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Mobile First Index - Huge drop in rankings

     
5:54 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I Just got the Mobile-first Index notice on my Search Console about two weeks ago. A little before then, I started to see big changes (to the negative) in my keyword rankings. They have gotten even worse as of today.

Has anyone else seen a big drop in rankings after Mobile First, and then a recovery? This is very strange. I have a responsive site, the only difference between desktop and mobile is the menu on desktop is hidden in mobile, and a hamburger menu (not on desktop) shows up for mobile.

The only other thing I can think of is speed is more critical in mobile than desktop, so maybe my desktop rankings are lowered by worse speed ratings in mobile.

Anybody have any insight in this, or suggestions?

Was there a major Algorithm change in the last 3 weeks that may have caused this?
7:56 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Algorithm changes are rather frequent, affecting more or less sites.

By the way, if it's not yet the case, check your site with the Chrome Lighthouse tool. It's in the Chrome's dev tool, under the "audit" tab. It will give you plenty of information about what is good and was has to be improved, especially concerning mobile friendliness (design but also speed). (it simulates mobile bandwidth, as well as smartphone cpu)
9:07 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi vphoner. Sounds about normal to me. I say that because there are many things going on that will affect what you call "ranking."

Don't forget, all the other sites are being re-indexed as well. This may create the index shuffling around in your niche.

Also, results are customized. What you see is not necessarily what others see. It's almost impossible to see where your site is "ranked" nowadays, since it could be different for each person.
9:18 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's almost impossible to see where your site is "ranked" nowadays, since it could be different for each person.

What about the position stats from the GSC? Isn't it the average position of each page for each keywords? Isn't it a good indication of the average ranking per page per keywords ?
9:50 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It's a "good indication" of whatever metric(s) were used by that tool which produced the report. We don't know if it it just a snapshot of a point in time, an across the board average, or baseline position prior to the customization that occurs with each search.

It has been indicated that many of the reports are based on Chrome usage. If that is accurate, then it would seem an averaged number.
11:19 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"justpassing" thanks....I have been using the chrome audit tool to check speed of pages. I suspect that pagespeed might be the problem. I may have lost rankings in Desktop because the speed of the page is slower in mobile than desktop, and now everything is based on mobile speeds. Just loaded some javascript calls into the footer instead of the header in wordpress, and removed some ads being served. Was able to get a much better score on main pages. Hoping this is a speed issue as that is something I can do something about.

"Keyplyr" I try and use a browser where I am not logged into google, so the results are more uniform, but I have been seeing lower searches for my main pages, which is an indication that something is happening giving my pages lower ranking. Do you think that after the "shuffling" I could return to my original positions? It has to be more than a coincidence that I got the "mobile one index" note, and clicks dropped exactly around the same time.....

My main reason for starting this thread was to see if anyone else had a drop in traffic after mobile one indexing, and did they recover.....
11:54 pm on Oct 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If you read the current update thread [webmasterworld.com] you'll get a better idea of other sites going up and down.

Very difficult to pinpoint exactly what the cause is for your site dropping. It's possible that there's nothing on your pages that caused it. It's possible that other sites just got a boost.

Everyone here is always trying to figure these things out :)
6:31 am on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I lost 50% of traffic on 27th of Septmeber . Two weeks after I got the mobile indexing message as well .

I have another website that didnt get affected after the same message

The website that got hammered with 50% loss , have an average load speed of 8 seconds . The unaffected website has an average load of 3-4 seconds.

I wouldnt consider the the lost website as slow . There is something weird going on . Best you can do is to diversify your income . You can't rely on SEO ANYMORE . Or else you would go broke
7:44 am on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Do you think that after the "shuffling" I could return to my original positions?

Anything can happen anytime. Just continue to work, and do the best you can. Keep improving things, even tiny details. And continue to improve your content.

You can also try to do lazy image loading (if your site has images).

A "problem" is that you are using Wordpress, so you have very limited control over the script which is generating your pages. Wordpress is easy and powerful, but it's doing so many things that it's also "heavy" and somehow slower than in-house solution. But, yes, not everybody can develop his own CMS.

May be the check if you are using cache or things like that. This can help with the speed.

Also check the TTFB (Time to First Byte), it can be an indication if the server on which you are running your site is fast enough.
6:36 pm on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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egyfitness, that is interesting that the faster site was not affected. People don't realize that even responsive sites, with the exact same content could be affected by the mobile speed index, as mobile speed is "tested" by google differently than desktop sites. On desktops they assume high bandwidth internet, while on mobile they may test at 3g speeds. So once mobile one indexed, you could have a speed penalty applied to your old desktop traffic, because they are looking at mobile speeds now.

I just went through with the chrome browser and their version of mobile testing, and found several pages that were in the red (meaning they would be penalized), and brought them to orange status, which I think means its ok. Hoping this is the problem, because at least its something that can be fixed. I would test your pages using chrome (right click when on a page, then choose the "inspect", then on the right choose >> which is a menu, and choose audits). This will take you to the mobile page testing. Then hit the button to run audits.

I am using Wp Super Cache, and have so for years. Also just found on some plugins that I can load the scripts to the footer, and did so yesterday.

Someone that has percolated up to the top of where I used to be in search has a terrible mobile speed score. So who knows. So confusing and demoralizing.