5 Things to Do When Your SEO Rankings Have Dropped
In today’s digital landscape, search engine optimization (SEO) is quite possibly one of the most crucial strategies in digital marketing. With a thorough SEO strategy, you can effectively target users who are already actively looking for your products or services online. The higher your SEO rankings, the better the chances of attracting the right audience and converting them to sales.
SEO is continually changing, and it always does at a dramatic pace. In fact, Google updates its search algorithm at an average of 500 to 600 times a year. While most of these updates are minor and may not significantly affect your rankings, Google occasionally rolls out major algorithm updates that could massively affect organic search results.
Though ranking fluctuations are inevitable, if you notice a huge drop in your SEO rankings, it’s important to take action and reverse the trend. There are various tools available to check your rankings, including Google Search Console, Stat, Moz, and SEMrush. The good news is that with a few simple optimization strategies, you can safely pump up your rankings in no time. Here are five important things to do when your business website’s SEO rankings have dropped:
1. Check for Google algorithm changes
As mentioned, Google updates their search algorithm multiple times per year as part of their continuing effort to improve search engine results. However, Google is quite subtle in rolling out these updates, and often, some of the algorithm changes are not confirmed nor officially announced by Google.
As a marketer, it’s important to periodically track Google updates. Check SEO blogs such as the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land. It’s also a good idea to follow influencers like Google’s Gary Illyes, Danny Goodwin, and Barry Schwartz on Twitter to get in the loop on breaking developments in SEO.
2. Correct algorithmic penalties
Following a major algorithm update, the drop in your rankings may possibly be a consequence of an algorithmic penalty. Google usually penalizes websites who use SEO techniques that do not comply with their new algorithm updates—or it could also be an intentional negative SEO attack.
Either way, the important thing is to take immediate action to remove the cause. First, you need to know why you were penalized. Google Search Console is the primary way Google communicates with webmasters, including notices about penalties. Check for new messages and the “Manual Actions” section under “Search Traffic,” and follow their recommendations, if any, on how to correct the penalty.
3. Check for errors in Google Search Console
Oftentimes, a drop in SEO rankings could be the result of crawling errors. It’s possible that some of your important pages are being blocked from search bots, interfering with the indexing and visibility of your website.
To check, go to Google Search Console and then under the “Crawl” section, select “Crawl Errors.” Here you will see if there are Site and URL errors, which you will need to fix manually. Once you’ve fixed every error, mark the issues as fixed. Additionally, under “Sitemaps,” check if there are discrepancies with the number of URLs submitted and the number of URLs indexed by Google. If there are discrepancies, you can opt to crawl your site with a scanning software such as Screaming Frog to quickly fix errors.
4. Perform an SEO audit
If you aren’t exactly sure what the problem is, a complete SEO audit can help you see granular data about your website, including information on areas of your site that need improvement. Technical SEO elements such as no index tags, broken links, unoptimized heading tags, incorrect canonical tags, and content that cannot be rendered can have an adverse impact on your ranking performance.
There are various SEO audit tools available for free, or opt for more features at a reasonable price, such as SEMrush, Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer, Moz Pro, and Site Checker Pro. Most of these tools provide suggestions on how to fix errors and to further optimize your site.
5. Check your content
Sometimes, the culprit of a decreased ranking performance is simply your content. It may be that you’re targeting the wrong keywords, your content’s quality isn’t considered valuable, or if you have duplicate content in your site.
A manual analysis of site’s content can help remedy this. If there are pages in your site that have been modified or are outdated, you can ask Google to remove the content. To check for duplicate content, Copyscape is a good tool to use. Google also has a Keyword Planner Tool that can help you determine the right keywords for your site to help it rank well. If the quality of your content doesn’t comply with Google’s content standards, you may want to rewrite it altogether.
Ranking is just one of the many SEO metrics that you need to continually monitor. Other aspects such as website visitor behavior, site structure, online trends, and mobile-responsiveness also need to be taken into account for a solid and successful SEO strategy. The beauty of SEO is that it has trackable and quantifiable metrics that can help you further refine your digital marketing efforts for maximum results.digital marketing, google algorithm, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, SEO, SEO audit, technical seo