As an entrepreneur, you know how crucial it is to maintain a healthy ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). Users usually (and almost automatically) click on only the links that appear at the top of the first page. To achieve these rankings, you need to invest heavily in the search engine optimization (SEO) of your business website.
The worst nightmare, however, is waking up one fine day to the news that your website has vanished from the top pages of the search engines. Your hard-earned organic rankings have suddenly dropped. But you’ll be glad to know that there are fixes to help you battle SEO ranking drops and regain top rankings.
Before we move on to solutions that can help tackle SEO ranking drop, let’s identify the reasons why your Google rankings dropped. This can happen due to one or several reasons, including changes in the website content, Google’s algorithm update, technical glitches, improvements made by competitors, lost backlinks, hacking of your website, and so on.
Here are some probable reasons that could lead to a drop in your Google website ranking:
Recent changes in your website: You have made bulk changes to your website content recently, which might have led to a drop in rankings. These changes may also include restructuring or redesigning of your website, migration or addition of a few more pages, and so on.
Technical glitches: Sometimes SEO ranking drops can occur for no fault of yours. Perhaps a technical issue on the search engine’s side could be responsible. Or maybe your website is difficult to crawl and index.
SEO algorithm update: Search engines keep updating their algorithms for rating websites. So, if there’s an algorithm update from a search engine, it could lead to a drop in your website’s ranking.
Chances of hacking: Chances are that someone may have hacked your website and intentionally changed the content to cause a drop in your Google ranking.
Change in search intent: Sometimes, Google may change its perception of the search intent regarding a query, thereby changing the rankings of websites as per their relevance.
Improvements made by competitors: Your website’s SEO ranking may also drop when your competitors make improvements to their websites so that they rank higher than you.
Lost backlinks: Backlinks are the most crucial ranking factor in SEO. Loss of backlinks can have a huge impact on your website’s Google ranking.
Check if your rankings have actually dropped: The first thing you need to do is understand if your website’s Google ranking has really dropped or if your rankings tracker is just acting up. To confirm that your Google rankings have actually dropped, you can check your rank tracker’s report. Sometimes, these trackers might display faulty results. So, you should also cross-check with the search engine results page (SERP).
Audit the scope of the drop: Next, you need to know the exact reason behind the Google ranking drop. To audit the scope of your website’s ranking drop, you can use your SEO rank tracking application, refer to the Web analytics data, and Google Search Console data.
Website changes recently: One of the most common reasons behind Google ranking drops is bulk changes to the website. So, if you’ve made any recent changes to your website and its Google rankings have dropped abruptly after that, there are high chances that those changes are the culprit.
Look into indexing status: Whenever a user puts in a search query on Google’s search bar, it crawls and indexes various websites and then, displays the ones with the most relevant content. In case Google experiences any technical difficulty in crawling and indexing your website, it may push your website lower in the rankings.
Determine if your page has technical issues: When you hire SEO services for your website, you pay the SEO agency for three things—on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. A change in any of these three aspects can impact your website’s SEO ranking dramatically.
Check GSC if received a manual penalty: Another common reason behind the ranking drop of a website is the manual penalty received by Google. You need to check the Google Search Console to know if your website has received any manual penalty.
Your competitor outranked you: Sometimes, your website’s Google ranking can drop for no fault of yours or your SEO agency. It may so happen that your competitors improved their websites and overtaken you in the rankings.
Major algorithm update: Google often updates its algorithm for determining websites’ rankings. Going by reports, Google had made as many as 3200 changes to its algorithm by 2018. And we assume that this figure has grown since then.
Look into the on-page issues: Your website’s SEO boils down to three key aspects – off-page SEO, on-page SEO, and technical SEO. While we’ve discussed much of the technical SEO and off-page SEO aspects till now, let’s discuss how on-page SEO issues can impact your website’s Google rankings.
Check for the loss of links: Backlinks are one of the most crucial ranking factors in SEO. By supporting your website with adequate backlinks, you can achieve a high ranking on Google’s SERP and get desirable traffic.
Changes in behavior: Changes in user behavior can also alter your website’s Google rankings. Google always tries to show the most relevant results for any search query. But if it thinks that your website is not the best solution to a user’s search intent, it will lower your rankings in favor of another website that does.
Is your website hacked? Unfortunately, website hacking has become a very common crime these days. Once a hacker gets access to your website, he or she can infest it with malicious codes, spammy links, and content resulting in a massive drop in your website’s Google rankings.
Disavowed important backlinks: There is a general tendency among website owners to disavow any backlink that they do not recognize. However, this isn’t the very best of practices. It may even lead to the disavowing of some crucial backlinks, and this may hurt your website’s Google rankings.
Mobile-friendly test: Mobile-friendliness has become a very crucial part of SEO. With a majority of Internet users surfing from their smartphones, more than 70% of organic traffic comes from mobile devices.
Observe your rankings: After you’ve done everything to identify and fix the issues behind your website’s Google rankings drop, it’s time for the final step. You need to now observe and monitor your website’s rankings for a few weeks to know if your efforts have paid off.
Google rankings don’t drop overnight and unfortunately, you cannot recover lost rankings overnight either. Depending upon the reason, you may require anything between a few hours to a few months to regain your Google rankings.
If the ranking drop is due to a technical issue, you can get back to your original rankings
Q: Why did my Google rankings drop suddenly?
A: Google rankings can drop for various reasons, including recent changes to your website, technical glitches, SEO algorithm updates, improvements made by competitors, lost backlinks, changes in search intent, hacking of your website, and more.
Q: How can I confirm if my website's Google rankings have actually dropped?
A: To confirm if your rankings have dropped, check your rank tracker's report and cross-verify with the search engine results page (SERP). You can also use Google Search Console and Web analytics data to ensure the drop.
Q: What should I do if my website's rankings have dropped?
A: Follow these steps:
Q: How long does it take to recover lost Google rankings?
A: The time required to recover lost rankings depends on the reason behind the drop. It can vary from a few hours for technical issues to a few months for algorithm updates or manual penalties.
Q: Can changes in user behavior affect my Google rankings?
A: Yes, changes in user behavior, such as click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, and time spent on your website, can influence your rankings. Google prioritizes websites that offer a positive user experience.
Q: What is the importance of backlinks in Google rankings?
A: Backlinks are a crucial ranking factor in SEO. They indicate the authority and relevance of your website. Losing high-quality backlinks can lead to a decline in your rankings.