I was ranking on the 1st page of Google for a long tail keyword (4 words) for months (or years) now and everything was fine until a couple of days ago when the ranking disappeared. My site was on the first page 7th/8th position for that search phrase and to my surprise it got knocked down through the major UK SERP update that happen the 2nd week of February 2010.
I thought that the ranking would be a couple of places further down at least or a couple of pages down in extreme cases but i was shocked to find that my website had disappeared completely from the search result. Actually not my website but the actual webpage which was ranking for that search phrase. I searched the top 500 listings (first 50 SERP pages) and I couldn’t find a trace of it. Google wouldn’t let me go past 50 pages btw.
Now this is a massive blow in my face because I haven’t purchased any links to boost the ranking of this page. As a matter of fact, this webpage doesn’t even have a single backlink but it was ranking amongst 48 million results! I haven’t changed anything on the site and the website if a couple of years old as well, so there’s no reason why the ranking would have disappeared all of a sudden.
The only thing that i can think of is that i keep updating the site daily which means that there are more and more pages everyday. Now this is a good thing but the problem that i have on my site is that i’ve got a sitewide navigation which links to this page in question. I believe i have crossed the tipping point for being seen as trying to manipulate the rankings through excessive internal linking. Think about it, if google can penalise you for footer links (which are sitewide), then obviously there’s a mechanism to detect excessive links especially those ones which the same anchor text directing to the same webpage. I experienced the same phenomenon some time ago and I’m sure I did something about it then and there.
For the sake of it, I have now removed the link to that webpage from the sitewide navigation. I need to change the whole static sitewide navigation thing but i cannot make too many changes at once, otherwise i will lose ranking across the whole site.