I’ve noticed some wackiness (at least what I consider wacky) with Google search results lately. We’ve been working slowly but surely on improving our rankings for one of our sites. We haven’t been making any sweeping changes, but instead making small tweaks here and there to title tags, meta descriptions, adding some relevant content to our pages, and getting our pages linked to from other relevant sites.
What I’ve noticed over the last week though, is that a couple times a week, we’ll drop off the face of Google search results for one of our top terms. Its not like we’re falling from #3 to #10 or from Page 1 to Page 2, but falling off the results map altogether. What’s even weirder is that a couple of days later, we’re back up to where we were before the “hiccup”.
We’ve also noticed that search results at any given time of the day can vary greatly. We can show up ranked #2 or #3 for a top keyterm, then later on in the day, #9. Or, perform one search and we’re #3 and immediately search again and we’re #6. Sometimes, I can search for a phrase and get one ranking while a co-worker can do the same search and get a completely different ranking. I’ve been trying to figure out why this happens, but I keep coming up empty.
I never expect to keep rankings forever as the web changes almost constantly, but you’d think that you’d get at least some consistency in search results. Especially for a site that is fairly well built and adheres to what Google calls best practices. But what I am really confused by is the wholesale change to our rankings for certain keywords in one fell swoop. I’d expect to see rankings slip and slip, not disappear all together.
It could very well be that all of this is just a lack of a complete understanding on how Google search results and rankings work. I’m not a complete newb to SEO, but I’m not an expert either. If anyone can enlighten and educate me on what I’m seeing in our search results, I’d be certainly grateful.