We all know that website rankings are some of the most unstable things in the world. One day you’re at the top of the SERPs for a given keyword, and then you find yourself on Page 10 a mere 24 hours later. Something like that happening is, of course, alarming. Some would even say it’s downright terrifying.
But before you curl up into a ball and suck your thumb, you need to keep in mind that keyword rankings drop all the time, and they do that for a variety of reasons. Here are some of those reasons as well as what you can do to recover from that fall.
- Cause: Bad hosting
By bad hosting, we mean a hosting company that isn’t capable of fast page loads. And you know how site visitors can get when a page takes forever to load. They’ll just drop your site like a hot potato, and it will suffer a decline in traffic and eventually, a drop in rankings.
Also, there’s that little thing that Google said about taking the speed of a website into account when determining its rankings.
Solution: Dedicated hosting
When your website is on a dedicated server, it won’t have to compete with thousands upon thousands of other websites. Of course, that means you have to spend more.
- Cause: Your site lost high-quality links
Your disappearance from Page 1 of the search engine results page could have been triggered by the loss of links from high-quality websites. To be honest, this happens all the time. The website that linked to yours may have been experiencing problems, may have disappeared or stopped operating, or removed the link—knowingly or otherwise—to your site.
Solution: Keep on building high-quality links
Whatever the reason for the disappearance of high quality links to your site, you need to accept that you can’t do much about getting them back. You can try contacting the owner of the site, but it would be so much better to look forward instead and direct your efforts towards creating more awesome content. Why? Because relevant and helpful content will always be attractive to other sites, and that would make them want to share them, which, of course, leads to a natural, high-quality link to your site.
- Cause: Your competitor did better
In all honesty, your competitor’s efforts bearing fruit is less a problem than a simple fact of SEO life. Always remember that for every site rising in rankings, there’s one that must fall. So if your website’s rankings dropped because a competitor took your place, just keep in mind that you’re the loser in the zero-sum game called search engine rankings.
Solution: Do better
That loss to your competitor, however, doesn’t mean things are going to stay that way forever. That is if you continue your optimization efforts. We have been saying over and over again that SEO never ends, and that your site will never be fully optimized. There is always room for improvement, and once you achieve that, you have to improve some more to keep things that way. Only continuous effort on your part can help make you stay at the top of the search engine mountain.
- Cause: Website redesign
If you just launched a redesigned website, then a rankings drop is not entirely unexpected. A website redesign can cause rankings to fall for a variety of reasons.
Maybe you forgot to do redirects, which send visitors to the redesigned page, and tell Google to disregard the old page and rank the new, improved one instead. Or maybe you deleted some pages in an effort to optimize the new site. It’s also possible that you made changes to the content to make it in line with the new design, and caused Google to re-evaluate the relevance of your page to the targeted topic or keywords.
Solution: Patience and best practices SEO
Go back and do the redirects if you missed them. You can also just wait for your new and improved website to grow on Google. And oh, don’t forget to do consistent, relentless, and best practices SEO as well. SEO is a long-term game after all.
- Cause: Low-quality links
Before the numerous Google updates upended the lives of every single website in the world, you were probably swimming happily in the benefits provided by the thousands of links that you bought for cheap a decade or so ago. Then Panda and Penguin happened, and you are now wallowing in the waters of a huge rankings drop because of those same voluminous but low-quality links.
Solution: Clean up unnatural links
Cleaning up low-quality links is an obvious solution to a now-obvious problem. If you think getting rid of all those links that you bought is a waste of money, think of what you’re going to lose once Google gets to your site and does more than just cause your rankings to drop. And if your site has links that you can’t control directly, the best thing you can do to get back in Google’s good graces is to disavow those links.
- Cause: Google updates
Whenever Google updates its search algorithm, websites will always absorb an impact, for better or for worse. Updates are good for your site if you comply with all of Google’s guidelines to the letter, and bad news if you continue to ignore them.
Solution: Be a good boy and follow Google Webmaster Guidelines
You don’t need to be an SEO genius to understand this part. If you know that non-compliance with the Google Webmaster Guidelines can negatively impact your rankings, then you should do the exact opposite if you want your website to survive. And employ only white hat SEO tactics, especially now that Fred, Google’s latest, albeit unconfirmed, algorithm update that’s apparently targeting black hat SEO tactics, is already in place.
These are just some of the possible reasons your rankings might suffer a fall. The good news is, all hope is not lost when your rankings drop. Just implement the suggested fixes, and your website will likely get back on track.