Following on from our blog post about the Google Panda update, I thought we’d go into a bit more detail about what can be done if your site literally vanishes from Google. Many of these drastic drops in keyword positions are caused by one of Google’s algorithm updates that are almost constantly rolling out, such as the Panda update. Quite often there are other factors such as technical issues and penalties that can cause the drops. Let’s talk about what can be done about getting your old positions back. However, if you feel it is overwhelming in the end, consider getting SEO services.
Top 9 problems that need to be solved when your website disappears from Google:
1. Check if your Website went Down?
Why has my website disappeared from the internet? Good Question!
First off, double check the drop wasn’t caused by website downtime. If error messages occur or the website is offline when the search engines spiders come to re-crawl the website, you will see a massive drop in positions. Google does not want its users to find an offline website as that’s about the worst result possible.
You can either wait for Google to crawl your website again, or you can submit it via Google Search Console to get it picked up faster. If the website is accessible, pages from your website should show up again once Google re-crawls and reprocesses them.
2. Check if your site broke Google’s Quality Guidelines?
Although Google is not open about everything they penalised websites for, they do have a list of Quality Guidelines that explain some of the deceptive/manipulative tactics that they may penalise you for. It would be best if you had read through these guidelines to ensure you’re not breaking the basic quality guidelines.
You can also check the ‘manual actions’ section of Google Search Console to see if you have received a penalty that may require effort.
Once the issues have been addressed and you are happy that your site does not break Google’s Quality Guidelines, you should request a review.
3. Check if Google can see your website
If Googlebot cannot access your website because the robots.txt or a meta tag denied it then it simply isn’t going to rank or index your website. You are essentially telling Google that you do not want them to list your website.
You can quickly check if Google can access your website or if there are indexing issues by using Google Search Console. Go to “URL inspection” in the menu on the left, enter a page URL, and enter. It should return a message to say, ‘It can appear in Google Search results.
From here, you can open reports to view additional data on how Google sees your website.
You can also ask Google to check the live site and view information about the tested page, such as page html, a screenshot, and the response code (which should be 200 OK)’. If you see any different codes here, it indicates an issue stopping Google from accessing the page/site. If your site isn’t accessible to Google, the first thing to check is that you aren’t blocking access.
Make sure your robots.txt does NOT disallow Googlebot
A robots.txt blocking all the search engine spiders looks like this: (You don’t want this)
The most common reason is when your website has vanished from Google searches.
A standard robots.txt looks like this: (You want this)
Remove meta robots or meta Googlebot from the site code.
You should remove meta tags that look something like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>
The above are blocking Google from indexing your site, and if the page is already in their index, they will remove it after the next time it is crawled.
4. Analyze the quality of inbound links
1000 links for £9.99 may be an appealing offer, but the links will be extremely low quality, and Google can penalise you for them. You should focus on getting one-way natural links to your site, quality is better than quantity, and they can help you gain positions again if you have been penalised before. Another critical factor that may cause your page to disappear from Google.
5. Stop linking to other websites
This may sound like a strong heading, but who you link to does matter. If you include many links to other websites unusually or unnaturally, Google may issue you with a penalty thinking you’re trying to ‘boost’ the sites and give them an unfair advantage in search results. This type of penalty causes Google to lose trust in your links and treat the content as spam.
To resolve issues with links, you should review your content and ensure that you only link to high-quality sites that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing, include rel=”nofollow” code to any links that contain user-generated content, and don’t link to any sites that are rewarding you for the link (either financially or with a reciprocal link).
6. Stop stuffing your site with keywords
Unnaturally high keyword density is a prevalent cause of a drop in positions for 1 particular keyword. Keywords should not be used excessively in the content, optimisation or alt tags on images, for example, if a website mentioned “cars” too much it could just stop ranking altogether for “cars”. Remember, keyword stuffing on your website is one of the worse mistakes and also can cause your Google rankings to disappear.
The content on your site should be natural; read it out loud and if it doesn’t sound right then it probably isn’t right to put it on your website either.
7. Remove Duplicate Content
Why does my site keep disappearing from Google? Duplicate content is what you should pay attention to.
Low-quality content or low amounts of original content and content used on multiple pages are one of the things that the Google Panda update has been targeting. All Google content rules force you to create unique content for each page of your website, you shouldn’t be copying over 300 words of brilliantly worded marketing text to every page just because it sounds great.
If Google feels the content on multiple pages of your site has a high percentage of duplication, they may drop pages from their search results.
8. Improve your website
Addressing the points I have raised above is great but you also have to remember the visitors of your website. Google has access to so much data from their browser, toolbar, operating system and so on. A website that gets 1000 visits but 90% of them immediately go back to the search results or they only spend 20 seconds on the website is not a good result, it’s unclear exactly what metrics are taken into account by Google but it’s likely that the bounce rate, average time on site and the CTR from the search engines are all considered.
Improving the look/usability of your website and tweaking the meta tags can improve all of these and help to show Google that visitors to your website do find it relevant/useful.
9. Have you been affected by a Google algorithm Update?
If you have checked all of the above and still Google search is not showing your site, make sure you have not been affected by a Google algorithm update. Search engine algorithms can be a common cause for pages being removed from top search results.
Google is constantly releasing smaller updates but every so often, they release a larger, or broad core update to focus on a specific element. The best way to identify if you have been affected is to check your Google Analytics traffic report for any significant drops, then search for a Google algorithm update that corresponds with the drop. Once you know which update has caused the drops, you can identify the issues and resolve them. An example of this was noticing immediate drops in a taxi website’s keyword positions and traffic, which corresponded with Google’s Fred update – this allowed us to investigate the content and find that it was too sales focused. To resolve the issue, we rewrote the site’s content focusing more on the service and how it would benefit local users and supported it with informative blogs about events in the local area and travel tips. The positions not only recovered immediately, but they were also better than before!
I’ve done all of the above, now what?
If you’ve tried addressing the above issues and haven’t had any success, you may be best working with an experienced SEO company that can investigate further. SEO companies use a range of specialist tools that can identify issues you may have missed. At 123 Ranking, we have a range of SEO packages and penalty recovery services that can help get your website rankings back on track. Call us on 0333 320 8099 or complete our contact form for more information.