I thought I would delve into search engine rankings a bit. What prompted this post was the obvious distress by one of the members for losing her ranking on Yahoo. First, let me specify that I am going to stating some things in a generic terms, because each engine does look for specific things in their ranking algos. Can't you have good rankings on all three? Of course you can. It just doesn't happen all that often!
Of the big three engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN, Google is probably the most stable as far as results are concerned. If you manage to get a good ranking on google for a term, you generally don't move all that much if you are maintaining your site. By that, I mean getting new links (not a lot but some) and adding new content. Yahoo and MSN's results vary a lot more. Probably the biggest yoo yoo in results is MSN. One day you could be number one, the next your at number 50. Their algo changes are very, very big. Yahoo is very similar, to a smaller extent. Its been my experience that Yahoo likes a lot of the same things as google, but not all. Yahoo also seems to find duplicate content and is quicker to penalize a site than the other two engines. One thing that will get you kicked from Yahoo is a lot of interlinking. Too many reciprocal links with other sites can get you banned from yahoo, although there are some mitigating reasons which I'll go into at another time.
The best thing you can do in the fast of a ranking drop is to keep promoting your site in the traditional ways. Getting new relevant links to it and above all else, adding fresh content. Sometimes ranking drops are nothing more than a hiccup if you will, and sites soon return to their original place. If after a week or so you don't see your rankings return, it probably means that a significant algorithm change has been made. Take a look at the sites that are now ranking for that term. Sometimes algo changes are just reversals back to prior algos and not all rankings are actually valid. A good example would be a site using "black hat" techniques. If they re-appear, the odds are good they won't be staying for long. In order to regain your ranking, you may need to taylor your site more towards that term. There are several ways to do that, like adding more content about that specific terms or gain links with that anchor text from relevant, trusted sites. In the ranking game, sure and steady wins the race. -Charles