Imagine waking up to a ranking report that has dropped drastically. You have struggled hard to get to the top 10 or the top 50, and suddenly, you see your business/company out of the league – it could be a nightmare for anyone. But you don’t have to panic or stress. This is not a very uncommon situation and should be handled with poise. Here, we present some SEO tips to analyze the reasons for the drop in rankings and how you can fix them.
Why did your ranking drop?
The good news is that you are still on the search results, but maybe your page just dropped from the search engine index. This could be a technical issue or a manual error. Let us find out basic reasons why your page ranking dropped and why you should use SEO services to fix them:
If a Google reviewer determines that a page on your site does not meet Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, the manual penalty will be attributed. There are many reasons for Google’s manual penalties, like:
- The website has been hacked or contains user-generated spam
- If your site has poor content, unnatural backlinks, or hidden content (cloaking).
If overnight, you see a significant drop in your site rankings, seek suggestions from Google and look for the issue that may have affected your entire site or a specific page/subdomain. This is what you should do:
- Accurately identify what affected your website.
- If it’s an on-page issue, we can easily estimate the hazard using the appropriate technologies.
- Analyze if the reason is algorithm changes or false link buildings.
- If you cannot identify the Google penalty, then you must check for other violations and SEO tips.
2. Algorithm updates by Google
Google Algorithms can affect your website’s ranking in two ways – If it’s a newly introduced algorithm or if it’s an update of an older version. Each algorithm introduced by Google search considers over 200 factors to rank websites.
- You must keep a keen eye on Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms which are updated more often and form a relevant part of the core search engine algorithms.
- Besides checking the update, you must reconsider the use of keywords, the purpose of your search, create quality links, and work on providing a relevant user experience.
- Keep a stringent check on search engine news and see if other websites have experienced the same issue
- Always remember that any kind of an update related to a search engine or google algorithms is a niche and may affect several websites if not adhered to.
3. Competitors outperform you on Google
You are doing the right thing, but your site’s ranking can drop if other sites surpass you. Check your competitor’s google rankings which may have just improved, causing a dramatic drop in your rankings.
Take out the time and investigate the recent activities of your competitors. Compare the rankings of your competitors with yours, using the Rank Tracker SERP history.
- If looking at history, you see several positions that were owned by you, now overtaken by your competitors, you must thoroughly probe into the changes and consider making some strong transformations to your website.
- If the tweaks are minor related to multiple moves or new sites, then consider it a temporary change that may soon subside.
- Use SEO Competitor Analysis to analyze how your competitor outperforms you – is it by using many keywords, a technical optimization, or improvement in backlink profile size and quality.
- Competitors could be updating their web pages, optimizing content and use of keywords, or changing HTML tags, descriptions, titles, or headlines.
- Compare their web pages with your own and borrow ideas by performing both, on-page and off-page audits.
- Adjust your strategy accordingly.
Losing an existing high-quality backlink can slow performance and lower your site’s rankings. 91% of webpages are devoid of organic traffic from Google if they don’t have backlinks. Check the Lost Backlink History to assess the status of your backlinks that may have caused the problem. Check the date of last discovery to see the status of the lost backlink, and you can contact your webmaster or check with social media updates on the same to immediately sort this matter.
5. Website changes
If you make significant changes to your website like CMS changes, a complete redesign, or if you switch to HTTPS, it may affect your ranking. Small oversights can seriously impact SEO performance and result in degradation.
- Use the Google Search Console and check website modification dates to confirm your suspicion.
- Check error reports and warnings to see issues that have occurred on your website since the changes were implemented.
- Before and after you make in-place changes, check if the site is giving you an error.
Fortunately, these issues can be fixed as Google helps you to detect redirect chains, crawling and indexing issues, HTTPS issues, and other technical issues that may be caused due to website changes.
6. Changes in user behavior
Customer behavioral indicators or a drop in CTR can massively influence rankings. Use the Performance tab in Google Search Console to check these metrics. You can figure out the changes in customer preference on the whole site, or a specific page or query.
- A drop in CTR could mean that your page isn’t as enterprising as it was earlier.
- It could also mean that your competitors are doing a better job than you in maintaining their customers or in attracting your audience.
7. Your query intent could be changed.
To fix this issue, you may need to invest your time and focus on analyzing the needs of your audience.
- You can start by tweaking your schema mark-up, title, and meta description,
- PPC is a good CTR hack, and this can help you check how effective your A / B testing is.
- Check for variations in Google Ads and analyze how these affect your CTR. Allow those insights to be applied to your organic listings.
- Look for patterns in your optimization efforts and note down the tactics that work best for your site.
8. Cannibalism of SEM traffic
Organic search leads to SEO traffic, whereas paid ads lead to SEM traffic, and both can affect each other. If you are using the same set of keywords for both, it can affect your rankings and cause confusion between the two. You must let go of the PPC campaigns for such issues, as you must not pay for something that you can get for free. Use different strategies for both, SEO and SEM campaigns; else, it may hurt your page rankings.
9. Mobile-First Index Search engines
Mobile-enabled websites are on high priority in Google rankings, which can cause the page rankings to drop or a sudden variation in your SEO traffic. If your competitor has optimized his website for mobile devices, it will certainly outperform your ranking.
- Use Google Analytics to filter traffic on your device and to check if your website is mobile-friendly.
- Use the rank tracker to see if there is a big difference between the keywords that are attracting desktop and mobile visitors.
- Check the auditor’s page on your website to check mobile-friendliness.
10. SERP changes
Google is constantly changing Search Engine Results Pages, including Q & A sections, reviews and testimonials, knowledge panels, video marketing, product pages, and classified ads.
- Check these SERP changes to see if you’ve been the victim of such an improvement
- Use the Rank Tracker and refer to the SERP Analysis. You will see a list of SERP improvements that you can compare to your ranking changes.
- Use structured usage, enhance your data, entail rich features to get your Google ranking back on track.
How can you deal with this?
Certain things to check to maintain your Google Ranking:
- Check the reasons for a drop in your Google Ranking
Did your Google ranking drop? Find out using a ranking tracker to check whether the reported rankings are valid or just misplaced
- Use rank tracking for the most important keywords and the validity of your main account.
- Use analytics, to see that Google’s rankings and organic traffic are down.
- If you see a decline in the ranking – don’t panic! It is not the end of the world and it has a solution. Measure the reasons using the above-mentioned list and analyze the reason. Don’t indiscriminately press buttons to make things worse.
- Analyze the drop
Ideally, you must check your website rankings daily to check for algorithm changes and to see if there is any modification in your site’s performance. You can either check it manually or use settings to be notified through email or a message about the drop in your rankings. Categorize your rankings, and check for fluctuations (it’s normal to be a point up or down), but a sudden drop can be hazardous.
- Keep working on your website
You must spend time decorating, polishing, and improving your site. Check for design, use of keywords, user experience, mobile-friendliness, and speed that lead to high-performing and high-ranking websites. Here are some ideas that you can incorporate:
- A Mobile-friendly design is important as there are more Google searches performed on mobile than on desktop.
- Focus on User experience (UX)
- Check for speed as the customers expect to load your site in less than 2 seconds. Speeding up your website is a long-term strategy.
- Start adding compression and analyze the myriad of factors that can slow down your website.
- Don’t forget the content – Keep it up to date, use commonly searched keywords with similar, longer ending terms, add relevant stuff, let the keywords flow naturally and meaningfully, and remember you are creating content for your users and and not for Google.
- Monitor ranking improvements
If your rankings drop, despite taking relevant measures, you must supervise the ranking improvements more diligently. Even if you see improvements, you must strictly keep a vigilant eye, to maintain them.
- Even for a minor drop, you must immediately identify the cause and fix the problem.
- Examine recent changes made to your site, and check their effect on your rankings
- Examine changes made by Google and their effect on your site.
- Check Competitor changes and see how you can better your techniques to significantly improve your rankings
- Customize your strategy to Google’s new standards and create your page better.
This is the ever-changing world of SEO, and a drop in your site rankings is normal. Just don’t ignore it and identify the possible reasons for the drop and fix these issues. You can modify the track monitoring to your website content and technology infrastructure. You can easily recover from the drop in ranking by trying these strategies and using the above-mentioned tips. Simply maintain a great website that users love, and monitor your rankings frequently.