Firstly, let me reassure you that your site has not been altogether
dropped from the Google index - a search for "Evatt Family History"
will still yield your site at #1. Also, a search using the single
term "Evatt" reveals your page at #10, down the rankings by 7 places.
The problem would therefore appear to be specifically related to your
PageRank (PR); I presume that given your previous success at search
engine optimization, you have at least a basic knowledge of how this
works. If not, an explanation is available here:
So essentially, for searches relating to keywords prevalent in
evatt.org, your position in the results is dependent upon the number
and PageRank of sites linking to your own. Unfortunately for
yourself, for searches for "Evatt", you are competing for the top
positions will some fairly major other sites, not least the Evatt
Foundation. I note the publication of your letter to this site and
the inclusion of a link within it to increase your PageRank, a very
Evatt Foundation: Letters
However, the fact remains that those 9 sites above yours in the
rankings are their purely because of their larger PageRank, and your
task to improve your results position can be fulfilled only by
increasing your own PageRank.
Up to this point, I may just have reiterated information you already
knew. Therefore I will now try to address the question of how you
dropped down the rankings so severely. With the whole of the internet
to attempt to index, the Google spider (software to record webpages)
will not visit a page more frequently than, in general, 3-6 weeks. A
lot can happen in this time, and I would guess that over the last 6
weeks your page rank has dropped very slightly through no fault of
your own. Given the size of the other sites competing for position
for the Evatt keyword, it is unsurprising that a small drop in
PageRank can translate to a large drop in results position. Your drop
in PageRank is most likely to have occurred because of a highly
weighted (high PR) site dropping your link for one reason or another,
perhaps because of an article or letter being archived.
You are now left in a situation where your priority is presumably
restore your PageRank as best you can. Currently www.evatt.org is a
fine example of a 'good site' from a search engine perspective:
keywords, titles, and description are concise and accurate, and your
content is high quality. Perhaps the alternative text tags for images
could be changed to be a relevant description of each picture, but I
would not regard this to be serious issue. The only further way to
increase the PR is therefore through considering links to the site.
-How to further increase your PageRank-
Using the command line instruction 'link:www.yoursite.com' will return
sites linking to a specific site, so a search for 'link:www.evatt.org'
will return a number of sites link to www.evatt.org, including your
own. However, not all the pages linking to yours are returned in this
search, the reason for which, although not confirmed by Google, is
popularly thought to be because only sites with a PR of 4 or more will
be shown. This gives an indication as to where there is room for
improvement in your PR strategy, because although the absolute number
of links to a page is important, it is the 'quality', or PR, of the
linking pages which is vital.
To discover the actual number of links to your site, use the search
term 'evatt.org' and select the
'Find web pages that contain the term "evatt.org"'
option from the subsequent page to obtain the results:
Google Search: "evatt.org"
Clearly, you are linked to by at least 10 other sites, but only one of
these (other than your own) shows up on a 'link:' search as the rest
are of a relatively low PR and consequently do not boost your ranking
significantly. To further increase your PR, your aim should therefore
be not only to collect as many links as possible, but also to attempt
to get linked to from sites of a higher PR. Posting links on forums,
writing letters to webmasters, and asking friends/colleagues to link
their sites to yours are all accepted methods of achieving this.
Obviously, you have already invoked this technique to a certain
extent, but perseverance will be the most likely way to take your page
to the top!
Having talked extensively about PR, I should stress that it is
extremely unwise to use any of the services advertised on the net to
be experts in Search Engine Optimization which claim to guarantee your
results position or to auto-submit your page to various search
engines. Google take a very low view of using such tactics, and doing
so will commonly lead to a site being 'blacklisted' and removed from
the listings. Such services include 'Web Position Gold' and 'Search
Engine Optimization Inc.'.
Also, the use of 'Link Swapping' schemes is ill-advised -
unfortunately the only reliable way to build a high PR is to be linked
Here are a number of search engine related sites which I have found
useful in the past and in answering this question.
Search Engine Watch
Web Site Promotion Do's and Don'ts
Google Webmaster Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like clarification of any area of my answer, please do
not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.
search engine optimization OR optimisation
... and personal experience
Clarification of Answer by
23 May 2003 15:17 PDT
Thanks very much for the great rating and generous tip! Apologies for
missing your point slightly there. Looking further into the problem,
I suspect that although most of evatt.org's subpages have been
indexed, a technical glitch either with your server or with Google's
search algorithm may have prevented the index.htm from being indexed
Quoting from Google Information for Webmasters:
" * Your site may not have been reachable when we tried to crawl it
because of network or hosting problems. When this happens, we retry
multiple times, but if the site cannot be crawled, it will not be
listed in our current index. If it was a transient problem, your site
will likely show up in the next index, which will be completed in a
* A technical glitch on our side may have caused us to 'miss' your
site. In crawling more than 3 billion pages every few weeks, our
system experiences hiccups from time to time. Again, this is a
transient problem, and your site will likely show up in the next
index. Please be patient with us during this period, as we are not
able to modify our index by hand to add sites missed in this way. "
If this is the case, your site should show up on the Google search
results page again in less than a month. There is no need to resubmit
your site as each of the currently listed pages links to index.html
and the Google spider will have no difficulty in finding it again.
Hopefully, when your site reappears, it will regain its former
position in the rankings because the index page will tend to have a
I hope this fully answers your question; if you would like any further
elaboration please do not hesitate to ask.