Few days back, I talked about Panda 3.8 and surprisingly ShoutMeLoud traffic started going down after the last algorithm update. Since, I offer SEO consultancy, it’s a shame for me to see my major site getting affected with Panda algo again. You can read my previous article on How I recovered from Panda, and I was in panic mode with this update. I started doing a complete SEO audit of ShoutMeLoud and realized that it’s penalized because of thin content.
Now, the question comes where is this thin content coming from? Eespecially, when I deindexed almost 10% of posts from SML and have been taking care of high-quality articles and spending hours on editing guest posts, It was very unlikely to happen. So what’s the reason for the penalty this time? Read on:
Thanks Hostgator for creating a mess:
Let me start with, Hostgator is not a bad hosting company but this time they created a major problem for me. Few days back (Before the last update) I spotted a https:// link of SML indexed in Google, and I contacted Hostgator support about this issue. Since https, links are likely to be there when I have an SSL certificate in my account, which is not the same in my case. You can read a discussion on the same on my Facebook wall.
Hostgator rep. Informed me that this issue is happening because of another website on same shared hosting server using SSL, but it won’t be a problem as Google will not index the other links and such things doesn’t often happen . Here is a complete transcript of conversation:
(8:19 pm) [Joshua C.], I just noticed there may still be an old SSL certificate installed on your account instead of the shared certificate we provide.
(8:22 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: And how come all of a sudden SSL certificate added or changed..When I have not put any such request
(8:25 pm) [Joshua C.] Normally this issue is from previous accounts on the same server.
(8:26 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Alright…Let me know what you have done to fix it..and is there anything I need to do from my end, let me know.
(8:27 pm) [Joshua C.] Sure thing, Harsh. I’ll have more information in a moment.
(8:33 pm) [Joshua C.] Thank you for your patience, Harsh.
(8:38 pm) [Joshua C.] I made sure to relay your statement that you have never requested an SSL certificate.
(8:38 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: yes…you can check support tickets
(8:41 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: how much time it will take to resolve the issue?
(8:43 pm) [Joshua C.] It looks like the SSL certificate in place is for another domain currently running on the same server. So there’s no issue unless you need to use SSL on your site specifically.
(8:45 pm) [Joshua C.] Unfortunately, we’re not able to remove the SSL certificate since it is active for another domain that is currently running on your server.
(8:45 pm) [Joshua C.] I’m checking to see if there are other options available, but we might not be able to do anything. Since you are not using SSL on your site, there shouldn’t be any issues, however.
(8:46 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Joshua What you are saying it doesn’t make sense to me.. Because of some other domain using SSL certificate..My site is being affected..
(8:46 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: This is highly unexpected situation for me..
(8:46 pm) [Joshua C.] Its because both sites are located on the same server.
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Yah so you should move the other site to another server where sites with SSL certificates are hosted..
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: I don’t ask for this feature, and you added it without my permission..
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: And its impact could be clearly seen
(8:47 pm) [Joshua C.] Unfortunately, we can’t just move accounts to other servers, and we do not have special servers for accounts with SSL certificates. They remain on the same server they were created on.
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: So u meant to say you guys can’t do anything about this?
(8:48 pm) [Joshua C.] There is nothing to be done at this time, Harsh. The SSL certificate is not effecting your site in any way.
And after the last update, Google pushed my many contents to supplement results, and this is links, I see in main search results:
As it is, earlier I was affected due to replytocom issue, and now another such links causing penalty was unacceptable. I get on live chat with Hostgator people, and again this time no luck. They blamed it on Google and said, nothing could be done from their end. Though, chat rep tried a lot to help me with .htaccess code to redirect HTTPs links, but it didn’t work. Obviously, waiting was not a solution here and luckily my HostGator renewal date is next week, so I planned to move my site away from Hostgator and to a VPS server.
My journey to Knownhost Managed VPS
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must be knowing about ShoutMeLoud server shifting. We started our journey from Dreamhost > Knownhost > Linode > Hostgator and now again Knownhost. Knownhost is a managed VPS, and you can learn more about it on my earlier post on what is managed VPS.
I bought Knownhost VS3 package, and it costed me ($45- discount)/month. Which is a lot comparing to what I was paying at Hostgator ($6.95 with discount coupon) for hosting the same site, but since SML traffic increased before this penalty, I believe it’s the right time to increase our hosting infrastructure.
I will share a complete review of Knownhost in another article, but here are some quick pointers and tips for those who have faced similar https links indexing issue. In most of the case, canonical tag will take care of this issue, but if it’s from server end, you might not be able to do much. So it’s better to switch your host.
Knownhost offers excellent customer support and I got most of my query solved in minutes of time. The best thing is; they offer free cPanel migration and my site was migrated to Knownhost in 2 hours, and all I was required to do is open a support ticket. Last time, when I shifted from Dreamhost to Knownhost, it was not a great experience as they offer free migration from standard cPanel only. (Dreamhost offers custom cPanel).
Once my site was moved to Knownhost, I made/making few changes to speed up things like :
- Switched to W3 total cache from super cache (Super cache works better in shared hosting and W3TC offers more caching feature).
- Enabled Wangguard plugin and enabled SML registration. Yes, you can now register and submit your posts again from dashboard. You can find more details here.
- Enabled fastCGI on my server
- Enabled Suexec permission (To install plugins and themes from dashboard)
- I will be making few design changes on header to avoid the possibilities of page layout algo penalty.
- Soon we will be implementing CDN to speed up site further
Server migration is always a horror story but this time, it was one of the smoothest migration I ever had. Though, I lost few comments because of DNS replication delay, but that’s a small price for running a smooth site.
As I mentioned above, Hostgator is not a bad hosting company and I have been using them from long and still using it for few of my sites, even after it’s sold to EIG. Though, there are times, when your hosting configuration can completely take down your site and search engine ranking, so you should always be ready with some alternatives. Also, make sure you take a complete daily backup of your site (Wp-content and database file).
It will take few weeks or may be next update to recover back, and I will keep sharing my blogging experience in future posts, don’t forget to subscribe to my Email newsletter for quick updates.