In a forum discussion on Reddit last week, Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller made these comments in regard to a website losing search rank because the Google algorithm finds it to be less relevant:
"If the algorithms...just don't find the site as relevant in search anymore (basically changes in how Google does ranking in search), then it's more a matter of improving the site, usually on a broader level. It's like when a radio station no longer plays your music because it's no longer considered great: you don't just change the drum samples, you kinda need to rethink what you're creating overall...
"It can also happen that a site's time / usefulness has just passed. If you have a old-school-phone games website and nobody runs those devices anymore, no amount of tweaking of text on the pages will fix that. Spotting the change in wind before it's too late is a bit of an art, as is moving on in a way that lets you re-use some of your work."
I understand this advice to imply: if your website is losing rank, before getting wrapped up in some complex assortment of little tweaks (aka putting lipstick on a pig), take a hard look at the Big Idea of your website and assess whether or not it still has the appeal to users and customers that it once had. And if it doesn't, find a more relevant new direction and execute updates accordingly before you're faced with having to restart from scratch.
Sounds like good advice. We're all too close to our own websites to notice strategic problems without taking a close, hard look.
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