Everything I've learnt so far: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4583408.htm (The mods were kind enough to let it pass, though it could spark off some useless / un-intended Google-bashing)
btw: StackOverflow seems to have also dropped in 2013, there traffic is significantly down according to Alexa (see the thread above).
New information now: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4523365-6-15.htm (The language filter seems to mimick what we're, as UGC, seeing)
Please tell me to stop if this isn't the right venue for this btw!! :)
So I read in that thread on WW that one of the going theories is the reading level.
For what it's worth, if you check out all of the pages on DaniWeb by reading level, our breakdown alternates between SERP page refreshes:
Intermediate: Varies between 80% and 79%
Advanced: Varies between 0% and 1%
If my/your data is correct, then it isn't responsible for the general UGC decline (just partly mine). Shame, it was a nice simple solution.
BTW: WMW has homepage featured the 'summary' thread I wrote, so we're getting some great help in the battle to get some real answers from the Plex.
Both of my large firearm forums are being hit right now...I fear it might have been masked by the sudden US rush/scare of losing such products...but after Jan 20/21 the rapid decline of 60k uniques down to almost 12-15k has happened. I thought it was due to this or that..but I believe it to be due to some of this.
Also my readership is 81% Basic, 18% Intermediate, and 1% Advanced, and 51%,48%,1% for the other.
Would love to connect with a few of you here or on BBA.
Hitchhiker, I think I might just be blind because I've been looking but I can't figure out which thread of yours is on the WMW homepage?!
ComputerGuy, that sucks. I'm realllllllly sorry to hear that :( Does your site look like a vanilla-flavored forum (vBulletin, etc)? One of the going theories I'm speculating about is that the sites that were hit were UGC sites that don't look like default forums, and Google is having a hard time classifying them. I went into more detail about it in my post on Google forums that I linked to earlier in this thread:
What's very interesting is that, from what I am aware, all of the UGC sites that were affected in November are either on custom platforms or have very out-of-the-box skins that would make it not clear to a bot, especially at first, that we are forums. For example, we don't look like the majority of vBulletin's, and InvisionBoard's, and phpBB's out there. Now this is just an [educated] guess, but I'm guessing that it's built into Google's algorithm to give forums a bit more leeway when it comes to judging the quality of content than editorial sites, at least on the grounds of it being understood that forums are less likely to be grammatically correct and that type of thing. (I'm not intending to get into a debate as to whether Google thinks forums are as useful or can have content as good as editorial sites, because that's not something I can say I know the answer to.) But when a forum isn't recognized as a forum by googlebot, perhaps we were the unfortunate bunch that got classified wrong and are having our content being held to editorial standards instead of UGC standards.
This theory is actually supported by what I wrote in my original post in this thread:
We rolled out an entirely new platform in late March 2012, switching from vBulletin to an entirely new, proprietary system
We were hit by something on November 20th 2012
In December 2012, we received a Message in our Google Webmaster Tools saying "vBulletin Update Available" and that "As of the last crawl of your website, you appear to be running [an outdated version of] vBulletin 3" (note we switched off of vBulletin to our own platform back in March, a whole 9 months earlier
This supports the theory that Googlebot was not sure what it was looking at when crawling our site, and potentially misclassified us.
z3r010, sorry for the belated reply to your post, but it's amazing how similar that Alexa chart is between our sites!
Sorry to bump this, but I just want to bring everyone's attention over to this thread:
(For those of you who are watching this thread and getting email alerts)
My one site caught by panda and till not facing the same problem.
I dont know if google are playing about or I've been hit by some freak traffic but for the past few hours I've been at pre 17th november traffic levels :D
very good stats, most people were hit, we have sites that were not effected at all, as if no change to google, positive or negative! not sure what to make of this!