On July 8th, 2018, our weekly reports have shown a steep decline in the visitors for the various hotel pages at the site herods.co.il while using Google Israel search. The decline had a massive effect on the page “Herods – dead sea”, A quick inspection showed an interesting change in Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The hotel, that up to that day have appeared organically while searching the Hebrew phrase “מלון הרודס ים המלח” (Herods hotel dead sea) appeared to vanish and in his place, there were other organic results.
On top of it, we have seen that this phenomenon is happening only when using Google.co.il, An English search kept showing the organic results of the English version of herdos.co.il. This happened only when searching in Hebrew.
Testing the site’s pages
After a meticulous examination of the SERP we have found out that the hotel page is shown organically but under the results for “videos” and not the regular organic result that we have learned to know for the past few years.
As a result, the average visitor that is looking for the hotel is ignoring the page since he excepts to find a video rather then the hotel page he was looking for. As a direct result visitor didn’t entered the page and the entire site experienced a dramatic decline in its visitor’s count.
To diagnose this issue, we’ve performed several tests and reached the conclusions that helped us diagnose this issue and successfully overcoming it:
- Upon entering the page, visitors are greeted by a video that is loading before other crucial elements in the page.
- On top of the video there is a text, upon examination it was made clear that text isn’t “live” but an image that is shown on top of the video
- The amount of the text in the page was relatively small and contained no more than 100 words.
Examining other sites from the same chain
We have decided to check another site by “Fattal” network that is similar in terms of content and code. The site was the Hebrew version of “Rothschild 22 Hotel”
Upon reviewing the site’s code, we have reached several conclusions that made the site stand out from the pages at “herods hotels”:
- Before the video is loading, a static image appears and show the visitor that the site is starting to load
- The text on top of the video is a live text and is shown as an “H1” tag
Actions performed at herods hotels pages
Upon seeing the difference between the sites and what herod’s hotels pages are lacking, we’ve sent our recommendations to the site’s staff that was quick to apply them:
- Adding a static image to all the hotel pages – The image will load shortly before the video, it will prevent confusion from the visitors and will assure them that the page is loading
- Removing the images from the top of the video – The images were replaced with a live H1 tag
- Expanding the page’s content – The content in the hotel pages was expanded by 200 words minimum
- Submitting the pages to Google using Google Search Console
In less than 24 hours after fixing the pages and submitting them to Google, the SERP have updated and the search results returned to their original form in all the hotel pages.
- There is major importance to the placement of the content in the page – If your page’s content is shown under the video, there is a high probability that Google will show the results as a video result
- You have videos in your pages? – Make sure there is an alternate image for the video and that the text upon the video (if it exists) will be a live text rater then an image
- Content is still the king! – in each of your site’s page there should be an adequate amount of relevant text.
- Check the page using different languages – From time to time Google will change the way they shown the SERP, this experiment are often in a specific language or regions