I did a comparison to the traffic I was getting a year ago between November and now and realized I have lost around 2 million views. At the time of my traffic crash, starting November 1st, I had reached out in the forums to see what was going on with others. HP leaders said to wait until content got reindexed, saying it could take some time. Some said they were doing better than ever. Some simply said sorry. The drop perfectly coincided with the timing of the switch from subdomains, which was supposed to be a temporary drop.
I never heard from anyone about a way to overcome the subdomain switch issues. Last I heard, Paul was going to try to get into touch with Google to find out why my account had such a sharp decline after the switch. The odd thing is that it wasn't just Google's traffic I lost. I saw steep decreases from the other search engines. Since I didn't get any useful response, I'm wondering if any of you who've had a sharp decline in traffic after moving from your subdomain back to the main domain have found a way to regain some of your lost traffic. It has been long enough now that I know it isn't a reindexing issue. It seems to be globally account specific.
I like the idea of moving my content to a niche site, but I don't have any control over that decision and I've already lost millions of views. I would test out switching all my content back to my subdomain, but I don't have control over that either since I can't control URLs. Is my content being poisoned by association with other content due to duplication or something? I'll listen to any ideas for improvement that include things I have control over. Or let me know if you think there's no point in trying to do anything about it since I don't have control over the site-wide issues that might be causing the problem.
My overall traffic dropped by ~25% following the switch from subdomains. This was on top of a similar loss that occurred following the squid merger. My traffic is currently about half of what it was prior to the squid merger, despite having around 100 more published pages. That's a loss of millions of views. My traffic and earnings are still nothing to be upset about, but I know they aren't as good as they once were, and growth appears to have come to a dead stop.
As for why this happened, at least in the case of the most recent drop, I think it is because subdomains are simply not as useless as HP management, SEO consultants and forum gurus assumed them to be. I think some subs did have a certain amount of authority, particularly if they were strongly associated with a niche. Now, everything is stuck together in one big lump, and any authority or branding efforts that went along with your sub are out the window.
But none of that matters now. On the bright side, I had 18 Hubs on this account moved to PetHelpful and they are doing very well. It's much too early to know, but it seems like this could be an answer to regaining and maybe even improving traffic. Based on what I've seen so far, I am extremely optimistic.
The downside is we have no control over which Hubs get moved. Where we once had control over what appeared on our subdomains, we are now in a position to simply hope we are lucky enough to be included in the niche sites.
So, I don't think there is a darn thing you can do to get your lost traffic back, aside from continuing to write good content, improve old content and hope you get included in the niche sites. I'd jump at the chance to move back to a subdomain too, at least for my niche accounts, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.
As more and more Hubs get moved to the niche sites, the average quality of the content on the HP domain will continue to decline, and its logical to assume that traffic will go with it. HP has not presented of a solution for this, or a plan for what will happen to the main HP domain.
As it stands, the niche sites are like spaceships leaving a doomed planet. You just have to hope you get a seat.
Disclaimer: For those who may be concerned, I did not intend this as a negative or destructive post. I think these are legitimate concerns that need to be discussed.
Although I have never had as many views as you, I can commiserate because in August of 2014, overnight, I lost 90% of my views. There were no warnings of any kind from Google and nobody ever explained what happened, but it was devastating.
I turned to the forums for help, and many writers here offered good advice, and I took all of it.
One of the things I did was check on Webmaster Tools to see who was linking to my site...and I found about 24 malicious or questionable sites that were. Thus, I went through the entire and very tedious process of creating a disavow list with Google...and I think that helped me.
I also reformatted every article, got rid of 47 hubs so that I could create a true niche site, upgraded photos, etc.
Although my views never fully returned to their former glory, they have improved significantly as has my income.
What I did was a tremendous amount of work. If I look at my total views from the beginning, I have about 516,000, but currently I'm showing around 390,000. This shows you how much I cut out.
The subdomains made very little difference, but I am doing better now that everything has reverted back. Because my topic is so limited, I'm not sure it will ever make it to the niche sites. If so, I think only some articles will be transferred, but it's hard to know.
If I were you, I would check to see what your search engine views are, check the competition and maybe do some updating and reformatting. You can also do a disavow if you see problems.
Beyond that, I can't give you much more advice. You write in a very competitive area, so it could be that this is the underlying reason for your problems.
I know it's painful to take such a terrible hit, believe me. I hope you will be able to find a way to recover, but I do think it's going to take a ton of hard work. Good Luck!
Yep, the killing of my subdomain killed me as well. I very much hope your thread will elicit some solutions.
I will share an experience that I had that may be neither here nor there, but it does have to do with a domain transfer, and what I saw Google do with it.
I moved my blogger blog from a blogger address to a subdomain of my main site. Blogger allows you to see the Google + likes you have for each article. After the move and the redirects were implemented, Google had stripped off all Google + likes for every article but my own likes ( I lost thousands of G+ Likes). Any link juice and perhaps links from Google+ were gone. Pinterest was making suspicious link warnings etc... My views dropped by 75%.
Changing the link addresses in Pinterest and resharing the Google+ articles on their communities helped. But I am still down 25% from last summer.
You need to try to update any links in your control, reshare where possible, update with major fans of your pages. Redirects are worse than I think anyone at Google cares to admit.
I did the disavow links thing a while ago, but we all lost access to webmaster tools when we were switched from subdomains. That's not possible now. I'm not planning on doing any editing/updating because many of my hubs have been edited by HubPro already, I've already tried this many times, and they are mostly evergreen. I've never seen signs of improving traffic after improving hubs. It's as if I have a maximum amount of traffic I am allowed to have now. Even seasonal spikes result in lowering of traffic for my other pages. That leaves updating social sharing links that I created, which might help a little. Has anyone else had success after updating social links? Thanks for the ideas.
I have to say, I'm amazed at your traffic. I've never had those kind of numbers, but I'm a novice, I admit it.
I don't know enough about this thing to give sound advice. I do wonder what's causing these losses though. I did lose significant traffic during the Squidoo acquisition, probably 2/3 of my traffic totally gone.
I wonder if all the 301 redirects are having an adverse effect. I was thinking about using some on one of my own sites because I changed the permalink structure for my pages, but when I researched 301 redirects I discovered you do lose page rank when you use them. Seems to me there is a fairly significant amount of 301 redirects that have occurred with HP; the switch to subdomains, the Squidoo acquisition, the niche sites. In which case, not much can be done about that as a writer here. Except move content. Not that I'd suggest that. Although, I do move content if it seems to not work for me here and is better somewhere else.
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