It can be devastating to learn that your website has gone from page 1 of Google, down to page 40-something, or has been de-indexed all together. When this happens, it might even make you cry. Getting a website ranked on page 1 is something to be proud of and it takes a lot of work to get there. Unfortunately coming back from a bad ranking won’t happen overnight. It’s in Google’s hands now to decide whether or not they will ever like your site again.
It’s time to play some detective work if you have noticed your site rankings have dropped drastically or have disappeared in Google.
1. Backlinks Backlinks Backlinks
Normally bad backlinks, are is 90% of the problem. Since Google’s recent algorithm changes (Panda 4.0) in 2014, sites with bad backlinks have been getting hit hard. You can’t get away with crappy backlinks anymore. When we say crappy we mean, sites that have a bad PR rank, aren’t indexed by Google or are simply sites that exist for backlink purposes only. These sites have no value and aren’t relevant to your website content. Google will punish you if your site is related to crappy sites.
No matter how tempting it is to purchase a large number of backlinks ( over 100 at once) Don’t Do It! There are many ways people make a quick buck and selling you scummy, crappy, and dirty backlinks is one of those ways.
Purchase backlinks from people you trust – like us, obviously. We won’t do anything that will hurt your site or rankings.
Most of the time, a site infection, virus or malware can go undetected for a long period of time. This can be a big problem when it comes to your site ranking. For reasons we can’t explain, innocent sites will get attacked. Sometimes a big red X or ! mark on the page will appear and your visitors will back out of the site immediately, Google will start to see that your bounce rate has increased drastically, and have no choice but to give your site a bad ranking until the problem is fixed. (which unfortunately, could take months, depending on the size of the problem)
A tool you can use is http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=. to find out if your site is safe for browsing. Most of the good malware checker and removal tools that work well, will cost you $.
Going along with backlinks – if your site points to a site that has malware, this could harm your rankings.
3. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content has been a common problem for over 5 years now. Google and other search engines need to see relevant and fresh content. Not something that has just been rewritten from another website.
Duplicate content also goes for your titles, keywords, headings and meta tags. Do not ‘keyword stuff’, you will not get away with it. Be original, unique and organic (you don’t have to wear skinny jeans to fulfil this part)
There are some great tools you can use to check your urls for duplicate content:
You can use: Webmaster Tools, http://www.plagspotter.com/ , http://dupeoff.com/, and our favourite – http://www.copyscape.com/ – It wouldn’t hurt to use all of these tools, a little quadruple checking never hurt anybody.
When search engines visit your site, they will crawl it to look for a robots.txt file and this file will tell the search engines whether or not to index your site, or ignore your site.
You should look for lines on your site that contain = nofollow or noindex and only make sure those words are used for content that you don’t want showing up or getting crawled.
You can check the status of your robots.txt file in your Webmaster Tools,
Plugins can also cause this issue. Make sure you are only uploading well known and rated plugins to your site.
5. Broken Links
This goes back to having relevant fresh content on your site. If you have too many errors on your site (301 redirects, 404 errors) then Google will give the ranking position to a site who has less errors and broken links. (your competition perhaps?) Take care of your links! There are great free tools you can use to check for which links need fixing. Again, Webmaster Tools, and the other (more descriptive one) is http://validator.w3.org/checklink. It will scan your url and check all pages for link issues.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider will also help you determine if your site has duplicate content, broken links or robots.txt issues and other common on-site SEO problems.
6. Stale and Old Content
Stale and outdated content will also decrease your rankings in Google. If your site was the only site in the entire world that had information from 2002 then you might be on the first page. You need to think about what your competition is doing. More visitors are going to go to a website that has fresh, new and relevant content and ignore your site completely.
Give your site a facelift, everybody’s doing it and no one will judge you for it.
If you’re too busy to play detective work, that’s okay – this is what we’re skilled in. Ask us for help! Contact us today and we can help determine what the problem is, and how to fix it.
Looking for more ways to help your site get ranked? Check out this blog post on How You Can Manage Your Website Ranking
Profit Parrot Marketing and SEO Company
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