SEO Mystery

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Published November 12, 2014 by Brad Knutson
SEO Mystery

I recently wrote about my 4 month hiatus from blogging. I wrote about a bunch of excuses alluding to why I had stopped. Life had gotten too busy…I didn’t have time to blog anymore…something had to give…blah blah blah.

That was all true, but there was another significant contributing factor.

My traffic had plummeted, for absolutely no reason. I’m still not sure why. The timeline is suspicious, given some Google algorithm updates, but I’m still not quite sure what the hell happened.

Allow me to explain.

I started this blog in February of 2013. In the time between February 2013 and May 2014, I slowly built up traffic primarily through search. I’ll be the first to admit that my site was pretty dependent on Google as the primary source of traffic.

I had always known that Google giveth and Google could taketh away, I just never thought they would – after all, I never gave them a reason to. I never built any shady links, I never cheated or attempted any sort of black hat work – nothing like that. I just blogged, blogged some more, then blogged again. My primary strategy was content and more content.

So, over the course of a year and a half, I built up my website to over 1000 visits per day on average. It might not seem like much for some people out there, but for me, this was a huge milestone.

Then all of a sudden, the week of May 20th, 2014, my traffic dropped 50%. I got discouraged, and stopped blogging a week later. Traffic - The Fall

I was out of the picture completely for 4 and 1/2 months. I didn’t post a single blog post during that span. I didn’t market my content at all. I didn’t promote content through social media, paid search, or any other channel. My website kind of just sat there.

Comments, which had previously come in on a regular basis, slowed to a crawl. Some posts that were receiving a handful of comments per day hadn’t received comments in months all of a sudden.

Then, unbeknownst to me, in the last week of September and beginning of October 2014, my traffic slowly started to climb back up.

At this point, I hadn’t change anything. I hadn’t posted any new blog posts, and I hadn’t had any new links to my content show up. I can’t explain the increase in traffic.

I had taken enough time off, I thought, so I started blogging again. Traffic - The Rise

I’ve only posted a handful of new posts, but my traffic continues to climb.

So what gives, SEO experts? I’m baffled.

I’ve checked Google Webmaster Tools. No notifications of a manual action, no increase in crawl errors, no index errors, index stats all seem normal, no server errors. Everything. I honestly have no idea.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas what could have caused this? Did Google make a mistake in an algorithm update in May that was corrected in September?

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Founder at Inbounderish
Brad Knutson is a Web Developer in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. He has experience working with WordPress and Drupal, and also has an interest in SEO and Inbound Marketing.

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2 thoughts on “SEO Mystery

  1. Alistair Lattimore


    According to the Moz Google algorithm change history, Panda 4.1 (#27) was rolled out on September 23 2014 over a period of days.

    Given that you feel there is nothing for Google to penalise on your site (manual or algorithmic), it’d be an interesting exercise to think about what they might have picked up on.



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