Back in October I saw a large drop in Vast Rank’s Google SERP. In other words, when people searched for certain terms where a Vast Rank page (normally a college profile) would appear on the first Google search result page for a few weeks, these same searches yielded the same Vast Rank college profile page to show up many pages into the Google search results.
At the time I was worried because I was unsure of what would happen next. This was the first time I really cared about SEO. When I worked at barnesandnoble.com, people would just show up and pump millions of dollars of products through my code a day. It was magic, and I thought, dam I am good! Well, the reality is they have a brand, and I do not!
If your site does not appear in Google Search results, it is pretty much death to your site if you depend on organic traffic. Google matters much less if you have a website that people have to use for their school, job, bank account or whatever. But when you depend on organic traffic, you rely on Google.
If your site drops in SERP, the Google webmaster tools do not tell you in general about any penalties on your site. I imagine that this is so that crafty little SEO experts can not reverse engineer some of Google’s algorithms. So during these times of doom and gloom for your site, you are pretty much left to looking at SEO discussion sites and the Google Webmaster Help discussion group.
Luckily, Vast Rank returned to Google’s search results after a huge drop from October 26th, 2008 – November 5th, 2008. I am posting this to show other webmasters that there is hope if your new site suddenly disappears from Google search results. So take a deep breath, the world is not ending, and wait it out! I’m serious, take a deep breathe, and count 1000-1, 1000-2, 1000-3. Now Exhale. Calm yet? If not, go here, or keep reading, I have proof that there is hope.
Below is a screen screen shot from Vast Rank’s Google Analytics page. The screen shot shows traffic from launch day until today (notice the huge drop in traffic in October-November).
I updated quite a few things on Vast Rank during the downtime period: accurate sitemap last mod dates, unique title tags, better meta descriptions, etc. Some of these items were called out in the Google Webmaster Tools for Vast Rank, and other items were just common sense items that I needed to get to implementing (i.e. accurate last mod dates in the xml sitemap). However, I think the biggest reason I saw the huge drop was that Vast Rank was so new.
If you are a webmaster experiencing SERP drops, it would be great for you to post a comment so we can collectively share our experiences!