You used to dominate the results pages, but out of nowhere your rankings dropped and sales dried up. No more targeted traffic, emails and leads. You take a look at your analytics report and you see that steep fall in traffic plotted in the graph. Such a scenario would be any webmaster’s nightmare. But this is how the SEO game goes. Rankings can drop for multiple reasons, and knowing the exact cause is vital in regaining your rankings. Read on to discover the different reasons why rankings change and what you can do about it.
1. Check your content
Everybody seems to be saying that content is kind, and for good reason. Your content has a lot to do with your current rankings. Making even the slightest change to your content can have a huge impact, so take note of all the updates you make on your posts. Usually, the biggest offender is changing your title. Removing even a single word from your title can result to a huge decrease in rankings. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should be applied here.
2. Replace lost links
Links are one of the most important factors used by search algorithms when ranking a certain webpage. Many webmasters simply blast links pointing to their site, but not all of them realize that these links get lost over time. This may be because a website that links to you gets shut down, gets penalized, or simply removes their outgoing links. Blog and forum comments are also notorious for getting removed quickly.
The best course of action is to monitor all the links pointing to your site. There are third party tools that make this a whole lot easier. You will get notified when you lose a link, which should serve as a reminder to build new ones. Also, keep in mind that link building is an on-going process. You can’t just build hundreds of backlinks and expect to maintain your rankings for years to come.
3. Redirect an old URL
Updating a page or post URL can lead to a drop in rankings for that specific web page. This is because all the links pointing to the old URL will not be carried over to the new one unless you redirect it. In general, it isn’t advisable to make changes in your URL; getting it right the first time is key. But if it cannot be helped, be sure to redirect the old URL to the new one so the link value will be transferred to the new URL.
4. Algorithmic changes
You probably know that Google and other search engines update their algorithms hundreds of times each year. One method might be working wonders right now, but it might be a thing of the past once an algorithmic update gets released that specifically addresses the method. It’s a must to stay on top of all the latest changes in the world of SEO as this allows you to see what methods work and what methods should be avoided. In some cases, you might also get slapped by a manual penalty, which is far more difficult to deal with.
5. Competition outranks you
Sometimes, you may be doing everything correctly but you still experience a drop in rankings. If this is the case, it’s time to do some competitive research and evaluate what the competition is doing. There’s a good chance they’re simply outranking your website because they employ more effective SEO strategies. Take a look at what they’re doing and try to intensify your SEO game. The key here is consistency. It might be difficult to outrank a site especially if the webmaster is actively engaged in his SEO campaign, but you should be able to win the battle if you just keep at it.