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Site Ranking Poorly After Combining 3 Small Sites 1 Recommended Answer 3 Replies 1 Upvote
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Hello, I used to have 3 small niche blogs for a number of years. Realizing that I couldn't properly maintain them all (including social media) I decided to combine them under one new, brand-able site at https://prettysweet.com . (about 6 months ago) The new site would have sections for "wellness," "travel," "humor," "finance," and "coupons." 

Though the site has no ads, I planned to create new content including reviews and promote a number of exclusive discounts that I'm given.   

I redirected the entire blog "mightydiets.com" to be the wellness section of the new site. The transition was a bit rocky from the start. A number of pages maintained their ranking, but sometimes pages would disappear / reappear in search. The traffic was still at an "acceptable" level, as I knew this process wouldn't be easy. 

Then, around Nov. 6th or so, everything took a big downturn, and I lost most of my traffic. 

A lot of my most important pages disappeared from google serps; others dropped 5-20 spots. 

Thinking that it might be a security issue, I verified that the site was not hacked with Sucuri, the security company that i have in place. (with firewall) 

However, when I checked the backlinks, I saw that there were tons (500+ sites) of spammy links pointed to my site, including gambling & porn sites.

So, 2 weeks ago I disavowed these sites, even though it seems a couple of new links arrive daily. 

My site currently ranks well on the #2-5 search engines, who were not confused by the move. Unfortunately, they are collectively about 7% of online searches. 

My site is treated as a pariah by Google. I'm a bit paralyzed until I figure this out, as new posts are usually buried in google serps and get no clicks. I wish I had received a Manual Action in Google Search Console, as that would at least give me reason for the drop, and a voice to respond. As you can imagine, this is incredibly stressful. 

So, my question is, where do i go from here? Thank you. - Kevin
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Hi Robbo, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think what has thrown me off is the drop of the new site a few months after moving most of the content over. Also wondering if the YMYL change affects all content on the site, and not just pages that are "sensitive" to health/life decisions. So, a page of funny camping memes that I made might be just as "untrusted" as a page about the benefits of vitamin d.

One example is how I thoughtfully reviewed the noom (wellness) app by joining and walking readers through how it all works. https://prettysweet.com/noom-reviews/ It took me a lot of hours over the course of 2 weeks, (many screenshots, etc) but I think in google's eyes my review is "worthless" because I'm not qualified, which is a frustrating thought. Also, if I were to publish the same review on CNN or health.com it would surely be at the top of serps.  

Actually, speaking of that, google-trusted brands have discovered this, which is why companies like CNN are now partnering with 3rd parties to post content on their site for a large % of the profits. In this case, coupons.cnn.com began ranking on the first page of Google days after launch. (google, "target coupons" and you'll see what i mean)

I can only imagine the amount of seo-scams and unethical seo out there that google has to fight. However, in this time of extreme wealth disparity, it looks like google heavily favors the "haves" over the have-nots, further adding to what many people see as a "rigged" system.  
 
I guess the million dollar question is how long such a process of becoming "trusted" might take. At this point, I might have to question whether I can survive creating content in purgatory w/ few google clicks while my site is untrusted. (And, how can I possibly get other sites to link to me if they can't even find my content? Surely they will link to big brands at the top of serps instead, and the trust issue will become even more skewed) 

Anyway, Robbo, thanks again for the response! All of this would be less frustrating if the subjective process of choosing "winners" in search was not completely controlled by one company. Bye! - Kevin
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As I look at the timeline of this, I think that it may have been when I moved content from the second site, https://www.mightytaxes.com, that caused the drop. It could be that moving "finance" content to the new site which was primarily "wellness" content confused google and made the whole site drop. (although the other search engines were ok w/ the mixed content) Now, I have to think of an alternate strategy, I guess, as the new site can't survive w/o google's trust. As an experiment I might try to move the finance content back, although i hope this won't further confuse things. thx
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