• http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Danny, there may be something going with Google tweaking affecting a certain *type* of site – my *guess* is that the key characteristic is something like: “sites which have a HUGE number of links pointing to another site, and the links have text that “looks” like spam or a paid link”.

    The site has to meet both those conditions to be affected, and the spam-qualification might be for just a few keywords.

    But similar type sites have had trouble recently – see the report here:

    http://lists.wikia.com/pipermail/wikia-l/2007-July/001621.html
    [that particular example seems fixed now]

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/wordpress/ Michael Martinez

    Google actually releases algorithmic changes several times a month, according to a comment Matt Cutts made last year. Most of them don’t result in the massive forum screaming that we normally use to gauge the impact of Google’s changes.

    They are doing a better job of identifying mashup pages this year than they were a year ago. I would not be so skeptical of Answers’ belief that something changed at Google which directly (if not intentionally) affected their search visibility more than most people’s.

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Seth, the reason that Wikia wasn’t showing up is that Wikia had accidentally blocked Googlebot on Wikia’s side. After we verified that Googlebot was blocked and getting timeout errors trying to fetch from wikia.com, the Wikia folks dug more on their side and found where they had accidentally blocked some of our crawler IP addresses. I’m a little surprised that John Q didn’t follow up on that public thread to clarify that it was Wikia blocking Googlebot that caused their traffic drop.

  • Johnq

    Actually, I did post a response on the 31st to let people know we had crawl errors. Matt was right… we had been the subject of a ddos attack on one of our wikis that covers Hong Kong. An overzealous employee took a number of ip’s and blocked them… one google bot ip was in there. Matt was kind enough to get back to us pretty quickly on what they saw from their end which allowed us to figure this out.

  • Johnq

    Actually, I did post a response on the 31st to let people know we had crawl errors. Matt was right… we had been the subject of a ddos attack on one of our wikis that covers Hong Kong. An overzealous employee took a number of ip’s and blocked them… one google bot ip was in there. Matt was kind enough to get back to us pretty quickly on what they saw from their end which allowed us to figure this out.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Ah, this, my bad:

    http://lists.wikia.com/pipermail/wikia-l/2007-July/001630.html

    (I’m not subscribed to the list, I just look at it on occasion from the website archives)

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    No worries, Seth; I just wanted to nip that misconception in the bud. John Q, thanks for stopping by to say the same thing from Wikia’s side.

  • Sam I Am

    We lost about 60% of our google traffic overnight about three months back and we run a site that isn’t anywhere near as spammy looking and feeling as answers.com. As far as google is concerned we shouldn’t have a penalty since everything on the site is 100% above board (ie. follows their terms and guidelines), and always has been. Over at google groups there have been quite a few reports of high quality sites (we’re talking serious content players, in a case like ours with over 20 000 back links…) losing major amounts of traffic from google in the past few months, but no clear indication as to why it happens or what might be affecting it.

    I think Seth and you have the right idea about these changes only affecting certain sites, or perhaps only sites in certain topics mentioning certain words too much. There is really no logic to it as of yet, excepting that it is either a google bug or some manual change performed by an overzealous intern with a spam button…