Many people have been asking us to write a follow up on the post we did about Absolute Dental, and to provide more specific information as to why they lost their rankings after they switched seo companies. While we only have the ability to provide speculation, due to the fact that we are no longer able to access analytics or a change log, there are a few pretty obvious elements that stand out that would probably cause the rankings to fall.
First off, we can attest to the fact that this is not a penalization situation, as it was not a dramatic drop in rankings that happened immediately, nor was it a sequential drop that happened over several periods, which would coincide with algorithm updates. We have been monitoring Absolute Dental’s progress for years due to the fact that they were our client and we wanted to see what would happen after our ongoing strategies were removed from the updates. The drop was gradual and slow, taking place over the past two years and moving them from the first page for most major keyphrases to past the tenth page and no longer registering on our lists. What happened two years ago was a complete redesign of the website without paying attention to matching urls for pages, and no attempt to redirect those urls to the correct pages after the redesign. The majority of links built to the Absolute Dental site were linkbait type, and linking to deep pages (not the index.) This strategy was enacted specifically in prediction to Panda and Penguin, and was done to get them ahead of the competition by creating a link-profile that would last through the algorithm changes and into the future. These links immediately broke when the redesign was completed.
The second factor at play was the complete stoppage of the ongoing content updates to the website, and development of information. The site was built, the designers copied the existing content, and then never wrote another thing. Google saw a website completely die from their standpoint, showing ongoing updates for years and then completely stopping. These types of shocks to the system cue Google that there is an SEO program happening, and cause the site to be viewed as a potential seo cheater attempting to manipulate rankings. SEO is all about flying under Google’s radar at this point, and careful steps must be taken in order to never clue them in that you are attempting to rank higher. Anything you do can be perceived as manipulation, so abrupt changes are very, very bad.
Reactionary procedures were the death knell for the Absolute Dental website. When the rankings began to fall, the current SEO company reacted by attempting to quickly push them back up with old techniques. Large-scale purchase of inbound links, blog linking, immediate changes of all titles and descriptions….the list goes on. Basically, as one thing failed they tried the next, and as that failed they tried the next thing. By reading the techniques that were the essence of SEO in the past and then attempting to apply them quickly (without an understanding of how modern seo works) the current SEO company once again proved that they were attempting to manipulate rankings and not provide quality information. Once Google is onto you, almost everything you do is suspect.
While there were other elements in play that probably influenced the dramatic drop, we can only speculate once again. All we know is that a company that once enjoyed top of Google rankings has lost all of it, and is now utilizing PPC exclusively in order to keep traffic to the website flowing.