Things to check when your Google rankings start going the wrong way! – Part 3

Its been another stressful week, your phone has been break dancing to the same repetitive tune for what seems like an eternity. The rankings continue to slide into no mans land and you are still none the wiser as to why. You feel a bit like a traveling magician with everyone is looking to you to pull a white rabbit out of your bowler hat, when what you’re actually considering is jumping into the nearest waste bin and hiding away from the world in the hope that it is all a dream and you will wake up from this rankings nightmare. But wait, don’t jump just yet, lets review what we have covered so far and look into other possible causes for the slide.

So…you have checked the your site in the browser and everything looks ok, you have checked it with Googlebot, checked the robots.txt file, made sure the canonical tag was correct, checked the robots meta tag, the htaccess file, checked for duplicate content issues, reviewed any changes that you made regarding technical and hosting… “and a partridge in a pear tree!”

Ok you can appreciate that you may have lost the fresh content bonus but surely losing that would not have such a dramatic effect on the rankings would it?!?!

Well fortunately for us and our sanity, there are more things we can check which could be causing the issue.

SEO rankings quick check list Part 3

Check Google/Bing WMT

Almost forgot about this little gem, but then again webmaster tools should be checked on a regular basis as it provides all kinds of information about your site and will bring to your attention any problems that could be corrected before moving onto this check list.

Geo- filtering

You could be falling foul of geo-filtering, which in its simplest form is where Google filters you out of appearing in the co.uk search results, because your server is located in a different country. So check local variations of the Google search.

If this is the case it is highly recommended that you change hosting to a UK based provider. This may not be cheap as most web companies will out-source their hardware to the cheapest location which is often US based, but to do so will have a positive impact on rankings.

Changes to your internal link structure

This affects most bloggers most of the time without their knowledge. Publishing your blog for the first time creates a new page which lists your posts on your home page. As most blogs have links to their newest post with a Recent Post section throughout the site. When a new post is published, the original post will fall off the home page and when that happens most of its link juice goes away and it will not rank as well. So be smart and make sure you do a good job of linking to the post from within your site.

Your site has become stale

If you don’t publish and keep you content fresh, your competitors will and you’ll start to fall behind in the rankings as you lose momentum with Google. As well as counting the amount of links to your site, Google also counts how many new sites are linking to you, if your competition is attracting new links and you are not then you will start to slide. An easy fix this one, just attract new links, add some new articles with a few links and depending on the keyword competitiveness you should see some good results.

Loss of page link popularity

One or more links to your site may have been removed/deleted, moved to a page which is unranked or the page rank of the site has dropped for similar reasons. Websites with modest or even low page rank get most of their link juice from a small number of links and the loss of even one of these could have a massive impact on rankings.

Malware/Hacking

If Google detects malware on your site it will warn users who click on your pages in the search results before linking to your site, this will not be a drop in rankings but the effect can be just as bad as few users will proceed past the warning.

Did the ranking drop happen after a Google update

Check the forums for any chatter about rankings dropping all of a sudden for no reason. For the moment though do nothing, by changing what you think could be the problem when you don’t know what the issue is may make matters worse. It could be just a blip in the algorithm so it may be worth waiting for things to settle down before doing anything. If you are unsure, seek professional advice. Here is a link to the most recent Google Algorithm Change’s that may go some way to explain a sudden drop in your rankings.

Have you dropped 30 or so places or maybe completely disappeared from SERPs

Identifying why you have dropped in the rankings is not easy as there can be a whole host of reasons why your rankings have dropped. It is possible you have received a +30 penalty, look at you linking patterns and cleaning up stuff that you have done lately, the penalty area is so vast it would be advisable to seek out professional advice.

This is the third part of a check list to follow when trying to correct a rankings slide, links to the first and second parts are below. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the bloggers on the web for sharing their thoughts and experiences regarding ranking issues, its been an interesting read.

Please feel free to add any additional comments or posts regarding this problem and together we can create a bullet proof check list to correct any rankings slide that the search engines can throw at us. Thanks for reading 🙂

Seo Consultants London