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 on SitePro News. You can read the full article by clicking the article title above. Paul shows some terrific insight into why your site may have dropped organic placement on Google in light of some of Google’s recent algorithm changes.
In a nutshell here are his reasons interspersed with some of my own comments:
- The Google Honeymoon Ended
I’ve seen this before, new sites start out strong and then after about four weeks fall to their more realistic organic placement on Google. If you evaluate the site in the first several weeks that the site has been added to the index you may be placed well, but check again in about 8 to 10 weeks for more realistic expectations on where your site will normally reside so you can start improvements.
- Google Sandbox Effect Started
This isn’t talked about much, but I have seen in highly competitive industries such as real estate site’s not even get listed in the Google index until other sites have started to link to it. They can sit in the sandbox all alone for as long as six months
while Google evaluates where they belong organically. A good plan is to do article writing for links during this period to start building links. Another recommendation is to do press releases during this period to start building legitimate links as well.
- Algorithm Updates/Link Juice Lost
With the 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.
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. I was even hacked and never had been before. It can happen to the best of us with serious consequences.
- Server Issues
Has your site 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 problem.
- Robot.txt File Problems
Webmasters can get carried away with permissions to the Google spider. 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 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 site meta tags that show me to be the content owner. Make sure when you add new content pages that
you tag yourself in the code as the owner. Google is getting pretty smart on this one, but there are still scrapper sites 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 and if I get really made to their web host with a take down notice. 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 this.
- The Google Dance
Grab your partner right? No, the Google Dance is a phenomena where your search results will fluctuate wildly the first week and sometime 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, the comments on each topic are mine garnered from years of experience.