Picture this: you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your blog, the visitors are pouring in, and things have never looked better. Then suddenly your stats have dropped significantly or simply just disappeared and you are left wondering, why? What has happened, and most importantly how do I fix it?
The truth is there are a number of things that could have occurred. It may be as simple as broken or moved links, seasonal influences or perhaps even your hosted images are down and you simply don’t realise (that’s happened to me before). Speaking from experience, I’ve seen it drop for different reasons. But how do you know where to start looking when it’s getting serious? Google is a great place to begin and here’s why:
That’s right, there are a number of quality guidelines that you must follow in order to avoid being penalised by the S.E.G (Search Engine Gods), that is, Google. Make no mistake, being on their ‘bad side’ will slow down or cut off your traffic. It can and has happened to many.
Ok, so what are these rules? What Google is trying to do in a nutshell is weed out the bad and focus on the good. And as a blogger, that means you and your site. It’s about bringing users only valuable search engine results, less spam. So to help them do this, they ask that you follow some polite practices.
Here is where it can go a little sideways: because page rank and SEO can be the difference between a low traffic and hugely popular site, webmasters have been known to boost their page unfairly with shady practices. That is frowned upon, and here are Google’s basic principles:
“1 – Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
2 – Don’t deceive your users.
3 – Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
4 – Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.”
Of course, the specific guidelines are more in-depth and definitely worth reading (seriously, Google them). Did you know participating in linking schemes is on the naughty list? Me either, until I did some research. What’s also important to recognise is that you may violate these guidelines unknowingly. It does happen. But now that I’ve given you some food for thought, you will research what to look out for, won’t you? That’s right, because you are an awesome blogger. 🙂
I think this might have happened to me, now what? Do a quick google search for your website and see what comes up. If you’re not there or have dropped in rank, it’s possible you’ve been sprung. To find out for sure, you can submit your site to Google for reconsideration. You can fill out a request, explain what you believe you have done to violate their conditions and more importantly what you have done to fix it. Then you simply ask them to pretty, pretty please reverse any action that has been taken on your site – this is in fact, if any action has been taken. Remember, it may very well be something else affecting your traffic. And what happens from there is entirely up to them.
That sounds so messed up, how do I avoid going down this road? Simply put, be nice to Google. Do what they ask and all should be well. Each website is unique in the fact they can have different primary sources of traffic. For some it may be social media, for others it may be search engines. And if Google happens to be your sites bread and butter, well it makes sense not to poop where you sleep. Right? Of course it does.
Before I go, remember not to stress too much about accidentally making a mistake if you find yourself asking, where did my traffic go? Yes you do have to follow the rules, but if you consciously put in the effort to keep your site above-board, if by some horrific chance you are penalised you have a better chance at redeeming it.
Best of luck guys! 😉