February 27th, 2011 12:34 pm | by Ed |
I was taking a casual look at several of my websites and blogs when I noticed that blogs that just a few days ago enjoyed solid PR3 and PR4 rankings in Google were suddenly Unranked. This coincided with a significant drop in traffic that I had noticed starting a few days before.
I logged in to Google's webmaster tools and checked on my site's stats and found one glaring factor for each of them. Every single WordPress blog that I have was showing HUNDREDS of crawl errors!
Crawl errors mean that googlebot has tried to crawl the site and was unable to retrieve the pages listed. On looking at several of the error reports for several sites I found a common factor. Each one of them had been blocked by the "Bad Behavior" WordPress Plugin.
Bad Behavior is a plugin for WordPress blogs that I have used for years. It's purpose is to block automated requests to a PHP based site (like WordPress) and therefore massively reduce the amount of automated spam comments and other forms of mischievous bots trying to access your blog.
It has performed great for a long time. However when I checked the plugin's logs on the affected blogs I found that it has been blocking googlebot, under the assumption that it's not really googlebot but rather something else pretending to be googlebot
If you are using Bad Behavior, Go to your plugins page, scroll down until you see the Bad Behavior plugin and click "logs". On that page, click "show blocked". If in that listing you see a lot of entries where googlebot is blocked then the best advice I can give you is to do two things.
1. Deactivate the plugin immediately The fastest way to lose all traffic from Google is for googlebot to not be able to craw your site! I don't know about you but I've been steadily getting more and more traffic from Google searches and I'd like to keep it that way!!
2. Go to the plugin site: http://bad-behavior.ioerror.us/2011/02/15/bad-behavior-2-0-42-and-2-1-11/ and let the plugin author know that it is mis-behaving by incorrectly blocking googlebot. If enough people report the error there's at least a decent chance that it will get fixed.