Did your website's traffic and rank plunge recently and you're not sure what's going on? Well, here are 9 likely reasons why your Google ranking dropped automatically.
Read on to identify why your Google ranking dropped automatically.
Websites exist to be visited. That’s the primary reason why businesses create websites.
However, visits mean different things, especially when it comes to the online space.
For media sites, traffic could mean a source of income from online advertisements. For retailers, it translates to direct sales.
Other websites might just be selling their brand where just having people click on their websites and view their content is a win.
Ultimately, no matter what your website is about, more traffic = more customers.
In search engine terms, higher ranking = more traffic = more customers.
Therefore, when your search ranking or traffic drops, you should definitely be worried.
In most instances, it is up to you to investigate why your Google ranking dropped automatically and figure out how to get things on track.
Reasons Why My Website Rank Drops
One minute, your business is doing great. You are outranking your competition, getting more traffic and leads. Then suddenly, your Google ranking dropped automatically, and you don’t know why your website, which was doing so well, has started bleeding traffic.
The chances are:
- Google penalized your website
- Your website has some issues which led to the ranking drop
Whichever the case, you must act swiftly to try and rescue your web ranking.
The first step is to assess the situation. You must first know what’s broken on your website to try and fix it. Why did your website suddenly fall out of favor with Google?
Below are some of the major reasons why your Google ranking dropped automatically and how you can address the drop:
1. Search Engine Penalty
You’ve probably heard about the infamous Google penalty.
Well, it’s real. And you might have been a victim.
A search engine penalty is often characterized by a big drop in your search engine rankings. Sure, your search engine rankings are bound to fluctuate. But when you notice a steep drop overnight, you know there’s something wrong.
This can be a 10 – 20 position drop on several keywords. This could be a clear indication of a search engine penalty.
Google has two penalty types. The algorithmic penalty and manual penalty.
Algorithmic penalties often occur when the search engine releases a major update, while a Google employee applies the manual penalty.
Given that Google has always had the habit of rolling out updates without clearly stating them, you can sometimes see your Google search ranking change. However, you will know the search engine has penalized you if your ranking drop is harsh and swift.
You will even notice your website still ranking on other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo!
To identify what happened exactly, you will first need to check your Google Webmaster Tools account. Here, you will see all the notifications from Google regarding any manual actions taken against your website.
You will be alerted if Googlebot detected any issues on your website that might have resulted in the penalty.
Identifying exactly what resulted in the search engine penalty is the first step to knowing the best strategy to recover from it. This can be anything from bad quality or duplicate content to buying links, keyword stuffing, etc. From here, you can make the necessary revisions on your website and hope for the penalty to be lifted.
2. Algorithm Change
Algorithm updates can hit your website rank in two ways. It could be a new algorithm update released by Google, or it could be a continuous refresh of a known algorithm.
With the current Google Penguin and Panga algorithms as part of the search engine giant’s core algorithms, these are the major updates you should be on the lookout for.
The introduction of BERT and other successive core algorithm updates from Google only makes ranking on the search engine more challenging. That’s another reason to focus your website and content on searcher intent, build quality links, pick important keywords, and serve great user intent only.
Therefore, if you suspect that an algorithmic update rollout affected your ranking, check if there’s any search engine news to see if there is any info about it or if other webmasters experienced something similar.
Google usually confirms updates, and the information appears almost instantly on SEO news platforms such as Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land. It might also be best to keep in mind that algorithmic updates can also be niche-based and affect only a small segment of websites. In which case, SEO news platforms might not cover the news right away.
3. Outranked by Competitors
Another reason why your Google ranking dropped automatically might be because there’s a new competitor in town.
You might be doing everything else right, but you still notice your ranking and traffic dip. Sometimes, it simply means that your competitor is doing a much better job than you.
For this reason, it is always important to keep a close eye on your competitors. BiQ Rank Intelligence is the best online SEO tool you can use to analyze and monitor your competitor’s content marketing strategies, link-building efforts, and social media activity.
With BiQ’s Rank Intelligence, you can see what changes your competitors made that made them more popular than you and strategize to outdo them again.
Once you know and understand what your competition did to outrank you, you can make your own changes – only do them better to re-establish yourself as the best brand to do business with.
4. Google SERP Update
Google has also been known to change its search engine results page occasionally.
Recently, Google has increasingly enhanced its search results with rich snippets, knowledge panels, Q&A sections, products page, job ads, video clips, and several other stuff for an enriched user experience using the service.
Unfortunately, as these things benefit Google’s users, they take away from organic searches.
Your Google search ranking may have plummeted because your website fell victim to one or more such enhancements.
Therefore, if you believe that new SERP features are what impacted your position, you will have relevant data online, such as structured data to enhance snippets and compete with Google’s rich features.
5. Poor Page Speed
The speed with which your web pages load won’t only affect your rankings but also your visitor’s user experience. You will notice your Google ranking dropped automatically when your pages take longer to load.
Your bounce rates will also be higher as people won’t always have the time to wait for your webpage to load.
To check your page speed, you can try Google’s new Page Speed Tool, which incorporates real user data. The tool ranks pages fast, average, and slow, depending on how quickly they load.
6. Losing Links
You can just as easily lose high-quality backlinks, which can be the result of dropped rankings.
If you want to reclaim some of your lost backlinks, you can get in touch with the webmaster. This can be easier if you already have a relationship with the website owner. In such a case, a quick call may be all you need to get your links back.
However, if you haven’t established a relationship with the webmaster, simply write an email, LinkedIn, or tweet to get in touch with them.
If you get this right, you will regain your website rank within the shortest time possible.
7. Server Issues
Like most search engines, Google can be quite forgiving of short-lived server-related issues on your website. For instance, your server may be down for maintenance issues or experiencing a one- or two-day availability issue. In such instances, your ranking shouldn’t be harmed.
However, if the search engine has trouble accessing your website for several days, it can impact your ranking negatively. Therefore, if you intend to take down your website for maintenance, ensure you make changes on the server and generate the 503 code, indicating to the search engine that your server outage is temporary.
Server issues can result from broken caching functions or empty markups served by Googlebot. Whatever the case, it is vital that you resolve your server issues quickly to avoid any negative impacts on your website.
Look for errors in your server logs that might affect your ranking, and use Google’s Fetch and Render tool to test how Googlebot renders and crawl your website.
8. Bad User Experience
There’s also a chance that your Google ranking dropped automatically because of a significant drop in your click-through rates.
You can check this using the Google Search Console tool to check if there are any CTR changes. You can check the CTR of the entire website to see how different sections of your site perform.
Whenever you notice a drop in your CTR, it could be because your competition has improved its snippets and stolen some of your clicks, or your users’ intent of your query has shifted. And thereby, your snippets are no longer relevant as they used to be.
Another critical factor to note is that improving your click-through rate isn’t a “quick fix.” You may even need to experiment and tweak your snippets and other website settings until your efforts are effective.
Therefore, whatever the case, it is advisable that you determine the SERP in question and find the best fixes for them.
9. Using the Wrong Keywords
In the early SEO days, webmasters could get away with using just about any keywords they wanted on their websites and get away with it. It was also typical of web owners to stuff keywords as densely as possible into their content.
Of course, this resulted in websites that were created for search engines and not humans. Using the wrong keywords in your content can easily cause your ranking to dip as Google’s algorithm updates become more intelligent.
BiQ Keyword Intelligence is the best SEO tool to help you get relevant, long-tail keywords and incorporate them into your content naturally. This tool allows you to select the right keywords based on your keyword volume, keyword trends, related keywords, keyword competition, and more.
Simply enter your target keyword in the Keyword Intelligence tool. You will be shown a mixture of short- and long-tail keywords and their relatedness to your focus keywords.
If you are unsure which keywords to use, BiQ will sort the keywords based on value to ensure you use only higher valued keywords that can potentially bring your website more traffic at a lower competition.
Tools to Monitor My Website Rank
For every content marketer who’s worrying about their website’s engagement stats, there are many options you can exploit to determine and boost your Google search ranking.
Some of these analytics tools are critical for every day’s marketing success and influence your daily marketing and sales decisions.
If you want to stand above the rest of the competition and outrank everyone else, these monitoring tools provide you with critical strategies to maintain your Google rankings:
1. BiQ Rank Tracking
BiQ Rank Tracking is the best tool you can use to monitor your web rankings. Only by knowing your ranking progress can you track and measure your SEO effort’s impact, weaknesses, identify strengths, and other effective solutions to optimize your SEO efforts. You get to see how your website truly performs by monitoring your progress.
With BiQ’s Rank Tracking, you get to see the full picture of your website’s performance. This tool provides you critical insights that you may be missing out on. You can focus on keywords that drive more quality traffic to your website and eliminate keywords that might generate unnecessary traffic.
2. Google Search Console
Previously referred to as Google Webmaster Tools, Google rebranded this tool to make it more inclusive of all online users that care about search, including SEO experts, hobbyists, programmers, marketers, app developers, designers, small business owners, and more.
The platform helps you ensure that your website and mobile applications are Google-friendly and appear in relevant search results.
Today, everywhere you look, you will find that high-performing and ranking websites are always a step ahead. They are always precautious when building and marketing their websites.
You never know, sometimes your Google ranking may drop automatically and swiftly from an honest mistake.
But whatever you do. There are no shortcuts to maintaining your Google search ranking. You must be persistent and invest a lot of time and effort to continue enjoying your rank at the top of the SERPs.