What Went Wrong!
We rely almost exclusively on Google for our traffic; 80% of our traffic is organic. Google is notorious for their search engine algorithm updates. Not just us, but some really well-known sites have seen drastic drop in traffic after each update to their algorithm.
I am not a fan of Google anymore. Not only because it has hurt my traffic but also because they have a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to determining what is good for users. This just doesn’t work because the web is too varied and sites serve and function in different ways. Google give a lot of weight to original content but not to sites that aggregate content in interesting ways.
We started our analysis by looking at our logs and realized that a couple of hundred of pages generated most of our traffic. The pages were mostly pointing to sites that provided live streaming of cricket matches; some or all of these pages violate copyright laws!
To demonstrate what is happening search for ‘live cricket streams’ on Google. Scroll down to the bottom, beneath Google’s own ads, you’ll find a series of messages that say:
“In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.”
If you follow the links you’ll see that the cricket boards of various counties: England, South Africa, Australia and India have asked Google to take down a bunch of sites that show live streams of cricket matches.
Google has acted accordingly and taken down these sites from their index. It has marked all sites pointing to these pages as low-quality sites. That included our own CricketFresh.in
CricketFresh.in is a resource aggregator for cricket fans. At CricketFresh.in, we have put in a lot of thought to gather popular links and tweets being exchanged on Twitter. We have been around for almost 2 years now and have served well over 10 million pages! Till mid-March 2012, we had seen traffic of around 40,000 per day and then on the 21st of March our traffic went down a 100 times!