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10 Reasons Your Businesses Search Rankings Could Have Dropped

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Business owners of online websites know how important it is for their websites to be ranked high in the search engines. Most people use search engines when they want to find something on the Internet. They type in a keyword or phrase into a Google search bar (or some other search engine toolbar), and then they click on the links in the search results that are returned to them. Many people do not venture past the first page of search results, or at least the first two or three pages. If your website isn’t being indexed in the first few pages of search results, then chances are users aren’t finding your website, which means that you aren’t getting a lot of traffic. Without traffic, of course, you can’t conduct any online business.

There are various reasons why your website might not be showing up in the search engine rankings. Then again, perhaps your ranking was relatively high, and then it suddenly dropped for no apparent reason. Discerning the reason why your website dropped in the search engine rankings is important because diagnosing the problem lets you know what you need to work on to get your website back up in the rankings. Below are 10 of the most common reasons why your website ranking may have suddenly dropped.

The “Newness” Has Worn Off


If your website is relatively new, you might rank highly in the search engines for a while, especially if it is one of the first in its field. Search engines tend to give newer websites a decent ranking to give them a chance to make it. However, once the “honeymoon period” wears off, the newness of your website has worn off, so it is pushed down to what is probably its more realistic ranking.

The “Sandbox Effect”

The “Sandbox Effect” is the term given to new websites that have fallen down in the search engine rankings because they didn’t necessarily prove themselves during their showcasing. After the initial phenomenon of the newness of your website wears off, if you didn’t prove the lasting value of your website by using low competition keywords, creating unique and informative content and establishing high authority incoming links, you get slowly pulled down in the search engine rankings, much like a sinking sandbox effect.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is one of the fastest ways to get your business’s website pulled down in the search engine rankings. When you create duplicate content on your site, search engines view that as a spam trick to try to get higher in the rankings. Plus, it is confusing for search engines when they find duplicate content on more than one website because it’s difficult for them to discern which website is actually the owner of the original content. Therefore, your website might not always get credit for its content if someone has duplicated it. It doesn’t matter if you were the first one who put the content on your website or not either. If search engines give credit to the other website, then you might want to consider removing yours to keep your website ranking from remaining low. You might want to consider running your website’s content through a duplicate content checker to ensure that your website’s content is not duplicated across the web.

Broken Links


Broken links on your website can create serious problems. Search engines hate them and don’t want to index websites that have broken links that will only be frustrating to users. Search engines want to provide Internet searches with useful, relevant websites that will help them so that they will continue to use their search engines. If you have broken links on your website, that could be why your search engine ranking has dropped. If you have numerous links on your website, it might be too time-consuming to go through and check each link manually to ensure that it works properly. Therefore, you might want to use a broken link checker to automate the process.

File Problems

articleimage538File Problems

If you have problems with some of your essential files, such as your robot.txt files, then you could be penalizing yourself without knowing it. In order for search engines to index your website, they have to be able to crawl it. If you have a simple mistake in your robot.txt files that keeps search engines’ crawlers from obtaining access to your website, the search engines won’t be able to crawl them and index them. If you do use robot.txt files to block search engine crawlers from indexing certain pages of your website, make sure that only the pages that you don’t want indexed are included in the file.

Server Problems

Problems that your server is experiencing could have caused your website to drop in the search engine rankings. If search engines cannot access your website because of issues with your host or because of issues on your end, then they won’t be able to index your website. Ensure that your server is up and running properly. If you have a server issue that lasts for more than a few days, then that could be part of the reason for your website ranking dropping in the search engines. You might want to consider reviewing several different server hosts to ensure that you are going with one that has the capability to power your website.

Algorithm Updates

One of the most common reasons why websites ending up dropping in the search engine rankings is because the search engines have updated their algorithms. When they do that, the keywords and other factors that go into how high a website is ranked in the search engines change, which could affect the rankings of websites. Even if your business’s website isn’t directly affected by an algorithm update, it could be indirectly affected. For instance, websites linking to your website might be drastically affected, which could drastically affect your website.


Your site could have been penalized for a variety of reasons. You might not even be aware of the penalization either. Black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, invisible text and doorway pages are considered unethical and can result in your website being penalized. Such techniques generally violate search engines’ rules and regulations and create a poor user experience because of the techniques used throughout the website.


Unfortunately, if your website has become the victim of malware, then its ranking will likely fall drastically in the search engine rankings. Search engines don’t want to refer users to websites that are going to harm their computer systems. If search engines detect any harmful content in your website, they will notify any potential users before they visit the site. Most users will not visit a website after they receive such a warning for fear of harming their systems. Additionally, other webmasters might not want to link to you if they discern that there are such warnings about your site for fear that it lowers their own credibility.


Randomization, which is sometimes referred to as “the Google Dance,” is the phenomenon that refers to websites randomly jumping around in the search engine rankings. This is perhaps one of the most difficult ranking issues to explain. Basically, it simply refers to a random shuffling of rankings that usually doesn’t last long, so if this is the reason why your website’s ranking dropped, then the good news is that it will likely return back to its high ranking again sooner or later.

These are the 10 most common reasons that businesses experience a drop in their websites’ search engine rankings. With proper SEO practices, though, most of these issues can be avoided or fixed.

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George Nielsen

George Nielsen has been in the internet marketing game since 2008 and is passionate about helping businesses use SEO and inbound marketing to generate leads online. He has a B.S. in Marketing Management, loves fishing, and is a big football fan.

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