You never know what’s going to happen to your website ranking. That’s only unpredictable. Today you might be just on top but jut tomorrow you can drop to some depth.
Google is not going to ask you or inform you of any major algorithm change. You won’t even know when it decides to betray you and you just get down the list you worked months and years to climb. And that’s not just a single cause. Th reason might even be poor content or hackers.
So here I tell you what to do to bounce back immediately after falling immediately.
1. Is there a manual penalty?
The first thing you got to check is any manual penalty. Google may have penalised some of your pages or the entire website. But you don’t have to be a James Bond to find that out. Google informs you in detail.
Solution: Whenever Google penalises even a single page of your website, it drops you a note in Webmaster Tools. Now, if the penalty is due to any manual action, you cannot get rid of it. The best way is to delete the whole page and add a new one. If you find your Webmaster Tools without any penalty message, you’re good there. Now check the next thing.
2. Is there any change in Google’s algorithm?
You don’t have just to start your complete on-page and off page at once when it happens. The reason for the rank drop can be the boss itself, the Google.
Th reasons have a wide range. It could be Google’s experiment on your site, or there might be a slight error in your ranking tracker. So if you don’t succeed in figuring out the real cause, you’ll be spending a lot of hours and money and get nothing.
Solution: Start with your Analytics. Sort out the affected pages. Then investigate the full traffic stats of these for over a period. Find comparables and differences of those pages and list the possible reasons for the effect. Match the data on Google Search Console emphasising on clicks and impressions. Also, check the average position for a particular group of keywords. Then examine the performance of targeted keywords. Best tooL data analysis tools would be Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker, Barracuda, and Stat.
Note: Substantial drops in GA, Google Search Console and search results might indicate algorithm change. Also, see if any other SEO expert has the same complaint.
3. Analyse your backlinks
Quality Backlinks are the basis of a great ranking. So when one of your best sources stops providing backlinks, the result would be bad.
So to find that out you can have the assistance of link analysis tools like Ahrefs and Majestic SEO. Integrate the results of both for better understanding. So now you have to check whether you suffered comprehensive link drop or just for some of the pages or your links are removed from a site or related sites.
Solution: Now that you have placed the issue, check every affected page and every element of those pages. Also, list other pages linked to affected ones. Use Screaming Frog SEO spider tool. Now you have the list of pages, so find out why they stopped sending backlinks to you. Do the needful and get the issues sorted out.
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4. Content Audit
Content is the biggest deciding factor for your website rank. Google wants its users to land on the right pages, and your content decides the quality of your pages. Also, visitors on your site come for content and convert only when they get what they searched for. Plagiarised content can ruin your rank badly. So check your content on a plagiarism checker to find out about any such pieces. You can use Viper, Quetext, or Plagiarisma.
Solution: If you have found your content on any other website you need to respond asap. You can request that site owner or even the hosting provider to remove the piece. If that doesn’t work, you can sue either of them or both. And if you decide to do not even that, simply update your own piece to make it unique.
5. Build and function
Google hates the website that is cumbersome because it knows people won’t like it as well. You need to keep it well updated all the time. So while your ranks drops and above factors aren’t responsible, check the build and structure of your website. Get your UI and UEX designers up for the task. Let them see the whole structure of your website.
Solution: You shouldn’t be making any change to your well-ranked website without any SEO idea behind it. Even the slightest of changes matter. If your rank drops due to the build and functionality of your site, you would not even be able to figure that out. Make sure if someone has done any small or big accidental or intentional change to the website be it to the URL content addition of popup or whatever.
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6. Review Your Codes
A rank drop can even be a developer’s crime. So it’s recommended for the websites that are frequently updated to have a dev version. This would test the working and effect of any new feature before getting added to the live site. Dev blocks the indexing of duplicate pages. So your developer might sometimes just forget to provide robots.txt access and the whole page or feature may stay hidden for the search bots. Also, they might forget to index and follow anything new added to the site. They might even place the 301 redirect incorrectly. And the result, rank drop.
Solution: So to prevent such happenings, check your .htaccess and robots.txt files set up after every new addition to the website. Check your website for any SEO related mistakes after every update of codes. Also, get your 301 redirect placed by and expert.
7. Competitor Analysis
Sometimes the reason can be other than your mistake and Google changes. This can also be due to the act of your competitors. If your peers do something great with their sites and grow stronger, your ranking will have an adverse effect. So you need to be careful when your competitors get more power.
Solution: To avoid surprises, it’s recommended to keep track of your competitors. If you can pay for a tool, Versionista can be handy. Analyse your traffic and engagement with SimilarWeb, Analyse backlinks and content with Ahrefs and check social media stats at BuzzSumo. Check the top performing traffic sources. Check out about any SEO changes that positively affected their site. So if you get to know what played well for them, you can implement the same. Not necessarily but most probably, that would work for you as well.
An immediate rank drop can be a disaster, and you should always be ready with your disaster management and relief teams. With experts working on the above things, you sure can place the issue well and eradicate it pretty soon. Hope you get the benefits of this discussion.
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