So You Lost Your First Page Rankings in Google, Now What?

Let me ask you something….

What are you going to do when you lose your first page rankings in Google?

I’m being serious.

Cry in your cornflakes? Blame your SEO agency? Swear, kick and scream?

Just have a think about that for a moment. How would a complete loss in search traffic affect your business? Your income? Your staff?

Here’s a bigger, more important question – just how dependent are you on Google? A little? A lot?

These are questions that no business owner wants to hear – but the reality of it is – these questions must be asked, because being at the top of Google is always only going to be temporary. Why? Because it’s just a matter of time before a competitor knocks you off, your site cops some sort of penalty, or Google changes the algorithm.

Now I’m not suggesting that SEO is a waste of time, because that’s not true, but hitting top spot in Google doesn’t mean it’s time to kick your feet up on the desk and smoke a cuban cigar.

Almost every day, I speak with business owners, friends and prospects that say things like…

  • “We’re first page for Google, we’re fine…”
  • “We’re number one for almost every keyword, we don’t need to worry about anything…”
  • “We’re miles ahead of our competitors in Google…”
  • “We’re not doing any other forms of marketing because we’re dominating the search results…”
  • “We’re first page, we’re raking it in…”

Whenever I hear someone make a comment like this, I usually always think to myself, “This isn’t going to end well”.


Because I’ve been around long enough to know that taking search engine traffic for granted is a dangerous thing.

Are you one Google update away from potential disaster?


I remember having a rather colourful discussion with a prospect once during a meeting, who got angry at what I was suggesting as part of his online marketing strategy.

I made recommendations as to how he could ramp up his content marketing efforts, by producing video content, uploading PDF’s, adding photos, diagrams, and even asked him to consider recording a podcast (as well as incorporating social media). I remember his reaction quite well…he screwed his face up, waved his hands in the air and said, “I don’t need any of that other crap, I just want to be first in Google!”

Needless to say we never worked together, but I often check on his site from time to time, to see him publishing thin, keyword stuffed pages, that are stuck back on page 45 of Google.


Here’s something to take a quick look at. Log into your Google Analytics account right now and go to Acquisition > Overview.

You should see a whole bunch of graphs and line charts and squiggly lines.

Now have a look at the pie chart.

If it looks like this, you need to call me.


As you can see, 93% of this particular websites inbound traffic is search traffic, and whilst that might seem all great and dandy, it’s seriously dangerous – for the reasons of which I’ve mentioned above.

Instead, a site with good, well balanced and diversified inbound traffic sources, might look something like this.


Even though this one isn’t fantastic, unlike the other one – it still shows a variety of sources.

If this site was to absolutely tank in the search engines, it would still retain almost half of its traffic. Now I don’t know about you, but I would rather keep 50 percent, than lose 100. At least if the site *did* tank, you would at least have some traffic coming in that would give you some breathing space to be able to figure out what went wrong, or what you can do in order to get that search engine traffic back.

My message is simple….

Don’t get comfortable at the top


One of the worst things you can do is get comfortable whilst everything is peachy, whilst ignoring the risk.

I’ve seen it time and time again. Infact I know of several business owners that have had to lay off staff, sell out, start over, and almost give up completely, because they lost everything overnight. I know I keep repeating myself about diversifying your traffic sources, but it needs to be said. Diversify, and protect yourself, now, before it’s too late.

Okay okay, how do I do that?

I could seriously write 50,000 words on how to go about diversifying your traffic sources and map out a complete online marketing strategy right here in this blog post entry, but I’m sure you’re busy – so I’ll cut straight to the chase.

Think long term

Firstly, think long term.

There’s little point in a short term SEO campaign. Every so often, I’ll work with a business owner that says, “You’ve got 3 months. If we don’t see any results, we’re out”. Whilst I can understand the concerns of the business owner entirely, approaching SEO like this isn’t ideal. Infact I’ve seen business owners achieve results and cancel because they have achieved results. “We’re first page, no need to pay you anymore..” Yet they haven’t even begun looking at social media or alternative traffic sources.

Listen, short term SEO doesn’t work, and it certainly doesn’t last.

Unless you’re operating in some really weird market, where there’s virtually no competition, then it’s more than likely that your rankings are going to eventually fly off the first page, like a cricket off a windshield at 100km, the minute you stop investing in SEO. Now this doesn’t mean you need to keep stuffing hundred dollar notes into the wallets of greedy SEO’s. It just means you need to be aware of the potential ramifications if you decide to cease all marketing activities. I’ll cover more on this in a moment.

Ongoing content is vital

Publishing content is without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges most business owners face, mainly because most don’t see it as being important, or they’re extremely time poor.

Here’s what I hear from many business owners when it comes to publishing content…

  • “Nobody wants to read stuff about XYZ..”
  • “We’re too busy to do that…”
  • “That’s too hard..”
  • “We don’t have time…”
  • “A blog isn’t important…”

Think about this. If you’re not pumping out content on a regular basis, and your competitors are – who do you think is going to get all the customers? That’s right, not you, but your competitors.


Because they’re constantly broadcasting their message and promoting themselves. Gone are the days of just listing in the yellow pages, and kicking back waiting for the phone to ring. People want to see proof, demonstrated experience, your products being showcased – YOU talking about your business. Content is a great way of doing this. Because it helps build trust, credibility, and with that comes enquiries and sales.

Grab a notepad and pen

Okay, listen up. I’m going to give you the gold. Want to seriously dominate your competitors and prevent losing your shirt overnight because Matt Cutts had a bad day and decided to change the rules, yet again?

Here’s what you need to do – right now.

Be mindful that this is a “short and sweet” version – but it should give you something to think about.

Record videos

Think about the industry you work in, and what would make for a good setting. This doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. If you’re a real estate agent, you can do this in your meeting room. If you’re a dentist, you can do this in the examination room. If you’re a truck driver, you might want to stand in front of your rig. Just make sure you’ve got an interesting backdrop for your videos that suits your subject matter. Whatever you do – just get started. Video content is powerful, it’s quick and it’s inexpensive.

Oh, and for this exercise, it’s best if you have two people speaking. Kind of like a back and forth, Q&A type thing.


Upload and embed your videos

Take each video you record and upload it to Youtube. Of course, you’ll want to edit it first, but once you’ve uploaded it to Youtube, then go about embedding it on your site. Once you’ve embedded the video, have the video transcribed and publish that transcription on the page. This gives you video content, as well as written content, which is great for SEO.

Strip out the audio

Take the audio from the video, and convert it to a podcast. You can then share this audio on sites like iTunes, or Soundcloud. In any case, you’re leveraging existing content into a different medium that gives it a much broader coverage.

Share the written content

Slam some images and links in the written text, convert it to PDF, and then share it on sites like docstoc and Another great way to further spread the same piece of content.

Get social

Then of course, share your sites blog video/transcribed content to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Reddit etc. Syndicate out, bring traffic back.

Email your list

Don’t forget to let your list know that you have a new piece of content that they’ll love. You have an email list, right?

What does this achieve?

It allows you to build an audience, that has absolutely no dependency on Google whatsoever. You’ll have traffic coming in from other sources, which is the whole point of the exercise.

How long would this take?

Shooting a video takes 20 minutes. It really is one of the fastest ways to generate content. However, doing all the other stuff takes some time, but consider paying someone to take care of it for you. You’ll want to focus on doing what you should be doing – not sitting around editing videos.

How much would it cost?

Bugger all. Just some of your time and maybe a few hundreds dollars here and there. It’s certainly going to be much cheaper than losing all of your traffic overnight because you ignored my advice.


“This is all nonsense. I can’t see how this is going to bring me any customers”.

Think about this.

Lets say you do this for a year, and let’s say that with each piece of content you create, it helps bring visitors to your website. Let’s have a look at some conservative figures below…

  • Youtube – 450 a month
  • iTunes – 1,000 a month
  • PDF sharing sites – 150 a month
  • Email list – 500 a month
  • Social 2,500 a month

That equates to 4,600 visitors a month, OR 55,200 visitors per year – and they’re just rough figures off the top of my head.

How much more money could your site make with an additional 55,200 visitors or more per year? Heck, even if it was half that, that would still be great, right?

Of course it would.

Like I said, this is a very simplistic break down of what’s possible (there are hundreds of different alternatives). In any case, what’s important is that you just get started.

Don’t sit back while you’re raking in Google traffic. Do something now. Not when it’s too late. Be proactive, not reactive.

4 thoughts on “So You Lost Your First Page Rankings in Google, Now What?”

  1. Hey John,

    This really is some useful information you’ve given. And I know this for a fact, because as I read, I notice that the “gold” of this article are techniques you apply to your very own setup.

    Embedded Videos, Transcripts, Email Marketing, among more!

    Not limiting yourself is key.. And I’m coming to realize that it’s really the art of learning the balance (when and where to spend your efforts and/or outsource, etc.)

    That’s what I’m finding most difficult with my new online marketing business. There are so many avenues to cover when Part-Time is only a reality.

    Anyway, I’ve been a long-time subscriber to you among others and now I thank you for helping push me to start. You can read all you want, but I get the fact that you truly learn all of this by trial.

    That said, do you have any articles you can link me on the subject of split testing? Keep it up!

  2. Hi Matt, thanks for kind words mate, appreciate it.

    I don’t currently have anything on the subject of split testing, however, I’d be happy to put something together that would benefit everyone. What were you after exactly?

  3. Hi John,

    In my industry, what the pros seem to do so much well is to track everything they do. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. In theory it makes sense.

    But how does one go about setting up a “campaign” like this. Which variables should be tested & how to go about doing it?


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