It may seem incredible, but it has been known to happen–a home page or other important anchor page simply disappears from Google’s rankings overnight. When it does happen, clients sometimes do not know until the problem has been entrenched for some time, especially if they do not have someone monitoring their website performance on a regular basis.
When you have a case of the “disappearing website,” it can be frightening and confusing. However, there are steps that can be taken immediately to get the page back on Google rankings and drive website traffic once again where it belongs–to your home page.
According to one expert, there are several immediate steps to take to rescue a page that has suddenly dipped in Google rankings.
1) Check if all pages on the site are affected or only one page. Your SEO expert or webmaster will want to check to see if all page rankings are affected or only one particular page. The SEO expert can do this using a variety of tools to get a second or even third ranking analysis on each page.
2) Use tools like ‘site:’operator to check a page. Google actually offers tools that allow an expert to check a particular page and find out if it was in Google’s index.
3) Check accidental noindexing. The meta noindex tag is often what is known as a “tick box” that can accidentally be checked by anyone with access to the website’s mechanics. It is important to be sure that this box has not accidentally been checked–a simple mistake to make and an easy fix. The SEO expert can simply look at source code for the noindex key.
4) Check accident inclusion of the site’s robots.txt file. The robots.txt file tells Google not to crawl a page, so the page may accidentally be hidden from view if some coding has been changed.
5) Check for penalties. This is a frightening possibility for most website owners. What if you have incurred a Panda, Penguin or other penalty without realizing it? Many website owners come to SEO companies for this very reason. If you have been penalized by Google for duplicate content, keyword problems or other issues, the only way to recover is to slowly and steadily rebuild through good SEO tactics.
6) Remove URLs feature. The handy Google Webmaster Tools allow SEO experts to quickly check if the page has accidentally been slated for removal, so this should also be checked. An accidental 404 code could also be considered something to look into.
It is critical that you give your SEO expert a heads-up whenever you make changes to your website. Changing your website without informing the SEO people working on your campaign could result in an accidental disappearance!