Why is a Site suddenly Dropping in Search Results?

Why is a site suddenly dropping in search results over the last 90 days or less?

I’d love to see if there are any tips, suggestions or thoughts on why the site has dropped from position 12 to 60 (and lower) over the last two or three months.

Previously, it has been consistently ranking well for the past two years.

Suddenly, starting on August 1 and increasing exponentially in the last months, the ranking has fallen precipitously from the top of page one (for the term, “Online Reputation Management”), to position 140, then to 40, then back down to 60.

There have not been any changes to the site, except adding additional blog posts.

I’ve reviewed several related documents, such as Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, and others.

Here’s what I’ve done:

–Seen the site in Site:www.recoverreputation.com.
–Checked for Webmaster Tool errors; there seem to be none.
–Fetch as Google seems successful.
–In Site Errors, there are none now but there was one listed on July 25 and two on August 9.
–Sitemaps have been updated.
–Improved site load times (using W3 Total Cache)
–Disavowed a dozen spammy links
–Redirected several 404 errors.
–Deleted some old blog posts.
–Updated some Categories to reduce redundant key search terms.

That said, it seems odd for there to drop from position 12 to 120 in three days, and then go to 60.

Again, any tips or thoughts are appreciated!

Regards, Steve

I have also recently noticed a similar drop and also a drastic drop in the “pages crawled” which used to be at least several hundred daily. Now it is only about a couple of dozen!

I would hazard a guess and think Google’s last update is now caching every last modified page and only updates are showing. Caching a single numeric function result of the content could easily be achieved and Google Analytics could send the current numeric function result of the content to be compared against the cached value.

Fortunately a PHP Framework makes it a relatively easy task to add more content which I will try in the near future.

I greatly appreciate the steps taken and your analysis of your situation rather than a one-liner “Why is my site not …?”

Welcome to SitePoint Forums :slight_smile:

1 Like

I would suggest you run your pages through the validator https://validator.w3.org/ and eliminate the coding errors.

You also need to take a serious look at reducing the size of your pages. Your home page:

and your “Success Stories” page:

You need to remember, too, that your position in SERPs is dependent not only on the quality of your site, but also on the quality of your competitors’ sites… It’s quite possible that your site is falling because there is now more or better competition.


Thanks so much for your tips and comments. I really appreciate it.

I do see coding errors but I’m not sure how to correct them since they are part of the WordPress template.

The point about reducing page size is an excellent one, and will work on it.

Regarding competitors, I overhauled the site for this purpose about four months ago and saw SERP improvement, and feel the site is very competitive. I could see a dip, but, things took a massive nose dive from position 20 to 110 in October; it recovered to position 30 three days later but then consistently dropped further to 90–today I can’t even find the site.

Thanks again for your help!

I would not worry about validator.w3 as I have seen many top sites with many errors.

Your answers lies with you only. What all links have you built in the recent past, what all site changes have you done?

Also your title is too big. You might want to fix that.

One of the above has caused your rankings to drop.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it if you’ve checked the errors, understand why they are occurring and are confident they’re not having an adverse affect. Some coding errors may make it more difficult for spiders to crawl and/or understand your pages.

One of the warnings shown by the validator is multiple <section>s with no headings. Headings are important for both bots and screen readers to navigate and make sense of the page. Now, it may be that the use of <section> is incorrect, or it may be that these really do need to have headings added. Either way, IMHO it’s well worth looking at it and making an informed decision.


That statement contradicts this one:-

Position in SERPs is relative to other sites which appear for the same keywords, so surly the actions of competitors must be a factor.

Links to the site should not be the actions of the site owner, but that of others who choose to link to them. If they are the work of the owner, that may well be the problem, as Google takes a dim view of sire owners creating links themselves to manipulate search results.

Can you explain how you can be certain of that?

1 Like

Thanks for your comments. Just to be clear, these changes were done about six weeks after the large SERP drop, and was an attempted remedy.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Just as a follow up, I’ve:
–Started the use of a CDN (CloudFlair)
–Reduced the size of images
–Parallelize Downloads Across Hostnames
–Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript
–Reduced Home and other page size

As a result, the PageSpeed Insights rating is now 71 and 86 for smartphone and desktop, respectively, which is much faster.

Hopefully, this will help.

One other thought:

“Under” the Home Page video (a RevolutionSlider) is a line of static text for mobile devices that can’t immediately play the video.

Could Google see this as negative, and issue a penalty?

Thanks in advance. Steve

Google doesn’t have a problem with sites which have fall-back content like this. It’s good practice to offer an alternative for those on less-capable devices, or those who cannot access your content for some other reason. Visually-impaired users with screen-readers will be unable to see images or purely visual video content, so you need to provide alt text and transcripts. (These are actually beneficial for SEO, as bots are also unable to view and index this content; a text alternative is beneficial for them, too.) Those with a hearing impairment will find audio content inaccessible - as will bots - so again, providing a transcript is beneficial all round.

Google would only penalise your site if you were using some form of deception to try to manipulate rankings, which clearly this is not.

1 Like

It seems your backlinks count is lowered then your competitors.
Build Backlinks regulary and you will be again on top.

From what evidence do you draw that conclusion?

Contrary to popular belief, it is the content of a page and its relevance to the search query which primarily determines the position of the page in SERPs. “Building backlinks regularly” is very unlikely to have a positive effect on your site, because the only links valued by search engines are those which you earn from other sites, not those you can place yourself.

Link building with the sole aim of manipulating PR is specifically against Googles guidelines and can lead to your site being penalised. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.