Original Poster

Declining traffic to website since December 2015

hI, Organic search traffic to our website has gone down by 50% since the end of December 2015 compared with the same period last year.  The drop off is pronounced and pretty much overnight.  I'm guessing that an update to Panda has done the damage.  At the same time I've been working on the site to improve it which has resulted in a big drop in the bounce rate for those who manage to find the site - net effect being that the actual number of sales has remained within the bounds of 'noise', which is why I've not noticed until now.

Reading around Panda I see that having site content duplicated is a key factor in affecting the ranking and a quick bit of googling shows that the main pages that are affected are those which are duplicated elsewhere.  So what to do?

We run a campsite and directory sites listing lots of different campsites have been something of a growth industry in recent years, (same thing for hotels) only this morning I've found another one which has set itself up, taken the content from my home page to make it's listing for my site and gone on it's merry way.  There are a LOT of these sites ranging from small ones for local businesses giving examples of places to stay, to the big guys who run full blown booking sites which are  taking commission for bookings (in fairness some of the big guys in the field they do write their own content).  Many of these sites just take the content and post it on their site, and I will confess to a few lazy moments in the past where I've provided chunks of my own text. but the end result being that a search for a couple of sentences from the home page can return 50 or more different web-pages.  Some sites take the content, place a "link" to our website which takes the user to a portal within the directories site which has all my content on - I don't even get the benefit of a visit to my domain!   I've now rewritten my content but I guess that it will be ripped off again in future, and I've also read that even if my content is now unique it may not help if it's not substantial different to the dozens of other similar pages out there.  And there's only so many ways you can say "we've got a nice campsite in nice surroundings near the town and beach, oh and we've got a swimming pool".  However you write that the key information remains the same.  What's particularly galling is that while I've dropped off the radar the sites that are using my, and others, content are still there.

Any advice on what to do now would be gratefully accepted.

While I'm here, we have 2 domains "ourname" .com and "ourname" .co.uk the content is all at "ourname" .com and the "ourname" .co.uk domain is permanently directed to "ourname" .com  - lately I've noticed that search results come up with "ourname" .co.uk as the address - why is this and does it matter?


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All Replies (20)
Outlandos d´Amour
Outlandos d´Amour
Hello, it´s 301 or 302 redirect

302 is bad
Original Poster
Hi its a 301 - "Redirect 301 / http://www.xxxxxxxxxs.com/" in the .htaccess
> At the same time I've been working on the site to improve it which has resulted in a big drop in the bounce rate for those who manage to find the site - net effect being that the actual number of sales has remained within the bounds of 'noise', which is why I've not noticed until now.


A meaningful bounce rate analysis can not be performed without knowing the visitor's interaction with the site AND the visitor's interaction with Google after leaving the site

You might be able to measure the visitor's interaction with your site, but you lack the critical information about the visitor's followup interactions with Google.  Conversely Google only knows the interaction of the visitor relative to Google and nothing about the visitor's interaction with the site.  Google can deduce information about your site based upon the behavior of the visitor but you can not do the same.

Therefore as a site owner, chasing Bounce rate is about as meaningful as chasing down the visitor intent using 10 horribly misspelled long tail words to find your site.

Want an example of incomplete information?

A query "Apple Tree" lands on your site.

(your site sells Apple Trees)

the person visits for a short period of time, visits the single page and leaves.

What can you deduce from the visit?  Very little.  Maybe information about the duration of the visit relative to other visitors would be beneficial.  Other than that, you are pretty much hanging out in mid air without a safety net.

But for Google, the deduction and analysis has only started.

A) the person does not return to Google search for 1 hour.  Google's assumption is the person was happy with the query that found your site and you satisfied the visitor's needs.

B) the person returns immediately to Google search and performs a query for Pizza.  Google's assumption is the person was happy with results of the query and your site satisfied their needs.

C) the person returns immediately to Google search and performs a query for Diseases Causing Apple Trees to Die.  Google's assumption is the person reached your site, discovered some more key words to refine their query and in general terms your site performed a valuable service to the visitor.

All of those are bounce events as measured by Google (and reported in Google Analytics) and none of them are bad.... yet you are chasing yourself around in a circle trying to determine whether the visitor was bad to your site but you can not because you lack complete information.

D)  The person returns immediately to Google search and performs a query for Apple Trees but adds the -YourSiteName to refine the query.  That my friend, is a bad bounce.  And you know NOTHING about the bad bounce because you lack complete information.

Bottom line, Bounce rate is noise and in general terms you don't need to worry about bounce unless people really don't like you.

>lately I've noticed that search results come up with "ourname" .co.uk as the address - why is this and does it matter?

Not good.  Creates even more duplication.   Is there a problem with the redirects?
>Any advice on what to do now would be gratefully accepted.

Your site, from what I can gather from your description, is a list of campsites.  A list of other websites in a manner of speaking.

Take a step back and re-examine what you are doing.   Other than being a list (maybe it is complete, maybe not), what value does the visitor have in coming to your site?

If you were listing USA National Parks, your website might include

Yellow Stone
Grand Canyon.


I could visit the respective websites of each park.


I could visit the .gov listing of national parks to compile a list of parks that I did not mention, might not know and I might want to visit.

Your site is kind of that way.  If I don't know about a specific campground, I might see one listed on your site.   But if I know about the campground, why should I visit your site instead of the actual site?

Without visiting your site.... you did not provide an URL.... I suspect you have a page for each of the campgrounds.  Yet there is minimal value to those pages.  Especially if you just copied what was readily available from other sources.


For starters, your weakest pages need to be either eliminated (nofollow tagged) or significantly upgraded to provide value.  One way of doing so would be to do a review of the campground.   Your own photos.  Interesting facts not found on the campground site or any other site for that matter.  A lot of work.  If the page doesn't meet your highest standards, there is no need for the page in the Google index.

Outlandos d´Amour
Outlandos d´Amour
Stevie posts have been masterful. Personally I loved reading them. The content we provide to users is fundamental. As for the tourism sector we speak, hotels, environmental tourism, camping, lodging, active tourism companies and small rural hotels, I know enough. As you say, there are pages that work including the supply of various establishments. They are central booking and commission. These pages seek to position links several establishments, but they do not pull out a dofollow link. Use texts websites that include in their index, but not penalized because they expand with unique content in high percentage. They are important because they are professionals and know how to choose links Seo, many of them institutional or public entities. Really, the only thing that can save are the recommendations of Stevie. It provides a broad, interesting content. However, I want to tell a strategy: There is a physical address of the establishment and a tax domicile. If you want to show the searches in a big city, use other direction (fiscal). Because your customers are there, not in the field. Search: Google my Busdines ".
Outlandos d´Amour
Outlandos d´Amour
co.uk is a territorial domain. If you work in the UK, you should use it.
Original Poster
Thanks for your input folks, just to get a couple of points straight:

We are a campsite, my perceived problem is that there are many directory sites (professional and otherwise) with content which amounts to copies of the home page from a couple of hundred individual websites, each belonging to a different campsite.  So StevieD-Web has read the issue the wrong way round - we are the original site having our content re-used by directory sites - we're not the directory.

I know that bounce rate is a bit of an air number, and it may just be coincidence that while web traffic has dropped by 50% the number of users staying for more than one page has gone up by 50% and difficult to interpret.  But the point of the story there was that our booking levels are not outside the normal range for the time of year and thus I'd not noticed anything was awry.  But my, maybe naive view, is that the longer I can keep someone on the site the more likely they are to book, I wasn't trying to offer consideration of the effect of bounce rate on ranking.  So to oversimplify, if it takes say 3 page views to get a take then a reduction in the number of visitors is counterbalanced to a degree by increasing the number who move on to a 2nd page, and then to the 3rd.  So the the effect of fewer visitors is counteracted by getting more of those who do turn up to 'bite'. 

wrt the .co.uk vs .com thing the redirects work as far as I can see, there's no content at the .co.uk domain and entering "mysite" .co.uk or "mysite" .com brings up the same page.  The analytics data shows traffic at .com and nothing for .co.uk  (But I guess it would be thus because the tracking code is tied to .com)

So if I can trouble you to start again at the beginning - my content has been copied to dozens of websites, each containing copied content from dozens of other websites.  My web traffic has dropped markedly since the end of 2015.

So there are 2 basic questions:  Are these 2 observations likely to be linked?  And what do I do to improve my rankings, given that any new content is likely to be copied again?

Outlandos d´Amour
Outlandos d´Amour
hello, but on the merits Stevie is absolutely right. I will try to put a poetic simile: In this forum they can help with the formal aspect: content duplication, redirections, presentation, penalties, structure, etc. (metric and rhymes), but not on the information you want to convey. The content. Google wants to offer an interesting index users. Google assumes that the page meets the technical standards. From there, the importance of the grant page users and other webmasters to place links to it. Those sites that collect information from other establishments have become important for these reasons. Perhaps its users find the information they seek. That's the reality. Another issue to part is that you have the responsibility to work for positioning your own company.
>So if I can trouble you to start again at the beginning - my content has been copied to dozens of websites, each containing copied content from dozens of other websites.  My web traffic has dropped markedly since the end of 2015.

Ah yes, the travel industry.  Like this site if we were discussing vacation rentals.

Those sites have an inherent weakness.  They are lazy.   Oh, and they are also pixel limited.

What do I mean?   Check any listing.  Any listing.  What do you see?  150 words.  or maybe 200.   Pixel limited.   No matter what the listing, there is a physical size limit.  If reviews are allowed (and often they are encouraged), there is a limit on the word count of the review.  Images?  Restricted in physical size.

They are also lazy.  Copy, copy, copy again again and again.

But so are the property owners themselves lazy.  The property owner submit a near perfect copy of their own website to one of these travel sites.  And that near perfect copy of their website listing on the travel site is then copied by others.


For starters, never give a 3rd party site your best work.  If you have ever submitted your site to one of these travel sites, go back and change the copy.  Don't make it crap, just don't make it a direct copy of your site.  For example, if you have primitive tent camping and travel trailer hookups, maybe you only mention the TT hookups on the information you provide to other sites.  This way you reserve mentions PTC for your site only.

BUT, you say, they copy your site.  Sometimes yes, most of the time they are copying each other.  it is easier and faster.    BUT for those that manually copy your site, do them a favor and make each of your pages content rich.   Notice the pixel limitations of the travel site I linked?   Guess what, once your page is larger than their pixel limitations, they stop copying your content in full.  Maybe they only copy the first 150 words.  So why not have 800 on each page?   Ooops, no more copying all of your page.... now they just copy the first two paragraphs.

And, like I mention, I suspect you have tried to enrich you site.  I am willing to bet that you have pages of local attractions.  Great for generating eyeballs.  Horrible for booking customers.  Too many peeps are chasing the information with queries like "information about famous river" instead of "booking campsite near famous river".

You want the  "booking campsite near famous river" type queries.  The rest of them are just traffic.  Traffic that does you no good unless you can convert them.... and if they are not campers, you have 0 chance of ever converting them.

Does this mean you need to keyword stuff every page with "booking campsite near famous river" type words?   NO.   But each important page of the site should have a conversion focus.  (Or be a pure support page, which has no reason to be indexed).

Speaking of indexing.... your about and contact pages have better be indexed.  Footer business card (business name, physical address, geographic reference point if desirable and local telephone numbers) should be in the footer in text form and every page of the site.  That way "campground" and "London" are found on every page.  Yes, I know you are most likely not in London.  Nor are they any campgrounds along the Thames River in London.  Wanna bet next week this thread will rank well for campground on the Thames River in London ?

Actually I am pretty sure the thread will rank will for inexpensive campground along the Thames River in London near the London Eye because I mentioned the same twice, using sightly different keywords.  If mention the same thing a 3rd time, then I am keyword stuffing.

Speaking of keyword stuffing.  Don't do it.  Too many people try.  Or they list every possible location in the known world,   Google is getting better and better knocking down sites that stuff keywords or location spam.

One more thing.... I have noticed a trend in the news industry of combining multiple stories on a single page.  Not like a blog with click here to continue reading, but actual articles feeding into the next article.  There is a reason for the same.... long tail keyword matching.  So mentioning madame tussauds london wax museum with the London Eye, I have provided TWO possible keyword matches for this page.  Add in a discussion about Shakespeare and this page might match well for many tourist destinations near the Tower of London that visitors from the United States might want to see during their 3 week vacation in London.

OH, BTW, I have mentioned London so many times that Google is going to declare this thread pure spam.  Now take a look at your pages.  Campground is mentioned how many times?

>But my, maybe naive view, is that the longer I can keep someone on the site the more likely they are to book, I wasn't trying to offer consideration of the effect of bounce rate on ranking

Hmmm. No.  Something you haven't considered in keeping visitors on the site in trying to increase the bookings is that interested visitors might also just be interested in what the surrounding area has to offer and will never book with your campground. So the more content rich your site becomes, the more you discuss the neighboring scenic/historical/whatever attractions the more you are inclined to attract visitors who want to read up on the surround attractions.  And the fewer the bookings relative to site traffic.  In simple terms intentionally making your site sticky (fewer visitors hit only 1 page) is not going to increase the bookings.

In other words it is a balancing act.  You want bookings.  But in the process of making your site content richer, you will generate fewer bookings per visitor.  This doesn't mean your bookings will go down.  Quite the contrary.  if you have 1 booking per 50 visitors now, you might have 1 booking per 200 visitors later, but your total visitors will increase from 500 to 5,000 with a corresponding number of bookings increasing from 10 to 25.

(which also means bookings per visitor is a horrible tracking value)

Gee kInLinux
Gee kInLinux
Hi Steve, 

I seen your posts you helped lot of people, so i thought you could help me, i posted my issue on this forum couple of months ago and received replies from couple of people and end up with out any solution. 

I don't have any other way to find you so i wanted to catch your attention by this reply and take a look at my question. I created  new post with same question since my last thread was inactive and shows locked.

Please help me.

Old thread:


New one


I greatly appreciate your suggestions to fix this.

Thanks in advance.
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