Solved

Google rankings drops suddenly

Posted on 2004-10-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Hi friends

I am from a company with a leading b2b website for a US industry. As part of promotions we had hired services of aSEO consultant to get us "top ranks" for a list of about 50-60 keywords. After his advice we did some changes, and started to see results for 4-5 keywords...

Then as part of our strategy we decided to do major upgradations to the front end GUI. Afer uploading the new version of the site (after taking care of all meta tags and URL's thatwere previuusly indexed by Google) -- we found out that suddenylwe are not ranked at all in Google- Now this guy blames that our chaing the GUI has cuased this , whereas earlier at the time of update he did not warn us. I wanted to take some recommendations from experts here on the following points:

1. Does changing the GUI of a previuusly indexed web page has any effect on google ranks?
2. If a couple of web pages on the site are on the slower side, are there any chnaces of those web pages not being indexed by google during the "crawl"?
3. Is there a practical possibility to get First Page ranks for a range of 50-60 keywords (which our consultant has promised)?
4. Do dynamic search result pages with path int he format of "search.jsp?name=&city=&product=" get indexed by google as well?

I'll really look forward to all comments here

Zom
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Question by:zombeen
    13 Comments
     
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    by:frugle
    1) if the content hasn't changed, the layout shouldn't make too much difference. If your site is still structured correctly and the links that were previously in the index are still active, google should not penalise you. If you can publish the URL of the new site and give a link to the old style (upload a few pages to /oldsite?), I'm sure someone like duz would take a look at both and give expert advice.

    2) define slower - google doesn't like huge pages? - I was told that anything over 100k will not be ranked, but I have seen high ranking pages and pdf documents up to 1.5Mb in size, so I would take that with a pinch of salt.

    3) of course there is - but there's an equal chance of getting no improvement at all.

    from http://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/seo.html
    Beware of SEO's that claim to guarantee rankings, or that claim a "special relationship" with Google, or that claim to have a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is by using the page at http://www.google.com/addurl.html. You can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

    4) http://www.google.co.uk/search?ie=UTF-8&q=search%2Ejsp

    You'll notice the first 10 links are "search engine friendly" or lack any querystring whatsoever, but further in the list (15 onward) you will see entries with querystrings. This shows that while google DOES index content with complex URLs it is usually the case that pages that appear static will be indexed more readily.

    I also have had clients that have had pagerank drop to zero suddenly - however the rank returned just as mysteriously within a month. Pagerank is not the be-all and end-all of SEO, as I'm sure people will agree.

    Hope this helps,

    Mike
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    LVL 33

    Assisted Solution

    by:humeniuk
    It would be easier to provide a more detailed answer if you give us the URL.  My two cents on your overview:

    1. frugle is largely right, but as with anything there are exceptions and variables.  It also depends on the changes you've made.  For example, if you change your design and replace text links with graphical links, the SEs will have great difficulty navigating your site.  However, if a page is well-designed and optimized, the PR will return, even if there is a short wait.

    2. Again, this depends on why it's a larger page.  For example, a page that is huge because it's loaded with graphics and flash (etc.) is much less SE friendly than a page that simply has a lot of content (ie. text content).

    3.  I don't know if it's even possible to properly optimize for that many keywords.  For example, you want your keywords to appear frequently and prominently in your titles, tags, content, etc., but how can you do that for 50-60 keywords?  I don't think a keyword that shares space equally with 50-60 other keywords can't possibly be considered to appear either frequently or prominently.

    That doesn't mean those 50-60 keywords aren't relevant to your site as a whole, but you're much better off to spread out the keyword emphasis much as the content of your site is spread out over multiple pages.  So, choose the 4-5 most appropriate keywords (probably the most general keywords that relate to your overall business) for your home page and optimize it for that.  Other pages should be optimized for other keywords.  By optimizing each page for the keywords most appropriate to its content, you will optimize your website for all those keywords.

    4.  Regarding dynamic pages, Google says: "If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a '?' character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them small."  (source - Google Webmaster Guidelines, www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html)

    Finally, you may want to take a look at this basic SEO tutorial to get a general idea about the concepts you're dealing with: http://www.seo-guy.com/tutorial.html
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    Expert Comment

    by:duz
    Zom -

    The answers to your questions depend entirely on the site, please provide the url.

    - duz
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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Thank you all for your help.
    The website I am talking abt is www.stonematrix.com

    Pls check it out and let me know your feedback

    Thks
    Adit
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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Just to avoid confusion
    Adit is my real name Zombeen - my EE name and wht I like to be called

    Thks
    Zom (this time)
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    Expert Comment

    by:frugle
    Just had a quick look at your site - you're right about some pages being slow... your product page took almost a minute to render on a 1Mb adsl line and your "marble" page took 25 seconds on a server-to-server test.

    The main reason for this, I think, is everything in HUUUUUUGE nested tables, with loads of CSS and Javascript in a each page (hint: external CSS pages and .js files will speed things up slightly).

    The second reason for this, which compounds the first reason, is your thumbnails. One of them I found to be over 100Kb in size. I don't know how much bandwidth you're using, but if you do get #1 rankings you need to be selling lots of stone to cover your hosting costs :-)

    Linkwise, some of your pages have over 100 URLs on them - this isn't good.

    110Kb is far too big for a page [not counting images] without warning of a "large download" - and I dunno what exactly you're doing but I don't seem to be caching images, which means I have to download the lot every page.

    Your titles have too many words in them, and by far the most popular word imo appears to be "directory" - join the 215,000,000 other directories in the line and take a number :-)

    I'll leave the expert analysis to duz, as he is more qualified in this field...

    Mike
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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Thks Mike

    Yes youspotted it right - nested tables was a problem, and we have rectified it in all the most imp. pages. Css is being called as external file in most pages as well..not so much the js functions.

    Yes thumbs are a big problem - our programmers are using the main image and just resizing them to use as thumbs - but the page html shd load fast apart from the images - the page layout loading doesnot depend on size of iamges - am I right?

    Pages with over 100 URL's - could youelaborate more on where youfound this (i m sure in search result pages) and what is the negative about this

    I checked some of the top sites and checked their page size for big pages like search results and many of them are around 100 kb and more -- we really have simplified the nested table structure and brought it down to where it is presently

    Also is there a negative becoz of the std title on each page - that was again our SEO consultant 's advice

    Thks again - It seems  myteam is into a  lot of work for future
    Zom
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    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    by:
    Zom  -

    >1. Does changing the GUI of a previuusly indexed web page has any effect on google ranks?

    It looks to me that the GUI was not the only thing you changed. Everything from the title tag to the body text seems to have been changed and yes these alterations, particularly the keyword stuffed titles, will result in big changes in your SERP position for your chosen keywords.

    >2. If a couple of web pages on the site are on the slower side, are there any chnaces of those web pages not being indexed by google during the "crawl"?

    Normally the bots will cope with any load times up to when the server times out. i.e the same as a human browser theoretically, but having pages at 100k+ is not good.  Also the processing seems painfully slow to me as well so although the bots may hang around you will loose a lot of users who don't.

    >3. Is there a practical possibility to get First Page ranks for a range of 50-60 keywords (which our consultant has promised)?

    Sure, I assume that the keywords you are talking about are the ones for which there are separate pages, like 'Marble' etc.  This is good but firstly they are too deep and secondly someone who does not know what they are doing has used underscores for the file name instead of hyphens.

    As an example you have at the moment:

    http://www.stonematrix.com/mysearch/InfoZone/InfoZone_Articles_StoneFlooring.htm

    which is not good and this would be much better:

    http://www.stonematrix.com/stone-flooring.htm

    >4. Do dynamic search result pages with path int he format of "search.jsp?name=&city=&product=" get indexed by google as well?

    Google is getting better by the day at indexing dynamic pages and you will be ok with the links off your home page like this http://www.stonematrix.com/Search/ProductSearchResult.jsp?N
    EW_SEARCH=0&PRODUCT_CATEGORY=Granite but Googlebots will not perform searches on their own, they just follow links.

    - duz
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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Thks Duz for your reply and sorry for mylate confirmation

    Most of the things from the old indexed pages are almost the same - including titles and body..Maybe body has some very minute chnages but thats all. The search pages et. have definitely  been changed

    I am really worried about slow processing :- the size of the page is not that much, maybe we have to relook at the code - becoz static pages in the same format come out really fast.

    Your comment abt the depth of the pages is clear.We'll try to sort that our asap..thks a ot for that

    Also its good to hear that dynamic pages are eing indeed by google..

    Also does it help to put Direcotry of..... on top of each page as something suggested by our concsultant (completely against our wish)
    =============

    In the end, would it be safe to assume that the biggest problem for the site is its speed at the moment (even if its not bothering google too much) Page size to be < 100k as standard...For spped to look for nested tables / size of images etc. Underscores to be removed from file names

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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Any other suggestion that youmay have for me to see this part towards some sort of success - I'll really appreciate

    i'll wait for one more round of comments,.and come back to close the Q...Thank you so much to all who contributed(frugle, humenjuk, duz)..

    Zom
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    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    by:frugle
    Are you selling stone or are you a directory of stonemerchants?

    If you are selling stone and the first thing I see is "directory of" I click back and look at the next listing for a stonemerchant. I want to buy and I want to buy now - I don't want a circular tour of directories.

    it's not JUST what the search engine sees - its what your potential customer sees - and I doubt that I'm the only person in the world with this attitude.

    Mike
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    LVL 24

    Expert Comment

    by:duz
    Zom -

    >old indexed pages are almost the same - including titles and body

    Not for the ones I looked at which are 9 months old e.g. http://web.archive.org/web/20040201013544/http://www.stonematrix.com/ Obviously you have made a major change since February 1st 2004 and from what you say you have then made further minor changes?

    >Also does it help to put Direcotry of..... on top of each page

    No.

    >Any other suggestion that youmay have for me

    I think you have quite a lot to go on here already and you should get it sorted as soon as possible. Come back for fine tuning after you are getting indexed.

    Keep a record of the pages Googlebot is crawling and also extract from your log files the search terms used by visitors to find you,  we may need those for fine tuning later.

    - duz


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    Author Comment

    by:zombeen
    Duz- the website that you looked at the archives is a very old one and at that time, we were nowhere in Google

    Thank you all - You have been wonderful

    Cheera
    zom
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