So You’ve Lost Your Google Rankings… What Happened?

You once had first page placement, maybe even the number one spot…but now all of a sudden you don’t. So what happened? Does Google hate you? No, probably not. Here are five reasons why you may have lost your ranking, including a few quick-fix steps to getting back in the game.

1. New Competition– It’s entirely possible a new competitor has crept into the market and has taken over your territory. Or maybe an existing competitor has refreshed their content and optimized around your keywords, knocking you out of your top spot. Try adding new content, refreshing your content or optimizing around less competitive keywords with equally strong popularity.

2. Penalization or Banning– Maybe cloaking, link farms and keyword stuffing seemed like a good idea at the time, but surprise! Google found out and you’re now banned from their search engine results. Stay away from black hat SEO techniques and follow the rules because Google is, and always will be, smarter than you.

3. Algorithmic Changes– Google’s algorithm is not only very complicated, but it gets updated every now and again without warning. It’s very possible that Google changed their algorithm and what was working for you before no longer works.

4. Backlinks Disappeared– Maybe your Yahoo Directory link or business.com link expired. Or maybe a website removed links from their site to your site. Google accounts for backlinks in their algorithm so keep up with your activities and don’t rely on the placements you’ve already secured.

5. Internal Changes– If you’ve decided to change your site, whether you’ve purchased a new domain, rewrote some URL structures or removed some pages, make sure you use 301 redirects. Otherwise, all that great traffic and history that you’ve built is completely destroyed and thus your rankings have disappeared. But if you 301 redirect to the new page, you get to retain all your hard work.

In addition to the recommendations above, here are two other options for you:

1. Continuously add new, optimized content to your site.
2. Supplement your organic rankings with paid search placement, such as Google AdWords, so even if your organic placement doesn’t show up, you still appear on the first page.

And don’t panic and make rash decisions. Check back in a few days and make sure the drop in rankings isn’t just a fluke. Otherwise, you’ll make a lot of unwarranted changes and waste of ton of resources, and potentially hurt yourself even more. Also, visit Google Webmaster Central for re-inclusion help.

Happy rankings 🙂

For more search engine optimization tips, check out our free white paper, “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Four Easy Steps”

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