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7 Steps For Troubleshooting a Drop in Search Engine Rankings

Aug 25, 2008
Have your search engine rankings dropped? Do you know why, or how to fix the problem? If you're like many, finding the source of the problem and fixing it is overwhelming, in which case you might consider consulting an SEO expert or internet marketing consultant. But if you'd like to figure it out on your own, here are some steps to get you off on the right foot.

1. Go Back From Whence You Came

Think back to the last three weeks. What have you or anyone else done to your site that might have adversely affected the structure of your site, the content of your site, or your URL reliability? Here are some things you might notice:

* Your site experienced some downtime during a recent switch to a new host. If your site was visited by a search engine during the downtime, this might negatively effect your rankings for a short time. Everything should be fine once your site is re-indexed by the search engine.

* You or someone else permanently changed your site's structure. Be sure traffic is redirected from the old URLs to the new URLs with a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is permanent. Any search engine encountering a 301 redirect will automatically reflect your new structure.

* See if your server has recently had any downtime by contacting your hosting company. If a search engine consistently finds that your site is offline, your rankings are likely to fall. Once your site is permanently back online, your rankings should return.

2. Look at Your Server Headers

A search engine automatically responds to any server commands located in your server header. Make sure that there are no unnecessary, unusual, or incorrect commands in your header. There are free tools available for this task, or you can consult an internet marketing expert.

3. Look at Your Content

Is there old content on your site? You'd be amazed at how quickly your rankings will drop if optimized pages are overwritten with non-optimized pages. Overwrite non-optimized content and hang tight while the search engines re-index your site. This will often happen within a week's time.

4. Utilize Search Engine Webmaster Resources

Claim your website on Google Webmaster Central or a similar resource. Such resources will help you determine:

* Who links to you
* The most popular pages on your site
* The keywords that result in the highest traffic to your site
* Whether your site is banned currently
* Whether the search engine has difficulty trying to index your website.

5. Look for SPAM on your site

Your site may not be full of spam, but it takes only one instance of spam for a search engine to penalize you. Make sure you know exactly what spam is and make sure there is none on your site. You can find plenty of articles on the internet to help you learn exactly what spam is.

6. Visit an Internet Marketing Forum

If nothing has helped so far, you may want to try posting your problem to a search marketing forum. Although there are many folks on such forums who may be helpful, make sure the person whose advice you follow has a good reputation. Google their name or look at previous posts to make sure you're confident that they know what they're talking about.

7. Consult a SEO Expert or Internet Marketing Company

Fortunately, there are plenty of SEO companies available to help you determine the source of your dropped rankings. Consider consulting an SEO agency or SEO expert. They have the experience to help you quickly and efficiently.

Although a drop in search engine rankings might initially be worrisome and disconcerting, don't panic. Follow the steps listed above to determine the source of the problem. If you need further assistance, don't hesitate to contact an SEO expert or internet marketing company.
About the Author
Seomul Evans is a senior SEO Service with "SEO 1 Services" a Dallas firm providing SEO Marketing and free internet marketing articles .
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