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What is wrong with this site?

     
3:46 pm on Jan 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone ever seen such a steady decline in SE traffic? I can't figure out what's wrong with this site.

[monosnap.com ]

<snip>

The owner has done lots of work, removed thin content, added more high-quality content, re-worked older articles, and improved on-page SEO, added a solid /about page for E.A.T., no advertising...

The only thing I see is a weak backlink profile... but not that much that it justifies going from 6000 to 600 daily SE visitors in two years.

Any idea anyone?

[edited by: goodroi at 4:03 pm (utc) on Jan 21, 2019]
[edit reason] Please no urls [/edit]

4:22 pm on Jan 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Steady declines are very common. They can happen for different reasons and often involve a combination of reasons. Here are some situations that I frequently encounter...

1) Webmaster is lucky and gets rankings/traffic, when Google's algo evolves the webmaster doesn't know how to evolve and the traffic fades away.
2) Website has some shady and/or weak backlinks. Google keeps improving their backlink quality filters and the website fades away.
3) Website has weak competition so it doesn't generate new ranking signals. The competing site(s) hires new SEOs and they overtake the stagnant site.
4) Website took multiple shortcuts & gets penalized. As Google keeps rolling out new spam updates it keeps sinking as the spammy shortcuts are erased by Google.
5) Your content was good, so other websites copy or stole it. They improved usability or expanded the information so they are now better than you.
6) Website keeps ranking #1 for organic results. Competing sites slowly transition to PPC and eventually pushes the organic traffic below the fold.
7) Website ranking for long tail keywords that slowly lose traffic as Google's autocomplete pushes more and more people to the big keywords.

Those are just a few ways a steady decline can happen.

How to fix a site like this? Ask yourself what does this site provide that isn't being providing on 100 other websites. Be honest with the outlook. Some websites are just not worth saving. Maybe the opportunity for them has gone away or there is too many issues and easier to start fresh.

Having content that is so good it actually generates traffic in social media from real humans is what you want. Having content that is so good, the press reaches out to you for interviews is what you want. Having tools, interviews, reviews etc that are available nowhere else so websites link to you is what you want. You want a site so good it gets more than enough traffic without ever needing Google. It's not easy or cheap but its possible with hardwork and creativity.
4:56 pm on Jan 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Having content that is so good it actually generates traffic in social media from real humans is what you want. Having content that is so good, the press reaches out to you for interviews is what you want. Having tools, interviews, reviews etc that are available nowhere else so websites link to you is what you want. You want a site so good it gets more than enough traffic without ever needing Google. It's not easy or cheap but its possible with hardwork and creativity.


That's it.
3:30 am on Jan 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The other aspect is the web keeps growing by leaps and bounds and the slice of the pie keeps getting smaller. The only way to get a bigger slice is to be a pig of traffic by being not just "that much better' but by also having exterior signals (not backlinks) such as msm, tv, and radio, celebrity endorsements, and more.

Else the copycats alone will tank a viable site...
3:48 pm on Jan 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, everyone!

@goodroi How would you fix 2) 4) and 5)?

I thought that G is now filtering out irrelevant/spammy backlinks on its own. And yes, the site has a "toxic backlink score" high / 36% in SemRush (if that means anything).

Also, how can I know if the site has been penalized if nothing is visible in the Search Console?

Thanks again!
11:50 pm on Jan 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Some greatly oversimplified and incomplete answers ...
2) Website has some shady and/or weak backlinks. Google keeps improving their backlink quality filters and the website fades away.
Focus more on developing good backlinks that generate traffic. Often sites only work on removing bad backlinks. That's like removing the poison (bad links) but giving no medicine (good baclinks) to cure a critical patient about to die. If you are sick you need good medicine so get some good backlinks.

4) Website took multiple shortcuts & gets penalized. As Google keeps rolling out new spam updates it keeps sinking as the spammy shortcuts are erased by Google.
Audit the sites, find the shortcuts and handle them. Google keeps tightening their standards so it is wise to try and stay a step ahead of Google.

5) Your content was good, so other websites copy or stole it. They improved usability or expanded the information so they are now better than you.
If content is stolen, ask nicely and then use DMCA. Then figure out how to improve it and add an original spin that adds value.

If Google is honest about their claim of filtering out irrelevant links why do they still tell webmasters not to spam backlinks? Its because Google can still be manipulated by certain backlinks. Google is never going to be 100% honest about their weaknesses and how they can be manipulated. Clean up the backlinks but more importantly replace them with good valuable links.

Look at analytics and pay attention to specifically when Google traffic dropped and which part(s) of your site were impacted. That often provides good clues about which penalty filter caused you a problem. A manual audit will also help uncover general issues that can be holding the site back.

Good luck :)
10:30 am on Jan 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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That's very helpful, goodroi, thank you very much!
12:08 pm on Jan 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've got to ask again about this site...

A terrible drop happened two weeks ago, and it looks weird:

[monosnap.com...]

What would you check to get to the bottom of this:

- the drop seems consistent over pages and keywords (there are only two pages that dropped a little more than the rest)
- there are no warnings in GSC
- I did a server malware check
- the owner didn't participate in any illegal link schemes or anything similar
- or did anything that might violate Google's quality guidelines

Could it be a negative SEO attack or something?

Any ideas?
10:47 pm on Jan 28, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The algo changes all the time. The spam side changes even more often. Favored content goes in and out of favor as often as changing socks. Links once okay can be not okay ... perhaps because the neighborhood changed though the link itself is still "okay". Sometimes stuff happens and there's no obvious rhyme or reason.

However, what indicators have displayed that suggest negative SEO (actually not that easy to pull off) might be in play?
12:29 pm on Feb 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Search engines aren't only moving to mobile away from desktop, they are moving to voice on mobile and in the home.

Anyway, I like questions with links to the actual page. Right off the bat I'd be wanting to clean up the grammar on the index page a bit and try to incorporate more keywords related to the topic and remove less used or confusing words, like "screenshooting".

Make screenshots. Draw on it. Shoot video and share your files.


That might better convey your message to visitors(and Google) if it was something like "Take screenshots and videos with monosnap, draw on them, and share with ease." You've got plural and singular going on, words like make and shoot where take is the common verb and none of the words link the actions with the product. I see a lot of areas where the text could probably be improved. You don't have very much text on the index page so what is there needs to be very clear and specific imo.
 

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