Rankings Drop After Changing Alt Text Images??


Steve234

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
8
Hi,

I am learning SEO on my own and have had a lot of success ranking my small law firm's website high in my local area.

Last Friday, I went into the site and tweaked some of the alt text in two images on a recommendation and subsequently, my rankings have completely dropped off!

I was in maps and at the top of organic for 8 of the best keywords and in two days, I dropped out completely! ( I changed the alt text back after it initially dropped. Which may have made things worse.)

The tweaking of the alt text is the only instigating event that I can think of.

So if I may please ask:

Could this huge drop have happened because of tweaking alt text in images?

What else could it be?

What should I do now that I have dropped like this?

I've been very white hat and done things pretty much by the book and the results have been awesome until now.

Thanks,
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,447
@Steve234, the chances are slim to none that tweaking the alt text had anything to do with your drop in rankings. For me, the first question is whether you changed anything else on the site - either at that time or not long beforehand (in the previous month, let's say).

Also, your rankings can drop even if you change nothing, because things are changing around you. New competitors, different competitors, spammier competitors, algorithm updates, etc.

I'd say it's just a coincidence.
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,104
@Steve234 I agree 100% with Rich and Phil.

If you're comfortable sharing more detail we could definitely look into this a little further for you.

In order to troubleshoot I would definitely need to know the business NAP as well as a couple of the queries that dropped in ranking. If you can let us know what your ranking was before the drop that would be helpful.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,659
Also agree that is unlikely unless the alt tags were offensive to Google in some way. Can you share what you changed them from and to? I mean the only thing I can think of that would hurt it are incredibly suspect, adult terms. Which I'm sure is not the case here.
 

Steve234

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
8
Thank you for the replies all. I appreciate your responses very much.

After you made those changes, did you ask Google for a recrawl afterwards?
Google didn’t ask for a recrawl afterwards.

Also agree that is unlikely unless the alt tags were offensive to Google in some way. Can you share what you changed them from and to? I mean the only thing I can think of that would hurt it are incredibly suspect, adult terms. Which I'm sure is not the case here.
The text changed was completely innocuous. Just a different key word.

@Steve234, the chances are slim to none that tweaking the alt text had anything to do with your drop in rankings. For me, the first question is whether you changed anything else on the site - either at that time or not long beforehand (in the previous month, let's say).

Also, your rankings can drop even if you change nothing, because things are changing around you. New competitors, different competitors, spammier competitors, algorithm updates, etc.

I'd say it's just a coincidence.
Nothing else changed on the site. I stopped putting as much content on the site around the beginning of the year and have been focusing more on GMB page for content and updates.


It is a competitive niche - traffic ticket lawyer. The drop was very sudden starting last Saturday.
I went through my backlinks and saw that there was a lot of junk and spam - nothing adult or gambling - just some unrelated sites and some dead links. I contacted them and ask for them to not link to the site and uploaded a list of the dead links to Google Disavow - and I re-uploaded a site map. Now I know I have to keep an eye on that.

@Steve234 I agree 100% with Rich and Phil.

If you're comfortable sharing more detail we could definitely look into this a little further for you.

In order to troubleshoot I would definitely need to know the business NAP as well as a couple of the queries that dropped in ranking. If you can let us know what your ranking was before the drop that would be helpful.
I'm happy to give you more information. I have the ranking documented. Should I do that here?

Thank you all.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,492
Yeah, please tell us what area you're scanning from to see these results. Are you scanning from a city or a zip code?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,492
Someone told me on Twitter recently that they also saw some massive drops. They were also tracking on a city-level. We only track on a zip code level because the city-level is extremely inaccurate. Google knows where people are down to the zip code level (or further) over 90% of the time in my findings.

We've also found tracking from a city-level shows WAY more fluctuations like your graph there. I'd check your traffic in Search Console and if you don't see any declines there, don't worry about it at all.
 

Steve234

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
8
Awesome - thanks for your reply. Google Search Console is steady and really, calls last week were about the same. I appreciate the board very much.
 

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