Why Did Your Google Rank Drop?

By: Brian Horn on: June 9th, 2010 10 Comments

Have you ever wondered why your ranking in Google dropped over night?

You busted your tail to get on page 1 of Google and all the sudden you wake up to find that you’ve slipped to page 2, 3, page 5 (or worse) over night?

I’ll go over 4 possible reasons why your Google ranking may have dropped and how you can prevent this from happening again (or never happening at all).

1. You no longer receive the fresh content bonus with Google.

When you when you update your site with an original piece of content (like the daily blog posts here on DanKenndy.com/blog), you get a boost to your SEO ranking with Google.  After a few weeks that point system drops out of your SEO ranking score.

To keep the score high you need to keep adding new content on a regular basis.

2. The internal linking structure changed on your site.

Once you add content to your site, don’t change your page names.  Many site owners often save their webpages only to later come back and change the page names…or even the entire page naming convention.

Example:

Changing a page name from “aboutus.html” and “contacts.html” to “about-us.html” and “contact-us.html”

Its critical to decide on the link structure you want before starting your website, and once you create a page name keep it.  Don’t make things difficult for Google.  Keep it clean and keep your URL’s consistent.

3. The link structure on sites that are linking to you changes.

Let’s say you write a hot piece of content, and as a result several bloggers link mention it in a post.  So now you have links from several website’s home pages…very cool.

Now Google will crawl those sites and give you a boost for all those links.  The problem becomes when the following month or even days later those bloggers and site owners change their front page and your listing is now deeper in their site or they take it out completely.

The next time the search engines crawl those sites your linking bonus is lowered and the value is not what it was when you started.

The only way to address this is to consistently focus on getting more and more sites linking to your’s.

4. Duplicate content.

Stealing other peoples content can actually make Google lower your ranking.  If you use another person’s content you must reference the site you took it from.  This will not help or hurt your site.

Here is something really jacked up – if someone steals your content, but does a better job promoting it, GOogle may think that your content is the spam one…not the guy that stole it from you. Sucks…but it can happen.

If it does happen to you, document everything with screen shots and keep the original content with the dates created.  Try and content the offending site and the company hosting their website, send a seize and desist letter to both, and if that doesn’t work…contact Google’s legal and spam departments.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Brian Horn, of HornDog Search Marketing, is recognized by many as the "Glazer-Kennedy Secret Weapon", because of his role in helping not only Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer with search engine optimization and social media, but also many of the top Information Marketers in the world. Brian shares SEO tips for small businesses over at at his blog, BeOnPage1Blog.com.

    10 Responses

    1. Scott Martin says:

      A great blog…thanks. SEO is weird–it’s not art and it’s not science. Maybe it’s darts under dim lighting where someone is trying to move the board and the oche moves randomly.

      Even people who have enjoyed great success with search are totally missing the point. For example, there’s a hotel in the Ballantyne area of south Charlotte here in North Carolina. Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge spends thousands every year on SEO and it’s effective…type in “Ballantyne Colonoscopy” and the person who performs colonoscopies in Ballantyne will come second in the search behind…Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge. Now, here’s the big problem…go to the hotel’s site and it’s terrible. The design is OK, I guess. The photography is good but it could be of any resort anywhere and there are never any people in the photos. So maybe the photography isn’t good; the hotel looks lonely.
      But, worst of all, the copy is terrible. Poor copy is probably costing them hundreds of thousands every year.

      For example, If you even THINK about having a wedding there, it’s thousands of dollars yet the weddings page is especially vapid. The headline is “Weddings.” Now THAT’S power.

      Getting great search results is great BUT so many companies waste their search efforts because the copy on the website is dull corporate-speak.

      At Glazer-Kennedy, you’ve got the “secret weapon” and the copy on the website is superb. It’s a powerful combination.

    2. Charles Ra says:

      you have the right points Brian,
      thank you

    3. Rob Anspach says:

      Years ago I had a friend tell me that my website looked identical to his friends site word for word. Then he wondered why I would copy his friends site. I said huh? I spent months writing the copy for that site and that little twerp goes and swipes the whole thing. Sad thing was he did a better job with the seo than I did and was getting ranked better. Thank goodness for lawyers!

      I now make it a habit of updating my content at least once a month to keep it fresh. And making sure at least every six months that my keywords are still relevant.

    4. Jim Rowe says:

      I’m getting out ranked by a business that is closed….yikes google hates me.

    5. Great stuff Brian, as always.

      when you have such good content constantly being posted like you do on this blog, there’s no wonder that you keep this site (and all your clients sites!) on page one of Google…..

    6. Ray says:

      I have a 5 year old website (not a blog) that is essentially a list of free traffic and free advertising sources, with some articles about S.E.O. and traffic generation. I also have a page of website analyzing tools, search engine submitters ect, plus a forum all under one roof, with all pages linking back to the main page. I have over 3000 backlinks from various directories and blog comments and my site ranks fairly well but not great. Now the classic advice that I usually read (including here) is to add fresh content often. But time and time again, I have found that if I change anything on the site, my serp positions tend to drop. Then once the new content has been there a while, the site begins to climb back up. I am now ranking better than ever because I finally just quit adding any new stuff to the site. I am finding that the site does better if i leave the content alone but add backlinks through blog commenting or directory submission. This flys in the face of common S.E.O. wisdom so I am wondering if the whole “fresh content” theory applies more to blogs than it does to websites?

    7. I was searching frantically for an answer when my keyword dropped from position 2 to 500+ today. I found the answer in your post! I actually meddle with the “contact us” and “about us” page. You are so spot-on. I wonder how I can put things right. Thank you so much for your enlightening post!

    8. Velva Wolpe says:

      You might be my intake , I own few internet logs and often run out from to brand : (.

    9. Jade Gilman says:

      For what its worth, the layout is definitely amazing. You know how to balance writing and images/videos. However, I cant get over how little you actually bring to light here. I think that everyone’s said the same thing that you’ve said over and over again. Don’t you think its time for something more?

    10. I signed up to your rss feed! Are you going to post much more about this theme? Precisely what I needed to get. Really very clear and valuable post. I am without a doubt a violator of many of those guidelines.

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