Consider this scenario: Your website has been enjoying high SEO rankings. Like a responsible business owner, you check the analytics one day.
Instead of good news, though, you find your rankings have suddenly dropped. First, breathe. Do not panic. There are several reasons why this could have happened.
The good news is that you can take action to fix any gaps or problems and boost your rankings once again.
Before you can do anything though, you need to know what happened. Below are eight simple steps for diagnosing and repairing sudden drops in your SEO rankings.
1. Check Google Search Console
Google Search Console lets you check and repair your website from one online starting point. It provides statistics that can help you determine changes in various areas of your analytics and the first place to check for crawl errors or any flags on your website.
Repair it: If you see notices from Google here, take care of the indicated problems.
2. Check for Updates to Google
Google updates can affect your rankings. Google frequently changes its search algorithms and this can cause SEO rankings to drop.
Often, the drops will rise and hold steady again. Look for the date your website’s ranking fell, and if Google updated its search processes on or shortly after this date. Those changes could be the reason for the fall.
Repair it: If you think a Google update may have caused your site’s ranking to fall, revise and update your website to meet the criteria targeted.
3. Look for Changes in Search Patterns
The public that uses search engines can be fickle. Ultimately, what people search for controls your rankings.
If people are not looking for what you are selling or have emphasized on your website, Google will not rank it high in search results.
Repair it: Check for the most popular keywords and searches using Google Trends. You can also check social media for trending topics.
Also, create a subtle urgency in consumers to buy your products or services by pointing out the problems your brand solves. Ultimately, you should be selling a solution.
4. Search for Lost Links
If you are wondering why your rankings have dropped, links or the lack of them could be the culprits. Review your backlink profile and check for missing or lost links on your website.
Repair it: Contact those who initially provided backlinks to see if you can get them back. If that source removed links to your site and linked to another website, determine what you can do to make your site more attractive and reach out to them.
5. Check for Coding Mistakes
If your website has HTML coding mistakes, search engine crawlers will not be able to find it and index it. This means nobody will know about the great things you have to offer.
If you have code that is broken, weak canonical tags, missing index tags, or no robots.txt file, your rankings could drop.
Repair it: Search Engine Spider tools help you pinpoint website coding errors. Some free tools are available, but they are not necessarily updated with the latest algorithm changes.
6. Confirm Your Site Traffic is Actually Decreasing
Even the best tools are not always precise. You need to confirm that your website is indeed losing traffic.
Repair it: Use an analytics tool to check that organic, natural traffic is decreasing. The numbers will generally fluctuate, but a sharp drop that does not rise again indicates a problem.
Using several analytics tools can give you peace of mind about the accuracy of results. For example, you could combine Google Analytics and Google Search Console with tools from Moz and SEMrush.
7. Look for Changes to the Page
Did you make any changes to one of your web pages such as:
- Did you change the URL?
- Have you removed keywords or changed the density of keywords?
- Can Google access your site?
If yes, it could be the cause of a drop in traffic. Any changes to a web page can cause a drop in traffic.
Repair it: Check Google Console to make sure the search engine can crawl your entire site. Fix any problems noted.
See if you can change your URL back. If not, ensure that the old URL is redirecting visitors to your new URL. Try returning any altered text to its original state.
8. Make Sure Your Site Is Functioning
Visit your website and make sure it is fully operational. Make sure your site has not been hit by a cyberattack that renders it useless.
Repair it: If your domain or hosting expired, renew them. Multiple factors can cause improper website displays, so this is a process of elimination.
It could be a problem with your host or possibly incompatibility with specific browsers.
High SEO rankings are essential to businesses of all sizes. If they should plunge suddenly, you might be inclined to panic.
Above are simple steps to take that may very well solve problems that caused your rankings to drop.
If you approach the situation with coordinated actions, you will quickly get your site back up in the rankings.