This is my first post here at Sitepoint. I have a WordPress website for a network of TOEFL teachers in Saudi Arabia. It ranks high for my targeted key phrases, but it occasionally gets penalized (I think). I noticed a drop twice in the last few months. Both times from top ten places to 30s or even 100+ places.
I checked my outgoing links and didn't find any "bad neighborhoods". I checked by Keyword density levels and didn't find anything. How can I know why google has penalized me? Maybe you can see something I don't know about. Thanks for your time!
Here's the website:
Well done. The site looks pretty clear to me, which is often not the case. Perhaps the only enhancement worth considering is to make the opening words about the site a little larger, or bold, or something like that. Often it helps readers know what to look at first. I always look for a concise description of what a site is about, and you have that, which is great. It could just stand out a bit more, perhaps. Often, the first paragraph of a blog post also will be highlighted in some way, with a kind of introduction to the post, which I also find helpful.
Thanks, Ralph. I'll add a more prominent line about the website's overall content soon.
Anybody have a clue why it might be getting penalized by google? I already know about the shuffle because of adjustments to the algorithm and what not. I really think I'm being penalized for something, but I don't know what.
What makes you say that?
I don't know how long your site has been up, but a lot of people seem to expect that their site will be number one in Google straight after launch. It takes a while for Google to index the site, and then it takes a little while for the site to gain "street cred". After it's been around for a while, and gains incoming links, it works its way up the rankings.
The site is about 10 months aold, and I already got #1 spots for my targeted key phrases, which are very specific. I've been there for a few months now until a week or so ago when I was dropped into the 30s.
How are you checking this? Search results can be pretty misleading. For example, if you have a Google account and browse the web while logged in, Google records your interests and serves up results it thinks you want. So you end up getting different results from someone else. You need to browse with no identity to get a half accurate result.
Thanks for your time and help, Ralph. I actually checked it from different browsers on different computers. I did notice that I rank slightly higher on my own computer based on what you've said. But still, top 3-5 positions at least on all computers.
OUCH! This page is now #1 for "TOEFL in Saudi Arabia" (which is my #1 targeted phrase), and mine is #10.
This page will not help anyone looking for information about TOEFL in Saudi Arabia, unless they click on my site. My website is full of original content about taking the TOEFL in Saudi Arabia!
So basically - what is wrong with google? How can the #1 spot be the wrong website? I mean, I can understand if ETS got #1 (the company that provides the TOEFL, they do provide the test in Saudi Arabia!), but Sitepoint, just because somebody started a thread with the key phrase?
I'm assuming this is temporary, and any people who click here looking for information about TOEFL in KSA will click back instantly, and this affects the ranking for this keyword. Have I understood it correctly?
It's only wrong in your perception, not Google's. :0 But those search results are always unreliable, anyhow. You don't really know what search results people will get in various places. I just checked, and I got your site a position 6 on the home page and this thread at position 5.
I like the design it's pretty straight forward and focused on content which is good. The only thing is that some of the widgets in the right bar (e.g. categories, Total Resources) are very full of text and hard to read because of it. Maybe you could add a bit of spacing or an icon or so?
Great job overall
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