I have an Australian website which for the last 4 years has ranked in the top 3 places on page one of Google for our main search terms.
Around March/April we noticed (for no reason we can find) our first page position changed and our home page and an inner page were 4 and 5 on Google’s search results for our main search keywords.
Australia has 8 states and this happened in 3 of them with the inner page being the one we had optimised for the capital city of that state. All other 5 states still had the home page showing but we had slumped to 4 or 5 on page one of Google's results.
Then around May/June our home page disappeared from those 3 states and only the inner page still showed in position 3.
We did a lot of on page optimisation for the whole site which made no difference.
Quite by accident I discovered that if I clicked the link “repeat the search with the omitted results included” which is found at the end of the search results pages, the home page reappeared beneath the inner state page on page one of Google for those 3 states.
The issue is definitely not 'duplicate content' as the home page and inner page are entirely different. The problem we have is the inner page is just like a travel brochure for the city, whereas the home page is the one the sells our services and is not state specific - we need people to land on it, not the inner page.
Our competitors, some of whom also have pages optimised for the capital cities as we do, all still have their home pages showing in all states. In fact the number one website has his home page and the inner city page 1 and 2 on page one of Google.
Has anyone had to deal with something like this before and do you have any suggestions as to what could be the cause of our problem?
Thanks …. Mel