It goes without saying that the goal of any great SEO service is to improve your visibility on search engines. This is done by improving your position on the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. But what happens if you notice a sudden drop down, rather than up?
While SEO is great at improving your position, there are occasional circumstances that can result in a shift down. If you know how to identify this, this is usually easy to remedy. Here are 5 of the most common causes for a decline in SERPs rankings.
There are many SEO factors that contribute to success but, at the core, is establishing a good base of links. Well linked websites get ranked higher, among other criteria. So, consequently, when links disappear, so too can your own positioning.
There are many tools to fix this. Sometimes you will find that the cause is not actually a dead link but a unique circumstance, such as:
- A major platform has redesigned its website and the links got transferred incorrectly.
- The links are still active, only the hosting platform(s) themselves have lost some of their own domain authority.
- The links have been set to no-follow
If you have a great relationship with these platforms, it can often be easy to re-establish contact. If you don’t, it’s worth looking at the keywords and landing pages that are losing SERPs values, readjusting your ongoing strategy to make up for this shortfall.
Sometimes, new links can actually be harmful to your company. If you start linking to an excessive number of low authority platforms, then Google’s algorithms might start reducing the value of the link juice.
This can be for a number of reasons, including:
- The website has had issues regarding trust and quality in the past. As a result, it might still have penalties from Google
- A large number of links in one instance may cause Google’s algorithms to view it as spam.
- This may also be the case if many of the platforms you link to are closely related, such as with sub-domains or other websites that link very rarely, yet have high links to each other.
Black Hat SEO
When it comes to SEO techniques, there are two main camps: White Hat and Black Hat. Any worthwhile SEO expert will only focus on white hat SEO techniques, working to improve your brand’s recognition.
Black hat SEO, on the other hand, is the opposite. It involves spamming links to a major competitor on low quality websites. If you have access to the right SEO tools, you can track where all of your links are coming from. Look for links you didn’t create yourself. If there is a mass spamming of links, or even large numbers of scripted, automated forum posts, these can tip off potential black tactics. Speak to these websites to remove said links.
The algorithm used by Google – considered by many to be the primary search engine of note – is constantly being changed, updated and tweaked. This, combined with the other points on this list, means that its not unheard of for small penalties to simply appear.
Yet, Google actively notifies websites if you know where to look. To do this, use Google Search Console and look for any new messages. These can also be found in the “Search Traffic” section under “Manual Actions”. This will highlight any penalties, clearly giving you the issue that needs addressing.
Search Behaviour Changes
It’s entirely possible, depending on your niche or keyword, that the behaviour of people searching starts to change. You might notice, for instance, that the keywords you’ve targeted have dropped or even spiked recently. This is often the case when contextual issues take over for a period of time.
If you’re a fashion business, for instance, current news can often get people searching for specific designs, fabrics, names and any other specific criteria. If that’s not your keyword or area, then your own results are going to suffer.
This might be temporary, it might not. The only thing you can do is to look is undertake some keyword analysis, observing how many hits your keywords actually get and look for any noticeable declining results.