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    Can't understand drop in rankings


    Since earlier this year, our site bit.ly/2sCXgMw has dropped dramatically from around the top of page 2 on google.co.uk for our key search term "media training". Today it's on page 15 but often it disappears completely.

    We've had no Manual Actions or warnings. We did have some dodgy backlinks set up around 10 years ago, but have done our best to remove or disavow these. We identified a hack in March, but this was quickly cleaned up and our rankings have still continued to fall.

    Our website isn't perfect, but it is reasonably well optimised (compared to competitors), mobile-friendly, fairly fast and regularly updated with useful content.

    I feel like we might be missing something obvious, and would be really grateful for any thoughts on this.
    Last edited by dzine; Jul 12th, 2017 at 06:40 AM. Reason: delinked, then approved
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    Based on on spyfu's snapshot, I would say, you need to start diversifying your keywords. And have a look around, especially how your competitors are doing as well.

    Last edited by Hikin Mike; Jul 12th, 2017 at 01:47 PM. Reason: fixed image
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    Hi Danharvey,
    This may be addressing Cloudduster's observations from a different perspective...

    At present I think there is a whole bunch of G tinkering and adjusting major algo changes which may be part of the fluctuations but your site does seem to have problems of a technical and strategic nature.

    1. Poor SE Robot Pathways (Canonical Problem)

    Your blog page (harveyleach.co.uk/blog/) links to Category Pages:

    harveyleach.co.uk/category/communicating-messages/
    harveyleach.co.uk/category/media-training-blog/
    harveyleach.co.uk/category/news-reporting/
    Etc.
    None of the above are indexed by G.

    There are also pages at:

    harveyleach.co.uk/news-reporting/
    harveyleach.co.uk/media-training-blog/
    harveyleach.co.uk/communicating-messages/
    Etc.
    None of the above are indexed by G either.

    Your individual blogs use these pathways (Eg. harveyleach.co.uk/media-training-blog/labours-three-own-goal-media-interviews/).

    There seems to be a break in the pathways that would stop SE robots indexing this major section of the site's content (300+ pages of 358 indexed).

    2. Need to Revise Your Target Search Words?

    "Media training" may be too short a search term to maintain consistent SERPs. G can't decide what searchers want with so little info to base its results on.

    I think this is where G is now applying RankBrain to broaden the search terms. I'm finding the "related search" queries can be a guide to broadening target words which are then displayed in the SERPs.

    Check out the SERP footer for "media training" and you get:

    "media training london
    media training london bridge
    media training photoshop
    media training bbc
    media training manchester
    media training bristol
    media training indesign
    media training ltd"
    Scan the page 1 SERPs for how many include "London" in their titles and descriptions.

    I believe short keyword searches like this may be impacted by the changes that may occur rapidly in the related search term topic list. This may be part of the reason for rapidly fluctuating results. (NB. This is a personal hypothesis, not any confirmed SEO fact.)

    3. Content Organisation

    With respect, your site seems to be written about "you"...

    Your experts
    Your training
    Your approach
    Your clients (a list of logos on your Home page)

    Who are your services for?

    • Positions of clients - MD, GM, CMO, etc.
    • Sizes of companies you service
    • The industries you want to help and have helped
    • What problems have you solved?
    • Any case studies to organise by industry or type of service?

    Don't just give a one page list of "testimonials" buried in the site where no one will see it. Use your testimonials to support the problems you solve and the solutions you offer.

    You may find your enquiries increase if you address the problems/solutions of specific potential clients rather than the non-specific services you offer.

    SEO should be about generating relevant client enquiries not ranking top of some frequently used search term that is unlikely to target the types of clients you want to attract.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic : How do you miss the no index tag? facepalm
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Jul 13th, 2017 at 05:07 AM.
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    Originally Posted by danharvey
    Since earlier this year, our site bit.ly/2sCXgMw has dropped dramatically from around the top of page 2 on google.co.uk for our key search term "media training". Today it's on page 15 but often it disappears completely.

    We've had no Manual Actions or warnings. We did have some dodgy backlinks set up around 10 years ago, but have done our best to remove or disavow these. We identified a hack in March, but this was quickly cleaned up and our rankings have still continued to fall.

    Our website isn't perfect, but it is reasonably well optimised (compared to competitors), mobile-friendly, fairly fast and regularly updated with useful content.

    I feel like we might be missing something obvious, and would be really grateful for any thoughts on this.
    This is on many of your pages: <meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow"/> Remove it and you'll do better
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    JohnAimit & KernalPanic are both right - but that no index...ya..easy fix and will probably have the most immediate impact.
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    That's the first thing an experienced SEO professional checks for, otherwise you're wasting your time chasing nonsense
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    Hi Danharvey,
    If you want SE traffic for this two-word search term ("media training"), the most cost-effective solution is likely to be a Google Adword campaign. Give it a test with a fixed budget and assess your ROI.

    IMHO, targeting any 2-word, single search terms should be a very ineffective and superseded SEO tactic. You are most unlikely to rank top for the term by correcting the blocked blog pathways. You have too many other site-wide SEO problems and G now keeps moving the goal posts on GIGO 2-word queries like this. (See point 2 about RankBrain in my post, above.)

    The SEO strategy "killer" in your approach is that the average search query length is around 4 words long. You are targeting where people start their search. WRONG! You want to rank #1 when folk finish their searches.

    The good news is that you have a lot of useful content. The bad, you are not writing or publishing it from the perspective of relevance to your potential client segments.

    The beginning of SEO is defining:

    • What are your different market segments? (Eg. Type of industries, searcher's positions, etc.)
    • Where are they? (London, UK)
    • What problems/solutions do you want to offer?
    • What SE questions will they pose?

    Think about these aspects of your content:

    • The lack of media training expertise expressed on any Trainers' pages.
    • The lack of case studies organised around industries.
    • The lack of industry relevant testimonials.
    • How your blog articles are all dead end pages - no cross link to any service page, trainer's page and no calls to action.
    • Etc.

    I suggest you start following UK SEOs. Country by country SEO tactics can be totally different. Be wary of SEO advice from folk with little/no UK experience.

    Find UK SEOs you can trust. I've followed and respected, Ammon Johns for a long time. I'm sure there will be others.
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Jul 20th, 2017 at 03:41 AM.

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