Nothing is more frustrating in the world of online marketing than to put in lots of hard work on a website only to see it drop in the search engine rankings. Most people who have had multiple blogs and websites over the years have had this happen at least once. It’s happened to me a couple of times, and this motivated me to find out exactly what went wrong and how it could be remedied.
The good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, you can take measures to improve your site’s ranking again. One exception might be if you are using some serious black hat SEO tactics, in which case Google might have your site on a blacklist! In that case, you might have to start over using a different domain (and changing your approach to SEO). I know this is really bad, but in the worst case, this is what you have to do!
In most cases, however, when your site loses its ranking its due to unintentional mistakes. You might be using outdated techniques that aren’t in sync with Google’s latest update. The following are some of the most common reasons for a drop in search engine rank and how you can reverse this.
You Haven’t Been Updating Your Site Lately
Very often, people are enthusiastic about updating their blog or website for a few months and then their energy tapers off. This can cause a drop in traffic as well as search engine ranking!
Google and other search engines consider a site valuable if it contains a significant amount of relevant, quality content. They also like to see that a site is updated regularly with fresh content. So if your ranking has gone down, take a look at your posting schedule and see if it was not as frequent in recent months. If so, get busy and you should see some improvement!
Take my own web hosting website for example. If you have been following me long enough, you will know that I have a very consistent posting schedule. You will always see a new fresh post, in a couple of days.
Your Site Contains Duplicate Content
If your site contains duplicate pages, search engines are forced to choose which version to rank. This means that copies of the same page are not going to rank as well. In some cases they may not be indexed at all. If you are running an e-commerce site with a shopping cart application, make sure that you don’t have lots of duplicate pages, such as slightly different variations of the same item.
If someone steals your content and uses it on their own site, this can also cause the search engines to label your original content as a copy. It’s therefore a good idea to regularly check for this using a tool such as Copyscape. This will inform you if your content has been taken. If so, you can contact the webmaster and tell them to remove it. You can find advice on how to deal with the problem of plagiarism on Google.
Your Site Has Been Hacked or Contains Malware
This is a problem you could have without knowing about it. Sometimes there are warning signs, such as the site loading slowly or having glitches, but this isn’t always the case. If Google and other search engines detect malware, they will warn users not to visit your site which will result in less traffic and search engine rank.
There are many tools to help you avoid or remove malware. Make sure you use the latest programs for diagnosing and repairing such problems. Whether you use Windows or a Mac OS, you want to make sure your sites are free of viruses and malware!
Low Quality Backlinks
This is one of the most common causes of sites being penalized by Google. If you purchase backlinks from questionable sources, you run the risk of being penalized by Google. It’s getting harder and harder to get away with this kind of SEO tactic, so you really have to be careful about your linking practices.
It’s best to avoid buying or exchanging links when you’re not sure about the source. If you hire an SEO service, you should verify that they are reputable and use aboveboard good linking practices.
Tips. Get your backlinks naturally by writing good original content.
Your Site Contains Broken Links
“Broken links” is something that can happen over time if your site has lots of pages or posts. Internal links can become broken if you make any changes to your site, such as removing content or changing the URL. Outgoing links can become broken if the page or site you linked to is no longer valid.
You can check for broken links by using a free tool such as Xenu Link Sleuth.
You will naturally be upset if your website’s ranking is lowered. This can have a huge impact on the amount of traffic you get. At the same time, you should understand that there are usually simple reasons for this. The above are some of the most common causes for a website’s ranking drop, but there are others as well.
If you outsource SEO, this may be the source of the problem. You may want to consider taking over these responsibilities yourself or finding a better SEO company to optimize your site.
Website rankings are always in flux, so don’t think that you can’t recover from a drop in ranking. If Google has penalized your site for some reason, try to identify why this has happened. Then you can take steps to get your site back where it belongs!