I’ve been unable to update my personal blog over the last few weeks because I’ve been up to my nose in a frustrating process on my main website: HysterSisters Hysterectomy Support.
This has become a time consuming, brain zapping process and I don’t feel like I’m any closer to having answers today than I did weeks ago.
And so, I would like to ask my questions here.
Hoping. No. Praying that Google will see it and provide me some answers. Or perhaps Matt Cutts will provide some sort of help. (Matt, loved your costume.)
I launched the website in 1998 and have worked daily to make sure it is the best it can be. I’ve spent countless hours organizing content, adding articles, redesigning the skin with my visitors in mind. I’ve assembled the best volunteer staff that help with visitors, articles, website input.
My visitors, by the way, are wonderful women. Hormonal. In pain. Frightened. Feeling alone. Many are online for the first time. Often, their husbands find HysterSisters.com and help their wives register.I’ve tried to make sure the website provides well marked links, easy registration for our community and created pages that match their particular need.
As I launched it over 9 years ago with the intent to help women through a difficult time, that intent and my daily motivation remains the same. For the women. Kindness and support. For them. For their needs.
I’m at my best managing my site’s content. I have a notebook near me that collects my ideas based on the needs of the visitors and I plan the next projects to enhance the quality for the site’s visitors. As I spent all my time providing the best I could offer for them, I was rewarded early with wonderful organic search results. It meant that more women who needed help….. could find us! Yahoo loved HysterSisters and selected it as a “hot find”. Google search results were ideal.
Those in the Google ranks have told web-masters/managers for years that if we would just provide content and concentrate on our visitors needs, the SEO would come naturally. And yes, it did for many years. But not so anymore. Not for me.
Over the past year I have become a stressed web-manager, panicking at the loss of indexed pages in Google as I’ve watched my traffic edge slightly lower. Checking the “site:www” function doesn’t help. 12,600 for hystersisters.com (where we have over twenty times that many pages and all used to be indexed) and 17,000 for girlsgetgoing.com (my other site which I do nothing for SEO, never used a sitemap, and has 1% of the traffic, members as Hystersisters.com)
I installed vbseo sitemap AND added the sitemap url in my webmaster tools in google.com in an attempt to get Google Spiders back to loving my site. Freak out. Stress. I checked the webmaster/tools/crawl rate and it displays charts that seems to have stopped crawling in mid October. I’m the largest, most well respected website in this niche and I can’t get pages indexed.
And I’m baffled. Is it something I did?
And of course its all connected to revenue. Revenue required to keep the site up and available for our visitors. One server for the database. Another server to serve the files. A system administrator to manage them. A web-developer to maintain the software and to code the snippets we need for added features for our members. Adsense has been a great revenue generator until the end of October. All of a sudden, the income is not what it was. Not even close. And yes, its tied to traffic. (Which is my double freak-out for search results, and sitemap stuff.)
Enter Adwords. Trying to make up for the loss of organic search from missing indexed pages (where are they?) I tried to set up an adwords campaign. I went to a wonderful Adwords for Success seminar in Dallas and learned a ton of good stuff. But what I didn’t learn or understand is that I can’t seem to bid high enough in my keyword area to gain much traffic. In fact, upping my budget did next to nothing to increase impressions/clicks. An oddity I don’t understand: Google Adwords doesn’t spend my daily budget even with quality scores on my keywords: “GREAT”.
I’m not a techie. Not really. I’ve linked the right way. Built my content the right way. My ultimate goal is for our visitors: Make sure the women can find us so they can get the help, information and support the need.
So, dear Google, I have many questions from weeks of frustration. (And yes I know there are some answers Google does not have.) Please tell me:
1. Should I remove the sitemap in webmaster/tools?
2. Did the Google spider crawl stop in mid october on HysterSisters.com? If so, why?
3. Where did my indexed pages go?
4. Are there Adwords reps for smaller budget folks like me to help with campaigns?
5. Why is Adsense revenue taking such a beating right now?
6. Why are Adwords bidding so high I can’t participate?
(And don’t these two questions contradict each other? I’m gaining less through adsense but can’t bid high enough to compete with my keywords)
7. And biggest question of all….. If I remove the sitemap, disable my vbseo sitemap creator, ignore Google webmaster tools, disable my pitiful adwords campaigns and go back to working on my site to help my visitors: will I wake up next year to find my website on page 99,945 in keyword search for “hysterectomy”?