-url]/ have decreased significantly.
In panic, I clicked the ‘Search Queries’ option and it revealed 50-60% reduction in traffic over a few days as shown in the picture below.
Basically, 30% of my personal blog’s traffic was coming from a particular blog post that was extremely popular in India and especially in Bangalore where I live. I do not write any stupid content on that blog and most of my blog posts are research based, with personal touch and pretty unique I would think. Moreover, it’s not a site where I publish any obscene content nor do I have ads there. I do have flipkart affiliate links there but very minimal. So this could not have been a case of Google Panda hit I thought.
Much to my dismay, when I read more about this ‘Big traffic change for top URL’ phenomenon, I realized that it is an actual case of Google Panda attack.
What could force a Big Traffic change?
Well, needless to say duplicate content, keyword stuffing, slow site performance, poor readability, bad HTML composition, site URL structural changes and too many ads are some of the things that Google does not like. Among this probably the load performance of my personal blog is not at its best but then I do not have major traffic there either and hence the shared hosting works just fine.
What else could have been wrong?
I dug into my site update logs (I have the habit of noting down every single change about my sites and blogs) and remembered that I had experimented with Chitika 550×250 ad blocks on that blog for about a week before the traffic change notification. Poor affiliate links could definitely land you up in trouble as per Panda and as you probably know Chitika is pretty bad for non-US and non-Canada market. All that they display for international visitors is your Post title duplicated and linked to non-related target sites or landing pages. And I would think this is a big NO as per Google’s logic.
Positive traffic change alerts
Though I received this alert for a drop in traffic, it seems that Google is sending out alerts for significant traffic increase scenarios as well. And I hope to receive a couple of them in the future.
In the mean time, I plan to submit Google reconsideration request hoping to get my favorite online writing place on track.
Did any of you get any big traffic change alert in your Google Webmaster tools or via Email lately?