Sudden drop in Google ranking

Huge drop in Google rankRecently I have been in contact with several fellow webmasters, who have experienced a huge and sudden drop in their Google rankings. Many times this  drop in ranks follows the same pattern. Every time the cause has been too high keyword density. Fortunately the problem is easy to avoid and fix.  In this post I will describe my own experiences with 2 sudden drops in my Google ranks.

This spring I experienced the first sudden drop in the Google ranking for my name generators. The drop hit me after a SEO optimization of a single name generator. The name generators was approximately 1 year old at the time, so the Google rank had been pretty consistent in a fairly long period. The severe drop in the rankings hit me over night and was not only sudden it was also huge.

The pattern in the rank drop

I wasn’t completely removed form the Google index. But for most of my keywords I dropped out of top 300 hundred (didn’t care to look further). In the screen shot you can see that I for a few keywords kept my position, and for a few I “only” dropped 20-40 spots in Google ranking.

A little closer examination revealed that the pages, who had the best incoming links, was the one who was influenced least.

Overall I lost 80% of my visitors from Google due to this huge drop rank.

I understand from my discussion with other webmasters that this pattern in the ranking drop is quite typical for a too high keyword density.

The request for reconsideration of the website

I was pretty sure that I followed Googles guidelines for webmasters, but after the incident I of course carefully reexamined them. Still couldn’t find anything fishy. I knew I used my keywords to the limit and briefly feared keyword stuffing, but I still found my text easily readable. Also all my site was effected and not only the page I had made the on page SEO optimization on. And furthermore I wrongly expected a Google penalty would remove me completely form their index. So I quickly swept the feeling away.

Working professional with search and indexing I concluded it had to be a fluke in the Google index. Therefore I requested Google for reconsideration of  my website without making any adjustments to my site.

After 14 days I received this standard message from Google:

We received a request from a site owner to reconsider how we index the following site:

We’ve now reviewed your site. When we review a site, we check to see if it’s in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. If we don’t find any problems, we’ll reconsider our indexing of your site. If your site still doesn’t appear in our search results, check our Help Center for steps you can take.

And everything was back to normal. No need to say I was relieved and grateful to Googles fair and fast treatment of my request for reconsideration.

Another severe drop in the rankings

The celebration lasted only 14 days, then the exact same thing happen again. Another severe and sudden drop in my Google ranking. Pattern was precisely the same as the first time. I had to dish my theory about the fluked Google index and admit that something on my pages had triggered the Google algorithms again.

I was back to my initial fear, keyword stuffing. And first at this point a used a keyword density checker to actually test my pages. And what a scaring surprise. At some pages the density of the main keyword was around 15-18%. The reason it was still readable despice the very high keyword density, was an extensive use of headings, slogans and one liners scattered all over the name generators.

Only one thing to do then. Rewriting all pages. After a long week the work was done, and the result double checked in another keyword analyzer tool. And many pages got a second fine adjustment.

And then I send another re-inclusion request to Google. I was honest about the keyword stuffing and described, what I had done to improve the quality of my site. 10 days later I was back to my normal Google rankings again. And after 4 days further I received the same standard message again. Apparently the Google bots and algorithms approved the site before the request was dealt with. And this time I was on the right site of the quality standards.

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