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This week’s #searchdrop delves into the potential reasons your site might not be ranking, plus confirmation from Google that the majority of sites don’t need to worry about crawl budget. We’ll also take a deeper look into Bing’s ranking factors.

Most sites don't need to worry about crawl budget.

Crawl budget is a term used for the resources Google allocates to crawl a website, plus indexing and ranking the site. SEOs often spend a lot of time and resources understanding how Google crawls a site and how that impacts performance. This understanding can be vital in highlighting underlying issues. Logging file analysis is a great way of doing this.

However, John Mueller has recently come out once again to say that “most sites don’t need to worry about crawl budget”. The factors that impact crawl budget are:

  • When a site has approximately one million URLs
  • When the pages of a site haven’t been crawled in a long time
  • If a newly updated piece of content hasn’t been crawled in months, despite updates

As most sites don’t have that many URLs crawl budget shouldn’t be a concern.

The above doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on ensuring Google is able to easily crawl your site, find your content and rank it accordingly though. Make sure your site is healthy and Googlebot isn’t encountering any 4xx or 5xx status code. Making sure your site’s content is always of high quality is also important here.

See more about the above and the comment on crawl budget here

4 reasons your site might not be ranking.

Have you ever looked at how your website performs in the search engines for particular keywords and wondered why it is losing the rankings? John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, answered this and many more questions during the English Google Webmaster Central office hours.

During the recorded conversation John mentioned that asking just ‘why my website drops in rankings’ is too generic a question to answer, as there are many factors which could affect your position. However he did also give 4 main reasons why you might see your website dropping in rankings.

Top rankings are temporary

Many people think that once you reach the number 1 positon in the search for the chosen keyword, the website will stay there forever. John mentioned that the web is a very dynamic environment where nothing lasts forever. There is no guarantee that a website which has been ranking very well in the past will stay in the top spot in the search results in the future.

The internet changes all the time

As previously mentioned, the web is a very dynamic place. Your website might change over time, but so do the sites of your competitors. Previously gathered backlinks might no longer exist, and at the same time,your competitors might have added some more budget into their online marketing strategy and website optimisation to ensure they now rank better than you.

Google’s Algorithm changes

Mueller also mentioned that changes in rankings might be explained by the new algorithm updates which roll out from time to time. He also added that many publishers make a common mistake by thinking that a new Google Algorithm update is targeting a particular site type, but the truth is that algorithm updates have been created to satisfy the users by providing them with the best version of the search results possible.

People change

People change, which means that what they are looking for is also changing. Products and services will shift in and out of popularity over time. This is natural human behaviour.

If your products and services are less popular or less needed, this change will provide you with the long but gradual decline in guests and purchases on your website.

So now you ask, what can I do to ensure that my website keeps progressing and not losing the ranking position? The answer is simple – always keep updating your website. From making simple technical changes to updating the design and usability of the website in line with Google website recommendations.

Roger Montti from Search Engine Journal also reminds us that the web is a very fast paced environment and that strategies that have been working well for the last year might not work forever.

A deeper look into Bing's ranking factors.

During a recent Q&A session between Barry Schwartz and key members of the team at Bing, some key elements of the algorithm were discussed. The discussion mostly focused around content, authorship and the use of negativity.

  • Author Reputation – Bing develops an understanding of an author and their relationship to a topic, much like Google’s E.A.T. This ability to understand an author can be extended across multiple sites over time.
  • Site Reputation – Again, much like Google’s E.A.T, Bing is also able to develop an understanding of a site and its authority and trustworthiness for a topic over time. The importance of regular content associated with your target topic is therefore important for both Google and Bing.
  • Completeness of content -This factor is two-fold. One side of it is the literal ‘completeness’ of the content: does your article essentially answer the question it says it does? The other side is more to do with whether the experience matches what the user would expect, e.g. if your site has ads and other non-relevant content in the way of the user getting the information they need, then your site may fall foul of this factor.
  • Transparency of the Author – this relates to whether an article is written by a person or a corporation. For example, when I write for ASSISTED. the article is associated with me, however, I may also write for a client’s website which is associated with the client’s site and not me personally. It’s all about Bing being able to identify whether the article is written by an expert, a brand related to a topic or something else entirely.
  • Negativity – This factor also looks at the trustworthiness of an author or site and is similar to the ‘T’ in Google’s E.A.T. Ensuring your site and content contains references to data to back up your claims as well as avoiding unsubstantiated claims is important when trying to avoid your rankings being damaged by this.

The above makes up Bing’s own version of E.A.T. If you’re ensuring that:

  • your content is accurate
  • your content is properly referenced where needed
  • your content is properly authored to support building authority behind a person or brand for a certain topic
  • you’re giving a great experience to users

then your site, and your client’s sites, will be fine!