Examining & Dealing With Ailing Search Engine Rankings.
It’s a nightmare for Orlando SEO companies to deal with. It’s something that many people have experienced. It’s difficult to identify why and leaves webmasters scrambling to find a reason. What are we talking about? Significant decreases in rankings. The first question is always “WHY?” There are several different types of rationales that could enter your head, but in reality, the most important thing you can do is keep calm. Google can smell your desperation. Google will make it harder and harder to replace your rightfully earned positioning the more you struggle. In this case, you should identify why this happened, and generate a solid action plan to restore your visibility. Here we explore the five most common types of ranking drops and how to create a strategy to cope and recuperate from each one.
1. Manual or Site-Wide Penalty Drop
This type of ranking drop is indicated through your Webmaster Tools under Search Traffic > Manual Actions. Google will list any and all penalties against your website. It is up to you to evaluate the penalty and generate a plan around it. The most common penalty is the unnatural link penalty. In this case, you will have to perform a link audit and do everything in you power (and document it) to get the negative, irrelevant links removed. This is not an overnight process. You must show Google that you worked for it. After you’ve done everything you can to remove those links and gathered your documentation, plead your case in a Reconsideration Request Review to Google. Reviews could take up to six weeks to be reviewed by a member of Google’s team. After that, Google will either lift or keep the penalty.
Take Note: Even after the penalty is removed, it will take a long time to get into Google’s good graces again, so be prepared to do some work in order to recover.
2. A Competitor is Outranking You
This type of ranking drop is a difficult one to cope with for a business owner. Even if you’ve only dropped a few positions, seeing a new or old competitor outrank your website is heart-wrenching. The best thing to do is generate a competitive analysis to see what your competitor is doing differently from you. Are they generating more content? Are they more active on social media? Are they building more quality links? Analyze the situation and generate a plan of action.
Take Note: There are particular times when a competitor will use Black Hat SEO tactics for short-term gain. It’s important that you know and can identify these tactics and not employ them on your own website. While they may have knocked you down a few pegs, it’s only temporary.
3. An Increase in On-Page Errors
If you’re seeing a slow, but steady, decrease in rankings, it may be because you’ve increased your on-page errors. The best way to diagnose this issue is to check Google Webmaster Tools for crawl errors. If you see an increase in 404 errors, you will need to go through each link and create a redirect or unlink on the page. If you decide to create a different URL structure for your website, make sure you have a solid, comprehensive plan in place to fix any potential crawl errors. Once you’ve fixed these on-page errors, make sure to resubmit your sitemap to Google through WMT. That type of issue is relatively easy to recover from, as long as you stay on top of it.
Take Note: If you use a CMS like WordPress, you can download a Broken Link Monitoring Plugin that will notify you anytime there is a broken link on your website.
4. Losing Links
Going through a link audit and unnatural link penalty is a difficult process. First, because you have to endure a long, tedious process of link removal, and your site has probably already lost some visibility in Google’s organic listings. And secondly, because once all of those links are removed and Google has lifted your penalty, you have to deal with the aftermath of having significantly less links pointing to your website. This, ultimately, will cause your rankings to decrease. When you have poor links, it’s really a double-edged sword, and it’s a hard pill to swallow for those people who put in hours of work into getting their website back on track.
Take Note: Link building, while not as important, still is a driving component of Google’s ranking algorithm.
5. Algorithm Update
Webmasters anticipate for an algorithm update the way ship captain’s prepare for the perfect storm while at sea. Since no one knows when it will hit or what the damage will be, it’s challenging to find ways to be prepared. Sometimes algorithm updates affect very few websites, and sometimes they affect thousands, but if you stay in touch with the SEO forums, Google Groups, and Google Plus communities, you will know when an algorithm update is coming.
Take Note: The webmaster/SEO communities will definitely be abuzz when an update is anticipated, so keep in touch with those networks to stay prepared.
The bottom line is to make sure that you aren’t throwing things up at the wall to see if they stick. Almost every time there is a decrease in rankings, there will be a reason. Stay calm. Assess the situation. Generate an action plan. If you have had a keyword ranking decrease for any of your keywords, contact our Orlando SEO professionals for an evaluation. Call 407-830-4550 or fill out our contact form here.
Thanks for reading and sharing!
Tom Jelneck / @TomJelneck