Google Rank RevisitedMarch 12, 2005
Last month, I wrote a post about a sudden drop in my Google search rankings: All Out of Google Juice. Whereas previously a search for "brian bailey" or "leave it behind" would return this blog in the top 5 results, I was now resting in the deep weeds, seemingly never to be heard from again.
As I had heard some rumblings about Google changing how it values blogs in search ranks, I theorized that I was simply the most recent case. I also noticed that nearly all of the "brian bailey" results before me actually had the words as part of the URL, whereas LeaveItBehind.com did not.
In my comments, however, another theory emerged. I had a Google site search box on my site that was not Google branded. Some had seen their sites drop substantially in searches for this violation. I immediately made the change and contacted Google support to humbly ask for forgiveness. Two weeks later, I received a very kind reply.
We searched for your site and found that it is currently included in our search results. As you may know, our search results change regularly as we update our index. Normal changes you observe may include, but are not limited to, addition of new sites, changes in the ranking of existing sites, sites falling out of the index or getting dropped for particular keywords, and fluctuation between old and new webpage content.
We realize these changes can be confusing. However, these processes are completely automated and not indicative of wrong-doing or penalization of individual sites [emphasis added]. We currently include over eight billion pages in our index, and it is certainly our intent to represent the content of the internet fairly and accurately.
Yet my ranking had still barely budged. I then stumbled upon another theory.
Near the time where my search ranking began to plummet, I changed my site header from the standard Typepad one, which included the tag line "I'm Brian Bailey and I approve this message", to the attractive image you see now. So, my name was no longer part of every page and is not part of the site title. Curious, I made a simple change: I changed the official name of the blog to "Leave It Behind > Brian Bailey" so now the site title includes my name and appears on every page.
Two weeks later? I am now the #1 Google result for "brian bailey"!
Lesson? I don't think my falling search rank was an anti-blogs Google move. I don't think it was my failure to include a Google image on my site search. I think it was my shiny new page header! Beware.