Some websites have been hit with drops in organic placement over the past four months. If your website has dropped in placement one or several of the items in today's newsletter may be the cause.
With Google continuing to tweak the algorithm rolled out two months ago, you may still be impacted and should understand why.
To find out more about how you can work to improve your organic search website placement, make sure to read our recent blog post called "SEO is Out and Web Visibility is In".
I found this terrific article and wanted to share it with you. It is "10 Reasons Your Site's Search Engine Ranking Dropped" by Paul M. Ventura published on SitePro News. You can read the full article by clicking the article title above. Paul shows some terrific insight into why websites may have dropped organic placement on Google in light of some of Google's recent algorithm changes.
In a nutshell here are his reasons with my own commentary:
- The Google Honeymoon Ended
I've seen this before, new sites start out strong and then after about four weeks fall to a more realistic organic placement on Google. If you evaluate the site in the first several weeks after the site has been added to the index you may be placed well, but check again in about 8 to 10 weeks for revised placement and where your site will most likely normally reside so you can access if you need further attention and action.
- Google Sandbox Effect Started
This isn't talked about much, but I have seen this happen in highly competitive industries such as real estate. The sandbox effect is where a website will not even get listed in the Google index until other sites have started to link to it. These websites can sit in the sandbox all alone for as long as six months while Google evaluates where they belong organically. A good plan for websites in the sandbox is to do article writing for link building during this period. Another recommendation is to do press releases as this tactic will also build legitimate links as well.
- Algorithm Updates/Link Juice Lost
With the Google Panda/Farmer update having penalized many article syndication sites, I feel that Paul has some good insight here in that your site may have had links from these sites that were penalized and so your site dropped in placement as well as part of a domino effect.
Don't think you have it? Well if you have a WordPress blog on-domain, you'd better be monitoring. Why wait until Google has you banned or blocked in the organic results. It is better to proactively scan your site and WordPress files on a regular basis. Even I have been hacked. It can happen to the best of us with serious consequences.
- Server Issues
Has your website been down? We have several clients where they are hosted on small no name companies and on their Google Webmaster Control Panel the robot is constantly reporting it cannot find or access files. Move to a new host when possible if you are seeing this type of problem consistently.
- Robot.txt File Problems
Webmasters can get carried away with removing permission for the Google search index spider bot. I've seen two situations where the webmaster inadvertently disallowed access in this important file that all search engine indexing spiders access before they spider your website. Make sure you have the correct permissions and block only the files you absolutely need to block.
Did your last SEO firm or webmaster use "black hat" techniques, hidden links, and keyword stuffing to get you organic placement before? How about keyword dense text the same color as your page background? Think you are clean? Think again. I saw hidden text on a large attorney website that had been installed by their website designer to scam the system. Don't get your website penalized by these tactics. Google will not be mocked.
- Broken Links
Check and check again. For blogs you can use a plugin. For other sites use Dreamweaver to scan for broken links.
- Duplicate Content
I install on my website special meta tags that show me to be the content owner. Make sure when you add new content pages that you tag yourself, in the source code, as the owner. Google is getting pretty smart on this one, but there are still scrapper websites that may grab your content. When I find them I send a cease and desist notice to the webmaster and if they don't remove my content I report them, and the page, to Google's spam department. If I get really mad I'll report them to their web host with a takedown notice as a violation of copyright law. Don't make yourself crazy over this, but it is a good idea to check your top trafficked pages with online scanning tools. I use Copyscape and Dustball for scanning my content and the Web.
- The Google Dance
Grab your partner right? No, the Google Dance is a phenomenon where your search results will fluctuate wildly the first week and sometimes up to two weeks after Google does a big algorithm update. Hang on and don't freak out the first time you check your placement. Check again in one week and then in a second before you start remediation, just to make sure you aren't dancing with Google. If you are, your site will pop back up at the end of the dance. Maybe not in the exact position, but nearly where you were before.
I think Paul nailed the ten topics in the article, but the comments on each topic are mine garnered from years of experience. If you need a savvy review of your own website, we offer reviews on a case by case basis for about $300. We know that the information you find out from our review will be helpful to your online Web visibility and Web authority. Contact us for more information or to get started.
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