vBSEO Case Study 3.5-Month Update

November 15, 2007 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It has now been 14-weeks since I started my case study on the popular vBulletin product vBSEO by purchasing two licenses and running them on two of my sites.

My first update was made 3-weeks after the start of the study, and it produced very interesting results. My second update was made 2-months later and while data was still new and inconclusive, it started to lean towards both sites showing a nice increase of organic search engine traffic

Here are the latest stats, six weeks after my last update. The results may appear very obfuscated and confusing, but I suggest you take the time to really look at them closely because the data is VERY interesting.

The data within the first parentheses is the change since the previous calculation, and the data in the second parentheses is the change since the beginning of the study:

Starcraft2.net

Traffic:

Starting Data:
Google Organic: 211
Yahoo Organic: 50

October 13 – November 13
Google Organic: 470 (-328) (+259)
Yahoo Organic: 23 (+2) (-27)

Indexed Pages:

Starting Data:
Google: 92
MSN: 25
Yahoo/Fast/AltaVista: 94

New Data:

Google: 2 (-796) (-90)
MSN: Unable to provide numbers as MSN  recently disabled this functionality.
Yahoo/Fast/AltaVista: 610 (+146) (+516)

SERP Results:

– = Not in the first 200 results
G = Google
M = MSN
Y = Yahoo!
“Search Term” [Original] [Last Ranking] [Current Ranking]

Note: The SERP tool I was using to check the SERPs no longer works, and I’ve spent too many hours searching for one that works with accurate data, so I won’t be updating MSN and Yahoo anymore, and searched for Google’s rankings by hand.

“starcraft 2″  [G –  M — Y 31] [G 24 M 20 Y 133] [G 27]
“starcraft2″ [G — M — Y 24] [G 8 M 7 Y 20] [G 9 ]
“starcraft forums” [G 79  M — Y 9] [G 20 M 8 Y 61] [G 20]
“starcraft forum” [G — M — Y 7] [G — M 58 Y 21] [G --]
“starcraft2 forum” [G 37 M 81 Y 4] [G 37 M 1 Y 2] [G 43]
“starcraft2 forums” [G 46 M — Y 1] [G  50 M 1 Y 17] [G 54]
“starcraft 2 forums” [G 48 M — Y 4] [G 31 M 5 Y 26] [G 39]
“starcraft” [G — M — Y –] [G — M 93 Y –] [G -- M Y]

MMAForums.net

Traffic:

Starting Data:
Google Organic: 2349
Yahoo Organic: 33

October 13 – November 13
Google Organic: 3364 (-853) (+1015)
Yahoo Organic: 221 (+91) (+188)

Indexed Pages:

Starting Data:
Google: 4,230
MSN: Unable to provide numbers as MSN  recently disabled this functionality.
Yahoo/Fast/AltaVista: 3,094

New Data:

Google: 30 (-2290) (-4200)
MSN: 149 (+66) (+55)
Yahoo/Fast/AltaVista: 4392 (-1062) (+1298)

SERP Results:

– = Not in the first 200 results
G = Google
M = MSN
Y = Yahoo!
“Search Term” [Original] [Last Ranking] [Current Ranking]

Note: The SERP tool I was using to check the SERPs no longer works, and I’ve spent too many hours searching for one that works with accurate data, so I won’t be updating MSN and Yahoo anymore, and searched for Google’s rankings by hand.

“mma forums” [G 4 M — Y 57] [G 3 M — Y 7] [G 4]
“mma forum” [G 32 M – Y 126] [G 7 M 93 Y 8] [G 6]
“ufc forums” [G 17 M — Y –] [G 16 M – Y –] [G — M – Y –]
“mma” [G 111 M — Y –] [G 128 M — Y –] [G -- M — Y –]

Monthly Summary

Starcraft2.net

SC2.net experienced a huge drop in Google’s organic traffic, which can probably be attributed to the fact that all of it’s indexed pages were removed by Google, except for 2! The SERPS stayed about the same.

It appears, almost, that I’ve been banned from Google. But I don’t know why… I don’t do any link marketing for it or even sell any ads on it other than AdSense. Perhaps my Sitemaps aren’t being generated properly, or Google just messed up and will reindex the site properly?

MMAForums.net

MMAforums saw a massive drop in organic Google traffic, which like Starcraft2.net above can probably be attributed to the fact that all of it’s indexed pages on Google were removed except for 30. That is actually a loss of 4200 pages I lost that I had BEFORE I ever installed vBSEO.

While there was a small increase in Yahoo’s organic traffic, there was a drop of over 1,000 indexed pages on Yahoo. SERPS stayed about the same.

Why did both Starcraft2.net and MMAForums.net get obliterated from Google…?

Overall

Overall, this latest update was absolutely horrible. I’ve lost nearly all of my indexed Google and saw a drop in organic Google traffic on both sites.

In the larger view of things, looking at the data from whence I started the case study, vBSEO seems to have created a slight increase in organic traffic, created huge fluctuations in indexed pages, and didn’t seem to change the SERPS very much.

Since The SERP tool I was using to check the SERPs no longer works, and I’ve spent too many hours searching for one that works with accurate data, if I continue updating this case study I won’t be updating the SERPs anymore.

I have a separate "B" Case Study on vBSEO where I’m running it on two of my larger forums, including my largest forum PokerForums.org which has nearly 200,000 posts and 10,000 members.

I’ll be posting an update on that case study soon so be sure take a look. It will be interesting if those two sites see a similar drop in Google organic traffic and indexed pages as well. If they do, we can probably conclude that vBSEO is not only worth the money, but can potentially actually do more harm than good.

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Posted: November 15th, 2007 under Articles  

12 Responses to “vBSEO Case Study 3.5-Month Update”

  1. Gyutae Park says:

    If you have set up vBSEO correctly, there is absolutely no reason why it would harm your search engine rankings. The system simply changes your URL structure to include relevant keywords and 301 redirects the old URLs to the new URLs. All SEO attributes should be retained. Judging from this alone, the URLs would not be the cause of any drop in the SERPs.

    There may be other factors that affected the pages indexed for your forum (algorithm changes, Google valuing your site differently, etc)

    I have a forum that uses vBSEO as well and have seen significant gains. All of these gains cannot be attributed to vBSEO, but vBSEO is NOT a magic tool that will instantly gain you #1 rankings in Google. It’s just a tool and without the proper SEO knowledge to implement and optimize, it really doesn’t do anyone any good.

    Just my thoughts. Hope that helps.

  2. Getting as absolutely many pages from forums into the Google index is not always good. Stuff like member profiles etc never going to rank for anything. I got hit like you using the same software and altered it to only include posts and important stuff and it seemed to work. There is a couple posts on SEOBook.com about it, you are spreading your available TrustRank too thin by including tones of pages.

  3. Cpvr says:

    You weren’t banned on google. If you were, your site wouldn’t show up at all. If you want more indexed pages, then I’d recommend that you try to build links as well. It seems to me you’re relying purely on vBSeo to get your site’s pages indexed, however; you should also build backlinks to make it work for you.

    It’s a good plugin, but could be used more wisely.

  4. benny says:

    Tyler, are you using Google’s Webmaster Tools for these 2 domains? If so, is it saying anything usefull about this?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Yes I am… I’m running their Sitemap Plugin as well.

      SC2.net shows in Google’s Sitemap Tool as:

      sitemap_index.xml.gz Sitemap Index Web Jul 26, 2007 6 hours ago OK 1008

      And MMAforums.net as:

      sitemap_index.xml.gz Sitemap Index Web Jul 26, 2007 10 hours ago OK 15457

  5. [...] another webmaster reports bad results from vBSEO: vBSEO Case Study 3.5-Month Update | TylerCruz.com: An Internet Entrepreneur’s Journey __________________ Virtual Pet Sites – Myspace Editors-web [...]

  6. That is pretty interesting. With these results are you still going to keep it on your bigger sites?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Well, that will depend on how those sites do. The corner I’ve dug myself into is that I don’t know if it may actually be worse to remove vBSEO after installing it and renaming/301’ing all of my URL’s..

      I know virtually nothing about SEO but I do believe I’ve heard that one of the last things you want to do is to keep chaning your URL structure…

      • James says:

        I removed VBSEO from a site that was ranked #2 on Google and Yahoo for it’s primary keyword and it never affected it and I didn’t do anything special to accommodate 301’s, just removed it and went on about my business. I put it back on this particular site about 6 months later, still no impact to my rankings, pagerank (if we care) never changed.

        On another site that had been up and established for a couple years I decided to add it. It’s really hard to say if it’s helped but the site has slide to page 2 after being listed #3 or #4 in all engines for it’s primary keyword. Is that VBSEO’s fault? I don’t know.

        I think VBSEO will benefit a new site more than it will an established site in a shorter period o time. I’ve heard that mentioned as well.

  7. krillz says:

    1) Outgoing links, which google thinks are paid for and do not have a nofollow tag.

    2) The searchengine found the info being a clone, duplicate of information that already exists out there on the net.

    3) You broke some other of googles rules, unknowingly or on purpose doesn’t matter you’ll be punished regardless.

    You can fix the issues, then apply for a reconsideration from google using the google webmaster tools.

  8. Will says:

    yea I’ve heard many good things about vbSEO. I myself have never tried it though. There are many elements that determine good rankings so I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t work.

  9. [...] the wrong tool to determine the number of  indexed pages in my last vBSEO Case Study update posted a few days ago; I was displaying the number of links back to my site instead of the number of pages [...]

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