What do you do if you notice a drastic drop in your blog’s rankings and traffic from Google? Below are steps you can take to diagnose the problem and this recover from the slump. Much of it is taken from this webmaster help video by Matt Cutts.
1. Do a site search
site: mydomain.com” in Google search box to list up all your indexed pages. Things to look for in the search listing:
- Does your blog disappear completely in Google search results or just a part of it disappears?
- Check if there is partial indexing i.e. title with no snippet. If you don’t see a snippet, that may be caused by robots.txt blocking crawlers.
Check if there is any "This site may harm your computer" malware warning message appearing below your post title in search results.
2. Verify that your blog ranks for your domain name
Do a Google search for your domain (
www.yourdomain.com). Check if your blog doesn't appear or if it ranks poorly in search results. If that is the case, it is a sign that Google may have taken a manual spam action against it for violations of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
3. Go to Webmaster Tools console
- Is there a malware notice?
- Look for warning messages on violations of Google quality guidelines like hidden text, doorway pages etc.
- Do a Fetch-as-GoogleBot or press Ctrl+U on your browser to view the page’s source code. Look for noindex tag or rel canonical link tag that points to a page unknown to you etc.
4. Other things to check
- Do other sites affected too? If they do, then the problem is maybe due to Google’s algorithm change.
- Do a site search on other search engines. If they too aren’t listing you, it strongly indicates the problem is on your site. Maybe you ran some test on robots.text or noindex meta tag, and forgot to reset it.
- Have you done a design revamp, change in hosting etc. recently?
How to fix it?
- Fix whatever problem you find in the previous steps that might’ve caused the problem. Then wait for the ranking to go up again.
- If it’s a malware, request a review after you’ve removed it from your blog. The “Request a review” link is located link beneath the malware notice in Webmaster Tools.
- If you suspect the drop in ranking is a result of Google penalizing you for violating Google quality guidelines (cloaking, keyword stuffing, hidden text etc.), then the first thing to do is to undo any violations. Once you've addressed them, submit a reconsideration request. Google will tell you if it has taken a manual action on your site and should be able to advise you what further action to take.
- If no messages or issues detected, consider going to webmaster help forum and ask the experts in there.