(This article is more relevant to clients who have their own "domain name" websites, but there is useful information that can help ensure your Matamata directory website is also ranking well in Google)
Has your website lost its rankings in Google? Did your rankings drop or did your website vanish completely from Google? Your website may have received a Google penalty and you may have to file a reinclusion request.
Reasons why your Google rankings might have dropped
There are several reasons that can cause a ranking drop:
- You changed your website. After a website change, Google can temporarily downrank websites. This process has been described in a Google patent. In that case, you shouldn't have to worry about the ranking drop and you should get your old (or better) rankings back in time.
- Other websites are better than yours. No website can keep its rankings forever. Your competitors might have built better webpages with better content and better inbound links. In that case, optimise your website content for your keywords and try to get better inbound links.
- Google thinks that you use spam elements on your webpages 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 penalised
Carry out a search for your domain name on Google. If your website does not come as the first result, it's likely that it has been penalised.
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 is almost certain that your website has been penalised.
Remedies: what you can do to get your rankings back
Before you request that Google to reconsider your website, you should make sure that everything is OK 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.
If you use keyword lists or any other form of keyword stuffing on your webpages, then remove these elements.
Remove any unnecessary redirects, unrelated links and all duplicate 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. 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 request.
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 optimisation 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 optimisation methods to optimise your website 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 should also keep your high rankings much longer.