Why the Google Ranking of Your Site has Dropped – In A Nutshell
Many webmasters are finding that the Google rankings for their site have recently dropped. This probably came as a big surprise, as many of these sites are still highly ranked by other search engines. Also, these were the same sites that were highly ranked on Google for a number of years. So this begs the question: Why has your site’s Google rankings dropped? Here are some of the common reasons why sites lose their Google rankings, as well as some of the things you can do to fix the problems.
Common Reasons for a Drop in Google Rankings
Google is constantly evolving its tactics for how to rank websites. In the past your site just needed a bunch of keywords in the right place to get to the top of Google’s rankings. Now Google uses sophisticated algorithms that take into account many factors when developing rankings. This means that web designers have had to change their tactics when optimizing sites for search engines. If your site has dropped in the rankings then you should take a look at Google’s Guidelines for Webmasters for more information. Here are some common reasons that Google penalizes a site:
Your backlinks aren’t as popular
If the sites that backlink your page have lost their Page Rank, or your links have been moved to a site with a lower ranking, then this could affect your site’s rank on Google.
The Honeymoon is over
Google will often artificially raise a site’s rankings to help get it exposure if it is less than six months old. You will need to continue to build quality links after this period is over or your page could suffer penalties or lower rankings.
Your site contains malware or viruses
If your site contains potentially dangerous malware then Google will warn people not to visit it. This is not necessarily a lower ranking but will definitely affect your site’s traffic. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to regularly check your site for malware and viruses.
You’ve been penalized by Google Panda or Penguin
Google Panda and Penguin were designed to sniff out websites that have poor link profiles or low quality content. One of the things you can do is to use professional services to audit your links and submit a report to you. From that report you can contact the “offending” webmasters to get them to remove links to your site. After a couple of weeks or so, you should have about 20-30% success even though many are sympathetic and help, the majority will probably ignore you. Use that report to submit to Google via the Link Disavowal Tool.
Some of the most common reasons for penalties include:
Text that is hidden
In the past a site could have text that was hidden, or blended in with the background, but this does not work with Google’s new algorithms, which will easily discover this hidden text.
You are selling links
Google has aggressively gone after sites that sell paid links. Also, sites that contain lots of paid links that come from poor quality sources will also see their rankings in Google drop.
Your site has poor quality or thin content
Google specifically looks for sites that are not providing quality, useful information but are more interested in advertising. This is particularly true of sites that have poor written, keyword dense content that does not provide any real information. The best way to avoid this is by only using original, high quality content on your site.
Your site has more than one domain name
It should not have more than one domain name pointing to the same site.
You are using domain farming
This practice includes building several similar sites that all link back and forth to each other.
You are linking to bad sites
If your site has links for poorly constructed or shady websites then this could adversely affect your Google ranking.
Irrelevant link exchanges
If you are exchanging links with another site you should ensure that the site is related to your business or niche or it could be flagged by Google.
Your site has broken links
This usually occurs when you have a typo or misspelling in the link to one of your internal web pages. This can cut off a big portion of your site and could also lower your rankings on Google. To avoid this you need to be sure all of the links to your internal pages are functioning correctly. You can install free broken links checking plugins in WP or use many freeware available to scan for broken links such as iwebtool.
Your server is consistently down
Google understands that all sites go down from time to time, but if your site is constantly slow or non-functioning then it will lower your rankings in Google. The best way to avoid this is by having a dedicated server, as well as someone to run and maintain it.
You have duplicate content on your site
This occurs when duplicate content is available on more than one of your site’s URL’s or on someone else’s site. If you find your content is being stolen then you should use a service like CopyScape to search the net for duplicate content.
Google Panda – Friend or Foe?
Google Panda sniffs out low quality content and flags it for lowered rankings. To avoid this you should only use original, high quality content on your site. However if you have been consistently populating your blogs and website with high quality, original content that other users can appreciate (and link to) – it will reward you whereas it will “smite” your competitors who have been using mass produced space-filling content to score.