Careful with do-follow links

Updated: 30 May, 2019 seen 1,299

August 14th suddenly one of sites I maintain increased absolute drop of traffic from Google.

At first I panicked. I did research, and didn't find nothing useless from other webmasters reporting similar behavior. Then I give up. Then I decided to forget about Google,and continue to work with site, deep in my hear hoping Google will bring traffic back. Nothing. Again I started to do some research, and by end of September webmasters were reporting that they have faced similar problems. Webmasters complained about 30-80% drop in Google traffic.

Then I found out, that Google has released new algorithm called - Hummingbird. I was disappointed. To get traffic, I switched to Facebook. 

Using Google Webmaster tools, didn't give me anything valuable. No reports, no issues, nothing. Just absolute drop from search. I started to think site is banned by Google. And I started to do awful things, as result site was dead. I made mis-configuration is my ngnix server, so the sites content were served from other domain names e.t.c.

Ok, I fixed the server issues. Made new, unique, fresh content. Nothing.

Lately I found that I have more than 1000 external affiliate links with do - follow tag. And the same I had more than 1000 do-follow links to Google Maps.  Nothing really scary, the affiliate links is automatically created using custom algorithms, and provides a site user an option to make a booking on affiliated site.

By now, I have added no-follow rel attribute to all outgoing links, and removed usefulness links to Google Maps. I hope to see significant changes in Google search in coming next 3 months. If not - the site is somehow banned, and should be abandoned.

To make Google came more often to this site, I contacted other webmasters in this niche, and exchanged banners/links with no-follow attribute (hoping that, Google will see a link from some other related 5-7 sites, and reconsiders to crawl and index again). As well I changed Google Crawl rate to 0.5 seconds in Google Webmasters.


If this is true, this is what I can suggest to you founding yourself in similar situation:

  • Remove all useless links from your site.
  • All external links to affiliate sites should be with rel no-follow attribute.
  • Consider to contact other webmasters in your niche, to exchange links
  • Look for any issues in your Google Webmasters central.


P.S. This site is in 4 languages, and as I found lately, international sites, have expierenced the same thing as me, in the same mid August.