A Perplexing SEO Issue

I am hoping that someone here can assist me with a perplexing SEO issue and sorry for the length of this post.

I have a site (see link below) in a niche market area which for some years has enjoyed great rankings. It has constantly had its content refreshed and according to google webmaster guidelines ticks most of the recommended rules. We have a small but good following on social media and our backlinks although small in number are genuine and not farmed.

The site was originally created in Dreamweaver so is a little bloated and the design is old but it has been a good generator and when V3 PG surfaces it is getting a total fresh rebuild.

But over the last 6 to 9 months unfortunately the rankings for our 5 rain making keywords and long tail key words/phrases have fallen, thus so has our income, while those of our ranking competitors have remained reasonably constant.

It even amazes, me that while google is currently spruking the fact that link farms and paid links and sites with low or bad content are deeply frowned upon, one of our competing sites (they get constantly 1,2 or 3) has over 25,000 back links from one dodgy domain in the US which I have checked into and it cant be legit.

The content from some of these other sites has not changed and in some cases is not relevant to the niche and has been the same for years - some are not even responsive!! - this to my way of thinking makes Googles Guidelines a load of crap - or I have something drastically wrong.

So my question - is any one in the PG community sufficiently savvy enough to have a look at this and maybe give me a clue. My on page SEO seems good according to the various software packages I use and my interpretation of googles guidelines and yes I know there will be some small things that are not exact, I have not employed any black or grey hat tactics that I am aware of so to be honest I am lost - maybe a bit too close to the coal face if you get my drift.

I have had a local SEO look at the site but was very disillusioned with him as all it got me was a report generated from a piece of software I already had and then they wanted many $$$$ to look further so I wrote the $200 off completely.

I welcome all constructive comments on the SEO but not on the appearance etc as this site is due for a rewrite so anything said is most likely realised and noted but if you like a challenge and you want to have a serious look private message me please

Regards and thanks in advance


Hi Simmo,

first: nice job. Don’t mind about design, it’s great.

I have only small (and even less) SEO experiences. So my advices might be rather small:

  1. Page Title and H1 (first) should match, literally.
  2. Combining scripts to one file rather having several browser requests
  3. Minifying scripts and place them before end body tag.


What makes great stubby coolers might be the more important content. Place it first.


This an extremely weird suggestion, having nothing to do with SEO at the first glance - but “critical content” is something google is more and more keen on. It’ll mean, that you would add the CSS part “above the fold” into the before end head Tag rather keeping it on an external style-sheet.

Well - as said, not much of wisdom, but perhaps a lil bit. Fingers crossed that we limp you to where you should belong.



Hi Thomas,

Appreciate your input.

All points are noted and 2 and 3 I am aware of and will be implemented in the redesign

Point one I have done - have tried many combinations of title/h1 etc with no apparent difference

I will place the What makes…etc first as well I like that idea from a user point of view.

I honestly feel the re is an underlying issue that I am missing - my competitor sites code have many more serious issues than what you have described and yet still maintain position. The site structure has been the same since day one in 2013 and we were any where form 1 to 4 in that time.

I am no fan of conspiracy theories but maybe someone is out to get me (LOL) - we have been the leaders in our field for a long time

Many Thanks


@simmo here’s a link to a quick seo report

Hi Simmo, have a look at your Bootsrap css & js references. You have both the minified and standard versions of css & js files referenced, there is also mutiple references of the same css files. This would impact on the page load speed.


@Rob & SureWeb - thanks for the response - I have seen the report you have sent Rob and thanks . I use rank Tracker and Site Audit in conjunction with Google Webmaster Tools and the results your quick report has generated are not quite right so be careful using this tool - just as an example the backliks the report shows are 2 where as in reality we have 92 as confirmed by Google Some of the other insights are confirmed by my other sources I do appreciate the effort

@SureWeb - I do agree with you and these things have been previously noted and came from the code Dreamweaver generated when the site was originally built - again our speed is tested by Googles speed insights at 87% and yes always room for improvement

All of these are small things which are being addressed in the new replacement site but it does not answer my original concern.

Since this issue began we have taken many steps and have improved the site along the lines you have all pointed out without any reversal of the current trend

Guess I am just frustrated by this a bit too and maybe there is not one single answer.

Thanks Guys

I would recommend focusing on the links Simmo. From what I see the ones you have are just not very good links.

Adding a blog would help too.

I thought I knew something about SEO at one time but I can’t even figure out the drastic drop in my own numbers so I won’t even try to help you. What bugs me is things were reasonable until I got all kinds of warning about being mobile friendly and started to address that using Pinegrow. It’s like I awakened a sleeping giant.

But for what it’s worth, my personal strategy is to to use valid search terms in both my titles and descriptions. Yours don’t fit the mold and conflict when it comes to duplicates on the og: tags

title>Stubby Holders Customised with FREE design at Stubby Coolers Online
meta name=“description” content="Get awesome Stubby Holders with amazing FREE standard & personalised designs. We make buying so stress free. Weddings, Birthdays & Business are our specialty.

Too much marketing BS, repetition and fluff that no one would ever use in a Google search.

Try to imagine that only Google reads your title and description. No one else matters.

I’d help further but I’m swamped right now.

@benhanna - thanks for the input - bad back links hmm I don’t see that but will check it out throughly.

@Farscaper - differing opinions are interesting and that is the man issue with SEO - no one really knows. I hear you on the titles/descriptions but the way I have these set now came recommended by a SEO professional along with the code for the og:tags and of course google says not to write for them but to write for the user - all conflicting terms if you ask me

Thanks for your input much appreciated

Not as conflicting as you might imagine. First thing is to make a master
list of all the terms you or your audience might use to find you in
Google. Then you make up a brief 8 word title and 16 word description
using some of the best terms but without repetition or needless use of
filler words like "You’ll love my great, bestest ever beer coolers."
Instead you should use something efficient but readable. “Custom
lithographed novelty beer cooler supplier for promotional events.” It’s
readable by both Google and your audience and unlike the first one will
bring in traffic.