My site just disappeared from Google!? Why?
Changes to Google Algorithm; Penguin, Panda & Hummingbird
There have been some pretty dramatic changes to search engines ranking in the past few years. I am hearing from more and more companies who are paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to big marketing companies getting nothing for it. They have stories about how they used to see results and then just disappeared, or that they dropped to page 3 from page 1, and none of them seem to be getting their calls returned or having their websites serviced..
It looks to me like websites that are managed with large groups of other sites are not doing as well. Surely there are exceptions, as all of those companies have at least a few sites that they can show are doing very well. But if you are one of the unlucky majority that is paying a monthly fee and receiving nothing for it, it’s time to make a change. A change that at a minimum will open up your marketing budget, and could very well increase the exposure to your website through Google.
Why isn’t my site showing up in the search engines?
There’s really no one answer to any question involving SEO/SEM, and answers about how to deal with this latest Google algorithm change with each update. Google has always run off of an algorithm which dictates how all of the sites show up. They are allegedly making changes to it constantly, but with little measurable effect. Then every couple of months they tend to do a big update, and that can dramatically re-order the rankings for competitive searches. If you are suddenly not finding your website and seeing a drop in traffic, this is very likely what happened. But we have found that when we stick to the basics.
1. Knowing the keywords you are targeting.
2. Write great keyword rich content.
3. Write good titles and URLs.
If you do these three things you will see a consistently in your ranking. Remember Googles job is to bring you the best answers to your questions. This is current content from authorities in the field. Talk to us about how to become an authority in Google’s eyes in your field.
What is the solution to the changes on Google?
Own your own website. Use the free tools provided by Google and Bing on an account that is connected to your website. Have us build it….have someone local build it, but get control of your domain name and hosting with Graymatterhost.com and either figure it out or hire someone to do it for you. I believe that many third party companies keep their clients in the dark about the free services offered directly through Google and Bing. Not having these set up is a huge missed opportunity.
You need to have:
Control over your domain name
(The www.YOURNAME.com thing; it’s important because it’s your address online and you’ve probably invested at least $100 printing it on things like envelopes and business cards)
Control over your hosting
This is where your website actually lives on the web; Graymatterhost.com can help you with this. It is only $10 per month. Paying for your own hosting is what allows you to keep your website up and running regardless without worrying about “breaking up” with your SEO or website manager.
A Google and Bing Account
(One that is used for ONLY your business name
When I say “only” I’m not saying this can’t also be your personal account; that’s fine. Your Google account should include:
- Google Analytics (Traffic reporting for your website)
- Google Webmaster Tools (Sitemap submission, tells you about any errors and how Google sees your site in general)
- A Google Plus Individual Profile (Which you will link up to the Authorship program)
- A Google Plus Page for Your Business (Which controls the map listings on Google and should be verified on your website)
- Bing Analytics Traffic reporting on your site.
- Bing Webmaster Tools. For the same reasons you signed up with Google.
I want / need to be at the top of Google
If you need to always be on the front page, use Adwords good SEO and Google Plus (formally Google Places) if you have a location. That’s the only way to be there all of the time no matter what. Adwords is expensive, but when done right, it can be wildly profitable. I will write more about Adwords soon, but if you are paying someone to manage it, it should be on the same account with the things listed above. This ensures that you’re seeing the correct dollar amounts, and that the money you are spending with Google is tied to the same account as your actual website.
What’s going on with Google?
Google’s algorithm and exact means of ranking sites is now, and always has been a secret. Googles goal is to give you the most up to date information when you ask. They have been working on and changing it for years. They make a change and the hackers or not good SEO companies used testing to work out what to do to get on the first page. in the Beginning it what easy. Just have the right keywords and you were set. Its not your daddy’s Google any more. Now the Algorithms contextual the content you write.
Google is in the process of changing the way we get content from them. When you ask a question in Google like “who is the president of the United states?” They give you background information on the right side of the screen, they give you pictures and video. any web sites that they have then at the bottom of the first page you get a few links. The more Google does this kind of thing the less anyone has to go to your web site. The user has the answer they don’t need to go to your site. Google is getting the information from your site and if the user does not click on the information they will not go to your site. Plus they are going to get the information from the same places all of the time so that limits your chances of getting on that first page. Call me if you want to talk about this more.
Do I need to be on Google Plus?
In addition to an effort to get large budget advertisers over to AdWords, Google is working towards a single index of reviews, business-provided information, map and contact information. This is why they want everyone on their own verified account, so they can better organize the phone number and web address of every local business.
Google+ (Formerly Google Places)
A lot of this is happening through Google+, which started in June of 2011 and has been playing an increasingly important role in organic placement ever since. Google+ has taken over Google Places, which is the best place to show up if your desired search phrase follows the common format:
“_____(city) ______ (state) ___________(practice area) ________(lawyer)”
Google+ is also where you run your authorship verification program, which you can read more about here. Whether or not you buy into the idea that Google is forcing everyone to be on their own accounts, I can tell you without hesitation that Google+ is currently important, and will only continue to be more important in the future.
Stop the endless cycle of broken promises and bad break-ups.
If you have been jumping from one web provider to another, it might be time for a new approach. Look, I’m not saying it’s your fault, but at some point you have to understand the hard truth: sales people lie a lot of the time. I can’t tell you how many attorneys I’ve talked to who bought some service and did not understand it, but knew it was supposed to be really great. Then the rep disappeared, the service was poor, and the website did nothing. If that story sounds familiar, I can help you break the chain of dysfunction.
Whether you are a very aggressive marketer looking to dominate your practice areas in your area or a firm who simply aims to keep a basic website up, consistency is one of the keys to a successful website.
If you are jumping around site management companies like FindLaw to Lawyers.com to Scorpion to the Yellowpages it’s very difficult to achieve a consistent increase in your overall traffic. That is why I offer all companies the ability to own their website and the account it is hosted on. I remain available with either hourly or monthly packages should you need help updating the site or want to be adding content and links to your website over time.
If you have had trouble with marketing companies, or would simply like to get the costs of your website under control, do not hesitate to contact me via email or you can call or text me at 413.528.6386