Search engine optimization is vital to businesses that want to build a strong online presence. Although it sounds simple, reaching the top of search rankings is much trickier than you may think. You need to be one step ahead of the competitors and follow the latest algorithms and trends, even as you ensure that your site delivers the best experiences to the visitors. Ranking drops are daunting for marketers and website owners who invest such consistent hard work to get the site to the top.
After all, it can take months and years of optimization to reach there and a drop can be deadly. While you will probably lose loads of daily traffic, the bigger concern is recovery. Even a small decline should be taken seriously and warrants immediate action. Before explaining the tactics to deal with the situation, you need it to understand why it may happen in the first place. Let us explain the causes, preventive measures, and recovery tactics to deal with ranking loss.
Possible reasons for ranking drops
Before you consider the resolution of the lost ranking problem, you will have to understand the cause. And even if you are doing well, it is still worth being aware of the possible reasons for the sudden ranking decline. Here are the most common ones that you must know about:
- You may fall from the top positions simply because your competitors got ahead of you. The drop in such cases is often slight initially but it can continue to fall steadily if you fail to take requisite action.
- Technical errors on the website can be a reason for a downturn though fortunately, a majority of issues are easy to handle. These issues may range from slow loading speed to incorrect redirects, page duplicates, and more. Although you may address them quickly, these issues can still cause a significant visitor loss.
- Another possible cause of loss of ranking is manual penalties by search engines. This usually happens when you use questionable link-building practices. While such drops are often major in nature, they come out of the blue when you expect them the least.
- Apart from penalties, search engine updates may also catch you off-guard at any point in time. It is to be noted that such updates have a universal impact and your SERP competitors will also experience a drop.
Preventing SEO ranking drops
Now that you know all about the possible reasons for the downfall of your website, it is important to find ways for preventing it in the first place. Here are the preventive measures you can implement for preserving the position you attain with all the hard work:
- Tracking your competitors should be your top priority. While they can still outrank you, keeping an eye on their website updates, rankings and backlinks profile can definitely give you insights about polishing your tactics. Monitoring their content strategy provides knowledge about the trending topics, keywords and niche-leading sites where you can promote your site for sustainable rankings.
- Invest in regular technical website check-ups to spot on-page issues and fix them before they cause any damage. Issues like HTTP code flaws, broken links, expiration of the SSL certificate, mistakes in .htaccess attributes, expiration of the SSL certificate, etc can affect your rankings overnight. Addressing them on time can save you before anything happens.
- Being mindful about link building is another effective measure to prevent sudden and drastic ranking drops. When it comes to securing inbound links, you need to stick to high-authority, niche-relevant sites for a stronger profile that takes to your site the top. The SEO experts at SEO Jet explain that when creating backlinks, they should be done at random intervals because regularly scheduled new backlinks will look suspicious and unnatural to Google. Such unnatural links are sure to invite penalties, which can push your site down the search rankings suddenly. So it makes sense to steer clear of them.
- Keep a constant track of the latest Google updates and know the latest trends to stick to your position in top searches. Be aware that the drop may be just temporary due to a reason like a seasonal decline. You may expect a temporary downturn after a major change in the code or design of the website.
Recovering from a major ranking drop
Despite the best preventive measures, you may still experience a drastic ranking drop for your website. The most important piece of advice is not to panic. If you have been working consistently with your content creation and backlink building strategies, you will probably recover sooner than you expect. The first step should be to pinpoint the exact reason for the drop and then develop an effective plan for securing your position once again. Starting to fix things without knowing the exact cause often leads to wastage of time, effort, and money. Consider factors like pages or sections affected, the time when the drop occurred, and whether it was bad and abrupt or slight and progressive. Also, checking Google updates will let you know if an algorithmic change there has led to the loss. Visit online forums to look for people experiencing similar issues. Seek expert services of an SEO professional who has ample experience in dealing with such situations.
A sudden drop in your rankings is surely a reason to worry but it is not the end of the world. Timely action and proper strategy can help you handle the toughest of issues effectively and get things back on track. Still, it makes sense to be proactive enough and prevent the problem even before anything goes wrong. Keeping constant track on your website goes a long way in saving it from penalties. Similarly, staying ahead of Google updates covers you to a significant extent. More than anything else, you need to make consistent efforts to improve and optimize your site with the right blend of great content and SEO strategies at all times. Strengthening your core always helps and this is exactly what you need to have on top of your mind.