Quick Tips for Avoiding Hits to Your Google Rankings
It can be a nail-biting experience when waiting for the latest set of changes to algorithms by Google. Whether it’s Panda or Penguin, a variety of changes in each rendition can either improve or hurt your overall rankings in Google SERPs. Despite the concern for these changes, the vast majority of ranking changes occur in between updates and are caused by more menial changes from the webmasters themselves. In order to avoid accidentally harming your Google rankings, you’ll want to avoid or manage more carefully a few key actions. Below, we’ll talk about several of these so that you can continue to improve with each passing week.
Carefully Consider Larger Website Changes
Most active and popular websites are in a constant state of change. New content is added, old content is updated, and new pages and elements may be introduced. As long as the changes are relatively small in nature, then they will not harm your overall rankings (and can even help in many cases). Larger changes to your website design or a shift from focusing on one topic/set of keywords to another can create an upheaval in the eyes of Google, however. New web design and new keywords take time for Google to index and rank accordingly, so these changes may result in you pinging noise to the search giant for a certain period of time. Only make these changes if it is absolutely necessary, and be prepared to take a potential hit in the aftermath.
Avoid Sketchy Link Structure
Many websites have established genuine link structures that complement its age and existing content; this adds value to your overall authority and leads to higher rankings. If your brand has in the past purchased links or is still engaging in such behaviour, however, then the reality is that you can be dramatically affected once Google discovers it. Link farms and paid link services are almost always easily discovered by Google, leading to virtually no value in purchasing or acquiring links this way. The length of time that these fraudulent activities can continue without penalty will vary from brand to brand, but abandon any ideas for using this strategy immediately – and remove any paid links as well – if you want long-term rankings success.
Monitor Competitor Changes
Changes in your Google rankings do not exist within the confines of a vacuum – what others do or don’t do can also affect how well your site features in SERPs. If you are not keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing from day to day, then this might explain why your overall rankings have declined in recent weeks or months. As competitors improve their own performance, your performance in relation to theirs may no longer be sufficient to justify where you rank. A variety of metrics tools and ranking analytics solutions exist out there to help determine whether your competitors are pinging noise or success to search engines. It is no longer just enough to focus on doing the right thing for your website or brand: you must also stay tuned into what strategies your competitors use as well.