When it comes to search engine optimization rankings there are a couple important things to keep in mind. Yes, your rankings are important, but they are only part of your search strategy. As long as you see continued growth in website traffic don’t worry too much if you notice a fluctuation in your rankings. Second, rankings are very volatile. Google takes several variables into account when determining rankings, so change computers or location and you may notice a change in your ranking.
All that being said, your ranking is one of your greatest search engine optimization assets. After all, it gets your website in front of consumers and drives a great deal of traffic. If you notice a sudden or steep decline in your rankings there are several possible causes, almost all of which you can take steps to counteract. The following are some of the most common causes of declining search engine optimization rankings:
Common Causes of Declining Rankings
- Website redesign
- Bad links
- Outranked by competitors
Small changes to your site shouldn’t have a large effect on your rankings – in fact, keeping your website updated is beneficial to your rankings. But if you launch a redesign of existing pages you can expect to see your rankings drop while Google verifies the change to ensure you aren’t spamming them. Minimize the impact by avoiding major changes to pages that have high rankings for your most important keywords. Any changes you do make – regardless of the page – make sure these pages remain relevant to the site. Relevancy is key to any search engine optimization. With a smooth transition, you can expect to see your rankings bounce back within 1-2 months, if not sooner.
Any links to your website must make sense to both Google and visitors to your site. Google considers websites with a large number of low-quality links – usually automatically generated or paid links – search engine spamming, and will drop the rankings of these sites. If the majority of the links to your site are unnatural they need to be controlled or disavowed. Fewer, more credible links are much more beneficial to your overall search engine optimization rankings.
Outranked by Competitors
The search engine optimization game is ongoing. Your competitor makes a move, you respond. If you don’t, your rankings drop. The best way to stay on top of your biggest competitors is to track them and understand their strategies. If they are a threat that means they are probably doing something right and you could benefit from observing their practices. Bottom line – the company with the best website wins. Offer more relevant, high-quality content and superior links than your competitors and you should see your ranking rise.