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    Why has my page suddenly plummeted down the Google rankings?


    I woke up yesterday to find that one of the posts on my blog had plummeted down the rankings, from 1 to 18 for some queries. I'm a bit confused as to why though, up until now it had been ranking higher each day, so I can't accuse exit rate and its PR has stayed the same.

    The only thing is that I made one tiny change the day before. It used to be that you could read the entire article from my homepage, but I changed that by adding a 'More' tab, so you could only read an excerpt. Is this enough to make my page drop as much as it has? I'm a bit confused since I didn't really change the content of the actual page, just the webpage.

    Also, should changing it back to how it was before rectify things? Or will I have to gradually climb the results page all over again?

    Thanks!
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  3. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    The relevant "short answer" might be that Google rankings constantly fluctuate, and it is normal for them to fluctuate. Often blog content ill rank high for a while and then drop as the "freshness effect" wears off. Some keyowrds are treated by Google as QDF ("query deserves freshness") keywords, and if your post is no longer fresh in Google's eyes, it drops. This article is a good starting point for reading about this:
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-fresh-factor
    (follow the links from there).

    The longer answer is that a questions like this is impossible to answer without exhaustive information, and often it can be impossible to answer altogether. No one outside Google knows the details of the algorithm, and there are a lot of ranking factors which constantly change on the web. In fact, your rankings may come back unprompted: it's not unusual for them to drop and then come back. Just wait a few days.

    It's possible that your adding the "read more" link on the home page may be a signal that your post has lost its freshness. Then again, this might have nothing to do with the change you made. One way to try and find out would be to revert the change and again wait a few days to see if you recover the rankings. (If a drop in rankings is cause by some on-page factor like this, removing the factor can often help recover the rankings.)
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    because you say that your drop happened yesterday and the change was made the day before I would wait at least a week before reverting to the old page style, maybe your ranks will be back in a few days, if not as PhilipSeo said you could try and revert back.
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    Thanks to both of you. I've kept the change and am thinking of waiting a few days to see whether things go back to normal. Let me know if this is a foolish idea though.
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    Originally Posted by Zetland
    Thanks to both of you. I've kept the change and am thinking of waiting a few days to see whether things go back to normal. Let me know if this is a foolish idea though.
    did you check the cache

    Your explanation doesn't sound like it should of affected it but you'll never know if you don't wait.
    I'd give it at least a week too...if it doesn't come back start backtracking like Phillip mentioned.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    did you check the cache

    Your explanation doesn't sound like it should of affected it but you'll never know if you don't wait.
    I'd give it at least a week too...if it doesn't come back start backtracking like Phillip mentioned.
    Sorry about this, but what's a cache and how do I check it?
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    Originally Posted by Zetland
    Sorry about this, but what's a cache and how do I check it?
    if you find your page within google and hover over your listing, 2 arrows will appear on the right, move your mouse over that and the page that is cached will appear on the right so you can check which page has been indexed and cached. If you click that image it will also give you the date it was indexed and stored.


    One other thing not mentioned above, is how are you checking your position ? if for example you are logged into your google account (assuming you have one) it will remember the type of sites you visit and promote them in the search results. If you was then logged out and you searched again your page may drop.

    Maybe your best way to check is to use a 3rd party tool such as pagewash
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    if you find your page within google and hover over your listing, 2 arrows will appear on the right, move your mouse over that and the page that is cached will appear on the right so you can check which page has been indexed and cached. If you click that image it will also give you the date it was indexed and stored.


    One other thing not mentioned above, is how are you checking your position ? if for example you are logged into your google account (assuming you have one) it will remember the type of sites you visit and promote them in the search results. If you was then logged out and you searched again your page may drop.

    Maybe your best way to check is to use a 3rd party tool such as pagewash
    I've checked three ways:

    1.) There's an app on my phone which displays my rankings each day. It gets it wrong sometimes but it's generally right.

    2.) When I search using Google, probably whilst logged in, I now appear about 18th, rather than 1st or 2nd.

    3.) My blog gets a lot less hits from Google nowadays. (It tells you roughly how many clicks from the SERPs you get each day.)

    It says this when I check the cached version: "It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 23 Nov 2012 11:05:02 GMT."

    Does this mean that it isn't the change I made which affected my Google ranking? Thanks for the help, by the way.
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    Originally Posted by Zetland
    Does this mean that it isn't the change I made which affected my Google ranking? Thanks for the help, by the way.
    No it really doesn't mean much.
    It may not have been spidered since you made the changes, and then it may not have been updated yet either. But you can check in a few days and see if changes to the date you made the changes or there after, then you know googles checked ya out.
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    Originally Posted by PhilipSEO
    The relevant "short answer" might be that Google rankings constantly fluctuate, and it is normal for them to fluctuate. Often blog content ill rank high for a while and then drop as the "freshness effect" wears off. Some keyowrds are treated by Google as QDF ("query deserves freshness") keywords, and if your post is no longer fresh in Google's eyes, it drops. This article is a good starting point for reading about this:
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-fresh-factor
    (follow the links from there).

    The longer answer is that a questions like this is impossible to answer without exhaustive information, and often it can be impossible to answer altogether. No one outside Google knows the details of the algorithm, and there are a lot of ranking factors which constantly change on the web. In fact, your rankings may come back unprompted: it's not unusual for them to drop and then come back. Just wait a few days.

    It's possible that your adding the "read more" link on the home page may be a signal that your post has lost its freshness. Then again, this might have nothing to do with the change you made. One way to try and find out would be to revert the change and again wait a few days to see if you recover the rankings. (If a drop in rankings is cause by some on-page factor like this, removing the factor can often help recover the rankings.)
    Yeah, having read that article, I don't think this is a matter of Freshness. My post was growing continuously for all of its relevant search queries. Then, suddenly, it drops from 1st to 9th, 2nd to 23rd for some searches.

    Does this sound plausible at all? By adding the 'More' tab, I decreased the amount of content on the homepage which was about No Country for Old Men. This made the homepage less relevant to No Country for Old Men, which meant that the link from the homepage to the actual article-page became devalued. And this loss of relevancy caused my page to drop? I can't currently see any other plausible explanations...

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