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Strange UK Ranking Drop?
mattzer




msg:4248996
 5:15 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I have a website which targets the UK market with a .co.uk domain.

The site was setup in November 2009 and has always done well in the UK rankings. In the past 3 months the sites rankings grew naturally and I could literally publish a page and it be on the first page of Google with no link building what so ever.

and then this happened - [i51.tinypic.com...]

Whats strange is this doesnt seem to have affected all pages/keywords with a handful of them hanging on to their #1 positions. It's worth noting the keywords I target are usually of 3 or 4 words in length.

Also the October update people are talking of had no impact on the site at all around then.

Each of my pages feature-

    100% unique content
    Imagery
    Embeded video which is part of the videositemap
    Links to relevant external sites
    Keyword density between 2%-4%
    LSI keywords included
    Title tags are written like KEYWORD - Title, eg BLUE WIDGETS - What You Need To Know


I have looked through webmaster tools and there are 2 errors, both of which have been part of the site for a long time.

The first is that I use googlevideositemap.com plugin to generate the video sitemap. This puts a 301 redirect into the sitemap which then pushes people to the page the actual video is on.

The second is I have a plugin that adds pages of comments, so each comment has its own page which causes duplicate title/meta tags.

Other than that, webmastertools looks perfect but both of those have been in webmastertools for a while so I doubt they have made an impact.

So im scratching my head a little bit, I had thought the site had grown to become an authority in its niche as it was climbing rankings and I could literally be on the first page for nearly any term I wanted in my niche just by publishing a page.

I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to share some advice or perhaps share similar experiences throughout the december period.

Thank you kindly for your time.

 

HuskyPup




msg:4249007
 5:47 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi mattzer, welcome to WebmasterWorld

Your graph looks just like mine do every December across many sites with .coms, co.uk, .eu, .asia, .cn, .in etc!

I assume you're not a Xmas shopping site therefore this is quite normal and usually I would expect things to start picking up this week with the full-on Google flick-the-switch this weekend and back to normal on the 10th Jan.

Just my experience because that's how it's happened for years now.

mattzer




msg:4249100
 8:46 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the welcome Husky, I have actually been a lurker for a while now :)

My site focus on physical electronic products in a specific niche targeting <brand> <model> keywords.

Is the 10th of Jan a trend you see each year? I would love to learn and understand this change and how it affects your sites in more detail.

Thanks for the confidence boost, I was worried for a while. I will just keep posting articles and pretend I never logged into Analytics in the mean time!

HuskyPup




msg:4249116
 9:22 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is the 10th of Jan a trend you see each year?


Usually it's around the weekend following New Year's Eve/Day and most noticeable on the Monday meaning this year 10th Jan, obviously last year it was 11th Jan.

Whether it happens again or not this year will be interesting since, for me and several others, Google definitely changed their game in October yet we cannot, as yet, suss what for and why but in the past it has always signalled a good steady growth right up until late spring/early summer.

My site focus on physical electronic products in a specific niche targeting <brand> <model> keywords.


Therefore, realistically, would you say that this product is bought a lot running up to Xmas or are they "upmarket" products costing serious money whereby people do their research and it's not a whim purchase and people upgrade/purchase when they're ready and not really influenced by advertising but by new model introduction or trade-in offers?

mattzer




msg:4259413
 12:48 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Husky I would like to thank you further for your advice. As you predicted my rankings returned around the 8th of Jan.

However, things have taken a turn for the worst since - [i55.tinypic.com...]

On the 13th January I put a new design/theme live in which-

  • I was extra careful to keep the site structure the same
  • Its much more lightweight with less graphics
  • I replaced the wordpress comments with Disqus
  • I added a facebook like box into the sidebar for each post
  • I switched to W3c total cache with Memcache on my server
  • I added more images to each post with Next Gen Gallery
  • I used the Google Page Speed tool to achieve a score of at least 90 across the site (gzip, minified, caching, combined css/js etc)



As you can see from my stats [i55.tinypic.com...] the page load time has increased, nearly doubled! I'm not 100% sure what the cause of this is.

I'm now really lost as to what to do, from my late night pondering on what to do I believe I have a couple of options-

1) Roll back to the old design and wait a couple of weeks to see if things pick up again.
2) Carry on and pretend nothings happened and hope things return to normal with the new design.

This isn't a situation I have dealt with before but I do believe whatever decision I make needs to be the right one as it could be the difference between success and failure.

Any input/thoughts/opinions are greatly welcomed! Heck i'll even buy you a few beers via paypal for your assistance!

Thank you kindly for your time.

HeadlessChicken




msg:4259434
 2:03 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heck i'll even buy you a few beers via paypal for your assistance!


How many years have I been waiting for on-line bar, it would even sway be back to using Paypal again!

Rosalind




msg:4259435
 2:04 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I recently read a piece about the way the geolocation of tweets might affect targeting in Google local. Could this apply to you?

mattzer




msg:4259436
 2:08 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

An online bar would be great! Especially if you didnt have to move for your drinks, no matter how drunk you got, as long as your arms/head still worked you could order more drinks without the worry of walking and falling lol

My twitter account for the site is set to UK also

HuskyPup




msg:4259441
 2:21 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its much more lightweight with less graphics


Do you mean lighter code or less relevant information?

Certainly your graph shows the classic demotion 3-4 days after a site update which could mean Google's digesting the new info before doing anything with it or has decided you've devalued the pages.

I would say going back to the old design would regain your traffic etc however it may be a good idea to give it just another few days to see if Google does like the new site, if it doesn't then you'll know you need to roll back.

Anyone else with some ideas?

HuskyPup




msg:4259443
 2:21 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh...and what time does the bar open? :-)

mattzer




msg:4259463
 2:52 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Husky,

I meant that previosuly the site was made up of a lot of graphics/images where as now its very simple and the layout is purely html/css with the Logo & couple tiny social media icons been the only graphics within the design.

Maybe I need to grow a pair and roll with the punches, but I might ride it until monday to see what happens and wait for webmastertools to update there data so I can see exactly what happened the last couple of days.

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