|Ranking hangs on page 3|
Hello! We have a site we are optimizing for 2 real hard "money-keywords". After building links slowly for 1 1/2 years, we got to page 2 with these main-keywords - longtail working well, a lot of side-keywords ranking on page 1.
Then, in April, 1 keyword ranked suddenly in Top 5. After one week, both keywords dropped to page 3, and - no matter what we are trying to do - are staying there.
When searching for "widgét" (misspelling) instead of "widget" they both rank in Top 10 again.
We tried everything - we have:
- a good keyword-variety (max 20% target the main-keywords directly)
- Good variety of link-sources (portals, blogs, social-media, good content-sites and so on)
... but it seems we got some kind of penalty - or am I wrong? What would you do?
I would be willing to bet a million dollars you are being filtered back. The "flickering" to the position where you "should" be is an indicator of a data center that didn't apply the filter, and then the query gets moved to a data center that applies the filter properly. Look hard. The answer is probably in the site, not on the page or in the links. Duplicate content or MFA-like issues. I don't think you need any more links - I think you need to fix a larger problem, even one that has been there for years that you think is not an issue, or that wasn't a problem before, but now is in an age of changing algos. Do you run Adsense? Amazon links?
Do you have authority content on the index page for this keyword including history, images, videos, links to other authority sites on the subject, etc? Are other aspects of the keyword discussed in many places within the site? These would be the signs of an authority site on the keyword, without them nothing SHOULD work.
I've seen relatively incoming link free sites rank #1-3 for keywords before based solely on merit. Google would prefer to give a site the thumbs up than to penalize another site who passes established sites in the rankings. In fact passing such a site may trigger a review making the things I mentioned above even more important.
For several years I've noticed some rankings that flicker, or "yo-yo" as we've also called it here. In at least a few cases, it seemed to be related to backlink profiles that look a bit "too good to be true" in some ways, but they don't show enough natural variety or different types of backlinks.
In those cases (and I've seen this hit some major companies) it seems to be a filter that gets triggered when the backlinks, even if very good, still look too much bit like "artificial buzz" to Google.
You mentioned social media in your post. Are those social media mentions helping the word to spread about your site? If so, that kind of obviously authentic link can sometimes get the filter removed over time.