February 3, 2014

My InfoBarrel Traffic Fell A Ton Last Year: Why?

Alright, I last posted a collection of guides I've put together of the years regarding InfoBarrel content. It is almost all dated material however all of it is on my to-do list to go over and update so that they're a bit more current and helpful in today's environment.

Although I haven't yet updated all my guides and tutorials I have started looking into my InfoBarrel articles, traffic, and earnings trying to understand how, when, and why my portfolio of "stuff" over there got hammered. See this post for a background on the royal hammering my IB library has endured.

First of all I want to be clear up front. I knew very well that my library was declining as it was happening it just wasn't high on my priority list to clean up so I let it slide.

OK, having said that I wanted to give a brief summarized history of the web.

Where'd My Traffic Go?

In 2011 Google released their first Panda updates. These were targeted at low quality and duplicated information pages on websites all over the place. For the most part big sites (IB included) weren't touched very much. Later on however further updates of this algo really started having a detrimental effect on my extensive IB library of less than good articles.

Over the past few weeks I've been going into my archives and cleaning up spelling/grammar/excessive keyword density and adding media to my pages to make them look better. I even posted about this over on the IB forums here.

I also started removing dead links, various links pointing at eHow, and all those links heading out to redirected domains.

I also have been updating my signature boxes on my articles to start pointing them at my social accounts and to my main profile InfoBarrel page. I think this is better for me, IB, and for search engines anyway, you know, instead of linking directly to other articles of mine or other sites of mine.

In short I'm cleaning up all my pages and making them better in the "quality department" to satisfy some of what Panda is looking for and also to get my articles re-indexed again.

Here's a great run down of the kinds of things I'd like to improve to help ensure I don't get labeled "low quality" by the algo: http://searchnewscentral.com/20130807459/General-SEO/10-on-page-optimization-tips-for-a-post-panda-era.html

The De-Indexing Of Low Quality InfoBarrel Posts

Back in early May 2013 InfoBarrel took it into their hands to start de-indexing low scoring articles in an attempt to only showcase high quality articles to search engines. They did this for Panda prevention at the core.

You can see their official announcement of this move here: http://www.infobarrel.com/Blog/Changes_to_Article_Indexing

Looking at my own IB analytics I can plainly see that when the first Panda update hit in February 2011 my traffic started declining. It actually fell by about 29% between January (prior to the update) and May (after the update).

I eventually overcame this by publishing some more stuff, taking advantage of seasonal trends, adding some media pages to articles that were doing well, and by building links en mass via old school PostRunner and BMR networks.

My best month ever for IB traffic was soon thereafter in November 2011. I then started falling due to the end of the Christmas shopping season and because of various updates to the Panda algorithm (which are no doubt still affecting my published pool of articles).

By April of 2012 I was at about the same spot in terms of visitors as I was in May the previous year after Panda hit.

The first Penguin update hit that month in April 2012 causing another big hit on all my articles (which were at the time propped up by lots of low quality backlinks).

From April 2012 to June 2012 my unique visitor traffic dropped by another 29% and then flat-lined at that level until Spring of 2013... when InfoBarrel finally decided to start de-indexing low quality content on the site.

The Great Traffic Decline Of 2013

In early 2013 IB instituted their Direct Payment system for the first time. In March 2013 was when I signed up for it. At this point I was barely active on IB but still contributing a little on some smaller accounts. I figured I might as well sign up for the program for the extra Adsense ad block.

What I didn't see coming was their de-indexing campaign shortly thereafter which really makes sense in hindsight.

Since all the articles were now under a premium Adsense account administered by IB staff they had to takes steps to clean up the article library that they were displaying ads on. I never took the time to clean up my articles a year ago so roughly a third of my library was de-indexed over night.

IB started a thread on the forums discussing the probable action in April of 2013 and then posted an official post announcing the action a couple weeks later in May. I remember watching this happen and I just didn't care to take any steps to clean up my article library.

My IB analytics took another dive because of it.

My traffic fell an additional 62% from March 2013 through June 2013 where it has basically flat-lined since.

To summarize - Panda hit and I didn't clean up my articles so I lost traffic. Then Penguin hit and I lost all the ranking bonus my articles were getting due to links... I didn't clean up my articles or clean up link profiles. Then IB decided to de-index articles that were low quality and I still didn't clean them up so I lost even more traffic.

When all is said and done my InfoBarrel articles had lost almost 80% of their overall traffic from early 2011 to summer 2013.

My Great Cleanup Begins

In late fall 2013 I finally started looking at my article library and decided to slowly start cleaning up a few of the de-indexed articles that used to get pretty good traffic. Then In January of 2014 I really started going to town cleaning them up and getting them re-indexed.

So far I've cleaned up roughly 35 articles in total and I still have a good 75 more to look into on the first sweep.

What I'm doing though is not just clean them up. I'm trying to marginally improve them.

I enter a "red" (low quality) de-indexed article and clean up the formatting first. Then I repair really bad keyword density problems (which takes the most time). Then I add 1-3 pictures per post and an Amazon module if it makes sense near the end of the article and submit. Then I go the the media pages of each article and pin the photos used to my Pinterest account with the expectation of an eventual Pinterest traffic source.

Doing this can easily bring an article from a score of 30 to a score of 60 but it does take time.

This does get the post indexed again so at least it can get readers and earn again but will it be enough to overcome Panda problems? I don't know but i think it's worth a try.

As for the penguin problems a lot of the link sources I used for links no longer exist so many of my heavily linked articles now only have a handful of links pointing still pointing at them. My guess is that as these numbers normalize over time penguin problems will continue to be less and less impactful on my entire library of articles.

Ohh yeah, In January I also decided to flip the G+ profile on for the first time and claim authorship of my entire piss-poor library so the more I clean it up the better it should reflect on my authorship profile.

Circle me here on G+ if you haven't already. I'm pretty new there.

So has it all helped?

Not sure yet but I see potential.

In December 2013 I had roughly 2700 visits to my IB articles while in January 2014 I had ~3200.

January was the best month for me on IB since Spring 2013 before the de-indexing. Some of that could have been due to my own activity over there bumping around my own articles and chiming in on the forums but I'm sure some of it was due to my tinkering - bringing new traffic streams into play (Pinterest) and re-indexing old posts.

I'm anxious to see what February brings. If I can get all my articles indexed again then I can work on adding lots of good pictures and media to my articles to start overcoming panda problems if any exist.

Anyway, this post was more of a scratchpad for me and less of a tool for you but I hope you found some value in it. I just find it cool that I can track all the major web happenings by simply looking at my traffic stats. It all makes sense... and because it makes sense I see no reason why I can't revive this old account and get it earning good again.

I'll make sure to update again when I'm further along and see a better view of the future.

Share This!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Powered By Blogger · Designed By Seo Blogger Templates
Content Owned By Brian Chezfat of Chezfat.com | Privacy Policy | © 2009-2014