Some website owners obsess over their Google rank. That’s not uncommon, since Google can bring you mountains of traffic when you rely on Google for your site’s income and revenue; it’s devastating to check your rank the next morning to find out that it’s totally destroyed. You could be on Google’s first page one day, but the next day you’re nowhere to be found in the first to pages Traffic becomes non-existent and you panic. Before you panic too much, here are 10 reasons it could happen to your website.
Improper Robots.txt Syntax
Your robots.txt file helps instruct the crawler and tells it what to crawl and what not to crawl. If you accidentally set your website to block search engines, Google assumes that you want to block crawling and possibly remove information from search.
Just because you have set instructions to stop crawling doesn’t mean that Google immediately removes your website from search. It’s a slow process, and Google continues to come back to your website to see if crawling is still blocked in the robots.txt file. If the block persists, Google then drops pages from the index you won’t notice until you check search rankings to find pages suddenly missing from the index
Your Host’s Router is Blocking Google
If your website is on a new server, Google’s crawlers are much more aggressive. They crawl consistently to collect statistical data about the server. You won’t know if your website is on a new server unless you ask your host, who might not even tell you about the change. When Google crawls too aggressively, the host’s router sometimes sees it as a denial-of-service (DOS) attack. The router automatically blocks the Google crawler IP address and it can no longer crawl your website. If the crawler can’t access your site, you can see alerts In Google Search Console. You can also ask your host to check router configurations to ensure that it’s not blocking any Google IP addresses.
The Honeymoon Period is Over
Is your website brand new? Has it only been active for a few months? Google artificially ranks websites to collect data from them. The data is used to determine user engagement and how your site should rank against competitors. Once data is fully collected, your website drops down in rank to its natural location. The period in which Google artificially ranks the website is called the “honeymoon period.” This term isn’t in Google’s official designation, but it’s passed around in SEO circles.
You can’t stop the honeymoon period activity. You should just make sure that your site’s architecture is set tip to make it easy for users to navigate throughout the content, which should be well written.
Your Website Is Hacked
There are several “SEO hacks” on the Internet. Many of them intend to steal your traffic and Google rank. Some of them redirect users based on where they came from For instance, if the user clicks a Google link in search, the site redirects to a third-party location. Other hacks redirect Google’s crawler. When Google crawls your site, It’s redirected to the hacker’s site. This type of activity causes Google to associate the hacker’s site with yours.
Hacked websites are extremely annoying and frustrating. First, you must find the hacked content and fix it, and then find out how the hacker gained access to your site. To find out if your site is hacked, you might need a professional. One way to check your site’s behavior when it’s crawled is to use the Search Console’s “Fetch as Google” tool. The site is crawled using Google’s IP address and crawler information, so you can see the response from your server. If it’s a redirect or page content that you don’t recognize, your site could be hacked.
You Accidentally Placed “No Index’ Meta Tags in the Site Content
This mistake often happens with WordPress sites. WordPress has a setting that allows you to hide content from search engines. The setting places a “no index” meta tag in your site content this directive tells Google not to index the page. If the page is indexed and then this tag is added, Goode removes the content from search. You can view your page code in your browser to figure out if the tag was added. The following HTML code is what the meta tag looks like:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
The above meta tag tells all search engines to remove the content from search. You can also specify Google only. The following meta tag only removes the content from Google. <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”> You can delete this entire tag and wait for a re-crawl for it to be re-added to Google’s index.
You Have a Manual Penalty
Google has two main types of penalties. The first one is built into the algorithm, so any drop in rank is based on statistics pulled from your site. The second type Is manual. When manual action is placed on your site, a Google Quality Search Team member reviewed your site and found it violates guidelines. When manual penalties are placed on your site, your site ranking is destroyed until you fix it. You know if you have a penalty by checking Search Console. Search Console also tells you what type of penalty is placed on your site so that you can take the next steps to fix the problem.
Your Server Returns the Wrong Status Code
Each time Google or a human viewer accesses your site, a status code is returned from the server. This status code tells bots and browsers if the request was successful. A status code of zoo means the request was successful and no errors occurred.
Several other status codes are useful, but they can affect your page’s rank. For instance, a 4o4 status code is useful when you delete content from your site and a page is no longer available. If your server is not configured properly, you cod d return one of these status codes instead of a zoo. When this happens, your pages slowly drop out of the search index
You can check status codes returned to Google by using the “Fetch as Google” tool in Search Console.
Your Pages Return An Error Only For Google
Some site owners incorporate custom tracking code in their site programming. Each time a visitor accesses the site, the code logs an entry in a database. When Google accesses the site, the code logs an entry for Google. This type of tracking is great for reporting, but bugs based on Google crawling only show up for Google and not for you or your users. When this happens every time Google crawls your site, an error is returned. If pages return errors to Google, they are removed from the search index You must review your code and ensure that it’s thoroughly tested before you deploy it to your production environment. You can find this error using Search Console’s “Fetch as Google” tool.
Overall Quality Of The Content Is Poor
Content quality is difficult for a webmaster to identify. It’s hard to judge your own content when you wrote it. If you accept user-generated content, you should always have editorial control and review it before you publish it on your site. This includes user reviews that are poorly written.
A site audit Is usually required If poor search engine rankings aren’t the result of a technical issue. Read through your site and remove pages that you think could be low or questionable quality.
Any user-generated content especially should be checked, as it is usually from spammers who want to use your site for a backlink. The content could be spun, copied directly from another website, or poorly written with several backlinks. These pages should be deleted and any future content from third parties thoroughly reviewed.
You Built Backlinks
The topic of backlinks and backlink building is often confusing to website owners Google’s guidelines restrict you from building backlinks that could be seen by the algorithms as a way to artificially manipulate rank. Backlinks should come naturally and without generating them on your own. Any links that you buy, place on another site, or trade with another site owner could get you a manual penalty or a reduced rank through the algorithms It’s not easy to determine why your site lost rankings Many of the issues are technical, but some quality issues can also affect your Google rank. You should fully evaluate your site for each of these issues to determine why Google no longer includes it in the index. One thing to note as you evaluate your site is that technical issues usually result In pages being de-Indexed. Quality Issues usually result in pages losing rank. Once technical issues are solved, your pages should return to the Index quickly. With quality issues, it can take several months to see positive movement.