I'm stumped by these ranking changes

Joe Goldstein

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
5
Hey all - on March 27th, one of the sites I work with had some very dramatic rank gains and losses. Long story short, several of their money terms plummeted overnight (from top 3 to page 2) while their GMB lost a little visibility. On the same date, several of their supporting keywords shot up. Their informational articles in particular are getting a lot more traffic, so sitewide organic is up 30% MoM. Unfortunately, that traffic doesn't convert very well, so it's not much of a victory.

I've tried thinning out some over-optimized pages, pruning some old content, and cleaning up some cannibalization issues, but so far there isn't any improvement. At this point, I'm just curious to see if anyone else ran into similar issues around that date. Their topics touch on YMYL, so that could play a factor, too.

Edit: I just realized I should have posted this to Ranking Puzzles. There's no way for an OP to delete or move a thread around here, right?
 
Last edited:

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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2,594
Hey Joe,

I moved the thread for you. It is really hard to say what could have caused it but the first thing I generally look for is if other businesses moved as well or if it was just you. I also try to isolate which competitors gained and lost to see what they have in common.

What industry was it?
 

Joe Goldstein

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
5
Thanks for moving the thread, Joy.

The industry is water damage restoration, so the SERP changes pretty regularly. Ahrefs' historical ranking data doesn't match up at all with our rank tracker, so that doesn't help either.

From what I can piece together, one EMD competitor and one serious competitor each moved up a notch or two, while a much weaker competitor suddenly jumped from page 2 to roughly position 8. The ones who lost rank were some older competitors who until now have been relatively stable.

So far I'm still leaning towards over-optimization/cannibalization as the cause, but I think it's also possible there are some links in common that were devalued. The winners also tend to have more exact match inbound anchor text, so maybe that could play a role.
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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2,594
Hey Joe,

I know that industry is full of spam in the local results so I'd say that is very likely to be one culprit if you noticed a decline recently. If you check the local results (look at the top 10), are you seeing any listings that rank that weren't there before? Ones specifically that are not real businesses?
 

Joe Goldstein

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
5
Good call, but I already took care of their spammy competitors a while ago and did another sweep when they lost rank.

In the local results, they mostly just need to catch up on reviews (working on that...)

My bigger concern is what happened to their organic rankings. There are a couple competitors that are outranking us with half the backlink profile, so that's irritating.
 

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