Action plan: what to do when your Google rankings
Has your website lost its rankings in Google? Did your rankings
drop or did your website vanish completely from Google? In
that case, your website might have received a Google penalty
and you might have to file a reinclusion request.
Three reasons why your Google rankings might have
There are several reasons that can cause a ranking drop:
- You changed your web pages. After a web page change,
Google temporarily downranks web pages. This process has
been described in a Google
patent. In that case, you don't have to worry about
the ranking drop and you'll get your old (or better) rankings
back after some time.
- Other web pages are better than yours. No web page can
keep its rankings forever. Your competitors might have
built better web pages with better content and better inbound
links. In that case, optimize your web page content for
your keywords and try to get better inbound links.
- Google thinks that you use spam elements on your web
pages and applied a penalty to your website. In that case,
you have to file a reinclusion request.
How to find out if your website has been penalized
Search for your domain name on Google. If your website
does not come as the first result, it's likely that it
has been penalized.
If Google cannot find any page of your website if you
search for "site:yourdomain.com" (replace yourdomain.com
with your own domain name) then it's nearly sure that your
website has been penalized.
plan: what you can do to get your rankings back
Before you ask Google to reconsider your website, you should
make sure that everything is okay with your site:
- Fix all on-site issues that might have caused the problem.
If you use hidden text or nearly hidden text on your website
then remove it. Reconsider any use of display:none and
visibility:hidden that you use in the CSS code of your
If you use keyword lists or any other form of keyword stuffing
on your web pages, then remove these elements. Check your
web page titles, the meta tags and even HTML comments.
Remove any unnecessary redirects, unrelated links and all
duplicate pages. If you use cloaking or bot blocking scripts
on your server, disable these scripts. Make sure that your
HTML code is clean and that your web pages look nice. Don't
use any automatically created doorway pages.
- Fix all off-site issues.
Off-site issues are often the reason for ranking penalties.
If you participated in automated link exchange systems
of 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 anymore
to your site.
If you purchased links to improve your rankings, try to
get rid of these links. Google has officially stated that
they consider paid links spam. Do not buy links.
How to file a reinclusion request
When you have removed all on-site and off-site elements
that could have been flagged by Google, you can file a reinclusion
Keep your reinclusion request short and to the point.
Be friendly and explain what exactly you have done to clean
up your website.
Ranking drops can cost your business a lot of money. For
that reason, you shouldn't use any search engine optimization
services that promise quick-fix solutions. If something looks
too good, too inexpensive or too easy to be true then it
probably isn't true.
If you use ethical
search engine optimization methods to optimize your
web pages then you can be sure that your website gets high
rankings without offending Google. It can take longer to
get high rankings with ethical methods but you will also
keep your high rankings much longer.