Google does not penalize sites just because they did not update their content in recent months.
I don't think you can automatically assume it's a penalty. It also could be a technical issue on either the site itself or on Google's end. Try a regular search for the domain name - example.com - and see if the domain root or home page is #1.
I've seen several sites that went PR0, and the common denominator was that they were very "stale" and it had been ages and ages since they had acquired any new IBLs (with the exception of the ever-present scrapers).
I wouldn't surmise it's a penalty, especially if it's a large site with a lot of IBLs. How long had it been since any content was updated, and how long since there were any fresh, decent quality inbound links.
I'd have to dig out which ones, but there are several papers out there that very specifically mention freshness as a factor that's taken into consideration. And another recent patent application as well, that goes into computing average age for the link profile.
Content is a very overrated ranking factor, and how frequently that content is changed or “updated” even more so.
More specifically to your question;
|Can Rankings Vanish Because A Site Is Not Updated? |
The answer is no, there must be other factors at play.
Links are a completely different story of course.
The site has not completely vanished, all the pages are still in the Google index but they have been pushed way below in the search results.
I am trying to figure out the reason for this. There are no violation of Google webmaster guidelines and its an extremely popular website.
|Try a regular search for the domain name - example.com - and see if the domain root or home page is #1 |
Yes, the site is the #1 result
|How long had it been since any content was updated, and how long since there were any fresh, decent quality inbound links. |
Though new content was added to the site some two months ago, it continue to receive fresh inbound links daily from quality sources.
Yah, I've got a couple of sites that haven't been updated in ages (one has on an interior page or two, two levels deep) and the rankings have barely budged. If sites vanished for lack of content updates, they'd be gone.
I have seen sites with very weak linkage go south, but that's more of a combo of stale and not nearly enough link love, if any at all, that's worth anything, and no new ones for years.
That wouldn't be your case, though.
I'd say we've pretty much established that stale content is not the reason for the drop in rankings you're seeing. Do you see anything interesting by looking at the sites that ARE still ranking for the terms that used to bring you traffic? How about googlebot activity?
Also, do you have a Webmaster Tools account? That can be a source of information from Google that you can't easily discover any other way.
|do you have a Webmaster Tools account? |
Yes I do have a webmaster account and it shows no warning messages.
Google bot indexed a lot of pages on Dec 7, the day when the rankings when down.
I feel the site could have been incorrectly penalized, is there anything I can do about it. Thanks.
One reason could be that most of those sites linking to the site in discussion are irrelevant?
Check to see the sites that link to the said site and see if they are in any way related.
I recently cancelled link sale deals worth $85 per month just because the sites iam linking too are not even remotely related.
There are some mentions in Google patents about backlinks getting stagnant and not growing - and that kind of staleness or stagnation might cause a demotion in rankings, according to those patents at least. It's possible that this factor is actually in play, but it would be a rather subtle factor, and not a cause of total vanishing or disappearing.
|There's a site that was ranked very high in Google with thousands of incoming links. |
Possible fallout from Google's recent activity in the paid links arena?
What's your new SERP? What was it? Position is often a clue to penalties.