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  1. #1
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    Ranking drop, what am I doing wrong?

    Hey guys,

    I originally posted this in another forum, but TechnoBear told me this is the appropriate one.

    I'm really confused and I hope the forum experts can help me figure out what's going on. My site <snip/> recently been hit with a huge drop of ranking of my Google results position and I have no idea why. Originally I thought this is a result of a penalty, but after submitting a reconsideration request, Google replied that there's no manual penalty for my site.

    Searches like "price drop alerts" or "shopping comparison alerts" used to return my homepage as one of the top 3 results. Now I'm pretty much not there for these searches and even searches like "idealchooser price drop alerts" returns my site at the 5th page and even that isn't my homepage. The rest are other mentions of my site in different directories, reviews, etc.

    The only changes that happened around the time of this huge drop are:

    1. I recently added many (few thousands) local search results pages linkable from my site, accessed from the homepage "Categories" menu item (top right). Could this somehow broke something?

    2. And of course Penguin (Google's latest algorithm update) was released, could this be the reason?

    Any idea why these things would drop my ranking? Anything else you can think of that I'm doing wrong?

    Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated, as I'm far from a search results expert and would be really happy to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Mittineague; May 7, 2012 at 22:05. Reason: removing unnecessary link

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    I'm not that good at SEO but my guess is that you were hurt because you tried to manipulate Google.

    I have over couple of years built a website for my girlfriend and our unique content is king! We are today a first page with "kjole" and "kjoler" (norwegian for dresses)
    One of the competing websites (in norway) has been manipulating Google since 2009 and they have dropped badly after Google Penguin update.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response Webgrid. I definitely didn't try to "manipulate" Google, I was and still am trying to make the best possible site. What I suspect is that I did something by mistake that hurt my ranking. If that's the case I would love to figure out what it is and fix it. That's why I started this thread.

    I also learned since I posted this, that my ranking actually dropped before Penguin, around April 14th, give or take few days. While Penguin was released April 24th.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot lutrov's Avatar
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    You're not even on page 1 of the SERPs for "online shopping comparison and price drop alerts", which is your homepage title. Without spending a sizeable chunk of additional time looking at all the possible reasons why, I suspect you may have been penalised partly because of your page bloat. You have a LOT of script data before any visible content, as well as some rather funky script related hidden fields and stuff. I just checked the size of your homepage and it's over 230KB, without external files like images, etc. That's an awful lot and it could just be Google thinking your site doesn't provide an optimal user experience for human beings. I know they talked about punishing bloat.

  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot Lutrov!!! I haven't even thought of that as a potential reason. I researched it a bit and it seems that Google indeed lower rank of pages for too much JS before actual content. I never liked this JS menu much anyway, I just didn't have a good idea of what to fill the homepage with before I know what my user is looking for.

    I don't know if this is really the reason for the rank drop, but it is a good idea to remove it regardless, I'll take care of it soon.

    More possible reasons will be appreciated, I will update the thread once I'm back to my normal ranking position of course.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Mediaplay1's Avatar
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    One of my websites has great content from top to bottom with just one Google ad, and I went from Rank 2 to a 1 a couple months ago and my other site got kicked back a good number of pages when Google made some changes, I think it happened to many of us, losing rank on search engines that is, Now my site is back to rank 2

    The same will probably happen to your site and thousands of other, it seems google has really tightened up making it harder to get good positions on search engines, With so many sites sneaking in good positions with there trick software for SEO it sure makes it tough to get on top without massive linkbacks and huge advertising

    One of my sites has very little content with over 3000 widgets, the site is massive with codes and ads and does place very well for only being out 5 months and is already ranked 2 and only averages 12 views per day so chances are you were not kicked back because coding before text

  7. #7
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    It's fixed! I'm not sure what changed but I'm back to my previous search results ranking more or less.

    The only possible things I can think of:

    1. Google fixed something with it's algorithm
    2. Changing site links to nofollow made them realize I'm not trading links
    3. Removing a Javascript menu and making it pure HTML

    Thanks again for the suggestions and ideas. I'm glad to put this behind me. It's so frustrating to be hit by Google without knowing why.

  8. #8
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    Not sure why you snipped out the URL, I'm assuming you mean the site in your siggy? (that's really unclear).

    The fixed width is an accessibility train wreck, but search engines aren't penalizing people for that -- YET. Problems likely lie under the hood, let's see what's wrong... not all of this is related to search issues, but I'm just going through the laundry list of what's wrong with the page.

    Well, tranny -- welcome to being in transition from 1997 to 1998.

    No language encodings

    HTML 3.2 in your HTML 4

    Overstuffed keywords meta with zero relevancy to the content of the page, so keywords ignored. It's key WORDS -- not phrases, not sentences, WORDS. Single words with relevance to the body content -- think of it like a word jumble.

    "price,drop,alerts,comparison,shopping,email,monitoring,best"

    Would be functionally identical to what you have there!

    Inlined presentation... at which point what do you even have a external stylesheet for.

    Invalid/inaccessible form (where are your labels?)

    Tables for layout

    Span for nothing

    Even more presentational markup -- this was written more than eight years ago, right?

    Nonsensical heading orders

    Invalid hrefs on endless links

    Zero scripting off graceful degredation

    endless pointless classes for no good reason.

    code to content ratio in excess of 20:1, might be getting you slapped down for too much markup and not enough content. 221k of markup for 3.41k and you wonder why google is slapping you down?

    Though admittedly the massive single line of java asshattery at the end is your most likely culprit -- line too long, invalid characters for the encoding -- many search engines might treat that as a blank page. I don't know what that train wreck input at the end is for -- but GET RID OF IT!!! You have a single line of code that's 171k -- 170.8k of that being the value of a INPUT?!?

    This is just another laundry list of how not to build a website -- I'd be shocked if it ever ranked in the first place.

  9. #9
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    Well Penguin is the only reason that you have suffered a huge search drops for your site, it seems that you have been using some of the Black hat techniques lately, and now you are paying the price for that. Now in order to get back in search results quickly move towards social networking and social bookmarking websites, as it would help you to increase your search engine rankings at a much faster pace and will also help you in getting some High PR back links. That's the only thing that you can do for now!

  10. #10
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    Sorry for the late response, I was taking a trip abroad for the past 10 days.

    Thanks a lot Deathshadow! This was one of the best reviews I've got. I'll work on the changes you suggested. I don't know if it has anything to do with SERP, but these are great tips to improve my site anyway.


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