• Author
    Chris Wheeler
  • Published
    November 23, 2010
  • Word count

That’s one of the worst things that can happen to a web-master or site owner: your website has lost its rankings on Google. Ranking drops can cost your business a lot of money. This article will help you to recover your lost rankings on Google.

Possibility 1: Your website has been penalised by Google:

To check if your website has been penalised by Google, search for “site:yourdomain.com” (replace yourdomain.com with your own domain name) on Google.

If Google does not display any pages of your website, then your site has been penalized.

Google only penalises websites that use spam search engine optimisation methods.

For that reason, you have to remove all issues that might have caused the problem:

  1. Remove all on-page spam:

Remove hidden or nearly-hidden text on your web pages. Reconsider any use of display:none and visibility:hidden that you use in the CSS code of your website (ask us for more information about this). Look at your site and see if there are keywords or phrases which have no link or link back to your home page which may be in the footer or outside the main “container” of the web page. This is a definite no-no. Whilst you might have a ranking now, this will not last and when Google bots pick this up your site could be removed from the index for up to 6 months – some web sites have been banned from ever being indexed again!

Check your web page titles, the meta tags and even the HTML comments on your web pages and remove any elements that might be interpreted as a keyword stuffing attempt.

Remove any unnecessary redirects, links to dubious websites and all duplicate pages from your website.

If you use cloaking or bot blocking scripts on your server, disable these scripts. Many bot blocking scripts keep legitimate search engine spiders away.

Make sure that your HTML code is clean and that your web pages look nice. Don’t use any automatically created doorway pages.

  1. Fix all off-site issues:

Off-site issues are often the reason for ranking penalties and they are more difficult to fix than on-page issues.

If you participated in automated link exchange systems, or if you paid a cheap overseas link building service to get links to your website, then it’s likely that these links have been flagged as spam links by Google.

Google does not like automated link systems at all. Remove all automated link systems from your website and try to make sure that these linking systems do not link any more to your site.

If you purchased links to improve your rankings, try to get rid of these links. Paid links do work to some extent but they can get your website in trouble when Google finds out that you use paid links.

  1. File a re-inclusion request:

When you are sure that all spam elements have been removed, you can file a re-inclusion request.

Keep your re-inclusion request short and to the point.

Be friendly and explain what you have done to clean up your website.

Possibility 2: This is a change in the ranking algorithm

A ranking drop does not necessarily mean that your website has been penalised.

  1. You redesigned your website or your website is relatively new.

Google also temporarily down ranks websites after a major design change (source). In that case, you don’t have to worry about the ranking drop because Google will give you your old rankings back after some time.

Of course, you must make sure that your new website design can still be parsed by Google and that your new web pages still contain the keywords for which you want to be ranked.

  1. Other websites are better than yours

Search engine optimisation is not a set-and-forget thing. Your competitors might have improved their websites so that they now have better content and better links than your site. No website can keep its rankings forever.

Losing your ranking is a bitter pill to swallow. If you do these things (and we can advise you how to in more detail when you talk to us), the chances are that you will get your ranking back fairly quickly.

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