Is Your Google traffic in decline since Feb, March, April 2021?
If your site traffic has been declining on a slope since Feb 2021, you have been very likely hit by the 2021 passage ranking update. Like almost everyone else! This was a core change to how Google deals with certain types of content found on your website. Your problems might have started in December 2020!
Hobo consultants are convinced subsequent Google updates masked this most important algorithm change in 2021.
QUOTE: “Very specific searches can be the hardest to get right since sometimes the single sentence that answers your question might be buried deep in a web page. We’ve recently made a breakthrough in ranking and are now able to not just index web pages, but individual passages from the pages. By better understanding the relevancy of specific passages, not just the overall page, we can find that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for.” Google, 2021
The good news is this is fixable, and if I tell you this about your website content, you’ll forever change how you write it!
Google has been going down this road for 10 years since Google Panda! They are not changing direction any time soon.
Even if this fix I talk about on this page is not to do with Passage ranking, it happened basically at the same time (and the fix is… in optimizing paragraphs)! This is not to do with ad experience problems or technical SEO best practices, the root of the problem is in a lack of a specific classification of high-quality content.
This fix leads to quick recovery
I do not normally make that claim with anything to do with Google, especially with declining visitor numbers and Google traffic drops.
Because this fix is a fix to page content, once you improve the page and submit it to Search Console rankings can react positively the next day (but more likely, a week or so), with positive effects still recorded months later in tests.
If you have a big site impacted by this traffic drop, naturally, fixing content is a big project, and Google will respond slow as it wants to your updates but this time, you’ll know how to write your content!
If the problem is rooted in your user-generated content, an even bigger challenge.
How did we work this out?
Hobo tested different content types to see what Google preferred. Once we had a hypothesis as to what was happening, I went and looked at particular spammy scraper website directories that are doing amazingly well (for the time being) in Google. They perform well because they do one thing with content most others evidently do not (including myself up to a few weeks ago). In fact, these directories kind of fluked their rankings.
NOTE: If you optimize content without doing applying this fix to it, what you will find is that yes, rankings will improve for a while but GOOGLE AVERAGE RANK PRINCIPLES will keep your site at a constant traffic level! If your page content is poorly optimized it hurts and it 100% will fail to get you results.
Lastly, once I found this phenomenon, I searched Google docs for any advice on this specific content matter and yes, Google tells you exactly to do this with web text! Again – Google does tell you EVERYTHING you need to rank, but you have to read between some lines in places.
Is the wrong page ranking on your site for keyphrases?
Actually, this is all connected! If Google is ranking the wrong page on your site, this is a relevance and page content quality problem (SOMEWHERE on your site!)
It’s easy to spot this effect in Search Console if you narrow down the analysis to a single page and keyword.
This is also a clear sign that something is not right with your page content quality.
How are your Local SEO rankings performing?
If your traffic is declining since the first part of 2021, your local rankings are probably a bit ropey too, because as I said, this is all connected.
If your content is presented to Google poorly, it affects all your rankings.
Are spammy web directories outranking your page in local rankings?
You have a relevance optimization problem on your pages. Again this will be connected to the problems I describe in this email and are easily fixable.
How are your country-wide national keyword phrase rankings doing?
Again this is all connected!
Send me a URL of your website (perhaps a page that has tanked in rankings). I can tell in 2 seconds looking at the content if you have a problem.
If you want to have a go yourself at fixing things, you’ll want to read my article – How to get Google to crawl and index your website. The SAD part is that if your content meets Passage rank demotion criteria, even if you follow all the rules to the letter (which is hard because there is a big nuance to what Google calls high-quality content and your understanding of that), your rankings will still decline eventually at core updates! The HAPPY part is it is perfectly fixable.
The content analysis report is part of any of my SEO audits, as the passage rank update is the MOST CRITICAL ranking issue I’ve identified a fix for in a long time – this algorithm change outweighs almost everything of recent from Google.