Google black box - I will fight you toe and and nail until success!
Last Update: Jun 2, 2020
I personally see Google as a "black box", where I put something (pages/posts) in and after some time something (indexing/ranking) comes out. You will never be sure, as you do not know what happens inside. Yes, they have their algorythms, rules and regulations.
Here at WA we are taught how to use Google in the best ways with the likes of SEO, quality content and more. I have applied this excellent training to my website. Here are some parameters:
website name: howtobeatyourboss
niche: disgruntled employees
number of posts/pages: 174
highest number of clicks: 2,600 per month
number of comments outside WA: 0
number of referrals: 0
feedback on website: almost all positive to enthusiastic
In 2018 I reached 2,600 clicks per months for the first time, having about 70 posts published. I was ensured that my visitor number would shortly explode. Unfortunately that did not happen, what did happen was the Google August 2018 update. In the weeks/months after, the number of vistors were decimated to 700 per month.
At that time it was not easy to find out why this exactly happened. What I did find was that they had opted for many websites to be authored by real doctors, biologists and other scientists, raher than your normal Joe. My site had a financial expert component, which I replaced by leaving financial expertise out.
During the course of 2019 I fought my way back up and reached again the magical number of 2,600 visits per month in Decemer 2019. I had looked at website speeds, page speeds as well. I updated and changed my WA review regularly, tried to use better wording, looked at tags, anything that could be improved.
The Corona pandemic and outbreak brought people in a lockdown at home and again I thought this is it. My visitors number is going to explode and I immediately published an article to help people sitting at home. All my blogs are being indexed by Google within 36 hours. This one did not, Google said it was in queue. Up to today it has not been indexed.
Within a couple of weeks, my visitors were down to 1,800 per month. Then came the Google April 2020 update. At the end of last month May, my clicks were down to 1,400 and in Google Search Console they have gone down to 0-3 per day for a week now!
Luckily this time Kyle wrote an article about the coming Google update and told us to prepare for some decreasing numbers. He also gave us valuable advice as to where to look for improvements. I therefore looked at page speeds and found them on the low side. I contacted Site Support and was replied not to worry about that, as they differ day by day and during the day. I do not feel as bad as in 2018, but I am not a happy person.
What I am really missing here is a benchmark. Do other people experience the same and to what extent? Do you recognize what I am telling you here? Did you possibly find other ways around this?
I also do realize that you do not read many stories like this one here, but maybe we should. After all, this is mainly a business site and not Facebook where everything seems hunky-dory most of the time. We are talking about money here, yours and mine. I feel pretty silly when my wife asks about my business and after 4 years of work have to tell her I make no money.
The thing is that I cannot pinpoint what I am doing wrong. Somebody said you need 400 posts to become successful and reach Vegas. But what about in between? When do you start to get referrals? The 50 post mark? The 100? The 200? Or even more? I must have had about a 50,000 clicks on my site, a lot of people read about WA, and what do I have to show for? There is talk about a 12% conversion rate and I have zero conversion! If I follow that metric I should have had 120-150 referrals (12% of my WA review clicks), which would have made me perfectly happy!
So, this article is the beginning of my fight back and I hope to find likeminded people. Does anyone of you have a better insight than me in Google? How can we gain more leverage towards Google? It is said that they never answer your e-mails. In any case, I will continue publishing, regain my lost ground and reach 200 posts shortly.
By the way, some of you might think I choose the wrong domain name (I had one such comment before), however, please note that "beat" is meant as defeat and not as whack! And I will get most clicks from posts anyway and not the site name. Thanks for your attention!
Never, ever, give up!
I am surprised that support said the speed didn't matter, it does. A recent blog by Kyle had many of us changing our theme to Generate Press as Google ranks higher for faster loading sites and pages.
Are you on the new servers yet? Maybe ask to be moved if not?
On the new servers we have the new image optimiser Kraken, as images can slow a site down. Can probably download that plug in anyway.
I use the Rank Math plug in (free) instead of the 'all in one SEO' and have found it really helps me with SEO. Might be worth a try?
Thank you Linda, I already tested Generate Press but did not change yet. Now I will certainly do this. I will check if I am on the new servers.
The image optimizer looks like a very useful plugin. If not Kraken, then I will try out Rank Math.
It turned out that Kraken was not yet installed, but I was on the new servers. Site Support installed Kraken for me and meanwhile I had all 1,200 images Krak'ed.
They also offered to clone my site to a siterubix to test Generate Press. After I see what the image optimizer does, I will take a decision. Great stuff Linda!
It might be easier to understand women than understand Google
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I think it's a great domain name Jerry. And yes, many people were hit by Google's May 4th update - myself included. I had a 60% drop in traffic.
It is all about mobile and speed now. I know my content is good, but I had multiple pages with errors causing the page to go double width and cause 'text too small' errors in Console. That made me do a site-wide audit. With 450 posts it's a mammoth task and still not even half way through but hoping Google will be nicer to me soon.
Ok, that reassures me. Wow, 450 posts!