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Google rank dropping at website launch

The Legal Challenge With Google

A question we're asked frequently, just after a website launches, is 'How long will it take my new website to get a number one rank on Google?'. The answer's not straight forward and the barriers to a number one rank are not always easy to hurdle. Thankfully, however, that's not always the case.

Google Rank Secured < 24hrs

Last week, I launched a website (website A) for a new Customer and was thrilled to record that our new website secured its first Google rankings in under 24hrs. This is great news, it's testament to the build quality of our website and it's another indication of just how good Google's becoming. This was the fastest Google rank I've ever seen one of our websites achieve.

Today, one week after launch, I ran a number of reports to begin to gain an understanding of the SEO metrics to measure how well the website was performing. The first report delivered the results of the tests I'd been running for the past week and showed that the rank for a Google search of the company name had dropped 3 places since the website launch.

Don't Panic!

I see this a lot and I'm not particularly worried about the loss of rank. When a new website is launched you can hardly expect Google to give a website that Google knows little about a top ranking now can you? Google will want to take its time to come to a considered opinion about a website before assigning it a meaningful initial rank.
When asked the question: 'How long will it take my new website to get a number one rank on Google?' I typical reply: '2 weeks.'

Page one or nothing

Over the years, we've come to trust Google's search engine results - it's fair to say that most people don't bother clicking past the first page of search engine results. Google has a hard-earned reputation for offering the 'right' results to searches and it isn't about to lose that reputation by letting any old Tom, Dick or Harry onto page one. Experience and curiosity has lead me to feel sure that, when a new website is launched, you don't get your true ranks straight away - your website's visibility is feathered-in over a period of about 2 weeks. During these 2 weeks Google has the opportunity of monitoring, evaluating and comparing your website to its own internal model of what a good website in your sector looks like.

During this evaluation phase the website's rank must, I guess, be artificially held back so that Google can protect itself from the risks associated with promoting a dodgy website. Therefore, when our Customer's brand new website appeared to drop from #2 to #5 I'm not particularly troubled.

Prior to launch, our Customer's website held a #2 rank and it matters a great deal to them that they secure a number one rank and begin to suppress the website (website B) of a company that presently holds a number one rank for our Customer's company name. Our Customer's engaged in a legal dispute and is building a case to prove that the number one ranking company is actively passing-itself-off as our Customer.


The second report I ran today was a backlink report to discover the number hyperlinks from external websites a competitor's website has. Think of hyperlinks from website C to website B as being regarded by Google as votes or endorsements. You're only going to offer links on your website to website that you trust, right? So, as far a Google and her algorithm are concerned, an outbound link from website C to website B is a signal of trust and confidence.

Having run my second report, what became immediately apparent was that website B had engineered backlinks from directory listings detailing website A. This was no small scale intrusion, I discovered 73 separate suspect backlinks. I documented my findings in a letter that our Customer may forward to their IP lawyer. We'll get these links taken down, this will affect Google's algorithm and we'll see our Customer's website secure a better rank across the board.

Link building

Link building is a proven SEO tactic, the trouble it is the most frequently abused. The vast majority of spammy emails you receive from snake oil salespeople about engineering you a top Google rank will be from robots employing low quality link building techniques. Techniques which Google sees straight through in nanoseconds.

Thankfully our Customer's route to a number one rank on Google will be by mounting a legal challenge that will destroy website B's energy. Yet SEO is hardly ever this simple. If you've a website that's competing against a competitor's website with hundreds of inbound hyperlinks you cannot, typically, just get these links nuked. You have to understand where their website's energy is coming from and begin building better links to your website and build more of them.