Decoding Your Domain’s Ranking Drop
We all recognize that marketing in the 21st century relies heavily on getting traffic to your business’ online domain, and that the best way to get that traffic is by appearing early in a Google search. In other words, you want your domain to have a high ranking.
Rank tracking software allows you to keep tabs on how high you appear in online search results, more formally known as your domain ranking. Tracking alone won’t ensure a high ranking, and Google’s ever-changing algorithms can cause a lot of frustration. If you notice your ranking dropping, take a couple of moments to rage against the search engine overlords, and then focus on finding the reason for the drop so you can respond appropriately.
AN ALGORITHMIC SHIFT
Your domain ranking might shift if Google changes their algorithm. Look for news about recent changes on websites that are devoted to tracking the algorithms. More importantly, remember that in the larger scheme of SEO, a comprehensive and long-term strategy is the most important way to ensure the high ranking of your domain. If you’ve done your research into quality link building and have implemented a plan based off of that, then you may just need to wait until the rankings adjust accordingly. There are a few specific reasons that your ranking might drop or be lower than you want. Addressing these problem areas will substantially improve your visibility.
A LACK OF QUALITY CONTENT
The Google bots that crawl the Internet ensure the quality and relevance of the content their users see. Therefore, you need to consistently produce high-quality on-site content. Your on-site efforts should be complementary to your link building campaign, as it is just as important to establish yourself as an expert in your industry as it is to appear in search results. A visitor to your site should see more than just products and services–they need to see informative and relevant content content. Essentially, you need to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Writing a relevant and well-researched article or creating an interactive infographic will help to retain users and will ultimately create more conversions for your domain (and thus increase your ranking in the SERP).
Just as the content on your site will be scrutinized for quality, the actual format and design of your overall site may be affecting your ranking as well. Format all of your metadata properly, including your meta tags and H1 and H2 tags. When implemented properly, these elements provide information to Google that verifies your authority and relevance. Your consistent upkeep of these on-site optimizations will undoubtedly help to stabilize your position in the rankings–and keep you appearing high up on search results.
A LACK OF QUALITY LINKS
Just as your on-site content must be of quality, any links out there that to your site must be high-quality as well. While we already know that Google highly values links, it’s important to keep in mind that not all links are equal. There are many unscrupulous link building services that create a large volume of low-quality links for cheap prices, but this is an incredibly short-sighted approach that ultimately gets penalized by Google. To be certain that your agency is providing a high value link, be sure to thoroughly research and verify the work that they have produced. If you purchased spammy backlinks in the past, your domain may have been coasting on a short-term rise before it was then crawled by Google and penalized–resulting in the drop you are currently experiencing.
Additionally, it’s important to monitor your backlinks, as some publishers may directly, or inadvertently, remove them. Using a quality service that can track any newly acquired, lost, or broken links can help you monitor the overall strength of your backlink profile.
THE EFFORTS OF YOUR COMPETITORS
It’s important to understand that you may not be the only person in your industry who is proactively strengthening your domain’s position. Your competitors could potentially be taking a more aggressive approach, so its of the utmost importance that you figure out what that approach is and how best to counter it. There is no generic outline for the best approach, as tactics also vary across industry. u today, you can develop and perfect your own optimization strategy within a few weeks. If you maintain your comprehensive tactics and remain consistent with the creation of rich and relevant content, you will likely rise again in the rankings.
SEO IS A JOURNEY
Anyone who knows much about search engine optimization (SEO) will know that a domain’s rank will fluctuate. Short-term fluctuations are a common and relatively minor concern. You will probably never remain permanently on top of the SERP rankings, because SEO isn’t a race with a clear start and finish (nor is it one with a clear winner). It’s more like a spirited game of King of the Mountain, where everyone is fighting their way to the top in the attempt to dethrone the current king–in perpetuity.
Sometimes tweaking an insignificant aspect of your campaign can appear to be penalized by Google, which makes it difficult to discern which efforts are successful and which aren’t. And since Google controls the majority of the market (around 65 percent), this uncertainty can quickly become problematic. That being said, it’s important to make an effort to investigate the drop before making any drastic changes, as hasty tweaks to your strategy can cause you to actually be penalized.
Sustained ratings drops, on the other hand, are significantly more troubling than a few short-term fluctuations. So if you see your ranking go down, make sure it’s a pattern, rather than a fluke.
Check your traffic and related metrics to search for other possible influences besides a penalization. If you’ve made any recent changes to your search strategy, this may be the cause for the dip. If the changes were well-researched and followed comprehensive methods, then the drop should level out with time. Think of it like the stock market: One bad day may be a slight cause for concern, but the biggest consideration should be the overall picture.
But if some time has passed and you’re confident that the drop is not just a blip, you’re going to have to do a bit of research to find the cause.
Although the rankings game is a puzzle, it’s definitely not an unsolvable one. You may have to rearrange a few pieces, but if you dedicate yourself to a solid strategy, focus on your goals, and have patience, you can maintain an SEO strategy that is successful.