I went to check on my Google Analytics stats last week to discover that my traffic had completely stopped. As in, there was NOBODY coming to the site. I know I haven’t posted much lately, but that seemed a little odd. I normally get at least 1500 visitors a month just from Google sending traffic to my old posts. So I did some more digging and discovered that around the end of June, my traffic took a nosedive and never came back.
I logged into Webmaster Tools, and found that my site mysteriously stopped getting crawled. Then came a couple of hours of wandering around forums and blog posts trying to figure out what happened. Something was blocking Googlebot from verifying my site, but what?
In the end, it was an issue with my .htaccess file. During some site speed optimizations, I inadvertently blocked all traffic from Google’s servers. Oops! That was a huge mistake… I’ve resubmitted my site to Google, updated my sitemap, and am waiting for the traffic to come back now. The moral of the story is, if you are working on your .htaccess file, be sure you know what you are doing!