I am desperately trying to find out why my Google traffic dropped so dramatically. My page is generally found after 10 or 15 pages on Google (for common keywords) since about 2 weeks.
The effect is that only people who know my site are coming back, and they form now about 90% of my traffic. I must say I'm happy to have such a faithful public. It reinforces mmy feeling that my website is good...
I discovered something yesterday, and as I'm not a SEO specialist, I'd like to get some feed-back by specialists on this topic.
1. The first version of my website did not use any Server Side Includes, and all my pages had the extension HTM.
2. A few months ago, I began using SSI and had to rename all my pages in .shtml.
3. I kept both versions for several months, just to avoid some error messages (404 errors), and systematically linked from the .htm pages to the corresponding .shtml pages. To be sure Google does not keep indexing my .htm pages, I added the metatag "Robots: noindex, nofollow".
4. After a while, I dropped my .htm pages, after having checked that my pages were listed on Google with the shtml extension, with the exception of index.htm (which links to index.shtml).
5. ONe day I also dropped my index.htm. This was nefast of course.
6. I still had an old version of this file, and restored it.
7. Yesterday I discovered by chance that this file also contains the keywords "robots: noindex, nofollow".
My question is: can this be the reason why Google decreased my PR from 4 to 2 and why my pages are hard to find?
I put the question, because I could imagine Google just dropping my whole site in this case. But if this could cause my current troubles, I could go back to the enhancing of the content of the site, rather than trying to get all kinds of new incoming links, and other trikky things, like repeating my keywords in the first lines of each page, usint <h1> tags (which is not evident with the use of CSS in combination with templates) etc...
There is however one good thing about the decrease of my traffic: I am now listed on dmoz.org and Zeal (which seems to be important for good rankings).
Please let me know what you think about this possible explanation.