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    huge drop in google ranking?


    Hi

    So as some of you know I have been working extremely hard on my google rankings, back links etc and managed to get my DA from 12 up to 22 where it
    currently sits. I have been enjoying some success with a few keywords in the top 5 positions of google which has been great.
    Now something happened on August 28th (and a little before that), I am not sure what but my site seems to have nose dived according to the SEMRUSH keyword ranking tool



    any ideas why this would happen? I havnt picked up any toxic links (i also havnt update the site in about 2 weeks?)

    scratching my head as the Statham Lodge Wedding keyword slowly climbed up to Position 3 for a week or two then suddenly went down again for no obvious reason?
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    Just curious. Since you are a photographer, why would you be trying to rank for weddings? Of course I haven't done the keyword research on this. Maybe there is some logic here, but I would think you would want 'photography' and 'photographer' associated with your keywords. Being a wedding photographer doesn't seem to be a good reason to try and rank for wedding keywords. It is very possible that Google is trying to figure out if you host weddings, or if you are a photographer

    I am certainly not fanatical about page speed, but your 49 Google Page Speed number suggests you need to optimize images.

    And your Alt tags look like an attempt to manipulate.



    Not saying these are the issues, but they are certainly things I would address.
    Last edited by DirectHits; Sep 2nd, 2017 at 05:56 PM.
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    Originally Posted by DirectHits
    Just curious. Since you are a photographer, why would you be trying to rank for weddings? Of course I haven't done the keyword research on this. Maybe there is some logic here, but I would think you would want 'photography' and 'photographer' associated with your keywords. Being a wedding photographer doesn't seem to be a good reason to try and rank for wedding keywords. It is very possible that Google is trying to figure out if you host weddings, or if you are a photographer

    I am certainly not fanatical about page speed, but your 49 Google Page Speed number suggests you need to optimize images.

    And your Alt tags look like an attempt to manipulate.



    Not saying these are the issues, but they are certainly things I would address.


    Hi not sure if this explains the sudden drop im guessing google changed something as these pages ranked on page 1 before in the same format

    I am lazy loading my images where possible which has reduced image size by a huge amount, but theres a limit to
    how small I can go with some images since the website is essentially a portfolio site and its the quality of the images which sells my work
    so theres a bit of a trade off

    I have just changed my home page slider back to the original since the new one I tried didnt load properly on iphones for some reason.
    This is something I can remove/change to a static image which would reduce some load time

    other than that I am still not sure. The alt tags which "should" contain the imagename.jpg unless I changed something? I copied from another
    well established wedding photographer who is almost permanently on page 1 with the same format so doesnt appear to
    be penalized by google for that

    I am targetting weddings and in particular searches for the wedding venues since brides will find me when they look those up (they may not
    even be looking for a photographer at the time)but I have had some success this way.
    Targetting wedding photography keywords in particular is extremely tough in my area as i think there are more photographers in my area than
    any other area in the UK and some have been established 20% years so very hard to compete

    I actually held position number 2 in google for "warrington photography" which had about 200 searches per month but
    stupidly I made a few changes and resubmitted my sitemap to google and instantly went to the bottom of page 2 and havnt yet managed to
    recover anywhere near that position

    I am continuing building back links and networkign with bloggers with DA 60+ who are starting to blog about my site and providing follow links
    hopefully if I keep doing that its just a case of waiting.

    I have checked various seo scores and I seem to be in the 85+ out of 100 area which is better than my competitors

    I
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    Visibility Trend is different than Rankings. Visibility shows what % of your keywords are in the top 100. Your average position can still go up, while visibility goes down. Seems counter-intuitive, but it is possible, if you have multiple keywords improve in rankings, while a few fall out of the top 100.

    What does your actually rankings look like if you click on the average positions tab?
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    Originally Posted by Digital Marketeer
    Visibility Trend is different than Rankings. Visibility shows what % of your keywords are in the top 100. Your average position can still go up, while visibility goes down. Seems counter-intuitive, but it is possible, if you have multiple keywords improve in rankings, while a few fall out of the top 100.

    What does your actually rankings look like if you click on the average positions tab?

    heres a couple of the keywords and the average, seems like I took a big hit at the end of August for some reason



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    I don't have enough information to determine the reason for the crash. But anytime I get a rankings drop, I usually start undoing ALL recent changes one by one, until I can isolate the error or determine it was an algo change.

    I was just pointing out what I believe are weaknesses in your strategy. I would be optimizing for and monitoring the ranking of maybe 30 keyword phrases. And it seems like to me you aren't focusing on some the more important ones. Traffic is more important the clinging to a well ranking phrase that doesn't deliver.

    I would change check your alt tags. I saw at least a row of them with the exact same phrase, which happens to be one of your keyword focuses. Visit a page with images and then stop it from loading. You will see your alt tags all lined up in a row, identical. That can't help you.
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    Originally Posted by DirectHits
    I don't have enough information to determine the reason for the crash. But anytime I get a rankings drop, I usually start undoing ALL recent changes one by one, until I can isolate the error or determine it was an algo change.

    I was just pointing out what I believe are weaknesses in your strategy. I would be optimizing for and monitoring the ranking of maybe 30 keyword phrases. And it seems like to me you aren't focusing on some the more important ones. Traffic is more important the clinging to a well ranking phrase that doesn't deliver.

    I would change check your alt tags. I saw at least a row of them with the exact same phrase, which happens to be one of your keyword focuses. Visit a page with images and then stop it from loading. You will see your alt tags all lined up in a row, identical. That can't help you.


    thanks, I hadnt made any changes to the site so I assume its an algo change then

    I will have a look at those alt tags too thanks for pointing those out
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    You have some issues with your layout. Your site is not per say mobile ready. You have rendering issues where the left side of your content is truncated. You also have a horizontal scroll bar on mobile devices that you need to get rid of.

    This is just my opinion of possibly what has happened to your site.

    On August 19th Google release another update, again, for quality. No offense, but your choice of fonts leaves a lot be desired. The fact you have layout issues could be a quality issue and could be why your site has dropped across the board. This reminds me of another member here, who added a pop up, who then experienced a 3 to 4 rank drop in multiple keywords, when the pop up was delayed 30 sec, his rankings came back. Now your problem is not a pop up, but since Google released an update on the 19th and you started having problems shortly thereafter, it could very well be a quality issue.

    I would fix the layout, first to make it mobile ready, then I would increase the above the fold content, which your site lacks, all of your content except for pictures is mostly below the fold. This is a known quality issue with Google. Google doesn't like a lot of ads above the fold, but does like content. Your site is mostly pictures above the fold, not indexable content. I would change it so you have more content above, not below. Pictures and alt text descriptions are not a substitute for good content.

    I would temporarily stop any link building, why, just to quit adding variables to what could be causing the drop.
    I checked your site rendering with Google, Opera, FireFox and they all showed the left hand side truncation, also it is not limited to your home page!

    Something else I would do is add some pictures and text for each link in the below picture, not just have 3 columns of links. Those links to inner content should be keyword laden, not things such as "Dunchurch Park Hotel" or "St. Georges Hall, Liverpool". Surely you are not trying to rank for those terms.

    .
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    Originally Posted by KnowOneSpecial
    You have some issues with your layout. Your site is not per say mobile ready. You have rendering issues where the left side of your content is truncated. You also have a horizontal scroll bar on mobile devices that you need to get rid of.

    This is just my opinion of possibly what has happened to your site.

    On August 19th Google release another update, again, for quality. No offense, but your choice of fonts leaves a lot be desired. The fact you have layout issues could be a quality issue and could be why your site has dropped across the board. This reminds me of another member here, who added a pop up, who then experienced a 3 to 4 rank drop in multiple keywords, when the pop up was delayed 30 sec, his rankings came back. Now your problem is not a pop up, but since Google released an update on the 19th and you started having problems shortly thereafter, it could very well be a quality issue.

    I would fix the layout, first to make it mobile ready, then I would increase the above the fold content, which your site lacks, all of your content except for pictures is mostly below the fold. This is a known quality issue with Google. Google doesn't like a lot of ads above the fold, but does like content. Your site is mostly pictures above the fold, not indexable content. I would change it so you have more content above, not below. Pictures and alt text descriptions are not a substitute for good content.

    I would temporarily stop any link building, why, just to quit adding variables to what could be causing the drop.
    I checked your site rendering with Google, Opera, FireFox and they all showed the left hand side truncation, also it is not limited to your home page!

    Something else I would do is add some pictures and text for each link in the below picture, not just have 3 columns of links. Those links to inner content should be keyword laden, not things such as "Dunchurch Park Hotel" or "St. Georges Hall, Liverpool". Surely you are not trying to rank for those terms.

    .
    thanks for those tips

    I have made a small change to the home page by removing the left menu completely which was breaking the layout when resized and causing the overflow and replaced it with a simpler
    top menu and removed most of the images. I also removed lots of images from the page which werent needed and removed the slider

    I made similar changes to this page which did rank on page 1 before the changes

    https://www.leonardo-studios.com/statham-lodge-wedding

    I will leave things as they are now and see what those changes make on the next ranking update

    also changed the font but will probably find a better one

    The links at the bottom arent really for search engines they are more for customers who are looking for example
    photos from their chosen wedding venue so they can see my previous work from there

    edit - I still need to transfer the new menu bar to the rest of the pages , this will be a slower process but would like to see how it affects the 2 pages I have put it on to first
    (also i doesnt display in mobile properly, just reverting to text but I cant see anywhere in my CSS where the media queries would do this)
    Last edited by dwallis2012; Sep 4th, 2017 at 02:34 AM.
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    Read the data. Where users came from, what page they came in on, where they left, filter out the bots and that's just a bit of it. Reading and understanding the data is paramont as far as figuring out what to fix or improve.
    Last edited by Test-ok; Sep 4th, 2017 at 02:34 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    Read the data. Where users came from, what page they came in on, where they left, filter out the bots and that's just a bit of it. Reading and understanding the data is paramont as far as figuring out what to fix or improve.
    not sure if related or not but my position today for Statham Lodge Wedding is now 7 it jumped up 5 places after I changed the menu bar
    not sure if google did reindex the page afterwards or whether its just a coincidence?
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    Hi Dwallis2012,

    1. Ranking Fluctuations

    a. Algo Changes
    Expect Google to be making and testing many major algorithm changes at the moment as it works on its new mobile index. This is a HUGE algo change that seems to be causing G. much more grief than it expected. The SEO discussions suggest that many desktop web page ranking signals can be stripped out in conversion to mobile format pages and that is causing major search quality problems for G.

    b. Location Ranking Skews

    I don't know how SEMRush reports these ranking results. Could mobile searchers with location tracking switched on be causing artificial/misleading fluctuations in SEMRush?

    c. RankBrain Interpretations
    It seems part of this algo element attempts to more closely predict the searcher's intended query. It can offer more closely defined answers in the search results and these answers seem to vary based on recent search user terms. Can SEMRush incorporate these types of ranking changes in its reports?

    I think the value of rank checking tools is deteriorating.

    2. Google Analytics
    I'd take Test-OK's advice and spend more time with Analytics to identify problems.

    What are your main search landing pages? Is generic search traffic to them increasing or decreasing? (Actually, I don't think you have any.)

    3. Your Current Site SEO
    It looks to me like your understanding of SEO is back the front.

    • The different potential clients and the info they want come first.
    • You want a landing page for each that answers their questions in a logical sequence.
    • The words in each page <title>, heading, URL should reflect the words on the pages.
    • You want to group/link pages for topic relevance.

    Link building is a waste until you have these basic structure and content issues sorted.

    4. Examples of confusing/conflicting titles and content

    a. Home Title: Award Winning Warrington Photography by Leonardo Studios

    Heading: Warrington Wedding Photographer

    Content: In terms of the title, the content is over the place. Lots of other locations listed. The use of "Warrington" looks spammy. Check out the text-only version of your Home page.

    b. Contact Us Title: Award Winning Warrington Wedding Photographer

    Heading: How To Contact Us

    Content: Big long list of links to pages about other cities. This content element seems to be repeated on most pages. This constant repetition has likely caused a number of your pages to be relegated to near duplicate content.

    This is how G. views your Contact Us page.

    c. Portfolio Page Title: Warrington Photography, Wedding Portfolio Photos

    Heading: Portfolio

    Content: Nothing except a repetition of the same links to other cities as used on Contact Us, etc.

    This is how G "reads" this page.

    This page is worse than useless! It reinforces the message to Google that the site is largely a handful of near duplicate content pages whose titles and headings look like very poor quality content.

    Can I suggest you find a UK based SEO who offers site owners training in how to implement their own SEO?
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Sep 5th, 2017 at 03:54 AM.
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    Originally Posted by KnowOneSpecial
    You have some issues with your layout. Your site is not per say mobile ready. You have rendering issues where the left side of your content is truncated. You also have a horizontal scroll bar on mobile devices that you need to get rid of.

    This is just my opinion of possibly what has happened to your site.

    On August 19th Google release another update, again, for quality. No offense, but your choice of fonts leaves a lot be desired. The fact you have layout issues could be a quality issue and could be why your site has dropped across the board. This reminds me of another member here, who added a pop up, who then experienced a 3 to 4 rank drop in multiple keywords, when the pop up was delayed 30 sec, his rankings came back. Now your problem is not a pop up, but since Google released an update on the 19th and you started having problems shortly thereafter, it could very well be a quality issue.

    I would fix the layout, first to make it mobile ready, then I would increase the above the fold content, which your site lacks, all of your content except for pictures is mostly below the fold. This is a known quality issue with Google. Google doesn't like a lot of ads above the fold, but does like content. Your site is mostly pictures above the fold, not indexable content. I would change it so you have more content above, not below. Pictures and alt text descriptions are not a substitute for good content.

    I would temporarily stop any link building, why, just to quit adding variables to what could be causing the drop.
    I checked your site rendering with Google, Opera, FireFox and they all showed the left hand side truncation, also it is not limited to your home page!

    Something else I would do is add some pictures and text for each link in the below picture, not just have 3 columns of links. Those links to inner content should be keyword laden, not things such as "Dunchurch Park Hotel" or "St. Georges Hall, Liverpool". Surely you are not trying to rank for those terms.

    .
    I am definitely going to agree with this! A lot of Google's algorithm updates are now focussing more and more on site quality. Your site isn't really classed as fully optimised, therefore, your rankings may be taking a hit. Also, yes the font could be considered an issue because of a Google update. Google is now focussing more and more on user experience. Sites with a high bounce rate show Google that the site isn't presenting a good user experience. Your fonts may be putting people off and increasing your bounce rate.

    I would try fixing these two issues, you can use a couple of online tools to find issues and solutions with your page speed. Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix are good examples.

    I hope all of this helps, and I hope your site rankings increase in the near future.

    Kind Regards,
    Ryan Jones - SEO Specialist
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    Originally Posted by dwallis2012
    The links at the bottom arent really for search engines they are more for customers who are looking for example
    photos from their chosen wedding venue so they can see my previous work from there
    Create a Portfolio page to "Showcase" your work.
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    Originally Posted by SEOfromRyan
    I am definitely going to agree with this! A lot of Google's algorithm updates are now focussing more and more on site quality. Your site isn't really classed as fully optimised, therefore, your rankings may be taking a hit. Also, yes the font could be considered an issue because of a Google update. Google is now focussing more and more on user experience. Sites with a high bounce rate show Google that the site isn't presenting a good user experience. Your fonts may be putting people off and increasing your bounce rate.

    I would try fixing these two issues, you can use a couple of online tools to find issues and solutions with your page speed. Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix are good examples.

    I hope all of this helps, and I hope your site rankings increase in the near future.

    Kind Regards,
    Ryan Jones - SEO Specialist

    thanks for everyones help, I have made a few big improvements to the site, I will be removing all of the links from the bottom of every page apart from the homepage as no doubt it is sending the google bot into infinite loops!

    already seeing some movement back up the google pagespeed link and gtmetrix are showing big improvements in scores too

    I still have lots of work to do tidying up the site , I still totally disagree with google telling me to put css into my html page, thats something I will fight very hard not to do!

    still a long way to go but I think I am on the right track now, will wait for the pages to be recrawled and see what happens over the coming weeks to the pages I made changes to.



    BTW here is my scores VS my competitor who is ranked #1 in google for "warrington photography" (apparently with absolutely no SEO?! - looks like keywords in domain name do matter?!) This tells me this #1 spot should be EASY to take but I havnt managed it yet!




    Also when comparing the google pagespeed insights I now score 57/100 for mobile and they score just 9/100 so scratching my head how they are hanging on to number 1 spot

    Comments on this post

    • CyberNext agrees
    Last edited by dwallis2012; Sep 6th, 2017 at 10:39 AM.
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