Slow death in search engine optimization denotes the gradual disappearance of a website from the search results lists and thus from the index of a search engine. The reasons for a slow death are often not immediately identifiable.
As the name suggests, slow death is a slow and rather insidious development. An alarming first sign may be a continuous drop in visitors from organic search hits, resulting from poorer ranking for your key search terms. This can be verified using common analytical tools such as Google Analytics. Another possible indication for a slow death can be the disappearance of description texts in the search snippets. Google no longer uses description, but only displays the website as a pure URL for hits on subdomains of a domain.
So far, reasons for a slow death are speculative because no reliable sources are known about the causes. In many cases, however, problems with duplicate content are suspected behind a slow death. Similarly, incorrectly created robots.txt files or other blockages can cause search engine crawlers to no longer consider them as relevant. It is also assumed that slow death can occur when a site has been corrupted or hacked, such as for spam purposes.
The following measures can be recommended preventatively to minimize the risk of slow death:
Webmasters should ensure that all their content is kept up-to-date independently of the slow-death prophylaxis. This recommendation applies both to address data and to texts, which have to be adapted to current changes.
If you suspect that your site is affected by slow death, you should act immediately before the domain entirely vanishes from the SERPs. If the website has been suspended from the index, it will take tremendous effort to regain its previous position. Finding the error is the first step. The following questions can help:
If a google penalty is found, the webmaster should also act immediately. In contrast to a slow death, a reconsideration request can be submitted after all errors have been eliminated. It is also a good idea to send the relevant webpages to the Google index after the adjustments have been made. There is a function for this purpose in the Google Search Console. Moreover, the XML Google Sitemap should be updated and submitted again to allow Google to crawl the pages again.