Have Google been fiddling with the calculations?

I’ve been trying to understand why this has happened, maybe to explain it, maybe to see if whatever “it” was could be used to be beneficial.

I’ve had a site I’ve been running for years, a personal project more than anything - www.ontvnow.co.uk - nothing has changed with regards to the site, or the code for over a month (I’ve been rather busy on other things)

Traffic has been steady for months, not high or anything exciting but regular, now, I expected a little increase for Christmas (based on last year), but this was insane.

December 21st for some unknown reason traffic more than quadrupled, and from that point until the 3rd of January it went up and up to more than 10 times a “normal” day.

However, and this is the bit I’m puzzling over more than the increase. Yesterday the traffic plummeted back down to more ‘normal’ levels and today is looking even worse (so far).

I’ve checked the obvious, referrals etc. The increase in traffic appears to be coming mostly from Google, I know they were looking at releasing “Caffeine” soon, but it shouldn’t have made that much difference should it? And why would i get a sudden drop off afterwards.

Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm. Looks like it was a good tweak for a bit and then not so much.

Did you have a particularly high bounce rate before the traffic died back down by chance?

The site has always had a high (65%-70%) bounce rate, yes, its slightly higher now due to the changes that had been made.

Its something I’ve not got round to doing anything about.

IMHO bounce rates will, if they have not already been, integrated into ranking algos as a fairly important metric.

But that’s just me talking out my ***, I have no proof of that.

quite a possible theory, doesn’t really explain the sudden change either up or down.

Just thought someone might have an idea like they’d changed something - searching for any content on google changes is a pain - they don’t really give much away (which, seems reasonable in the finer detail… but knowing “an update” happened would be useful.

To put something visible against it

I know its never been “high” which is why i’m trying to work out what happened, cos if its something I could use to my benefit… i’m all ears :smiley:

Is it possible that the site topic suddenly got hot for some reason? In other words, more people were searching for it…

Like if you had a sci-fi site ranking for the term android a few days ago :wink:

Looking at the search queries, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary / special - just searches for TV program titles, which I’d expect anyway

Season premieres? The end of the Christmas rerun season?

There have been some shows on that may explain a slight increase but not to that level i don’t believe.

Google Webmaster Tools claims I was ranking #1 for many different show titles, yet if I search for the same now, or even during that rise, I wasn’t finding myself anywhere near the top.

Its as though for some reason, I was appearing artificially very high and now the “bug” has been fixed?

As an example, on the day of the highest peak, I got a lot of queries for “Loose Women”, yet if I search for that exact phrase now my site is 10th or 12th page? I can understand traffic going up for something popular, but to be #1 rank to 100+ in days?

Whatever it was, its effected my traffic… 3 days on the trot i’ve had half the normal amount… time to look into doing something about it i think :frowning:

As an update to this, its at it again… a drop into new year and a random pick up mid week - now yes, there are things going on with certain TV shows, but I still can’t figure out why all of a sudden i’d be ranking so much better wehn i’ve not updated the code or done any ‘seo’.

right, to continue this one… it gets more interesting.

I never managed to get to the bottom of this before, I couldn’t trace any reason why my ranking suddenly increased within Google, but last month it did it again.

Looking at the graphs side by side, the pattern is awfully close to similar, and again primarily from Google.