Manual Penalty for Organic, but why is GA flatlining for all other traffic?


Yourname

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Hi guys,

Here's a question, probably silly. But I can't find any information out there about this.
So, received a manual penalty about spammy structured data. And it got fixed and reconsideration got filed already... but this is about Google Analytics.

Thanksfully, because it was a structured data manual penalty - I saw the positions are taking only a super minor hit. So the traffic is coming in. Plus, there's a good amount of GDN clicks that come in daily, about 200-400.

So traffic is coming in - however, GA is flatlined. It shows super low, like single digit, sessions when I know that the traffic is still ongoing from various sources. I mean, even GSC shows that the clicks are coming in.

So why is GA showing a flatline? Isn't GA supposed to be just a traffic reporting tool that doesn't care about what's going on actual traffic numbers?

Or has GA moved to a territory where if you receive a Google slap in one of the many Google products, GA won't be nice to you either? Guilty by association?
 

heckler

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I'm unaware of any kind of unilateral black-balling across Google products based on a manual action. Unless you violate their Terms of Service you're fine. If you did violate the ToS, you wouldn't even be able to log-in to your analytics account.

So I would double-check and make sure your tracking script is firing properly across all pages.

This is the tool I use.
 

Yourname

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Looks like you were right - one of the devs "accidentally" removed it. FML. Sometimes, we take some very basic things for granted and then end up noticing it way too late.

This thread has embarrassed me. :(
 

Yan Gilbert

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Reminds me of when I was working in IT, some VP calls me to his office, and starts telling me that hes been trying to turn his computer on for ten minutes, that its dead, it won't boot up etc. He's freaking out about his work...

I look at it for a few seconds, then plugged it in for him.
 
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Yeah, i've seen that happen a ton of times :) You're not alone, so don't feel embarrassed about the situation; treat it as a learning experience. Any time you see reporting drop to 0, but rankings haven't dropped off the map and GSC isn't reporting a similar drop then it's most likely a tracking pixel issue.

It also helps to diagnose by splitting out different mediums - organic, direct, paid, referral. That way you can get a little more granular to see where the problem exists. If there was a real problem with your site from a traffic/penalty standpoint, then you should only see the organic medium take a dive. If everything drops, then the first step is to check tracking setup.
 

heckler

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Yeah don't take it to badly. If you've been doing this for a period of time you learn to check the simple stuff 1st because of what you've experienced here.

Recently I had a A/B test that one of the pages kept losing a piece of the tracking script. None of the devs could explain to me how it was happening... so yeah, it happens.
 

Yourname

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Thanks guys.
This probably happens when you're/your team are too overconfident and fast on moving forward. So much that they forget there's a process for it.

And when it comes up, everyone assumes the process checklist has been followed, but next thing you know.. it goes back to Item #2 on the checklist and we all miss it, lol
 
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Try your best to separate emotion from the equation. Emotion leads to panic :)

If it helps to publicize, create a flow chart showing what should be done in certain situations and share with the team. I guarantee this isn't the last time you'll run into an issue like this, so this would be a good one to start with. If everyone uses a logical approach to attacking a problem like this, then it'll keep everyone calm as you diagnose the issue.
 

Yourname

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Try your best to separate emotion from the equation. Emotion leads to panic :)

If it helps to publicize, create a flow chart showing what should be done in certain situations and share with the team. I guarantee this isn't the last time you'll run into an issue like this, so this would be a good one to start with. If everyone uses a logical approach to attacking a problem like this, then it'll keep everyone calm as you diagnose the issue.
Thanks!

There's actually a flow chart and a check-list but it still got through. Adding in an "approval" system now for any GA, GTM, Overture changes.
 

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