Many people see SEO as a constant development of one’s visibility over time and, for the most part, this is true. However, every SEO agency can tell you there are times when this visibility can change quite rapidly.
Sometimes this is for specific keywords or pages, while other situations might involve an entire website dropping down the search engine results pages (SERPs). Of course, this can cause many webmasters to panic, so what logical steps can be done to help counter any effects?
Check With Google And The Wider SEO Community
First of all, if you’ve seen a noticeable difference in your visibility – one that goes against your current trend – then there may be a clear reason for this. If Google had to issue a penalty, you may have been notified via Webmaster Tools. If so, this will tell you what the problem is, so you can readily fix it and get the penalty lifted.
On the other hand, the change may have been caused by wider changes in a search platform’s algorithm, but these changes aren’t direct penalties and you may not be notified in the traditional manner. Since Google Penguin went granular, for instance, Google has stopped disclosing about updates, so its up to the wider SEO community to investigate.
As such, it never hurts to be aware of the wider SEO world and, when you notice a drop, you should head to the internet to see what other people are saying. You may notice a common trend and, if so, this will indicate the problem.
Analyse Your Own Website
Once you know that there is an issue somewhere on your website, it makes sense to check everywhere else, too. This way, you can confirm if the issue has been replicated on other pages or if it is isolated.
During this time, you can check some basic figures, such as search volumes and traffic flow. If your traffic flow has gone done, but the general search volumes has lowered as well, this would indicate less of a problem on your end (but perhaps you would need to adapt to the shifting nature of the query).
Maybe your website is fine, but your competitor has readily upgraded their own SEO efforts? You can always look at the pages that rank above you. You should be looking for new entries: after all, if you’ve dropped down, someone else is now filling the gap.
Alongside this, there are various tools you can use to check your competitor’s links and content output. You should always know who your competitors are and, here, you can use various tools (such as Ahrefs) to check their new content and compare link profiles. Have they done something recently to overtake you? If so, you now know how to counter it.
What If It’s An Improvement?
Finally, not all news is bad news. There may be times when a sudden change actually results in a net improvement for you. Yet, even here, you still need to determine why this is.
Why? Because if its due to a sudden surge, you should know the reason behind it, as your competition is likely doing the same thing. If its a result of an algorithmic change, then this may be permanent and you should be looking to structure the rest of your website to benefit. If it’s because a higher ranking page suffered a penalty, you should expect that website to come back in the near-future.
So, whether it is good or bad, you should always try and determine what factors caused such a change. If it’s bad, you can fix it and, if its good, you can replicate it.