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Why Did My Website Drop Out Of The Google Top-10?

SEO / traffic-building questions and answers


Why did my website drop out of the Google top-10? It was listed on the first page of Google's search results for my main key phrase for well over a year, then it suddenly dropped to the bottom of the third page last week. What could be the reason for the dramatic change? I haven't made any major changes to the site recently.

Submitted by Ted W.


This is perhaps the single most-asked question on all the SEO message boards, and it's usually one of the most difficult to answer precisely.

If you haven't made any recent changes to the site that might explain the drop in the Google ranking, all I can do is list a few of the possible reasons:

  1. The webmasters of the sites that moved ahead of you made changes to their sites (or received some great inbound links) that gave those sites a rankings boost. In other words, they did some serious SEO work on their sites.
  2. Several new web pages that also target your primary key phrase were created and indexed by Google, making that key phrase more competitive.

    The more pages there are that target a keyword/phrase, the harder it is to get into (or stay into) the top-10 for that search term.
  3. Google simply changed their algorithm in a way that devalued one or more of the SEO tactics that helped boost your site into the top-10 for all that time. Or maybe they added more "weight" to a tactic that your competitors use but you don't.
    It's important to remember that Google changes the algorithm almost constantly, so you need to use a variety of sound SEO tactics and not depend too heavily on just one or two.
The most likely explanation is #3. Pages move up and down in the Google Index all the time as Google tweaks the algorithm and does their testing. I wouldn't worry about it until after the next update. Your site could bounce right back.

In the meantime, brush up on your SEO skills. Learn what works well today and change your pages accordingly. Our Webmaster SEO Toolkit is a great way to get started! And don't neglect the workhorse of SEO, inbound links.

You need lots of high-quality inbound links to do well on Google month in and month out. You should make it a point to get at least 10 new links each week, from now until the cows come home.

Here are some great resources to help you get good links: Lots of high-quality inbound links are (as of right now) the most effective way to boost your search engine rankings. And in addition to the substantial SEO benefits, lots of inbound links can bring lots of targeted traffic to your website!

Good luck!
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