joined:Jan 21, 2019
Since December 2017, My site is being slowly wrung from the google index.
Back then, and for about 14 years prior to December 2017, my site was in the top few results for:
Its brand name
The name of its topic
The name of its topic followed by 'forum'
A thousand or so product names.
The thousand or so product names, followed by other criteria
The name of our online app.
It was so popular that the number one suggested search, on searching for the topic was my brand name. This was achieved with organic growth - natural backlinks, a few links to us who were also in our directory. These were all hand-selected for relevance. We never bought or sold links.
Fast forward a year, the site is nowhere to be found for almost all terms. the graph is a gradual decline with a couple of steep steps. If you search for the brand name, the number 1 result is a scraped copy of our old home page, on a site we have nothing to do with. However all the links on it point to our site. The number 2 result is our TrustPilot entry, which again, links to us. We're at number 5.
There were some changes to the site just prior to December 2017:
A drop down menu system linking to the 1,000 or so product pages (rolled back about 6 months ago)
A no-cookie basket system. For a while, I thought this was it, as it created an effectively infinite number of very similar pages. About a month ago, I blocked Google from accessing this feature with robots.txt, as of about.
Product pages set to expire immediately, so that availability would always be current. Since changed, so pages are not set to expire at all.
On a mobile device (screen width<600px) a small amount of cloaked text (font size 1, same colour as background in the menu bar) helps the links fit.
Additional content. This is basically information on the products. The source is a few (about 12) copyright expired books. They are available elsewhere on the web, so could look like scraped content, though I have arranged them more helpfully than other sites.
The pages pack a lot of information and are very small A max of 200k on a desktop, 60k or so on a mobile - but usable from about 12k. Lighthouse gives the site 100%, or very near, for SEO and Performance across the board.
I've Googled this extensively, and found little helpful, except perhaps, this:
In one situation, the site could not rank for its brand name even though it was a recognizable brand. Thatís usually a sign of either a significant manual action or serious technical issues. I wrote to a contact of mine at Google and within 24 hours they were on page 3 after being on page 11 for brand terms for months.
It sounds like I need to have a contact at Google to fix this. That's very disturbing, and very un-google.
Is there anything else I can try?