So earlier in the week I reported that both my blogs had plummeted in traffic due to either an algorithm change or a change in how Google eliminates sites as spam. Neither of my sites are spam but I had made the mistake of believing some SEO blogs and tactics for online marketing that may have been more harmful than they led you to believe. (damn you SEO gurus) This blog is back to a similar traffic level now with around 300-400 visitors a day. I know that if I want that to get better I have to find good things to write about and keep building real relationships with other bloggers. The other blog hasn’t recovered at all. In fact it is one of those where I dont even rank for the blog’s own URL name, after being 2nd in rank from the time it launched. I am not sure what is wrong with that site because the things people are buzzing about that have been taken out in this revamp of the algorithm and how directories, link trades and buying page rank are looked at, aren’t really applicable in any way to my sites because I have never done any of that. But here is what I have changed with at least some success on this blog.
1. I got rid of the blogroll links to blog directories, SEO blogs and their suggested sites. Even though they were free blog directories and sites, and never had any any agreement or intent for building page rank. These were legitimatley how a lot of the people found my blog. The traffic from these listings brought in about 25% of the traffic here and to the other blog. I don’t know if this was a problem or not, nor if some were bad and others were good because I don’t have the time or the patience to figure it out. (it sucks to get bitch slapped by Google) It is curiously anti-competitive though that Google is wiping out other ways to find sites so you have to use google more to find things. Call it a legal loophole to say its about page rank, but I think they didn’t want directories to become new resources for archiving and finding information because it could threaten their search marketshare and traffic. (so we’re all google’s bitch now)
( an interesting side note about these links I removed. Only about 25% of the places I signed up for listings at actually listed my blog and provided traffic. I also found that in the webmaster tools I found a way to find all the links to my site and those 25% were also the only ones that actually linked. So I guess this means that the majority of sites that try and be a directory to help people find things are actually bogus crap, and they have ruined it for the good ones)
2. I dropped a lot of categories in the sidebar. I knew I was undisciplined and indecisive about using too many categories and using additional synonyms as categories in order to make my posts more searchable by tag on wordpress, what I didn’t know is that it created a lot of duplicate content on each category page and that it was bad to have that. We all learn I guess. I am trying to hone the list down further, and have combined categories into more than one word each. This is bad for tag searching on wordpress but good for removing duplicate content. Again, I feel like Google didn’t want people to have a leg up on wordpress being their method of search here, rather than Google itself. On the other blog I have tried to remove other content that was listed from sites where a schedule or list of performers was borrowed for the simple reason that I didnt think that was duplicate content. Why retype an entire list of performers at an airshow when you can just borrow it? It’s not someone’s writing, it’s a list of performers. But again, algorithm’s don’t care. So if I want to list the restaurants at the taste of chicago next year, I have to re-write the entire list again in a different order. Boo. What a waste of time for nothing.
3. I removed the contextual advertising from the other blog. This one doesn’t have any, but the other one is a self hosted blog, so it did. One company I was signed up with has been targeted, but I turned them all off. Guess what this feels like again? Protection of their adsense network. If you make it illegal to use competitive text based ad services on blogs within your search engine (which provides 50% of most people’s traffic) you preserve your marketshare. It’s a very monopolistic move, but hey, they SEC doesn’t care, especially when Google has the business case that it’s about manipulating their algorithm and the SEC favors big companies that make the US lots of money anyway. (maybe they wouldn’t have to favor them on bad business practices so much if more US businesses weren’t getting their ass kicked by China)
So, I don’t know if this helps anyone or not. I have only been 50% successful in fixing my blogs and the other one may be dead permanently even though I still have to pay for a year in hosting costs. I will keep blogging in both places for a while, but if they are trying to put people’s small business like side income out of business in favor of their own search and adword business they should be brought to justice for that. The self hosted blog was my first attempt at a blog that pays for itself and provides side income while others have been gloating and rubbing people’s face in the fact that they have made tons of money online for years. I had not made anything back from the cost to start it yet and probably won’t be able to cover the basic costs now and will just have to count the entire experience as a loss.