SeO Case Study

How we helped recover Cloudfresh's lost Google search rankings in 1 month

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Google Search Console

Ahrefs

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Client

Cloudfresh is an international company specializing in digital business transformation by providing clients with the full-service implementation of innovative cloud products and solutions in European countries. Cloudfresh is an official partner of Google Cloud, Zendesk, and Asana.

Challenge

  • Recover the website search positions for branded and priority queries in Google.

    Initial Data

    It does not matter to search engines what force majeure circumstances may arise for the website owner or company. For example, let's say a website disappears from Google search, and there is no official explanation, and the reasons that led to such consequences were not identified and eliminated in a timely manner. In that case, the business may lose its reputation and customers.

    This is what happened to Cloudfresh. Work on this project took place at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February-March 2022.

    The Cloudfresh team came to us with an urgent problem: on January 29, the company's main website cloudfresh.com stopped ranking in search results for branded queries and lost its positions for non-branded keywords.

    “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business.” Bill Gates wrote in his memo to the Microsoft team 26 years ago.

    "At the end of January 2022, content from cloudfresh.com stopped appearing in the Google search engine. Ironically, the Google Cloud Premium Partner didn't show up in Google Searches.
    In such a situation, we needed to act quickly, so we contacted a digital agency to negotiate our possible cooperation. The manager said, "we will add this task to the roadmap after the contract is signed." Of course, this approach did not suit us, so we immediately found the top 10 marketing agencies in Ukraine and wrote to the trustworthy ones.

    Sergei Orlyuk from Promodo reacted the fastest, understood our problem and assembled a team for us without any pathos and bureaucracy. The rest was more interesting: for three weeks, we analyzed the website pages, made changes according to Promodo recommendations, and met in Google Meet 2-3 times a week until the war broke out on February 24th.

    But we do not know how to give up, and within a week, the Promodo, Cloudfresh, and TheDuck.Pro project teams were working on getting us back into the search engine. The tenacity and energy of the team that participated in our video calls made me feel admiration and nothing but respect. I realized that everyone who worked on the task has a common trait in their DNA — to get things done. That's how results are achieved.

    Bohdan Kubenko

    Cloudfresh Founder

    Google meeting screenshot

    Spoiler

    Despite the difficult conditions, our experts have found a way to solve the client's problem and return and improve the website rankings in Google for branded and targeted queries in 1 month.

    Solution

    Comparing January 29, 2022, and November 29, 2021, we found a 97% drop in clicks and a 78% drop in impressions.

    Project Summary

    Before starting the work, the client provided us with detailed information about the project and a list of actions taken by their team to correct the situation.

    Chronology of events before the website disappeared from the search results

    1. At the end of 2021, the client moved the site to the new CMS WordPress.

    We used primary SEO solutions when migrating the site. But the next step was to do SEO aimed at international markets

    Ilya Gogenko

    Cloudfresh Marketing Manager

    2. When moving the site, the team did not take into account several factors crucial for search engine optimization:

    3. As of the end of January, the client team independently corrected the detected errors and made a number of changes:

    4. After fixing the errors, the site suddenly disappeared from Google search results.
    5. Google support did not identify any problems with the website.
    6. The client turned to us for help.

    Promodo heard our pain and helped us quickly analyze the website, identify mistakes and develop an action plan.

    Ilya Gogenko

    Cloudfresh Marketing Manager

    Site analysis

    At the first stage, we analyzed the site and identified many reasons that negatively affected the site's crawling and ranking. The site was present in the index, and Googlebot regularly crawled it, but it was heavily pessimized in the rankings.

    Pessimization of a site is a reduction of the site's position in search engine rankings (artificial decrease in the relevance of a query).

    The site was ranked at the end of page 4 of search results for branded keywords. In addition, the ranking involved not the main page but the blog page.

    Visualization of the client's website ranking by brand query

    Note that the problem of the absence of the client's site in the search results for branded queries was observed only in Google. For example, the site was in the first position in the Bing search engine.

    Visualization of the client's website display in the Bing search engine on the brand query

    Based on the results of the analysis, we identified and corrected the following problems:

    XML sitemap is a file with information for search engines about the pages to be indexed.

    However, none of the resolved problems could be identified as the main reason for the loss of website positions.

    Problems with Google My Business account

    In addition to the pessimization of the site, we found out that the button leading to the company's website in the Google My Business section was missing. Unfortunately, there were no apparent reasons for this.

    Displaying the client site in Google My Business

    To solve the problem, we contacted Google support. They restored the button but could not specify the reason for its absence.

    After a while, the button disappeared and reappeared after repeated requests.

    After the site's positions were restored, the problem with displaying the button no longer appeared.

    Hypothesis

    The site likely suffered from some algorithmic pessimization, which led to removing the website link from the Google My Business panel in the search results pages.

    Working with backlinks

    When we analyzed the backlinks, we found that about 35% of the domains referring to the client site were toxic.

    Toxic domains are websites whose links can negatively affect the site's ranking.

    We've identified three bases for toxic domains:

    1. Domains that are not accessible to users but are open to Googlebot.

    We checked access to links from different countries, as we hypothesized that access to the Ukraine region might be limited due to hostilities. However, there was no access to the site from VPN countries of the EU, the USA, and Asia. At the same time, it was accessible to Google and indexed.

    User page accessibility
    Accessibility for Google: Googlebot has successfully accessed the page and was able to scan it

    2. The first request to the backlink page redirected to different lottery page domains. With repeated redirects, access to these pages was denied.

    3. Single-type pages with generated content containing a link to the site's internal page and the main page with a branded anchor.

    Example of a page with generated content

    At the same time, there were no notifications in the Google Search Console regarding manual sanctions imposed.

    Google Search Console of the Cloudfresh site

    We added all toxic domains to the Google Disavow Tool and monitored the profile regularly to solve the problem. Within another week, Google was finding new domains of this type.

    Google Disavow Tool is a tool that allows you to manually disavow any external links in the Google search engine.

    Additionally, we removed the addresses with more links from toxic domains using the server response code 410. It allowed us to disable all toxic backlinks directly.

    Since we were solving the problem comprehensively, we sent a complaint to Google search results:

    410 code is the response of the Gone server, which is equivalent to the status of "page deleted" and "page will not be restored."

    Since we were solving the problem comprehensively, we sent a complaint against Google search results:

    "Searching for the company Cloudfresh. All the search results contain information about this company. However, there is no link to the official website. It is only on page 4 of the search results."

    Result

    On March 31, the site regained its previous positionы in Google.

    The chosen strategy of eliminating the causes that could trigger the pessimization of the site worked. Immediately after the site returned to the rankings for the branded query, the product and blog pages regained their positions.

    How the website rankings for branded queries changed in Google

    The problem turned out to be complex. We can't say that one thing blocked the site's ranking. But after a month, we returned to ranking and even in better positions. In this project, Promodo was an expert with a large knowledge base regarding such cases. I am very pleased that we could quickly find problem points and solve them just as quickly.

    Ilya Gogenko

    Cloudfresh Marketing Manager

    The dynamics of site ranking in Google Search Console.Pessimization period

    The results are precise: we are back in the Google rankings. After starting the work, we will measure our positions by country and put a plan where we should be. Today, we are fully collaborating with Promodo on SEO and discussing the prospect of implementing end-to-end analytics. We see the results of our joint efforts and the investment we make.

    Bohdan Kubenko

    Cloudfresh Founder

    project team

    cloudfresh

    Bohdan Kubenko

    Founder

    Oleg Maksimovich

    Co-Founder, General Manager

    Ilya Gogenko

    Marketing Manager

      Promodo

      Mark Fedorenko

      SEO specialist

      Serhii Bielyi

      SEO Team Lead

      Julia Polikarpova

      Marketing project manager

      Nikolay Masliy

      Head of International Department

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