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  1. #1
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    Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Hi All,

    Looking for some input here on a strange situation. So - I moved a site over to a new url. Website was ranking #1 in local but pretty poorly organically. Client has Tons a reviews while competition has 0-2.

    Launched new site on new url, set up redirect on old url. Sprung to first page organically quickly. About 2 months later organically still doing good but Local search plummeted on 10 plus key search terms. Now now we are nowhere to be found locally. Researching what could be the cause log into Search Console and see 23k 401 errors to all of these type of pages: Viagra-brand-name-vs-generic-bzvg/.

    I know his old site was hacked a long time ago and had a dmca complaint from bad content. 2 of the reasons I changed content and moved the site to a new url. So are these 23k 401's the reason for the local plummet? If so my plan was to 410 all of these urls (would that be best?)

    BUT how do I download all 24k errors? Search Console only let's me do 1000 at a time? Any idea?

    Also is this what you think the problem is?

    One other funny piece of evidence is the redirect from his old root domain to the new one has 10k plus hits (according to redirection) which is way out of line with his traffic. Looking through the redirection logs for his root domain "/" I see bing bot and yahoo bot are continually trying to go to sites like: Viagra-brand-name-vs-generic-bzvg/ all the time.

    I want to reduce the 24k 401's but also need to get to the source of the problem which may or may not be all these Viagra hacked URL be picked up by the crawlers.

    Looking for advice here.

    Thank you!

    Ted

  2. #2
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    I am seeing the same things. And I believe that your link issue is an issue but I agree I think there is something else and deeper at play.

    Many of my clients have dropped significantly since the update. I've been going through the checklist of items and cannot really identify what the issue is that caused the drop. In fact, in one scenario a practitioner page crept in and nestled itself under the main practices GMB listing and kicked me out, which I thought the latest update was supposed to prevent.

    We've got more reviews in some cases, not in others - but in all scenarios, the review counts are all over the place, some of the top three have over 100, others have less than 10.

    Categories - exactly the same

    Landing pages - for mine always to a local landing page with tons of relevant content as these are multi-location clients - for the top ranks - many just go to a home page even with multiple locations.

    No link issues or redirects like yours that I can see for mine. Have you run a link comparison? I have found that the top three in my scenarios have a ton of links. When the top folks have over 50,000 links (and more) this indicates some grey hat techniques to me which seem to be being rewarded.

    These are of course just a few of the items checked. But this is truly baffling to me.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    I would line up the ranking drop with the date it happened to see if it was Possum (local results, Sept 1), The core algo update (Sept 13-14) or Penguin (last Friday). If it was only local my guess would be Possum. If the site was hacked that could be the issue and it would have nothing to do with an algo update.


  4. #4
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Quote Originally Posted by obcted View Post
    Researching what could be the cause log into Search Console and see 23k 401 errors to all of these type of pages: Viagra-brand-name-vs-generic-bzvg/.
    If you have fully cleaned the hack (site/server/database...etc), which it sounds like you did by deleting old site and building a new site, then just make sure you submit a new clean sitemap to Search Console and Google will eventually stop looking at those old URLs. (You can do a site:yoursite.com search to see if those pages are indexed by Google).

    If they are all clear, you do not and should not do any redirects for them. No real person is going to those links that would need to be redirected to the real site. You can mark them as resolved in the Search Console and they shouldn't reappear as an issue any longer.

    For the Local Drop in rankings, have you updated all your citations to the new URL? I recall hearing that GMB doesn't like redirect URLs listed as the main URL, and if all your citations don't match on the front, that may be causing an issue. (Just a thought on that part.)
    Wordpress Specialist: Building, Repairing, Updating, Maintenance, Hack Repair/Cleanup and Security.
    Owner of Say So Marketing in Las Vegas, NV.

  5. #5
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Hey Everyone,

    Haven't had any luck getting this fixed. I was wondering if anyone offers hourly consulting to work on this. I'm at my wits end. If you or anyone you know has expertise in this please let me know by either replying here or shooting me an email with pricing. Thank you!

  6. #6
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Quote Originally Posted by obcted View Post
    Hey Everyone,

    Haven't had any luck getting this fixed. I was wondering if anyone offers hourly consulting to work on this. I'm at my wits end. If you or anyone you know has expertise in this please let me know by either replying here or shooting me an email with pricing. Thank you!
    Hey Ted, if you want to PM me with the site and some of the core keywords you track, I will take a quick peek and let you know how many consulting hours I think it would take to come up with a solid plan.

  7. #7
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Thank you for all of the follow up responses. Greg Schueler jumped in and provided some top notch in-depth analysis and discovered the underlying issue. Basically it was/is NAP inconsistency. A ton of old directories that have old addresses and now the old website URL. I'll just need to go in wrestle back control of these (fun-fun) and update them. Problem should have seen it from the outset. I was too hung up on all those "not Found" viagraish links that google keep trying to find.

    Thanks for all your help everyone (:

  8. #8
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Hey Ted, glad you found help and got to the bottom of it!

    I removed your email address since this is solved so spam bots won't get it.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  9. #9
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    Re: Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Hi Linda - thank you. Didn't even think of that (:

  10. #10
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    Sudden Steep Drop + Strange Happenings

    Sounds like You've been hacked. They hacked your login. And they are building viagra pages. then linking back to their sites. I recommend wordfence for security. You will need to add 410 response codes to all 23k pages in GSC after cleanup. I use 410 for WordPress.

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