Ah! No one ever likes to see their sites drop in search rankings! If this has happened to you recently – and assuming you haven’t done anything extraordinary or new with your SEO strategy – it’s not because of the over-optimization penalty that Google is going to unveil later this year.
Your site might have gone down in the rankings if Google mistook it to be a parked domain. Parked domains are websites that generally have no content but are filled up with ads, and Google has been vocal in the past about how they were going to change their ranking system so that parked domains would be much lower in the search rankings.
The problem? Many websites that are legitimate and dynamic were marked as parked domains. While spam should be confined to the bottom of the rankings, honest websites should not be punished. To wake up one morning and see that your formerly ranked #1 page is now languishing at #65 would make for a terrible day…and for internet marketers, it could have resulted in a potentially huge loss of income.
This is exactly what happened though, much to the chagrin of thousands of internet marketers. So Google messed up, but even more shockingly, Google fessed up to their mistake! Apparently Google’s classifier was “reading from a couple files that were mistakingly empty” and legitimate websites were accidentally penalized.
Google says that the issue is fixed now and that they’re working hard to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Some kind of “fix” for the websites that were wrongfully penalized are presumed to be in the works…although how and if Google will actually restore the affected websites to their previous search ranking is yet to be seen.
We were wondering: If your website plummeted in rankings due to this mistake, is your website now back to its former position?