Is your site suffering from a sudden drop in traffic?
I was at a company offsite, and my phone had been vibrating with several calls. I left my meeting and saw that my good friend (let’s call him “Tony”) had called several times and left a message: “I think something bad happening to my website. Traffic is crashing. Some sort of SEO problem.”
Tony runs iFly, an extremely successful airport information site. Like many of us, he is very dependent on Google traffic; an SEO issue would be a big problem, indeed.
To give you an idea of how bad “something bad” was, look at this drop:
Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
“You found what on my site?”
When I first got the call from Tony, I suspected Panda because an update to the algorithm had just been released. Fortunately for Tony and iFly, it was not a Panda event.
The first thing I noticed was that the traffic drop impacted organic search traffic from both Google and Bing. That was great news, as it implied a technical problem. I took a look at the source, and lo and behold:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex“>
In the iFly case, there was a tiny bug that resulted in the meta tag above being inserted into every page in the site. This one line of code was the cause of all his troubles. Essentially, it told Google and Bing to ignore every page of his site. They obliged.