Ok, as things settle out, I'm seeing exactly why my site totally tanked and my initial suspicion was correct, now to find out why...
As I first reported as the flux began, my meta description was bouncing from the true meta to the captions in my meta slider.
The meta slider is at the top of my home page, so either the slider whacked out or Google decided to use that instead of my meta description. Now, once everything is settling out, I lost page one, which devastated traffic.
What changed on my end?
Well, a few months ago I decided to switch to the ever popular DIVI theme for WP. I also use Yoast SEO. I'm not sure, but there is a lot of chatter online about the combination of those two messing up your SEO, so beware. This may need to go into a new thread or if someone has started a thread on this topic, please let me know.
It's either that, or Google has just decided to disobey my meta description and to handle indexing my site totally different that how it has for 20 years.
If you are tanking since about Sep 6th, then common denominators to look for would be:
1. Using DIVI theme.
2. Using Yoast WITH DIVI theme.
3. Using Meta Slider near the top of your home page, with 1 and 2 above.
Seems to be a deadly cocktail.
I will add that this could just be temporary flux because I am still seeing THREE different results layouts in the SERPS for my site for mobile, tablet and desktop. I really do think this is a Google issue, beacuse I cannot imaging how the long used slider could affect my SEO that drastically, but as it appears, it has. Also, another debunker is that my conversion rate on my remaining trickle of traffic is at absolute zero.
That's not normal at all. 2 sales all week when I usually do 20...and just a few short years ago used to do 80 to 100/wk.
Now wondering if this was a manual action.
[edited by: samwest at 11:36 am (utc) on Sep 13, 2019]