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Massive Google Ranking Drop after WordPress Theme Change

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by lucius1, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. lucius1

    lucius1 Newbie

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    Back in June I was ranking at the top of Google SERPs for most of the keywords on my website. My organic traffic was between 1,000 and 1,500 visitors per day on average. I have incredibly high quality natural backlinks from major media organizations. However, around the same time as the Google Penguin 2.0 algorithmic update in May/June I also changed my WordPress theme. This is when I started noticing a decrease in search traffic.

    Since then, my organic visitors have decreased to between 100 and 200 per day, a massive drop. I believe the problem may have something to do with HTML issues with my website that happened when I switched WordPress themes. The Penguin update shouldn?t have affected me because all of my backlinks are natural and not the spammy types that Google was targeting. Although, I am really not sure what the issue is.

    I need a diagnostic run on my website to check for any SEO and HTML problems that may be affecting my SERP rankings. I would then need the problems with my website fixed in order to reclaim my position in the Google search results.


    Any thoughts or suggestions either about what I can do myself or who I could contact for services would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mickyfu

    mickyfu Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Change your theme back. It is not uncommon to loose rankings when switching themes. You know what they say, if it is not broken, do not fix it.
     
  3. laowai

    laowai Power Member

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    The first thing to check is if you have changed your url/permalink structure by any means.
     
  4. lucius1

    lucius1 Newbie

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    Thanks mickyfu I might have to do that. Unfortunately my AdSense ctr is much higher with the new theme.

    Iaowai, recently I installed a WordPress plugin that redirects any broken links and it has literally found thousands that were broken. But nothing has changed since I started redirecting.
     
  5. laowai

    laowai Power Member

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    Thats why you loose your rankings. Your url structure has been changed and your backlinks are pointing to non-existing pages. You should first findout how your links use to look like, e.g. www.mysite.com/category/post-title and compare that to your current link structure which could be for example www.mysite.com/post-title. It could be just matter of adjusting permalink structure on your settings which would result that backlinks are pointing again to correct pages and you would gain back your rankings.
     
  6. Ghoztseo

    Ghoztseo Power Member

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    why don't you diagnostic through Web master tools - because it'll help you through Indexing problems and HTML improvements, from there you could easily find out what "HTML" code is problem with your website. :) I hope this solution will be fixed for sure.
     
  7. foleymon

    foleymon Registered Member

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    Did the theme suppress some info that might normally be handled by plug-ins?
    Make sure the theme is 'clean' and from a reputable vendor.
    Try installing and running the Wordfence plug-in and see if it shows any files out of whack on your new install.
    PM me with any questions or drop a note here if you are not able to pm.
     
  8. soulstar

    soulstar Newbie

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    Check your website URL, Site Title
     
  9. GreyKnight

    GreyKnight Regular Member

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    I just ran a complete overhaul on my site, wholly changing themes and design, for my 1000+ page website. I see no decrease in SERP, some even increase.

    What I suggested is to check the URL structure. Do you change your URL structure? Changing the structure is bad.
    Do users still easily navigate your page? Or you did something to the navigation that may make the user less inclined to visit your page?

    If you are able, try to look up if your website is generating any errors (check the http request logs, or the apache logs)
     
  10. ContentLockPro

    ContentLockPro Power Member Premium Member

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    Best way you could deal right now is to turn everything back
     
  11. lucius1

    lucius1 Newbie

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    Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, guys! I am still working on it and will let you know how it goes. Definitely going to try switching back to the old theme as well as checking my permalink structure.
     
  12. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Change it back, give it a week and see if it recovers.

    Maybe the new theme has malware or is designed to spam users giving tons of backlinks to some theme sponsor...
     
  13. seosuperman1

    seosuperman1 Regular Member

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    Yes, look at the permalink structure of the new theme. Great thing about wordpress is you can switch it back with the click of a button. Go to your settings on both themes and make sure they are in line with each other.