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My company is currently going down as clicks and impressions from Google went literally to zero without any logical reason: As we are a fashion company, we get most of our traffic from image search, shortly before christmas this happened (image search chart):

enter image description here

At the exact same time the web searches went down the same way:

enter image description here

As I'm the tech lead, I can guarantee that there were no massive changes in the frontend code.

Even weirder:

  • we nearly have 100/100 in Lighthouse Audits
  • while Google dies, we get much better clicks from any other search engine. DuckDuckGo, Ecosia and others are keeping me from closing the company right now :/
  • we have optimized the pages to every single aspect Google asks for, including webp (with jpg) fallbacks.

Does anybody here have any ideas what the heck is going on ? There is no support at Google we can ask, and the stats are totally useless (as they don't show any info on why or when or how).

I'm very thankful for any info! :)

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    When impressions and clicks drop to zero, it means Google either can't or don't want to show your website: did you get any sort of manual penalty? Is there anything preventing the website from being crawled and/or indexed (NOINDEX tag, robots.txt file, etc)? – Andre Guelmann Feb 26 at 8:58
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Create a sitemap file with your images if you haven't already one and submit it to the search-console to see if there are any errors.

In addition to Andre Guelmann's recommendations, and as there were no changes on the front I would also check if google crawlers are not blocked by a firewall / IPS.

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Thanks for the hints so far, I think I found out what has happended. Maybe this answer helps somebody else too:

Disclaimer: This is just an idea, not 100% sure if this is the solution. I'll update the answer. I'm also naming the tool that found the issue, however I'm not affiliated in any way with that company.

How I found out what might be the cause:

I checked the site with lots of SEO tools, then ryte.com (I'm using the free version) found something: All of our navigation links are "not indexable" by Google. WTF.

enter image description here

What might be the cause:

All of your navigation links look like this (without trailing slash) and are marked as canonical for a reason I don't remember :):

https://www.example.com/women/jackets

but Google seems to have indexed the link WITH trailing slash

https://www.example.com/women/jackets/

according to this

enter image description here

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here, but it looks like a valid reason. These navigation links link to all other pages, so having them de-indexed will clearly make all other pages (millions!) disappear too, as they are not reachable anymore. All links on the site and all sitemap links clearly use the NON-trailing-slash version of the URL, but we have a canonical meta tag on most pages that HAS THE URL WITH TRAILING SLASH inside. Oh dear...

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/women/jackets/" />

What we do now / Lessons learned:

  1. I removed all <link rel="canonical" href="...../" /> tags from the entire site.
  2. Wait and check Google webmaster tools :)
  3. This stupid little slash - probably - nearly killed a company. I cannot imagine the horrible consequences for companies with millions of views every day where the clicks from Google feed hundreds of mouths. So, always monitor your site from SEO perspective.
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