Fact 1: Google and other search engines update their ranking algorithms regularly.
Fact 2: Search engines, Google especially, typically provide little information about these updates.
As an SEO specialist or website owner, you know any change, from a little tweak to a major shakeup, can affect your SEO ranking. Anyone who understands the importance of SEO dreads the day when their site’s ranking will take a hit. Even a slight drop – say from position 1 to 2 – will result in a significant loss of traffic. If you run a business website, your sales will undoubtedly take a dive.
So, what should you do after your SEO ranking drops?
In this article, we’re revealing the steps you should take to regain your ranking position and even go higher. Keep reading!
Ensure the Drop Is a Result of an Algorithm Update
The world of search involves many moving parts; some are automated (bots) and others must be initiated by the powers that be.
As such, an SEO ranking drop is not always the result of an algorithm update. Perhaps you slacked off on your SEO game while competitors kept improving theirs. Consequently, they overtook you in the rankings and pushed you down.
Before strategizing on how to reclaim your spot, it’s prudent to identify the cause of the ranking drop.
Sure, this can be difficult to tell, especially when you’re always on top of your SEO game and the search engine hasn’t announced any changes.
How do you get to the bottom of this?
First, even when a search engine effects a change in secrecy, nothing is really a secret in the internet age. There will always be industry insiders who would catch wind of the change and dully update the masses. Look out for such information in top SEO publications like Search Engine Watch, and browse the social feeds of SEO’s leading voices. If there was a tweak, they would know!
Comply with the Update
Sometimes Google does announce an update, as was the case with the Panda refreshes.
If your SEO rankings drop is a result of an announced update, tweak or refresh, thank your lucky stars!
In such cases, the search engine will typically put forth the various things it’s punishing or trying to get rid of. Most of what you’ll need to do to recover from the drop is comply with the update.
For instance, if the update is designed to punish sites that display popups, you’ll need to immediately deactivate the popups on your sites, otherwise you’ll hurt their chances of a quick recovery.
Other times, a search engine can announce an algorithm tweak but refuse to give the specifics. Here, you’ll need to figure out which among the as many as 200 ranking signals has been affected.
Again, you have to rely on the industry’s leading experts to find your way up. These professionals will always use their technical SEO expertise and connections to get into the finer details of the tweak, and publish their findings.
Update your site as per their recommendations.
Fix Site-Specific Penalties
Yes, Google does go after individual sites!
If you’re a seasoned webmaster, you know the drill. You get a notification in your webmaster tools. You open it and find the dreaded message. Google has punished your site because of unnatural links to the site, keyword stuffing, low-quality content or any other reason.
As is the case in point 2, the solution lies in rectifying the mistake.
There is no point trying to fight the punishment. Google’s bots are incredibly accurate, so if they conclude that your site has unnatural inbound links, you’re certainly engaging in the deceptive practice. Get rid of the links.
When Link Juice Dries Up!
Link building is one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO ranking.
When an authoritative site with thousands of page views links to your site, a good chunk of that traffic is bound to land on your site. If you’ve multiple high-traffic sites linking back to your site, you’re in for a killing.
Then one day out of the blue, you log into your site’s analytics and discover a massive traffic drop. Alarmed, you check whether your SEO ranking has been affected as well, and your worst fears are confirmed.
You log into the SEO interwebs looking for information on an algorithm update, you find nothing. You call a couple of friends to inquire whether their sites have been affected, and you’re saddened to learn everything is well on their end.
Before you panic some more, you need to know that your link juice can dry up and affect your rankings. If the authoritative site you were relying on for link juice pulls down the pages with the links pointing to your site, deletes the links or closes shop altogether, your traffic is bound to go down drastically.
And because site traffic affects SEO rankings, a massive drop in traffic certainly spells a lower search engine page rank.
To recover, you need to get those high authority sites linking back to you. Perhaps they pulled down the pages or deleted the links erroneously.
As a side note, you shouldn’t rely on link juice from a couple of sites. Try to cast your net wider and build as many diverse backlinks as possible.
Bring in an SEO Expert to Steady the Ship
SEO is a complex metropolis.
If you’re just a site owner or administrator with a basic grasp of SEO, a ranking drop can leave you confused. What do you need to change? What needs to remain the same?
Even with little SEO expertise, many affected site owners often choose to steady the ship on their own. In the process of trial and error, it’s not uncommon to make a mistake that will make things worse.
This is why one of the best ways to recover from your SEO ranking drop is to hire an experienced SEO specialist to take over the sinking vessel and bring it back up to where it belongs.
An SEO Ranking Drop Is Not Irreversible
An SEO ranking drop is enough to give you a mini heart attack, especially if the affected site is your primary source of income.
The good news is a drop is not irreversible. As a matter of a fact, for seasoned SEOs it’s just another day in the office. As long as you correctly identify the cause of the drop and make the necessary updates to the site, you can recover. It could take time, but sooner or later, the site will surely rise again.
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