Anyone Else Having Issues with Google Rankings?

Last Update: July 30, 2019

First a couple of questions for you:

1. How have your Google Rankings been going since the core update in June? Have you notices any changes good or bad?

2. What is your niche?

3. What is your theme and do you use a theme builder?

I have been on a mission to figure out why Google has stopped ranking my pages, and I've been coming up with some new interesting things that could be the cause.

If you're having trouble, these may help you solve some of your problems. At least it will give you something to experiment with.

First, A Little Background Information

My site was bee-bopping along and doing pretty well. I was ranking in the top spots for a couple of my articles on Google. This was a few months ago.

Then, it just stopped.

I thought, "Well, I'll just write even better content."

I've been creating articles with a minimum of 1500 words, and most of them are over 2000 words.

I've been using these guys to add to my articles:

I kept thinking, "Now Google will rank me!"

But nothing.

I changed my theme.

I changed to the beta servers and now my site is super fast.

"NOW Google will rank me, for sure!"


I asked for advice from Kyle.

He told me to make my homepage a blog roll because it will make it easier for Google to find my new posts.

I use Jay's ranking system - every. single. time.


(Bing loves me though, so there's that...)

So what to do...?

I know There's Something That I'm Missing

Not to toot my own horn (toot toot), but I know my content is as good as what's currently ranking in many cases. So, I KNOW I'm missing something. Something's not connecting right with Google.

I've been on a search to figure it out.

Here are a couple of interesting things that I discovered that may be causing problems:

1. At some point my journey, I started using underscores in my images. For instance, easy_cash_4_ads_review.png. I JUST read that that's a big no-no. Oops! You are supposed to use your keyword in your image, but dashes instead of underscores.

From the forum:

"Underscores are seen by search engines generally as “word combiners”, and hyphens are seen as “word separators.” Scott was right, never use underscores for anything. You can make a sure bet that this issue reflects one of the many, over 200 factors that Google takes into account when evaluating your website. They’ve inadvertently stated this in the past, even Matt Cutts has stated plenty of times himself not to use underscores."

Did you know that? I sure didn't.

2. The reason I asked what theme you use and if you use a theme builder is because I started suspecting that there's something about using Thrive Architect that is causing an issue. I'm reading conflicting reports on it, but some people say that it absolutely causes a problem in Google.

For those of you that use Thrive Architect, have your site rankings changed since the update? If you use another site builder, have your rankings changed?

3. I found a website where you can check your SEO, and I put my latest article through there. Some of the issues that are marked say "Link to a sitemap.html".

That came up a few different times. Does anyone know what that means or how to do that? It seems to be semi-important. I already add my sitemap.xml to Google and Bing, and this seems to be something different.

Today I created my blog post right in Wordpress using the new content builder (which is WAY better than what it was when it first came out), and we'll see if that helps.

Does anyone know if I can go back and re-name my photos, or should I just worry about it going forward? Also, thinking of completely removing Thrive Architect and see what that does, but that's daunting because I'll have to redo a LOT of my posts. UGH.

What do you think? Worth it or no?

Thanks for reading!

- Christina

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jlclayton1 Premium
I have noticed on my bootcamp site that Bing and Yahoo love all of my information articles and Google loves all of my reviews. In fact, Google rarely ranks any of my information articles, but they have no problem putting a review on the front page.

Right before the algorithm change in June, I swapped to the Divi theme for a more professional look and did a major change to the look of my site. Around June 5th my organic search traffic doubled, but I don't know if it was the algorithm or more from all the changes I made to the appearance and function.

I know others who have very successful sites with Thrive Architect, so I don't know if you'd need to change that. I don't necessarily think that the Divi theme itself made a difference to Google with my traffic increase. I made a lot of changes with things like featured images, everything on my sidebar, my menus, etc. So I would say that those things probably made the difference more than just what theme I had.

But from what I see on my site, if you want Google to take notice--write plenty of reviews and get comments on them. That's the only way I finally got good rankings!

Hope that helps!

cld111 Premium
Thanks for that, Janelle. I do write lots of reviews and I usually request comments, so that's not the issue, I don't think. Bing and Yahoo rank my review posts, and usually almost immediately.

Funny how quirky they are.

- Christina
Swangirl Premium
That is interesting to hear. I always wonder why so many give the advice to not start adding reviews (with links) until you have a lot of informational content first. I don't follow that path. I think you might as well take advantage of the opportunity to give information and have reviews in the same post. I have always done this and most all of my posts have links.

I started getting sales right away and am now getting sales every day from Amazon, so it works for me. I have gone through slow periods where I don't get a lot of sales but that is largely due to my own lack of time to work on my sites and recently due to the Google update. Now things have picked back up.

jlclayton1 Premium
I did the same thing, started putting my affiliate links in and writing reviews.

I've never really bought into the theory that you have to wait until you start getting a lot of traffic to put in affiliate links. If you have a niche that's not super competitive, it only makes sense to try and get sales as soon as possible.

My experience has been the same as yours as far as slow periods. I've had a few due to lack of time to keep up with adding a lot of content at times.

Congrats on getting Amazon sales every day!
Swangirl Premium
Thanks. It is only 1 more day than last year so nothing earth shattering yet...I can hope though!

I see a lot of people spend 6 months writing before adding any links...I feel bad for them because they get discouraged in that time.
cld111 Premium
People wait that long? But why???

- Christina
wiseo Premium
The number of the post don't matter!
Frequently like I side this morning on my blog here, have too many post is very bad for your website.
Google don't like too many pages:
google like few page with fresh original, unique and deep researched topic.
Why is that is long story but maybe some day I'll write why you must publish not too much articles
cld111 Premium
Interesting. I know that Brian Dean does very well with not many, but super well-written posts.

- Christina
LauraFuller Premium
Christina, I have had to decrease my posting the last 4 weeks. From 3 a week to 1 a week. Since then I have seen a boost in my overall ranking.

This is interesting news to me.

cld111 Premium
That is interesting, Laura!

- Christina
wiseo Premium
Hi, is not easy find what your problem is, particularly without see the back-end of the website.
Last google update for what i Know penalized many website of the niche Heath and medication.
Yes you must have sitemap which link all yours webpage, even better if you have sitemap wich include videos and images
I have sitemap Of course, but .xml not .html
what someone told you is not true for many factor:
medium length domain on first page are 1890 words long.
2-4 only exact keywords is not true at all.
The first keyword go on the first paragraph if possible, but don't have the power of not ranking if you don't do.
I use classic editor and after the update I ranked few post on first and second place for keywords up to 22000 research month.
I f you send to me private message I can do 2-3 different audit for your website(of course free) and we'll see if there is something not so good.
SEO is complex field, but with patience you can find the problem (almost)always.
If you have daily back-up you can try another thing, but you must have some expertise or some good software for that.
cld111 Premium
I would love an audit for my site. I'll PM you.


- Christina
tmaltz Premium
Great post Christina, I've been facing these issues and I also use Thrive architect.

It's tough to say for me because several of my post still rank well but in general my traffic has gone way down. I personally think it's just because of all the competition within the make money online niche because wealthy affiliate promotes it's so hard. So my traffic actually was around 1000 to 1500 new users per day about a year ago and then it drops down to about 700 per day in Feb 2019 and then after the new update I was around 200 to 300 per day.

That totally sucks with almost 500 posts.

I figured it was because of all my alt tags were keyword stuffed and so that was maybe a penalty. I'm currently working on updating all my all tags to be just solid descriptions of the pictures. My hope Is that this would improve my overall rankings and traffic back to the plus 500/day level.

Like you, I see several post with a 10 spot ranking in Google and then a number one spot in Yahoo and Bing.

I actually took the private coaching with Jay and got great tips and some advice for my website, but the big suggestion was to add YouTube videos because of the increased competition in my niche. That helps a little bit but overall it just seems like a ton of work for some super average results. The other thing is that the MMO niche in general has gotten more competitive so even if I get 100 new invitations in a week or two, only like 5% are buying versus 12% - 15% like a couple years ago.

If it is Thrive architect then that would be pretty disheartening because I put in thousands of hours to update my website with this theme as well as all the additional updates.

I would love to hear what you find out because I'm not sure what more can be done.

Thanks for taking the time to write this post.

cld111 Premium
Hey Todd, thanks so much for writing.

If it's just a matter of there being too much competition, then that really sucks. Because I don't know how to do any better at this point.


Maybe it's time to move to another niche? I hate to give up on this one, but I can't sit here forever and go nowhere with it.

In any case, I'm going to test out not using Thrive Architect and updating my images and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted and let you know if anything happens with it.

I hope it's not Thrive Architect because I really like using it. But at least if that's an issue, it can be fixed.

- Christina
tmaltz Premium
I’d love to hear what you find out Christina. If it is Thrive architect, I think that could be something that could be presented to them. In the past they have had issues with their architect Builder and had resolved several issues related to it. As a matter of fact I found that they have been one of the companies (like WA) that continues to strive to improve upon their products. So I'd like to know if it's Thrive architect as well since it took me three months to update my site last year to it.

I'm getting to that point as well though where it's just not worth it to produce more content. It's either produce more content that's perfect and do a YouTube video and then hope you can get the number one spot for a review that hopefully will bring people in and convert to sales.

Again, part of the blame is all the competition out there that's outside of wealthy affiliate but also wealthy affiliate as well. They're constantly try to get people hyped up to promote their product and Company rather than striving to focus on helping people build their own Niche websites within whatever Niche or passion they want. They have people give up too quickly when they don't know what niche to select.

Look forward to your findings.

cld111 Premium
Very good point. I know almost all of the top 10 people in Google are WA people. Good for them. Bad for us. lol

- Christina
skmorrow Premium
Wow, that is pretty deflating news. You have a ton of work into your site.
tmaltz Premium
You ain't kidding... I know, it's downright depressing. We'll see how the alt tag update goes. Seems some pickup in traffic. I really think it's just the niche. But yeah, it sucks to be going backwards instead of launching forward.

BenjisDad Premium
Have you looked in search console?

Do you have keywords that were ranking high now on 2nd page of Google? What sites now out rank you that didn't before? Why? Is there content better? More authoratative?

Have you noticed a decline in rankings Or has just a couple of high performing pages no longer performing?

Has traffic bounced back at all? Remained steady? Continue to drop?

What about creating YouTube videos pointing to your most popular articles?

Just a warning, I wouldn't spend an insane amount of time on it. Unless it's a huge keyword, I'd focus more on creating or improving content.
cld111 Premium
The keywords that were ranking high are still ranking pretty well. One of them isn't because it's not as relevant anymore (a review post of a bad product).

As I mentioned in my post, I have been concentrating on creating even higher quality content than I was before. Google isn't ranking anything new of mine that's significant.

It's like they're completely ignoring almost everything I put out there.

My traffic should be WAY higher than it is. It was almost 3k / month and now it's declining again. It should be much higher at this point. I'm 10 months into it, and I have over 200 posts on my site.

My traffic goes up when a Pinterest pin gets some traction or when Bing ranks me.

I'm telling you, there's an issue with my website speaking to Google. I just know something's off. I understand I won't rank for everything, but I am producing high-quality content and I should rank for some things...

I have to spend time on it because I'll never get enough traffic if I don't.

I appreciate your questions and ideas. I do have a YouTube channel, but I haven't been focused on it too much at this point.

- Christina