In October of 2018 my site was hit by a meteor called Google.
My traffic dropped by over 60% in just a couple of weeks—going from around 10,000 pageviews a day, to around 4,000.
Read about the March 2018 Update
After some research and help from Thomas Zickell, I knew that this was a Google algorithm update, but I still decided to tend to my SEO garden to see if I could help the situation.
Here are some of the things I did:
I’ve been blogging since 1999, so I have thousands of posts.
- Removed hundreds of old, personally-relevant (but not publicly useful) posts
- Removed lots of thin content
- Updated some of the metadata for the site
- Refreshed a few of my key pages
- Changed my top-level nav
- Added sub-menus to my top-level nav
- Added anchor pages for Information Security and Cybersecurity
- Other minor tweaks
I also had a recent article go viral due to some famous associates sharing it on Twitter, so that probably had an impact as well.
As is usually the case, you never know what exactly is working, or if Google is changing things on their side. But to me the graph matches the March Update pretty clearly.
I am sure there were many factors, but it seems clear that the March Core Update was a major one.
Many people are saying that this update reversed a lot of damage done to some sites in 2018, and I think that’s definitely true for me.
I was really worried that I was being punished because I talk about so many different topics on my site, and that I’d never make it back. But I noticed something while my traffic was low that gave me hope: many of the pages that ranked higher than me were really, really bad.
That told me that this wasn’t a policy change, but rather experimentation with something that would likely be fixed in the future for the benefit of users.
And that seems to be exactly what happened. I’m now up over 25,000 spots on Alexa, to sub-100K again.
Anyway, I hope this helps someone who might be going through something similar.