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Bad Behavior WordPress Plugin Killed My Google Traffic

ad faceI’ve been looking into the Bad Behavior WordPress plugin to help stop some of the spam comments that I’ve been getting. Turns out, it made things horribly worse.

I’m not sure why, but the plugin decided to block Google bot. By the time I noticed, the damage had been done and my visitor stats are falling at a rapid rate. I’m getting 1/3rd of the traffic I was last week and it continues to go down.

I’ve removed the plugin and am now eagerly awaiting Google bot to come back and index my content. I don’t know how long it’ll take to recover, but I’m hoping not to long.

This is just a good reminder to always be checking your stats. Even if you’re just looking at the overview, if things begin to tank, find out why!

It’s also good to note that I’m not seeing this issue on other blogs that I’m running. Not sure why this one is different, but I’m keeping a close eye on them all.

7 Responses

  1. James says:

    Don’t worry, your rank will come back soon enough. Probably a month at most.

    If you have not yet done so, get a Webmaster Tools account and check it daily. There’s a handy error report that displays problems like this as soon as Google encounters them.

    • Thomas says:

      Yep, right after analytics tanked, that’s the second place I went. It was full of 503 errors so I put one of those URLs into the fetch as Googlebot error and saw the issue. Google’s got great tools for identifying these types of issues.

  2. Adam Singer says:

    Trying this on my blog to try to block bad bots — seems to be working OK. I’ll let you know tomorrow if Google traffic goes away 🙂

  3. You’re not alone, Thomas. My site’s been online since 1995 and always had great Google placement, but it took two weeks or more of bad behavior by Bad Behavior to piss off Google which has axed me from its listings. BB’s Michael Hampton admits his WordPress plug-in has a bug that rejects routine Google site crawlers as imposters.

    “You claimed to be a major search engine, but you do not appear to actually be a major search engine” Bad Behavior repeatedly told Google crawlers as documented in view-as-Googlebot errors at Google Webmaster Tools.

    “I’m pretty sure this is a bug in Bad Behavior, but I haven’t been able to isolate it yet,” emailed Hampton on November 10. “For the moment I suggest you discontinue using Bad Behavior until I find and squash this one.”

    No apology from Hampton for killing off my web traffic. I’ve been unable to lure Google back to my pages after weeks of Bad Behavior rejection. I’ve filed a request to reinstate my site, but Google says it’ll be weeks before anyone gets around to reading the plea or acting on it.

    I strongly advise any Bad Behavior user to perform a view-as-Googlebot search in Webmaster tools to see whether Bad Behavior is murdering their site as it has yours, and mine.

  4. This happened due to an interaction between Bad Behavior and CloudFlare, the reverse proxy service you are using. It has since been fixed.

  5. grunge says:

    well here i am another user that bad behavior killed google traffic Version 2.0.42
    maybe it was fixed for 2.9.0 wordpress but unfixed for 3.10 i guess cause after i updated wordpress i started loosing visitors i am new so no big damage.

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