5 Reasons Why Your Ranking Has Dropped
If you’re working to improve your search ranking or maintain a position, there’s always the threat of drastically falling off the list. It might not happen to you but it does happen. You wake up one day and all over a sudden you’ve been stricken of the top 100 list for keywords you seemed to have perfect control over.
So, what could cause such a drop; and what can you do if you were the victim? Below is an explanation:
1. You got a penalty
Google employs human reviewers who determine whether pages on a website are compliant with the search engine’s webmaster quality guidelines. If they conclude that your site has gone against those guidelines, they impose actions that could lead to a significant drop in the rankings.
There are various reasons for manual actions including: The site is hacked, thin content, unnatural backlinks, user-generated spam, and cloaking.
To fix the problem, the first thing to do is identify the cause. In case your site was hacked, Google offers a list of recommendations to help recover. If the penalty was for thin content, evaluate your web content to find and replace duplicate and poorly written content. You can easily find unnatural links because you know when you’ve used black hat techniques to acquire them. If your site is big, it might be harder to track them all and take them down. In such a case, use a backlink monitoring tool. For user-generated spam, find the pages on your website that allow user-generated content and take down the spammy content. In case of cloaking, use the Search Console to ensure that what Google fetches is what it serves to the reader.
2. There was an algorithm update
Your site rankings may be affected when the search engine rolls out a new algorithm or issues a major update to an old one. Additionally, continuous refreshes of the existing algorithm are common and they too can impact your rankings. For Google, the ones to focus on are Penguin and Panda.
If you suspect that an algorithm update has changed your ranking, check the search engine’s news site for any relevant information. If the update has been covered by search news channels it should be easy to find useful information. You can also ask around in SEO communities to see if others have been hit too and what they are doing about it.
3. You lost some quality links
Losing a number of high-quality links can have an impact on your SERP rankings. This can be because the linking website was redesigned, the linking page deleted or the link removed by the website admin.
Losing high-quality links is especially critical if you don’t yet have many of them on your site.
To reclaim a lost link, reach out to the admin and seek to have it back. Depending on the nature of your relationship, a call or quick email might be all it takes. Your chances improve if you reach out not too long after the link has been removed. That’s why you need to constantly monitor your backlinks for any changes.
4. You suffered a negative SEO attack
Negative SEO includes activities that are designed to decrease your website SERP rankings. These activities include building spammy links to the site, content scraping, and hacking. Generally, if you suffer negative SEO someone really wants you to fail.
Such direct attacks by competitors are rare. However, when they happen, the drop is drastic affecting a significant number of keywords. If the attack is based on unnatural backlinks, the best move is to disavow those links and keep a constant watch on your link profile to ensure it doesn’t happen again. In case of content scraping — where they copy your content across various pages on the web so it appears copied itself — report the scraper to Google.
5. You updated your site
Making significant changes to your website such as redesigning, migrating or updating the security can have the undesired and unforeseen result of dropping your rankings. A small mistake can cause a substantial loss in SERP position.
As such, if you’ve recently made changes to your website, look through the Search Console to see any issues that may have been caused by the update. Once you have the problematic URLs, you can use a third party tool to find out exactly where they are and fix or replace them. A regular website audit is important to help stay on toes with any arising issues. Also, if you have to make big changes to your website, make sure you have a clear step-by-step plan of going about it to prevent costly mistakes.
Anyone can get a hit that sees them go back many steps on their SERP position. Knowing how to reclaim a lost position ensures that if it happens you can keep calm and develop a sound strategy.
To prevent any unnecessary drops in ranking, maintain watch over your link profile and conduct regular site audits. This will help you identify issues as they happen and solve them before they are too advanced.
We hope you enjoyed this promoted piece as much as we did!