The first page of Google is a good example of zero-sum competition.
There are only ten free listings and ten paid search listings.
If a page from one website gets on, a page from another website is forced off.
Much to my irritation, Google changed how they ranked websites in the search engine results last April (2012)
In fact I suffered badly.
I swore at Google.
It's only recently that I've realised that my ranking problems aren't all their fault.
You see I did something silly.
I took away a lot of the main categories and posts from the blog side-bar and relied on my blog archives to keep pages indexed.
It didn't work.
I lost page after page from the index because they were stranded. Isolated.
And pages that aren't in the index can't be ranked on page 1 where they get traffic.
And as the blog shrank in the eyes of Google, it lost authority.
This pushed down rankings for pages that were indexed.
Depressing my traffic even further.
I was stupid.
I was so busy blaming Google that I never considered my own culpability.
Because it was "Google's fault", I didn't look for another problem.
I therefore didn't think about any kind of solution.
I waited for Google to realise that their Penguin algorithm change was rubbish.
Then I smartened up.
I started questioning what was happening.
I looked for pages that used to get traffic.
I discovered that the problem wasn't that there were hidden away on page 10, not seen and unloved.
They weren't in the bloody Index.
I feel like an idiot.
But at least I have something to work on that I can control.
I can stop pages being isolated.
I can get them back in the index.
I can hope they get ranked.
At least I'll have given them a sporting chance.
And if they don't rank, I can then look at how I can change to play by the new rules.