Search engines are the largest source of low cost visitors to websites. Webmasters who know their jobs watch search engine results pages (SERPs) ranking of their websites on a continuing basis.
A fall in rank can dramatically reduce the number of visitors to the business’ website and can prove disastrous to business.
So how do you handle a fall in the SERPs rank of your website?
Identify the Reasons for the SERPs dropping
Your Web pages can fall in SERPs for several reasons, including:
- Your competition becomes stronger for your chosen keywords.While you have been concentrating on very low value linking techniques other sites in your niche may have been focusing their efforts and resources gaining high quality relevant one way links.
- You have changed your Web pages. This can often mean a temporary downgrading of the pages’ rank till the search engine has re-analyzed the page
- Your website has attracted a penalty for practices not acceptable to search engines
- Search engines are constantly changing. Their new alogrithim may not consider as better as before from your competition.
In the following sections, we discuss how to handle these problems. We start with a valuable tool, the Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Tools and Guidelines Can Help You
Google Webmaster Tools provides a forum where you can register your websites. Once Google has verified your ownership of a registered site, you can see how Google views that site.
You can see which pages of your site have been indexed by Google, and the in-pointing links to your site that Google has detected, the problems Google faces while crawling your site and so on.
Google also provides guidelines for constructing good web pages in its blog. You can get guidance on how to construct your web page title, meta description tag, page URL and page content, for example.
The most important suggestion Google makes is that you should write your pages to provide information of value to your intended readers.
How to Handle SERPs Ranking Fall
If you have changed your web pages recently, wait for some time. If your content and in-pointing links are still good, it will regain its rank in due time (provided other websites do not outdo you in these matters).
If other websites have indeed replaced you, look at their content and in-pointing links. How do these compare with yours? Do their content and links give you some ideas on how to improve yours? If they do, implement the ideas.
Next develop your own ideas for improving the quality of the content and in-pointing links. Webmaster tools and other Google guidelines can give you ideas.
If Google is not showing any of your pages in its index (check by searching with “site:yourdomain.com” – replace yourdomain with your actual domain name), it indicates that your site has been penalized. You will then have to identify the factors that caused the penalty, remove them and then ask Google to reconsider your website.
The request for reconsideration can be sent through the relevant Talk to Google link that appears to the right of your Google Webmaster Tools main page.
Search Engine Penalty Factors
The major factors that lead to search engine penalties are:
- Use of keyword stuffing through the use of invisible text and other means
- Use of devices like cloaking, automated doorway pages and search engine robot exclusions
- Link exchange schemes and links from spam sources
- Re-directs, irrelevant links and duplicate pages can also lead to penalties
Check your web pages carefully. Have these practices been used? If so, eliminate them before asking Google to reconsider of your website.