All businesses ride a rollercoaster of successes and failures, with some highs and lows being more intense than others. But, whilst the majority of these changes are to be expected, when it comes to Google rankings, we do have ways to control what happens.
Google rankings are absolutely vital to your business’s success, and if they drop or suffer a hit, you may see failures on the rise instead. Traffic is directly impacted by Google rankings, and as rankings go down, so can your traffic, leading to a lack of engagement, conversion and ultimately, revenue.
But if you find yourself looking for answers as to why my Google rankings dropped, then you’re on the right track. The first step to solving it is spotting it, and any unexpected Google rankings drop needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
So why have your Google rankings dropped?
We’ve taken away the mystery behind these worrying developments in this article so you can quickly figure out the problem and focus on resolving it. We’ll talk you through the following nine potential reasons why:
- Data inaccuracies
- Google penalties
- Indexing issues
- Competitors upped their game
- Lost backlinks
- SERP changes
- Algorithm updates
- Website changes
- Toxic backlinks
1. DATA INACCURACIES
Having all the facts to hand is essential before tackling any problem, especially when dealing with SEO traffic drops and ranking changes or if your Google rankings dropped.
To do this though, you’ll need to review the data you have to confirm that it’s accurate. Without this step, you may be chasing an issue that doesn’t exist, or worse, missing one that does. Instead, take some extra time to check time spans, statistics and deeper details such as page types and platforms.
Taking these extra steps can rule out any regular fluctuations and help you to understand if these deviations are just expected changes based on predicted trajectories.
2. GOOGLE PENALTIES
Another reason your Google rankings dropped is due to Google penalties. Now, Google penalties have a scary-sounding name, and that’s for a good reason. They’re a serious issue and need immediate and urgent attention from experts.
But what is a Google penalty? Well, the punishment handed out by the search engine is a response to websites whose content isn’t falling in line with Google’s marketing practices. There are two different types of Google penalties to be aware of and to take very seriously:
Google Manual Penalty
Issued by human reviewers, Google will dish out a manual penalty to sites that have been reviewed and found to have not been complying with Google’s guidelines.
Google Algorithmic Penalty
Algorithm penalties are a penalty administered to a site when Google’s algorithm spots a feature that goes against Google’s guidelines. This kind of penalty has no manual processing and can’t be removed during a manual review either.
3. INDEXING ISSUES
Reviewing your website’s pages and confirming that every single one has been indexed is the next step to figuring out why your Google rankings dropped.
It’s not just user experience or how mobile friendly your site is that impacts how likely Google will not be much less likely to recommend your website. It will also take into consideration websites that have pages that aren’t indexed, so check on SERPs to see where the website’s page is coming up in users’ searches. Simply search for a site to quickly check if your website is still indexed.
Still not sure? It’s time to review your Google Search Console. The SC will report on any crawling and indexing issues on your website, so this is a quick and easy way to spot a problem that needs to be solved.
4. COMPETITORS UPPED THEIR GAME
Sometimes, we have to take inspiration from those we’re trying to beat. Our competitors might not always be on our good side, but if they have upped their game, this could be the reason you’ve notice that your Google rankings dropped.
Perhaps your competitors have launched a new SEO campaign, or they’ve made some instrumental changes that have passed you by. We recommend going undercover and checking on your competitors to see what they’re ranking for.
Grab some ideas on terms they’re using to rank, see if they’ve got a certain structure or heading options that you’re missing and give them a go! It might just give you the boost you’re looking for.
5. LOST BACKLINKS
If you’ve notice Google rankings dropped, the TSCA team suggests turning your attention to your website’s backlink profile.
Backlinks are a very important part of any SEO campaign and are fundamental to maintaining the overall health of a site. Having a backlink profile made up of plenty of good quality backlinks will boost rankings, but if they’re lost, it can knock your website back down to the bottom of the rankings.
Check on your backlink profile using a tool such as AHREFS to locate any lost links and get in touch with the websites to have those links restored. We also suggest using these tools to set alerts up to notify you of lost links as and when they happen to avoid future Google ranking drops.
6. SERP CHANGES
When users search for something using Google and where you land on the results page dictates how many people will see your business and what it has to offer.
However, Google’s constantly changing algorithm means that SERPs are continually changing, so you have to stay on the ball. This also means if the algorithm changes, you can expect that your Google rankings dropped in response, so this is an important aspect to check if you have any concerns.
Also, if you spot a specific type of result featuring higher up in the SERPs, take the opportunity to try it out yourself. For example, if you’re seeing video snippets featuring highly in search results, begin optimising your video content to beat your competitors.
7. ALGORITHM UPDATES
Continuing from SERP changes, while the larger algorithm changes happen during core updates twice a year, Google is still constantly updating and making small tweaks throughout the year.
These are usually announced after the rollout, and if you’ve notice that your Google rankings dropped over time, they’re a good place to see if the update has positively or negatively impacted your website’s rankings.
From here you can identify the elements that may have impacted your rankings and begin making the changes necessary to improve your rankings and bring your site back up to its usual standard (or better)!
8. WEBSITE CHANGES
Often, a whole team of SEO professionals are working on a website at the same time, making changes, adding and taking away features, all in the hopes of improving the website’s performance.
However, over time, if a lot of pages have been reworked, links have become outdated, new content has been added or a redesign is launched, or just general technical issues occur, a fluctuation in your Google rankings can be seen.
This isn’t always going to be permanent, but if your rankings don’t then rise back up, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. It’s important to communicate with your wider SEO team to identify any potential mistakes that have been made and reference our other tips to continue searching for the reason why your Google rankings are dropping.
9. TOXIC BACKLINKS
We know the value of backlinks to your website is high and usually has a huge impact on the outcome of any SEO or digital marketing campaign and how high your business will rank in the SERPs.
However, not all backlinks are good for your website, and toxic backlinks pointing back to your website can be incredibly harmful and may be the reason you see your Google rankings dropped.
These toxic backlinks to your site are harmful if they seem intentional and plentiful. So, whilst spammy backlinks don’t contribute anything, they also don’t hurt unless there’s clear malicious intent. For example, consistently buying 100,000 blog comments every month.
What’s more, disavowing those spammy backlinks may even have a negative impact on your SEO performance, so be careful with how often you do this and what sites you choose to disavow.
Get in touch with TSCA today!
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