Sunday, August 26, 2012

Main Reasons for Google Page Ranking Drop, External Factors

Recently I've came across many frazzled website owners posted questions about their Google Ranking dropping. Actually one of our websites dropped in its ranking as well. While searching for the answers, I've been collecting all the information I came across and now would like to share it with you. Here is a list of the most common reasons why a website's search engine rankings fall. I would also like to suggest some methods of its recovery.

First of all, you need to decide if your website's ranking dropped in all search engines or only in Google. What I mean is that sometimes your website is still ranking high in Yahoo, Bing,.. and that it's completely down in Google search engine.
Let's cover the case when your ranking dropped in Google only. I'm going to divide the reasons or factors into 2 categories - External and Internal. In this article I'm going to cover External problems in more detail. Separately, I'll write about Google Panda algorithm.

External Factors / Problems of Google Ranking Drop

By External problems I refer problems between your website and other websites, hosting, links,…

1. Your Page Rank (PR) dropped.

1A. This can happen if some websites with the Page Rank higher than yours remove links to your website. Let's say your website has PR2, it's best if other websites pointing to you (having links to your website) have PR2+ (meaning Page Rank of 2 or higher). So if many of such websites remove their links, then your Page Rank will drop.

Most of the website designers participate in link exchanging or link building. Sometimes, they buy links. But it's very important to understand how many links, what kind of links and how often you can buy those links not to get punished. Again, if your website's PR is 3, and if you purchased many-many links with PR0, then you didn't benefit enough for your money. Most likely, you even made it worse. If you suddenly got too many links with lower PR pointing to your site, then most likely your own PR will go down.

1C. If you link to a "bad neighborhood website". Before exchanging links, always check the website, make sure that if your visitors click on this link, they don't go to a so-called "bad neighborhood" website you don't want them to visit. My advice is to click on a few pages of such website first. I've come across a few  websites that had a nice home page, let's say about purchasing of purses or something like that and then, when you click on another page, it's about something completely else. It's always a good idea that if you doubt about the website, don't exchange links. At least try to use "nofollow" attribute in your link tag: <a href="" rel="nofollow">. Usually if you have just a few links pointing to the bad websites, it's not so bad. However, if you have other problems as well, you can get penalized.

1D. If you exchanged links with the farm websites or websites that are just ads.
Google started being very aggressive on that. 

2. If you have a relatively new website.

2A. Sometimes, Google will boost a new website for just some time. You need to continue working on link building - collect links from different sources. Please check out my other article "SEO and Online Marketing Strategies" about the SEO and link building.

2B. If you exceeded the optimum amount of links that looks reasonable for Google. Let's say you purchased or exchanged links with other websites and the ranking of those sites is good but you still overdid it. You got too many links at once… then you can get into a sand box.

3. Your website was hacked.

It feels that hackers don't have anything else to do these days:) Websites get constantly hacked. So if your website was hacked and visitors to your website reported it, then Google will respond to it accordingly. You can use Google's tools for checking your website. Re-install the clean version of your website and use Google tools make sure it's really clean. You can contact your hosting and if your website was flagged as having malware, request a review to determine whether your site is clean. If you are using wordpress, update all the plugins and themes (however, remember, if you previously adjusted a theme for your website and made it more custom, then, after you reinstall the theme all your custom settings will disappear). There is a detailed article on what you should do at 
4. Websites that sell ads or links.

Recently Google became very aggressive on punishing the websites that sell Text ads and sell links. Google can easily drop your Page Rank. Again, if you decide to keep these links, then add attribute "nofollow" in the link tag - please see above. 

5. Multiple domains.

If you have many different domains pointing to one website, then Google may penalize you. Try to keep one domain name per one website.

6. Don't forget to set 301 "canonical redirects" for your website.

It means that for Google and (without the "www") are two different websites. So if you promoted let's say and then switched your efforts to, then Google will be confused.

7. Your server was down for an extensive amount of time.

When your server is down and you didn't set your server to respond with the 503 code, Google can take your PR down. If your server is down or if you know that your server is going to be down, set it to respond with the 503 code, it will tell to Google or another search engine that you are aware of the problem and working on it.

These are just some of the External factors / Problems that make the Google Ranking go down. There are some other ones, but it looks that these seven factors are the most common. It's always a good idea to check Google Webmaster Tools where you can have your website checked for any issues and also find a lot of useful information. After you fixed the problems of your website, submit Reconsideration Request to Google so your website will be re-evaluated. It might speed up the process significantly. More in my next article.

For more information on SEO and help on fixing your Google Page Ranking from Creative365, Los Angeles professional search engine company, please visit our website We've been successful in bringing clients' websites to the 1st page of Google. Actually, all of our clients that requested search engine optimization services, are on the first page in Google. Contact us today!

SEO and Online Marketing Strategies - Still Work?

Many webdesigners and SEO professionals are afraid of new Google approaches in checking / ranking of the websites. But it looks our "Old" approaches to SEO still work if you use them in complex. Here are a few tips for the complex SEO and Online Marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines. The higher a website appears in the search results list (preferably on the 1st page), the more visitors it will receive from a search engine. As an internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how a search engine works and what people search for. Let’s assume that our main search engine is Google. At the moment, Google is the biggest search engine out there, so getting Google to view your website is very important for having high rankings. So, how do you do that?

The main idea is to “rank high” in Google (to appear on the 1st page of Google). There are several techniques / methods that help you bring your website up in Google or to boost your ranking (this is usually referred as PR - page ranking). Most of these techniques take significant amount of time.

I would like to consider them as 2 approaches - On-page Optimization and Off-page Optimization.

On-page Optimization:
When we talk about on-page optimization, we mean adjusting the site in a way that helps Google to understand what your site is about. That kind of optimization primarily involves editing the content of the website, its HTML and associated coding to increase its relevance to specific keywords for a search engine. This includes:
    •    Competition analysis, keyword research and optimization
    •    Meta tags development & optimization
    •    Title tags, description meta tags
    •    Keyword meta tags creation & optimization
    •    Content optimization based on specific keywords
    •    Header H1 tags optimization
    •    Creation & optimization of Bold Text and Alt tags
    •    Keyword density & prominence optimization
    •    Robots text file creation.

Off-page Optimization:
This is when we need to show Google that our website is really valuable, that many other sites (sites with higher ranking) refer to it. How would Google know that our site offers valuable information? Answer: By having many visitors and by having many backlinks pointing to our site. The more GOOD backlinks our site has, the more solid and prominent our site looks to Google. Please don't be mistaken - if you get a zillion of back links with PR0 from some junk sites, spam,...., you are not going to get to the 1st page of Google. You need quality links, links from websites with PR that is equal or higher than yours.
So, how to create those backlinks or where do we get them from? What influences your Google ranking?
Here is the basic strategy to get your backlinks from:

For a website to have a high ranking, you would need to get backlinks from all these different sources. In red, I listed just a few samples from each of the backlink source. Here are a couple of words about each of these sources.

1. Social Media.
Through social media you can communicate with your potential customers, you work on building a database of your friends.  Then you can advertise to your new friends and followers your specials / offers / new services as well as links to your website.

2. Social Media News, also called Bookmarking Sites
These are sites where people can register and leave their opinions, reviews, interesting facts, even a short mentioning. Social bookmarking sites are sites where you share urls that you think are interesting enough for other people to see and connect and get interested in them. It also allows you to leave a link to your website.
Find sites with good ranking and leave comments. You can find a helper or Philippines based company to leave quality comments (it pays back in a long run). However, there are a few online companies whose services I use that offer commenting for a reasonable price and who do a quality job. 

3. Blogs
These blogs are similar to your landing pages or articles. You can create blogs on different topics related to your industry, this is a way to engage people to communicate and talk about your business. It also connects to your website, you can refer your readers to go to your site for more info...

4. Articles
Writing articles has always been a great way to get publicity and sales, but it's also important for search engine optimization purposes. Their great advantage is that articles provide high-quality one-way links to your site (these links are placed in the author’s bio area). Most article websites allow 2 links per article. What is even more important is that the articles and blogs can use your keywords and create theme-related content for your website. So, if readers are interested in your subject, you can invite them to visit your website. Many of the Article websites have a high ranking.

5. Video Directories
The best one is youtube. It gets a lot of views and now it allows to write a description to your movie as well as to leave a link to your website. You can also submit keywords,...

So, if your business is about, let’s say, traveling to Hawaii, then with proper optimization, when people search for “Hawaii travel”, your website, your blog, your article or your video will pop on the first page. Or better yet, if they pop all together..

6. Press releases
The same applies to press releases. They mention your latest services, products,...

7. Website Directories.
These are similar to the Yellow pages... There are hundreds of directories on the internet.  Some of the directories have a very high ranking (PR6+), some don’t have any value. The best directories are paid ones - like Yahoo ($299), others are free. Here you submit the Title, Description, keywords and a link to your website. For each business, you pick a category and a subcategory where your business will be listed, for example - Travel, Hotels,...

8. PPC campaigns
This is when you run ads based on the keywords and that have links to your website (these ads generate traffic and cost you money).

9. Forums and Blogs
There are special websites called forums. This is where people talk about a particular interest, idea, business, application,... You can join/register a forum and start leaving your own comments related to the topic. The most important here is that when you register, you can leave a link to your website. Sometimes, you can just join the forum (without actually leaving a comment). The same thing applies if you leave a comment to somebody’s else blog. While registering, you can add a link to your website and use your keywords. You need to be accurate about leaving comments since they can be considered as spam. You can purchase backlinks from various forums and blogs but need to know how many backlinks you can order (different amount of links for different PR websites) so you would not get into a sandbox or wouldn't be blocked as being a spammer. I will write about this in more details separately.

11. Exchanging links.
This is when different companies (different websites) exchange links with other sites preferably from the same industry that have the same rank or higher. In this case, we create a file that would contain a description of the partner and a link to their website (they provide). Similar, they will have a file on their server that would have a description of our business with the link to our website that we provide.

12. Reviews, Testimonials
It’s a good idea to encourage people to leave reviews on Yelp, Go Places, youtube videos, tripadvisor, ...  These are high ranking websites and are searchable.

So, if you implement optimization of your website and will work hard on getting backlinks from all of these sources, you guarantee to get on the first page of Google. And get more visitors to your website. We’ll talk separately how to optimize your website in more details and about building the backlinks for each of these sources.