Truly one of the worst fears of an SEO is realized when rankings of integral keywords start to drop (or drop all at once). It took me a while not to completely panic when this happened to my own experimental websites, and for client websites. There are a lot of scenarios and a lot of reasons….ultimately, a lot of questions you have to ask yourself. Most people have a first reaction in this industry that’s something along the lines of “well duh it has to be a Google algorithm update”, which is true in some instances, but from where I’m standing, doesn’t tank too many websites that quickly unless your SEO is complete crap. So to start, you have to think about two things: did one page lose its rankings while other pages are the same, or is my website losing its rankings overall? Keep in mind if your rankings are slowly dropping (like 1-2 spots a week) this is likely because of a lack of SEO on your site, active SEO from competition, or both.
Fundamentally, there are really a handful of things that cover the reasons why rankings would drop (their inverse being closely related to why they increase):
- The “easy” thing to normally say. It was a Google update! Which isn’t based off of anything we can evaluate since we can’t decipher the algorithm and its description is always vague.
- We made a big update to our website, such as completely revamping the theme, changing the permalink structure, changing the siloing of all content, or switching to a (much) slower server
- You received negative SEO from a competitor, in the form of negative links
- The “Google dance” is going on, and your rankings will bounce back in a few days
The last reason may sound like the least likely, but in all reality, it happens more than people realize especially for rankings for individual keywords/pages.
What to Look For
If your whole website took a hit, you may have problems that affect the overall foundation to your site:
- Excess of plagiarized content
- Links that were once to your website that are now websites that went down, or they point somewhere else
- An excess of links that come from sketchy, unrelated websites or even websites containing gambling/pornographic material
- A link portfolio that has become too excessively comprised of a select few keywords
This will require an in-depth backlink analysis. If malicious links are found, you can go through the disavow process.
If only one page took a hit, I would actually recommend just waiting about 3-7 days before making a move. If you don’t see anything moving back to where it was, you can start reviewing the SEO done on the page, or acknowledge that perhaps some of your competition jumped ahead by being more proactive.
Need additional SEO to get rankings back to where they were before? We can help. Contact the experts at Market My Market today to discuss your situation during a free consultation.