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Earlier this year I decided to have a look at the SEO of our website. We noticed almost immediately that we dropped significantly in the SERPs for the keyword 'probiotics' (plural) on the 12th November. For the singular version 'probiotic' we did not shift at all.

At the moment we think there are a few reasons for this. Firstly, a UK TV programme called 'The Food Hospital' talked extensively about our industry on the 8th of November. On that day we noticed a 5 fold increase in the search term 'probiotics'. Traffic spiked for about 4 days and we had lots of sales. Across the board all our statistics improved for that time, bounce rate on the day was down to 16%, conversion rate went to roughly 30%. We thought that was a fantastic result.

Two days after the TV show, we dropped in the SERPs from 4th down to 7th. There was also initially a spike where we were 16th.

In addition to this increase in traffic, we had recently switched to a CDN / proxy based in the US. We're a UK registered company and we have UK servers, but the name-servers are now in the US. Would that negatively impact our position in the SERPs?

So really what we'd like to know is this : does Google's algorithm take into account the type of information a user is looking for, and could that have affected us? Would using a US based proxy affect us, and could this somehow be related to Panda?

It also occurred to us that maybe the other sites did fantastically better than us. Although our bounce rate dropped, would a larger drop (say 90% to 10%) be more favourable in Google's eyes?

Any advice on where to look next would be greatly appreciated.

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I would suggest Panda... the company I was working for last year saw a drop which if I remember rightly was around that time too –  Vince Pettit Mar 13 '12 at 10:42
    
We were never hit by Panda in February and I thought the update in November was fairly minor? We constantly update the site with fresh and unique content, so not quite sure why Google would drop us. –  James Pegg Mar 13 '12 at 17:02

1 Answer 1

Not entirely sure if you've solved this problem yet but here are my two cents.

Firstly, have you checked Webmaster Tools and, if so, were there any problems here?

For a Panda related issue, I suggest looking at your website and seeing if you have many web pages with very little to no unique content. I know you said you regularly update your website with new and unique content but this may not be enough if you have many such pages that are indexed.

A good place to look is in Google itself using the 'site:yourdomain.com' feature. Giving the results of this a good scan can pick up cases of accidental indexing or even a problem with your site where pages are throwing a 200 OK response instead of a 404, allowing them to be indexed.

Around the time of this problem happening there was also an update, which you seem to be aware of. This wasn't Panda but a freshness update. I don't know the full details of this update but this may be causing a problem if the pages which have decreased in performance have not been updated with fresh, relevant content in a while.

I also definitely wouldn't disregard the switch in NS location to the US but I'm not sure how would you test if this was the problem in a cost effective manner.

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