Imagine this scenario: your website had #1 rankings all across the board for years. You did anything and everything to keep it that way. This past weekend, those rankings dropped to page 10 overnight. Unfortunately, this does happen and will continue to happen. Google’s latest Panda and Penguin combo updates rolled out around the same time and as it takes weeks for an update to fully roll out, business owners everywhere were on edge. The Penguin refresh affected roughly 1% of queries, leaving some website owners seeing the full lifeblood of their online existence drain, literally overnight.
If this has happened to you, there are many lessons to learn. If this hasn’t happened to your site (or this time around), there are still some takeaways:
1) Get ready for a long stretch – A drastic drop in SERPs isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix. The common misconception is that you did ONE thing that’s considered “wrong” in Google’s eyes and that fixing that ONE thing, will undo the drop immediately. In reality, unless you have a manual link penalty (and even then…), there are usually a number of factors that have caused the website’s drop in rankings.
This is a good time to set a plan of attack, set timelines, and evaluate how the drop in rankings will affect your bottom line.
2) Be careful in choosing your SEO company or if you take the DIY approach to SEO – Outsourcing your SEO is one thing, outsourcing it to a new or untrustworthy company is another. If your website has jumped from company to company, this may make pinpointing the problem even more problematic. While you can focus on on-page issues that are clearly in front of you, tackling off-page issues may prove to be more difficult.
While learning about the basics of SEO, dos & don’ts etc are commendable, you really shouldn’t be messing with on and off page optimization if you don’t know what you’re doing. This is where it helps to hire an SEO company or consultant, who has experience in white hat SEO and identifying and solving Google algorithm/penalty related ranking drops.
3) Don’t focus 100% on organic traffic – Putting all your eggs in one basket is a foolish thing to do, no matter what size budget your company has. It’s even more risky in today’s volatile Google landscape because not everything is transparent. Meaning that if you do encounter a problem like this, there isn’t going to be one clear answer.
Marketing basics stress the importance of a marketing mix, emphasis on the mix. It’s not a marketing ‘put-all-your-resources-into-one-thing’ deal. Luckily for online marketing, there isn’t just SEO. There are other channels to focus on: paid search, social media, traditional, video, email and more.
4) Consider a timeline for an ultimatum – You may be extremely tied to your URL but there may come a time when you have to ditch it for a new one. This ultimatum is hard but it can make or break your business.
Depending on how you can meet your business goals without a website that is ranking it may come down to two choices: 1) Keeping the URL and trying for months (or years) to get it to rank again 2) Getting a new URL and spending months (or years) to get it to rank. This is a difficult choice and not a decision that should be made rashly. Consult with your SEO company on the best course of action and what is more realistic for your business.
5) No website is ever 100% Google Algorithm or Penalty proof – No matter how well a website ranks or how much business it brings you, you can’t assume that you’re completely excused from Google’s scrutiny. To assume that your website is perfect is dangerous and stubborn. Not to mention that being in this state of mind leaves you unprepared for a drastic rankings drop. There is always work to do on a website and legitimate, white hat ways to make it better. Don’t forget that!
If you have any questions about the latest Google updates or have a link penalty, read more here:
https://www.emarketed.com/google-penalty-removal/ and contact us today. You WILL NOT be charged until the unnatural link warning has been lifted from your website.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.