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My site has dissappeared from google search, used to rank no. 1

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Site URL: https://www.stevemarais.com

Hello smart people of Squarespace :)

I'm a photographer, I have a simple website that I love. However, I recently did a google search on my name and was horrified to discover that my site is nowhere to be seen. 


I followed the Squarespace SEO guides and made a few tweaks as best I could without compromising the simplicity of my site, but so far nothing has changed. 

Thing is, I used to rank no.1 for many years. I'm baffled. 

I'd hate to move back to a wordpress based site (it would probably be simple enough to recreate) because I love the simplicity and functionality of Squarespace, but if my site is unsearchable I might be left with no choice. 

Any help, advice or guidance will be absolutely appreciated! What can I do?

Many thanks!



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Hello! Not sure if I'm among the "smart people" but I'll chime in since I primarily do SEO work for photographers on Squarespace. 🙂

I did a scan for "Steve Marais" and "Steve Marais photographer" on Google US, Google Germany, a localized search from Berlin, and Switzerland and indeed I am not seeing it anywhere other than "Steve Marais photographer" on page 3 for the Berlin localized search. A Google search for your domain name does put you at #1 which  at least means we have something to work with.

I do enough SEO on Squarespace to know that sites can rank as long as you have enough content. Your site does have a beautiful simplicity — that unfortunately makes SEO harder. If only Google could translate art into text for us!

These would be my suggestions:

  1. Optimize the three pages you have a little more by customizing the page title, meta description, and image ALT text. Looks like the page titles are defaults and only the home page has a meta description. Writing custom ALT text for each picture in your galleries might help if you add your name into some of them as the photographer.
  2. If you don't mind compromising the "About/bio" page a bit more, I would add some more text in that page that expands on your services and professional expertise.
  3. I've also found that sometimes Google mis-categorizes photographer websites if the home page is only a gallery of pictures. I suspect they put you into a category as an image-centric site and not a professional photographer who is offering services.  So as hard as it might be to , I would look to add some kind of text to the home page that at least says something like, "Steve Marias — Professional Photographer" or "Steve Marias — Lifestyle & Fashion Photographer" somewhere.
  4. Your backlink profile is good. You have a decent number of links and different domains. I don't think that's the issue here, although I see some links pointing to a page that no longer exists on the current site. So you may want to do a 301 redirect of https://www.stevemarais.com/everyday-people/ to your home page. Instructions >> https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205815308-URL-redirects
  5. You have some fantastic PDFs available and those have some text in them. Again, I know I'm recommending things that aren't adding to the simplicity, but having that content on pages would certainly help.
  6. I noticed too you have a great Tumblr feed that gets updated regularly. I might suggest doing the same thing on the website. I know it's not as easy as Tumblr probably is for you, but having regularly updated content on your own branded property will likely help too

I think it just boils down to the fact that simplifying the site so much probably doesn't give Google enough information to index and use your site as a search result. I'd try a few of the things above and let us know how it works for you!

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Hey there,


Thank you so much for taking the time to look into this for me. I think you raise some very valid points and there are definitely some changes I can make in order to up my Google vibes, and your suggestions will probably improve my website experience in general. 

Let me work on that and I'll let you know if there's any improvement. 


Wonderful advice, I really appreciate it!

Kind regards, 


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Great advice above @modsquare - both for this site and for any photography site.

I can't emphasise the first point enough:

On 7/9/2020 at 3:42 PM, modsquare said:

Optimize the three pages you have a little more by customizing the page title, meta description, and image ALT text.

As you said, in addition to adding SEO titles and descriptions to the site and to individual pages, it's so important to pay attention to the image alt text, especially on photography and artwork sites that have very little text content. Search engines rely on image alt text to identify the content of a page. 

When adding alt text, it's best to use short titles that relate to the image as well as text relating to your overall page/site content. There's a great Squarespace guide here:  Adding alt text to images.

About me: I'm Paul. A SQSP User for 18 yrs, I've been a Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
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The advice provided by paul2009 and modsquare is credible and well intended.  You might actually implement their suggestions if you have spare time.

However, those actions will make no observable improvement to your current rankings in Google.

Google is not ranking your site well because it is extraordinarily large (digitally) and therefore extraordinarily slow.

The attached Lighthouse Performance screenshot summarizes the performance shortcomings of the site.  Specifically, the homepage is measured in excess of 26MBytes.  Until this excess weight / site speed issue is addressed your rankings will not improve.

Fortunately it seems that the bulk of the digital weight can be reduced by resizing your photos and changing their formats to compressed JPGs.  It may be as simple as removing the PDF embedded on your homepage as this item presumably contains your complete gallery of photos.

The complete Lighthouse report I ran can be accessed at: https://lighthouse-dot-webdotdevsite.appspot.com//lh/html?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stevemarais.com

More generically you can surf to: https://web.dev/measure/


Best regards,

Dennis Foreman


Screen Shot 2020-08-26 at 4.06.13 PM.png

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