There can be few things more catastrophic to a web-centric business than waking up to discover your website has plummeted in the search results. An unfortunate reality of conducting business online means being at least somewhat at the mercy of major search engines like Google and Bing, and when a website drops in the ranks it can mean a significant decline in revenues until things are fixed. Let’s take a look at search ranking declines and why it’s important to avoid blaming the “backlinks” – links from other webpages to yours.
Try to Determine Exactly What Happened
It can be tough to determine exactly what is causing a webpage to suffer serious ranking declines, which is why businesses usually contract out their search engine optimization to experts (like the team here at Poxse Digital Marketing!). When analyzing what has gone wrong, check your website analytics to determine if there were any days when traffic dropped significantly – especially that from search engines.
If traffic is down from a single source – usually Google – then it’s likely that your website got caught in some sort of update or algorithmic change on the search engine side. If traffic is down from multiple sources, there may be something wrong with your webpages, your web server, or something else. This will be a bit harder to detect, but it isn’t the end of the world.
Do Some Research on the New Champions
If your website plummeted from #1 to #20 or #50, it can be both helpful and therapeutic to take a look at the websites that are now ranking in the spots that you previously held. Check out their webpages for the quality of the design, the look and feel, the usability, social sharing and more to try to dig up some ideas of how you can make improvements to your own site.
Remember – the internet is no different than anywhere else you would conduct your business. Your marketing must be excellent, you must constantly improve your websites and you must be paying close attention to how the market is moving. If you fail to do this, you will end up suffering over the long term.
Look for Backlinks you May Have Lost
Another of the usual reasons for a website’s search ranking declines is that they have lost a number of inbound links from sites that Google trusts. For businesses, this can be due to other websites that have linked to you disappearing or it can mean that you have slowed down your content marketing to the point that users simply aren’t talking about your website and brand on social networks and blogs any longer.
This is why SEO is a long-term game; marketing in short stints helps a business for the short term, but consumers will quickly forget and new avenues to gain their attention must be utilized.
Check the Quality of the Declining Pages
As mentioned above, a website’s decline in the search results can be partially (or entirely) due to the quality of its webpages. If you’ve found that certain pages have lost their previously high ranking, check the quality of the webpage against the ones that are now ranking in the top spots for the same keywords. If your site doesn’t have the freshest, most attractive look and the best usability – does it deserve to be at the top?
Watch for ‘Negative SEO’
Finally we’ll leave you with the notion that if you can’t figure out what has happened and why your website has declined there may be a slim chance that you were the victim of “negative SEO”. This refers to when a competitor or other person decides to link to your website from low-quality or “spam” sights, triggering Google to think that you are artificially trying to boost your rankings and issuing a penalty.
High quality websites that have high quality SEO teams working on them are rarely the victim of such attacks since the work that the SEOs do improves the amount of trust that Google places in the website in question. This is why Poxse Digital Marketing exists – to offer high-performance SEO for businesses that will be around for the long term.
Maintain your SEO Efforts to Avoid Disaster
Businesses that rely heavily on high search engine rankings for the majority of their traffic run a very high risk of catastrophe that is almost entirely out of their control – but not impossible to manage. Regular production of compelling, relevant new content on your webpages and a continual focus on search engine optimization will help to mitigate the risk of your site suffering huge ranking declines when Google or Bing pushes out an update to their search algorithms.