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Site Stopped Ranking...

intersect

Premium Member
It's a review site so in a way I did my job too well. The scams that I was exposing brought in a lot of traffic but as soon as they went out of business, no more traffic. And then the same thing would happen with another, and then another. I had to hire some full-time writers to keep up with it.

It got more and more competitive as time went on further dropping rankings and thus traffic... but it was only dropping slowly in the beginning.

However, the core reason why the rankings dropped was with the site itself, not the content on it so much.

The biggest dive in traffic happened around when Google went from Desktop to Mobile only for its ranking algorithm.

Although I added SSL and made it mobile-friendly it seemed to do nothing to stop or slow down the loss of rankings and traffic.

It was at this time that the rankings dropped at a very accelerated rate... like off a cliff.

It was so bad that it was almost like the site was being penalized by Google. I checked to see if the site had a Manual Action against it, but nothing. It all appeared to be fine on that end.

Most of my site was only showing up on pages 5 to 10+ in the search results for keywords that it used to rank #1 to #5 for... way, way behind the most irrelevant results that didn't have anything to do with any of the searched keywords in the title or head of the page, etc.

There were times when my own website's name ranked poorly dropping me to 4th or 5th place in the results for my own trademarked name!

It certainly appeared as if it had a Manual Action against it, artificially suppressing my site in the results/rankings, etc.

I checked to make sure the HTTP to HTTPS canonical tags/links were correct as well, they were.

I checked the site's page speed load times and they were all good during this time while the rankings were dropping fast. Sub 2-second load times.

I also checked for negative backlinks. There were 1000s of them. I have been Disavowing new ones on a regular basis for the last several years. However, doing this didn't seem to make any difference either. Google says that they are smart enough to know when a site is being hit with negative backlinks and that they are not penalizing the site for them. Who knows if this is true or not and to what degree the impact would be if so.

I'm sure I tried other things I can't remember right now, but nothing I did seemed to make a substantial impact on curbing the traffic loss.

I pretty much ran out of ideas about why the site's traffic tanked and what I could do to fix it.

I reached out to various web devs and SEO experts and they all couldn't figure out what the problem was either.

The site is being completely rebuilt from the ground up carrying over the content only.

So... hence why I am looking into paid ads.

I spent all this time on here writing about the site issues in the hopes that someone here has come across this issue before and has found a solution.

If so, please let me know.
 

joeybabbs

LIFETIME MEMBER
Staff member
It sounds like you were the victim of a core update. Were there any core updates around the time your traffic started to shift?

Also, I know recently they are making big changes around review sites in general but it seems like your issues started well before that.
 

intersect

Premium Member
Yeah, I was aware of all that stuff during that time.

The site is only getting about 300 visitors per day right now. That's 10X to 20X less traffic than when it was at its peak.

It doesn't seem to be artificially suppressed anymore but it seems that all the damage has already been done. I have quite a few reviews that are now #1 on Google. But most of those don't have a whole lot of competition.

I post new content and update old content pretty regularly now but it's nowhere near the volume it once was.

The plan is to give it another go after the site is completely rebuilt on an entirely new platform.

It might just be as simple as some very outdated code causing these issues the whole time.

I will find out here soon enough if it was the site itself the whole time.

I've also been working on building backlinks to it (the right way).

And working on getting far more page views per visitor.

Any other suggestions that I've not covered would be great.
 

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