Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Sean Clarke on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, February 20, 2020).

Have I messed up my SEO?

Have I messed up my SEO?

So our site was getting about 100+ visitors a day and then suddenly in the past few days it has tanked to less than 10.

I created a duplicate site on a subdomain a few days ago to test some stuff and that seems to be when the traffic tanked.

Could the fact that the duplicate site was online have anything to do with our traffic dying? The analytics code and plugins were of course duplicated.

How can I fix this?


p.s If anyone can help an ecommerce site that cannot advertise and therefore relies entirely on SEO increase it`s traffic please let me know!!

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Jesse McDonald: Maybe the duplicated site wasn’t set to no index? (You can check by doing a site: search. If it has been indexed set it to noindex and submit to index in GSC.

    Simultaneously have rankings ranked or just traffic?
  • Sean Clarke: No idea if rankings have died as we only look at traffic. We rely on just on page SEO (product descriptions). We sell glass bongs so we cannot advertise (Google & FB will not accept our ads).
  • Sean Clarke: ok so site: - did not match any documents.

    I guess that is good. I don`t know how to set the site to no-index. But I`ve now put it behind a login and disabled the SEO plugins.
  • Jesse McDonald: definitely check if your rankings took a hit. If they haven’t but your traffic still dropped then there is another problem (i.e. that traffic was coming from somewhere other than organic search and something happened there). Also, do you have known bot traffic filtered in your analytics?
  • Sean Clarke: Comparing Thursday to Sunday (Monday here) and the same days last week I`m seeing an 89% drop in organic search, 47% drop in Social, 72% drop in Direct traffic....

    It`s a disaster and I don`t understand why.
  • Jason Hennessey: - if you are selling glass bongs, then is probably your guy.
  • Sean Clarke: thanks!
  • Jim Munro: In circumstances like this, it`s sometimes the case that the traffic has not disappeared, it might be still hitting your site but not being recorded. Consider double-checking your tracking to rule this out.
  • George G.: Google has been launching tons of updates in the past month that have hit a lot of people. While I am not saying this is the reason without seeing your site (cos it could just be something technical), there is a chance it is. In which case, there isn`t much you can do.

    Do you have google search console for your site?
  • Tao Ritchie: I have a customer site whose sales dropped drastically last week for no reason. It’s been pretty consistent for 2 years and I’ve tested everything. I wonder if these latest google updates may be the reason.
  • George G.: if you eliminate everything technical, your onsite is decent and there is nothing shady in the link profile in the GSC (like spam, blackhat, unknown 301s etc) it was most likely hit by an update.
  • Jane Phelps: Big unannounced algo updates this month. Nake sure your site is technically sound and follow best practices. Was it a health site? If so follow the quality raters guidelines as well.
  • Sean Clarke: We sell glass bongs.
  • Jane Phelps: that too could be an issue
  • Sean Clarke: I hope not. It`s bad enough that Google and Facebook won`t accept ads for our products, but if Google are going to kill our traffic then that`s really bad!
  • Michael Martinez: It would take nothing short of a miracle for a test site using duplicate content to immediately affect your search referral traffic.

    I would look for something else, probably a configuration issue. You may have inadvertently removed some code, deleted something, or something else.
  • Sean Clarke: Thanks Michael, that is what I thought. Analytics live view shows me and my colleagues on the site, yet yesterday it recorded 15 visits despite our other tracking (twitter, shortened urls etc) showing over 100 clicks being sent to the site.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, February 20, 2020).

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