More threads by Dana Franks

Jun 4, 2014
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This site was seriously hacked in January, to the point where the site had to be rebuilt from scratch. Previous to this they consistently ranked on top of page 1 in both organic and Maps for their main keywords in Denver, but since then they have not gotten above page 2-3 in organic and around 9-11 in Maps. There has been a lot of content cleanup done, disavowed offsite, all sorts of things done off and on the site but it just seemingly won't recover.

Is there anything being missed here? I'm trying to decide if the extent of the hack may have damaged the domain's standing with Google enough where they should switch to another one. I'm not finding any blacklisting on the domain but I know that they don't always announce penalties.

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Thanks so much for your help!
Hi Dana,

Have you checked Search Console for any manual actions levied against the domain?

Just verifying that's what this means:
I'm not finding any blacklisting on the domain but I know that they don't always announce penalties.
Yes, I checked there and no manual actions or security issues in Search Console. I had also checked blacklist sources elsewhere and the domain doesn't appear on any of them.
What exactly was the hack?

Looking at the backlinks, I see some questionable stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary that you see from domains with as many links as y'all have; I might start by re-scrubbing your disavowed links/domains, you may have nailed a few that were actually helping (I might even consider removing the disavows entirely to see what happens).

I see a lot of pages that 404 from Majestic's records. It also looks like the website was redesigned at some point in prior to Jan of this year (was this the re-design you mentioned?).

Old site (October 2015):

You're at a pretty tough time to recover from something like this with all the craziness that's been going on in this month (lots of volatility), so I would try to make gradual changes to see if you can knock something loose.

But if you've got a bunch of pages that existed on that old version of the site that are now gone, that might be a contributing factor to what you experienced after the hack happened, but the drop may not have been due to the hack.
If you want to get a second opinion I would suggest you hire Marie Haynes as this is what she specializes in! Her audits are ridiculously detailed so it's unlikely she will miss anything. If you disavowed a ton of links your rankings will not recover unless you were also building good links to replace them. Here is Marie's info. She has written tons of awesome articles on the topic as well.
It might have a bit to do with the service area page stuffing on the site. Having all those "doorway" pages of duplicated content for each service area is totally frowned upon and targeted by Google. They are all the same as the home page too.

Duplicated title tags and descriptions and H1's all overoptimized with same keyword (just a different city name).

Not even looking at external factors, I see a lot of on-site issues that could definitely be holding the site down in rankings.

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