Written on April 10th, 2005 at 09:04 am by Darren Rowse

What To Do When Your Blog Drops in Google’s Rankings

Search Engine Optimization 8 comments

Search Engine Journal has a good post on What To Do When Your Established Site Drops in Rankings and gives this advice:

‘All I can say is that many have suggested the same advice in the WebmasterWorld thread. Brett Tabke, the founder of WebmasterWorld, suggested to do “NOTHING”. He said, “The worst thing you could do, would be to go make a bunch of changes. Just let the algo work itself out.” A senior member said that he “made the mistake of making many changes after taking the hit, many months later no where to be found.” ‘

I totally agree with this advice out of my own experience of disappearing from Google late last year. The temptation was to make some major changes at that time but I decided to stick it out and just keep working on some of the basics including writing good content, making the coding of my site validate, building relationships with other sites in the hope that I’d get a few extra incoming links.

The result was in the next reindex by Google my traffic returned - not (in my opinion) because of my tweaks or anything I did in the mean time but just because whatever Google did to de-list me they reversed (as often happens).

So if you drop suddenly in Google’s rankings hang tight for a bit. Keep doing the basics and wait for another update. It will be a frustrating time but I’ve talked to many bloggers and webmasters who’ve been through it - so the chances are it’ll work itself out for you too.

If your ranking doesn’t come back in the next couple of Google updates it might be time to think about some bigger changes - but in the mean time have a little patience see out the storm.

8 Responses to “What To Do When Your Blog Drops in Google’s Rankings”

  • Hi Darren,

    One of the reasons sites seem to disappear from Google is that they are regularly doing DB maintenance. If they pull a data base offline for maintenance and there’s no redundant backup switched on to replace it, or it gets replaced with an older version, some sites in that database will appear to disappear from the listings. That’s part of the reason people panic and rumors of an algo change start circulating.

    Then, when they restore the cleaned database everything is hunky-dory again and SEO experts try and come up with theories as to why it happened. That’s my theory anyway ;-)

    Paul

  • I agree. Just concentrate on creating content and wait it out.

    I imagine Paul’s guess is correct also. I know I’ve seen SERPs be different on different computers at the same time…they were hitting different IPs thus different DBs.

  • I agree that “doing nothing” is often the best course in this case. A lot of SEO seems to be “fad” stuff, but long term SEO should work regardless of algo changes. The shake up is seems to be mostly temporary.

  • I’d agree with all of the above. I’d especially like to encourage people not to worry too much about code validation. While SEO ‘professionals’ like to encourage this there’s no particular evidence for or against page validation. Not one of Google’s own pages validate and my boss has hideos code that ranks well. I don’t know anything about this for sure, but I don’t worry about it.

  • Watching rankings on a daily basis is not the best long term search engine rankings solution. SEO is best practiced with the long haul in mind. Developing good quality, interesting, and informative content will attract natural inbound links. Since the links will be added over time, and without any sudden spurts, they are less likely to trigger any filters. Over time, good sites and blogs will rise to the top of the search rankings and remain there as well. Fad algorithm chasers seem to always find themselves one step behind the Google curve. Good content rich sites rarely experience more than the occasional blip, and the site promptly returns to its previous ranking at the next spider crawl and re-indexing of the site and its content.

  • I must admit that I’ve never had this happen, but the thought that springs to mind in response to the rhetorical question is the same answer that I’d normally give if I’m asked a question about a what to do if a house was on fire or your plane was about to crash into a mountain: I’d panic :-)

    More seriously though if your watching your search engine placements so closely as to know when or where you didn’t appear in a particular engine, your not spending enough time developing the content that would assure that you wouldn’t need to worry about this at all. In shortform: less star gazing, more work.

  • Agreed guys - I guess what I’m writing here is in response to a number of people who’ve not only lost their search engine placements but have lost almost all their traffic as a result like I did in December when I lost two thirds of my traffic overnight for a couple of months.

  • I have to agree also that most of the time it is an algo blip, but with the recent implementation of “no follow” I would expect to see some fluxuation in many blog rankings as users upgrade their software that has the “no follow” turned on by default for comments. WordPress 1.5 has to be hacked to take it off as there is currently no options to configure its use or disable it.

    So it would seem to me that the “solution” that was emplemented has also taken some of the “power” out of blogs. (comments on other blog now don’t count as a link if they have the “no follow”)

    I don’t mean to say this is the reason but is one of the possibilities.

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