Did you know that 30 per cent of search traffic goes to position one on Google? With these numbers dwindling as you move down the SERPs, those at the top understandably want to keep them. So, imagine the frustration when a ranking drop comes out of seemingly nowhere.
The experts at Absolute Digital Media have had a closer look at the different types of Google ranking drops and how you can deal with them.
There are over 500 different changes and updates to Google’s algorithm each and every year and while some are more major than others, each one has the potential to affect your position. However, Google isn’t typically vocal about the updates before they come and so preparing isn’t always easy.
By understanding and following Google’s quality guidelines and industry news, you can better prepare yourself for any updates. If you are hit and the change is niche-specific, the solution may require more in-depth competitor analysis.
Outranked By A Competitor
If you’ve experienced a slight ranking change, it’s possible you’ve just been outranked by a competitor. Essentially, the solution to this issue is to outrank them in return; the question is, how? The first step is to conduct an analysis to work out exactly what your competitors are doing right. Three of the best metrics to start with include:
- Backlink Profile – How healthy is their backlink profile compared to yours?
- Social Media – Your reputation online can have a huge effect on Google’s view of your website and social media acts as a way to build up brand awareness and audience loyalty.
- On Page – With content as king, even the slightest deviation from Google’s guidelines has the potential to affect your ranking. Are your competitors getting it right?
Every link to your website acts like a recommendation and Google pays close attention to this when determining the authority of your site. For this reason, losing a high-quality link can have an effect on your ranking and in some cases, the terms that you rank for. If you think that you’ve lost links, you can use Google Search Console to evaluate your existing links, disavow any risky ones and determine which need to be reinstated or replaced.
Manual Actions And Penalties
A penalty from Google typically sees websites either experience a ranking drop, or they may be removed from the index completely. You can see these manual actions within Google Search Console, where Google will explain why the penalty was issued so you can go in and fix it. Penalties can come from:
- Unnatural Backlinks
- Keyword Stuffing
- Thin Content With Little Or No Value
- General Spam
- Hacked Websites
Consumers expect pages to load in as little as three seconds or less and for webmasters who haven’t managed to get their loading times under this timeframe, Google sees this as poor user experience. For this reason, it’s common for slow-loading pages to face ranking drops alongside high bounce rates and lower conversion rates. To fix these page speed issues, you could:
- Optimise images
- Improve Server Response Time
- Reduce Redirects
- Enable Compression
Mobile-first indexing was rolled out back in early 2018 and has meant that web developers have had a whole new challenge on their hands. Every domain needs to have a UX-focused, fast-loading and mobile optimised site, as Google has begun determining the ranking order of their index with mobile design in mind first. Any errors with your design need to be fixed, a fluid design needs to be implemented and responsive pages are a must.
You can read the full article, here.