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    Why did my website disappear from Google search result?


    Hi,
    I have an e-commerce site and I have a SEO expert who has been working on the site for the last two years. I pay him monthly. Since last couple of months my sales have dropped down by almost 60% compared with the same months from previous year. In a panic, I ran some search on google with important keywords and phrases to see where my site positioned. To my huge disappointment my site did not appear anywhere in the first two pages of the search. My site had been landing on at least top 3 positions since almost a year and half until now for the same keywords. So I contacted my SEO expert and he said it was normal as google recently changed its algorithm. I did not buy this. He is paid every month to avoid this kind of result.

    And none of my competitor’s site has gone down like mine has. My competitors’ sites are still on their regular positions. Does anyone know what is going on? Is my SEO guy really serious or did he not do any work in the last few months to keep the site at its regular positions on google? If it goes on like this, my business won’t make it to this Christmas. Please help.
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  3. rod@missionop.com
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    First - check your Google WMT account for a Manual Review (unlikely but a necessary step).

    You are likely impacted by Google`s PENGUIN or Google PANDA algorithms... so what precise activities do your SEO do for you.
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    Thank you very much for your reply Fathom. My SEO expert said the same thing about the site being impacted due to google's new algorithm. I keep a very close eye on my competitors' sites. But their sites have not gone anywhere. Mine has. From position 1-3 on some keywords to not even on second page.
    My SEO expert contacts me once every 2-3 weeks telling me what he has been doing. He says he is working on back-links. He says he writes some small articles (descrpitions) about my site to post on other sites. Sometimes when I do not hear from him for a while and contact him, he says he is optimizing some page on the site. Since I have not much idea about SEO, I tend to buy his words. My site was not ranked well on google 2 years ago and since he worked on it, he did manage to bring it quite high on google until this happened. Now he's telling me that everything will be ok and that SEO results are not magic and will not appear instantly. But my question is, what did he do on the site for it to go away from google. I now feel like he was not working much and just getting my money. On top of that google's pagerank shows number 4 for my site. If my site has such a good page rank, should it not be quite high on search results?
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  7. SEO Since 97
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    Ask your seo guy if he's made any title or content changes in the last month or two.
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  9. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    Wrong questions, Test-OK, I don't think it has anything to do with title tags or content (unless he plagiarized the content of another site and replaced the original content with it, or another site plagiarized the content and is now ranking for it -- that's a slim possibility, but I don't think that it's the reason).

    I mean, the SEO expert working on the site knows this is about "algorithmic changes," that's your clue.

    To the original poster: I agree with Fathom, check your Google Webmaster Tools for warnings.

    But here is a further question for you. You were happy with the SEO expert for two years, that means he got you great results? Fast? You wanted it an enjoyed the benefits? If you are in any sort of somewhat competitive market, the way to do this was by building links for you. I am not necessarily saying this is a certainly, that this is the most likely scenario, but ask your SEO specifically what he did for you in terms of link building. Ask him to give you a link report. (Know, too, that you can view your backlinks in Webmaster Tools, socheck them out, see if some of them are from really crappy or weird or very irrelevants sites or pages).

    A couple of other diagnistics you can run. Type site:example.com (no blank space after the colon) into Google, this will tell you which pages of your site are in the Google index. Are there enough? If nothing or very little appears, it's a bad sign.

    If most or all relevant pages are present, still check if any pages have gone missing from the index. Sometimes there are technical glitches that cause them to disappear (for example, check for any recent 302 redirects and if you find any, replace them with 301s).

    Also check that it's not a technical glitch on the site that is causing a drop in sales. That can happen too, it's not always SEO.

    Google you domain name itself, e.g. example.com . Does your site come up as the first result? If not, uh-oh.

    In Google Analytics, check the specific traffic change for search. If you are running AdWords, turn it off for a day and look at organic search traffic only for that day. How much as organic traffic dropped? (What remaining sales you currently have coming in may all be coming through Ads and referral traffic.)

    Those are the first steps I recommend. Find out in detail (a) what happened; (b) why it happened. (I am betting 70% on links, but it could be other things.) The course of action will depend on what you find out.
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Oct 12th, 2013 at 06:56 AM.
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  11. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    PS Oops, my apologies, I just read the original poster's response. So year, there you have it, it's old-school link building. Don't blame him too hard, that was the steroid of the SEO industry, and he was trying to get great results for you, as he was under pressure to do. It's true though that SEO is contingent on Google's algorithm. Your logic is, I pay him for this kind of thing not to happen. Did he assure you it would not happen? Then, tough luck for him. But remember that you hired him to manipulate Google's algorithm, and the risk is yours, not his. Check what your contact says about that.

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    • ErinWalsh agrees
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    Hi Test-Ok and PhilipSEO,
    Thank you very much for your reply.
    Ye,s my SEO expert made changes to the site title and Meta description and Keywords on August 16th. Before this, on March 12th he had again made the same changes on 6 different product category pages of the site. If I have to guess, I would say the sales started dropping after few months into 2013. So what Test-OK is saying or implying does make some sense to some extent.
    The SEO expert looks after 2 of my sites. I sell exactly same things on both the sites but these sites have different content and design. Site A was on top 2 and Site B was on top3-4 position on google. The SEO expert asked me to make the above mentioned changes on SiteA only. And it is siteA that has gone from 2nd position on google to 3rd page in a matter of few months, which is hallucinating.
    As to PhilipSEO's other questions, I do not use Adwords. When the SEO expert started working on my sites 2 years ago, my sites were ranked quite low. He managed to bring both of them to top positions on google. My siteA was even on 1st position for quite a while but a new competitor who was nowhere in the market took the top position. I even asked my SEO guy how a new site with not a very friendly design could take away the position held by my siteA (a site that was 3 years old with regular SEO work being done on it). He had told me that this new site was using black-hat techniques and that it will get sanctioned by google and that I should not worry as my site would get back to its original positions (He always claimed to be using only white-hat seo techniques). This never happened. This site has been on 1st position for the past year or so, even after the change in google's algorithm.
    I am extremly worried as I have been in online business for amost 10 years and I can say that there is huge difference in the sales generated by sites that comes on top 3 position on google and the sites that come after. So I am forced to send out newsletter to my customers every other day to try to make some sales. But I am scared that my customers getting fed-up after a while will start to unsubscribe.
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  15. SEO Since 97
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    Pure speculation from here forward.
    I think Googles updates from Penguin on were created to make more revenue in the PPC market.
    I also believe the new hummingbird update is taking sites that change titles and any other ranking factor and drop them, why would anyone change titles but to try and get higher in the results...Huh you say. wouldn't that b a good candidate for ppc? why sure that site is wanting to be #1 and is trying by changing ranking elements.

    I'll bet you have google analistics and a web masters account too..right? you put all that cool google code on your site which really tells google everything about you and your sites, your traffic...everything they need to know to move you into their PPC program.

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    • PhilipSEO agrees : Could not agree more about Goog enforcing PPC.
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    I'm having a hard time figuring out why there were title changes etc on pages that were already ranking top 3. Perhaps these other changes were on pages not ranking and have nothing to do with the pages that dropped. Like Phillip I would bet on the links being the issue. Idid want to say something to you that you might consider given what you said.

    SEO is not a business model. It is a advertising model. If you ranked for two years thats a good run and you should build a good customer base and return visitors based on that. SEO gives you exposure that you should leverage to create type in traffic and return visit and even some social traffic. Too many businesses write into their business model the idea of ranking forever. You say that you pay your SEO guy to take care of algo changes. Though there is a lot that a SEO can do to make sure you stay on the good side of google no SEO can guarantee that an algo which is for the most part a secret algo won't affect you. Also just a thought - instead of hitting your customers just for new sales - don't forget to create a referral or affiliate program that allows your existing customer base to "sell" your products to new customers on and offline.

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    • PhilipSEO agrees : well put
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    Hi Mike
    The title, description and some content change to the website was made as a strategy/technique to regain the top position that my website had last year until a new site replaced us. May be my SEO expert competely misjuged the negative impact this was going to have on the site. But at the same time I don't think he had any reasons to think that this would happen.
    If I understand what Philippe is saying, it is due to all the back-links that made my site dropped from position 1-3 for some keywords to page number 3 in a matter of 2-3 months? And until last year these same back-links brought my site up in the ranking. So did google all of sudden decide that in the update of their algorithm they were going to penalise the technique (link building) that was actually getting rewarded in the past?
    And when I type site:mysite on google, I get more than 100 results. It looks like almost all of the pages of my site have been indexed. And when I google my domain name, my site appears on 1st position.
    What Test-OK is saying does make sense but does google have the right to do so? And why would they do this only on my site and not on any of my competitors' sites? I am starting to lose my mind. And sorry to say this but I do blame my SEO expert for this. He is getting paid every month. In the begining he was paid so that he could bring the site to the top position, but once that was ahieved, he was paid regularly to keep the site on that position. If my competitor's site ( a newer site and unattractive, in my opinion) replaced my site then my competitor's SEO expert (if he has one) is doing one hell of a job. This site has been on top and does not look like it is going anywhere. The only explanation my SEO expert could give at the time this site took my positions was that this site was practicing bak-hat SEO techniques and they it was going to be punished by google. Looks like it is my site that got punished.
    By the way, on August my SEO expert asked me if I had made any changes in the sever. He did not see the sitemap in Google Webmaster's tool. Could this have had any affect?
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  21. Agency SEO
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    Thank you very much for your reply Fathom. My SEO expert said the same thing about the site being impacted due to google's new algorithm. I keep a very close eye on my competitors' sites. But their sites have not gone anywhere. Mine has. From position 1-3 on some keywords to not even on second page.
    My SEO expert contacts me once every 2-3 weeks telling me what he has been doing. He says he is working on back-links. He says he writes some small articles (descrpitions) about my site to post on other sites. Sometimes when I do not hear from him for a while and contact him, he says he is optimizing some page on the site. Since I have not much idea about SEO, I tend to buy his words. My site was not ranked well on google 2 years ago and since he worked on it, he did manage to bring it quite high on google until this happened. Now he's telling me that everything will be ok and that SEO results are not magic and will not appear instantly. But my question is, what did he do on the site for it to go away from google. I now feel like he was not working much and just getting my money. On top of that google's pagerank shows number 4 for my site. If my site has such a good page rank, should it not be quite high on search results?
    You have been scammed. Fire the con artist and start working on a new site on a new domain.
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    I had an old site where I would sell some items. The site is still up and running but I stopped selling on it for the past 2 years. It ranked quite well for certain keywords. I was thinking about putting some product pictures and linking them to my other site. The old site will almost serve as a reference site or information site for my other site. Do you think it is a good idea? Will google think that I am putting too many links (50-100 products) to my new sites on the old site and drop it from it's search result?
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  25. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    I had an old site where I would sell some items. The site is still up and running but I stopped selling on it for the past 2 years. It ranked quite well for certain keywords. I was thinking about putting some product pictures and linking them to my other site. The old site will almost serve as a reference site or information site for my other site. Do you think it is a good idea? Will google think that I am putting too many links (50-100 products) to my new sites on the old site and drop it from it's search result?
    Putting links on the old site may at best get you a bit if traffic. SEO-wise, it will neither hurt nor help. If you are worried about too many links you can make them nofollow. But it sounds like you are no longer using the old site for anything. Consider moving the new site to that domain? If you do that, 302-redirect the abandoned domain to the old domain, but do not use 301.
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    I would like to keep both the old as well as the new domain. The old site was very basic; it was not a dynamic site for selling products; that is why I took aff the "add to cart" and "cart" functionalities off the site. But due to its very basic nature with good contents, it is ranked well in google. On the other hand, the new site uses prestashop and it designed to look attractive to the customers. It's domain name also sounds much better.
    What if I add images and description of about 50-100 products that I sell in the new site on the old site? I will link each of them to the corresponding page on the new site. Will google consider it bad if I do so and punish my new site thinking I am making too many back-links for just one site? Or what would be a better way of doing so?
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    I have to say that I'm not in cahoots with this company, but I like running a free scan with fruition.com's penalty checker. Take it as a guestimate, but it's a great starting point on what your site might have been affected by.

    I just ran one test and was happy with the results.

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