You work hard on your website. You hire good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts. You write good content and are careful to make it organic. You know content is king and you do your best to make it so. You are ranking high for your key terms and words. Things are great. Sales are coming in and good traffic finding your website. All is good with the world.
One day visits to your site drop a bit. The next day, the visits are done more. Sales start to drop. The content must be getting stale you surmise, so you make more. You go about making back links to your site from others that make sense. You do more SEO. Surely this will help, it doesn’t. Your page ranking goes from the top of the first to last on the twentieth. Soon you are on the hundredth page. What is going on?
Google’s Changing Algorithms
Google does its best to make searching work for the general user. There are many spam sites out there that generate machine readable content, but to the human they make no sense. This only serves the marketer, not the genuine business owner. Your site doesn’t have this content non-sense, but it still drops. Why is Google penalizing your site?
Let’s take a look at a few things.
That Darned 404 Page
Are there pages that have changed or gone out of use? Are there still some links out there that are no longer valid? Do some searching and update them. If they cannot be updated, provide a redirect. What about internal links? Are they all valid? No, get them updated and corrected. Google will mark your site when there are dead links.
How Good Is Your Content?
Do you copy and paste your content? Perhaps change a few words here and there? Not good. Make your pages unique. Repeated content will get a bad mark.
Where did you get your content? Is it yours? If it belongs to someone else, did you pay for it? Not only is copy and pasting within your site bad, copying it from somewhere else is bad as well. It is one thing to hire a copywriter. It is purely another to steal it.
Keywords are a great way to give more meaning and value to your pages, but be careful. Stuffing words into tags can get a mark against you. Keep the keywords relevant to your actual content. One guideline is to use 160 characters in your page description. Don’t get all blabbery and write a book there.
What Of Those External Links?
Back links are not necessarily bad, but follow two ideals. First, make sure the sites relate clearly to your site and the content. Don’t just start stuffing links everywhere, make them count. Second, are these other sites in the same language or in the same country as yours? Unless you are posting in German, don’t visit German sites and plant links. Stick to the related and familiar. Otherwise, Google may smack your efforts.
Don’t Get Cute
Some people will buy links and believe this will help their ranks. In the old days, yes. Perhaps even now it may work for a short time, but Google does not like the practice as it is seen as gaming the system. Don’t fall for the slick ads and keep away from buying links.
Page content is only a part of the solution. How your pages are constructed also matters. Just as keyword stuffing is not good, neither is using the H1 tag too liberally, lots of anchor text, or hiding content or links. With each new generation, Google’s algorithm is trying to read content more like a human that a machine. This means your structure is being reviewed and graded. Think hiding content full of great keywords will help? Wrong! Don’t get cute with the content nor the structure. Make the page good for humans and stay away from phoney keyword tricks.
The More Comments The Better, Correct?
Those who do not follow these guidelines will find your site and leave comments. These are spammers looking to push all manner of crappy products and sometimes they are pure scammers. Moderate your comments for these very occurrences and deny them. Have some there already? Mark these as spam and delete them. Sure, you do not control the comments people leave, but you can control whether or not these are published and seen by the search engines.
But, wait. Don’t I want the comments? Isn’t it great that people have found my site? Yes, it is nice they found you, but Google may hold their comments against you. Be the site moderator and let the comments help you, not harm.
Go Do It
There are other items too, such as sitemaps and slow loading times, but this is a good list to get started. Websites cannot just be built once and let be. Each week, there should be some updates to your site and they should be meaningful. Moderator your traffic and understand from where it comes. Put attention into those paths ways and look to find more link them. A little bit each week goes a long way to keeping your site ranked high. When your site drops, don’t panic and understand what is happening. Then take action to properly fix the bad marks and improve your rank.