Did your website disappear off the search results? Make sure you adapt to Google algorithm updates

In today’s high tech, focused, need it now, need it yesterday world, we sometimes forget that although we evolve and “upgrade” so to speak, so does Google.

Google is the most used search engine in the world being used by millions on a daily basis, therefore, Google needs to provide you (the searcher) with up-to-date information when you need it.

How? Google uses and updates its search algorithm constantly so that it combs through websites and ranks them based on a process called SEO. As a local business owner, your goal is to rank high on Google, otherwise, people won’t know you’re there. As time goes by, you’ll find that your website disappears on Google for a number of reasons. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why a website disappears, including algorithm updates.

Common reasons why a website disappears:

Hacked websites

Unfortunately, website hacking is a common activity nowadays. If your website has been hacked, such as spam content or links being displayed on the website, you should clean your site and update your website security.

Spam content

If search engines find that your website has spam content, it will stop displaying those pages. Go through your content and make sure that it does not have any content that your website reader will view as spam. Make sure that your website is clean, structured and has a clear purpose. Your readers will pick up very quickly if your website is stuffed with advertising terms and jargon.

Duplicate content

If an algorithm finds that content on your site is duplicated, it will penalise your website. Examine all of the content on your site with standard plagiarism checker tools to detect duplicate content. You want to put all of your efforts into ensuring that your website is original and unique. If you pick up that you do have any content that is similar to another website, you need to change the content. Make sure that you create your content using your authentic brand voice. It will help minimise the possibilities of having duplicate content.

Keyword stuffing/hidden text

Hidden text and keyword stuffing is a technique that should be discarded. Many website owners used these tricks in order to improve their ranking, however, it causes more harm than good. If the algorithm finds any trace of keyword stuffing in your website, it will remove those pages. Rather make sure that your website has a strategic fit with your brand and its products. You want to sell your brand, but make sure you are not overselling it by adding in the same keywords over and over again.

Black hat SEO techniques

This is the most common reason for the disappearance of websites. Several SEO experts are using the black hat SEO techniques to improve website ranking in search engines. These techniques do increase your ranking, but if Google picks up on these techniques, it will remove your page altogether. You should always follow standard SEO techniques for achieving a good page ranking. If you are letting your brand sell itself, your website will organically get a higher SEO ranking. This does take longer, however, it will ensure that your website gets a good quality stamp of approval from Google.

Unnatural links

If Google finds that the pattern of your outbound links on the site and the links that are pointing to the site are unnatural or manipulative, Google will then think that you are selling links that pass your page rank. Rather create proper URLs that Google will rank higher so that you can avoid running the risk of your website and its pages not being shown at all. Sometimes you need to play it safe to achieve the best results.

How does the algorithm update work?

If your website is not disappearing based on the above reasons, there is a good chance that it could be due to algorithm updates. The algorithm basically sorts through billions of websites to deliver the best results to you as the searcher. While no one knows exactly how the algorithm ranks your site, the best practice is through better SEO and relevant website content. If you find your website has disappeared then you need to check if Google has updated their algorithm recently and take the necessary steps to get back into the Google index.

How do the upgrades affect your company?

If your website has disappeared off of Google due to its updates then that means the searcher won’t be able to find you, which can drastically impact your online sales.

People search generally for companies that offer them a solution to their problem, “I need a new tyre” or “Hairdressers in Johannesburg”, etc. In today’s world, you are facing hundreds if not thousands of competitors online. So it stands to reason that if your website is no longer displaying on the Google search engine, this means that your competitor can get your sale before you even have a chance to show your message.

Google updates their algorithm when they find that websites with greater quality are being ranked lower than those of lesser quality, in order to provide you as the searcher with a better user experience. Google also applies these updates to ensure that you are getting the correct information you need when you need it.

Fix the problem

At the end of the day, there are thousands of reasons why your website could be down. There are also thousands of solutions and steps you as a company owner can take to rectify the disappearance of your website. When you don’t have the know how or time to make these rectifications, you then need to consider using a SEO or marketing company that can do it for you.

SEO companies are always in tune with Google so that they can react at a moment’s notice to an update before it can really affect your website. So make the smart decision and use a company that will be there for you and your business at the end of the day, because when you grow so do they.

We here at Cognite understand the ins and outs of Google’s search ranking. We analyse websites to identify SEO weak points. In-depth keyword research is done which reveals crucial keywords to focus on. We then add your keywords into the right places for maximum effect.

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