Did your Google rankings suddenly drop? Did your website completely disappear from Google's top 10 and top 100 results? You might wonder how this is possible, but yes, it can happen.
It would be best if you acknowledged that it is likely to occur at some point. And as a business owner, you should be prepared to deal with it.
To help you, we will discuss the following topics in this article:
- Why it's crucial to have a high organic ranking
- Find out the cause of your Google ranking drop
- Tips to address your ranking issues
Importance of Organic Search Engine Rankings
Organic search enables people to search for the solution or service you provide but are unaware that you exist to find your content and business.
However, ranking well on the search engine result pages (SERPs) will ultimately determine your success with organic searches. Unquestionably, having a high Google ranking is valuable.
Some businesses have to pay for ads to get the same exposure they're getting organically in the search results pages. Sometimes, the cost goes up to more than $30,000 per month.
But if you rank organically, you do not have to spend that much to be on top of SERPs.
Let's explore some critical aspects that may help explain why your content isn't on Google's first page.
7 Reasons Why Your Site is Experiencing Google Rankings Drop
Before you identify why your Google ranking dropped dramatically, you must first check your data accuracy.
The critical thing you need to double-check when dealing with search engine optimization (SEO) traffic drop and ranking changes is the reliability of your data. You can check Google Search Console to verify the information.
You may compare the statistics by calculating the average variation in SEO traffic. Map your weekly SEO traffic over the last 12 months to know the average deviation.
Tools like the SEOLeverage app can also help you gather insights about your website's SEO rankings and conversions. One of its features is the Update Impact Report, which allows you to see how your pages were affected by the latest Google update.
You can move on to determining the cause when you have confirmed that your site has genuinely stopped ranking.
1) Manual Search Engine Penalty
Manual Google penalty is the first thing to look for if you notice a significant decline in ranks overnight for a substantial number of keywords. Manual Google penalties can happen for various reasons, but the most frequent ones are:
- your site has been hacked
- it has user-generated spam
- unnatural backlinks
- weak content
Google has further information about each type of manual action, including how to handle it.
2) Website Loading Speed
It typically takes five to six seconds for most websites to load on mobile devices. Most likely, it will take three seconds for most site visitors to stay on a page before leaving.
It's vital to remember that Google considers your engagement metrics to assess whether users value your website. Your website's search engine rankings will improve if it appears valuable, and vice versa.
Users won't get a chance to appreciate the value you provide if they don't wait for your website to load, and search engines will probably lower your rankings as a result.
How to Improve a Slow Website
You can use various free online tools, such PageSpeed Insights from Google or Google's mobile speed test, to see how long it takes for your site to load.
Reducing image file sizes, limiting the number of videos on your web pages, and overall lowering the number of HTTP requests for your site can all help with the issue of slow site speed.
If the queries you're attempting to answer are unclear to search engines, it will be difficult for you to rank.
Content needs to be simple enough for visitors to understand your presentation quickly. You can accomplish this by researching the right keywords for your page content.
How to Target the Right Keywords
Start by doing keyword research to ensure you're targeting competitive keywords. Seeing which terms your site presently ranks for might be fascinating.
You can accomplish this by using organic research domain information from a keyword tracking tool.
Since not all keywords are created equal, it's critical to decide which ones to target and which will help your business grow. Remember to use keywords on your headers, titles, and meta descriptions.
Knowing how to refer to your company is insufficient. Consider how your prospects describe your product or service by putting yourself in their shoes. After that, develop a content strategy that incorporates those keywords.
You can enhance your SEO strategies by consulting SEO experts.
4) Website Changes
Your Google search results will undoubtedly be affected if you make significant changes to your site. It can be due to restructuring, switching your CMS, or migrating to HTTPS.
A seemingly insignificant error could have a noticeable negative impact on your SEO performance.
Crawl your website and look for changes in the following areas to double-check whether your content has changed. Some changes that you should look into are the following:
|Technical Changes||Content Changes||Internal Link Structure|
|HTTP status codesCanonical URLMeta robots tagRobots.txtHreflang||TitleMeta descriptionHeadingsBody Content||changes on the homepage linkslinks on authoritative pagessidebar or footer links|
How to Verify if Website Changes Affect Your Rankings
If you've recently made site updates, you can check your Google Search Console data by following these steps:
- Open your Google Search Console
- Select Index
- Click on Coverage
Your suspicion should be confirmed if there is a sudden spike in errors or warnings that coincide with site updates' dates. Check the error report and the various sections to see if there have been any problems since you updated the site.
It's relatively simple to locate the issue and resolve it because Google logs and details any found crawling and indexing problems right there in the Coverage tab.
And as previously mentioned, you can use the SEOLeverage app’s Update Impact Report to analyze any effects that the latest Google update might have had for your website. You’ll also know for which queries you got more or less traffic after the update had finished rolling out.
5) Mobile-First Indexing
Making the website mobile-friendly is something that search engines prioritize highly. Mobile-friendly websites receive far higher priority in Google rankings.
While desktop sites are still competing in the SEO race, the absence of a mobile-friendly version of your website could also be the reason for the sudden shift in your website's rankings.
For instance, one of your competitors might have made their website mobile-friendly and surpassed you in search results on a mobile device.
With Google Analytics, you can filter out your visitors to see whether a decline in your SEO results is related to mobile friendliness.
6) No-Index Tags
A no-index meta tag tells search engine crawlers to ignore a page of your website so they won't crawl and rank it.
If you've had a new website made, developers may have initially added this tag when your site pages were still being created and worked on and then neglected to remove it once you published live for the public to see.
This no-index setting will most likely be helpful for your offers or downloads on thank-you pages.
How to Fix No-Index Tags
Generally speaking, no-index coding should be used only on specified website pages. To confirm your site's situation, do a no-index tag test.
It could explain why it isn't showing up in Google if it has the tag. Remove the tags for that page from the back end of your content management system.
7) Search Engine Marketing Traffic
SEM traffic comes from paid advertisements, but SEO traffic comes from organic search, and one can occasionally obstruct the other.
Your advertising is prioritized in SERPs and quickly takes a large share of traffic from your organic results.
Compare the terms in your pay-per-click (PPC) ads and organic traffic posts. Suspend the PPC campaigns containing any duplicate keywords. Remember, you do not have to spend much if you are ranking organically.
There are numerous reasons why content or a site may not be ranking.
The reasons mentioned above are by no means an exhaustive list of all possible causes for not ranking. For example, there could be severe technical SEO concerns, or your keyword cluster approach could be ineffective.
However, this list should give you a fair idea of where to fill the holes.
Understanding your customers' search intent is essential. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and closely examine your content to determine whether it is more helpful or promotional.
Read it line by line and from the standpoint of a reader, and honestly judge whether it is something users will find helpful.
Once you've established the direction your site should be heading in and the measures you need to take to get there, you've laid the groundwork for your rankings to increase.
Get a personalized SEO plan and the SEOLeverage app to improve your organic traffic and stay on top of the competition.