Could i have some advice on a recent drop in rankings on a clients site


PurpleWeb

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2017
Messages
18
Hi

I am working with a client and over the last couple of months there has been a significant drop in his rankings. In this time a few things have happened.

1. I have added some location based pages targetiing more specific areas. These pages included accordions with service information in them and although i totally rewrote the main page content i forgot about the text hidden in the accordions. I therefore there is a possiblility that it could be a duplicate content issue which i have now rectified two weeks ago

2. I paid for some social bookmarking work to be done and shortly after the work had been completed Ahrefs started to report over 5k of backlinks and majesticseo over 48k. Its worth noting that the drop in rankings had defiently happened well before this work so i know it hasnt been the factor that has caused it. Athought now it may be factor in things improving

3. Following on from point 2 I am looking at disaovowing them but when i look at Gooogle Websmaster Tools i can see that the links are not being picked up by the tool.

So my main questions are

1. If i was penalised for a duplicate content issue, now its been resolved how long should it take to fix

2. Do i still have to disavow even if the links arent showing GWT

I am happy to provide the link to the site to anyone who might be able to adviseme further

Thanks
 

heckler

Forum Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
287
1. There's no such thing as a duplicate content penalty on Google. (source)
2. Google won't show you everything it knows about you in GSC/GWT. I'm not sure I'd just start disavowing if the problem started before you used an ancient link-building tactic, it's likely Google is just ignoring those links anyway, but you're adding more variables to your troubleshooting.

Also accordions aren't a bad thing. They help improve mobile experiences; they're completely different from just hiding content (display:none).

To me it sounds like your drop is due to changing your content (based on what you've outlined).

Questions I have:
  • How long ago was the ranking drop?
  • Has traffic to the site from Google also dropped?
  • Did your site structure change?
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,652
Hi

I am working with a client and over the last couple of months there has been a significant drop in his rankings. In this time a few things have happened.

1. I have added some location based pages targetiing more specific areas. These pages included accordions with service information in them and although i totally rewrote the main page content i forgot about the text hidden in the accordions. I therefore there is a possiblility that it could be a duplicate content issue which i have now rectified two weeks ago

2. I paid for some social bookmarking work to be done and shortly after the work had been completed Ahrefs started to report over 5k of backlinks and majesticseo over 48k. Its worth noting that the drop in rankings had defiently happened well before this work so i know it hasnt been the factor that has caused it. Athought now it may be factor in things improving

3. Following on from point 2 I am looking at disaovowing them but when i look at Gooogle Websmaster Tools i can see that the links are not being picked up by the tool.

So my main questions are

1. If i was penalised for a duplicate content issue, now its been resolved how long should it take to fix

2. Do i still have to disavow even if the links arent showing GWT

I am happy to provide the link to the site to anyone who might be able to adviseme further

Thanks
1) While there may not be a duplicate content "penalty", I think that really is splitting hairs. Google will not rank a duplicate content site well. Once you fix the duplicate content, you should see a decent increase in rankings, depending on how much of the site was duplicate content. If it's just internal duplicate content I'm not sure if that is affecting you. If it was external duplicate content then Google needs to recrawl it and everything should be more or less resolved in a few weeks.

2) I'm not sure I would be too concerned about this either but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and disavow. Just make sure you don't blanket disavow sites that might be useful like stumbleupon or whatever real world social bookmarking sites are useful these days.

3) GSC doesn't pick up everything it knows about. In my experience, the high level links will make it into your recent backlink reports. If Majestic picked up 48k links though, Google definitely knows about them. They're just not showing them. I might still consider disavowing them. Especially if they have exact match anchor text.

If you could post the site that would help.
 

PurpleWeb

Forum Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2017
Messages
18
1) While there may not be a duplicate content "penalty", I think that really is splitting hairs. Google will not rank a duplicate content site well. Once you fix the duplicate content, you should see a decent increase in rankings, depending on how much of the site was duplicate content. If it's just internal duplicate content I'm not sure if that is affecting you. If it was external duplicate content then Google needs to recrawl it and everything should be more or less resolved in a few weeks.

2) I'm not sure I would be too concerned about this either but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and disavow. Just make sure you don't blanket disavow sites that might be useful like stumbleupon or whatever real world social bookmarking sites are useful these days.

3) GSC doesn't pick up everything it knows about. In my experience, the high level links will make it into your recent backlink reports. If Majestic picked up 48k links though, Google definitely knows about them. They're just not showing them. I might still consider disavowing them. Especially if they have exact match anchor text.

If you could post the site that would help.
Thanks for your reply. I have messaged you URL.

Thanks
 

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