Your Rankings Have Crashed – Here’s How to Find Out Why
There is absolutely nothing about search engine optimization that is easy in an absolute sense. Most aspects of the process are difficult, and even that are not usually involve repetition and lots of time in order to be successful. Ultimately, it can take months or even years to achieve the kind of visibility in select SERPs that so many brands and businesses chase.
Yet the opposite of this – a sudden drop in rankings – can be experienced much more quickly and easily. While it can seem as if this has happened for no reason whatsoever, there is always an explanation. For those who are currently experiencing this, let’s take a look at how you can determine which culprit(s) are behind your rankings crash.
The first course of action after any rankings crash is to go to the source for information. With Google specifically, accessing the Google Search Console can provide a litany of details that may give you immediate insight. This utility is constantly pinging websites and summarizing the platform’s views and actions regarding each one; some examples of information provided include any manual actions taken or crawl errors.
The overview will also allow for a quick assessment of any single page, helping you to further determine whether the rankings loss is organic in nature or the result of a penalty or problem.
Check Website Security
Website security is often something that gets forgotten about – especially by smaller brands and businesses. After all, who would want to hack a small blog or website? Yet the reality is that this issue happens every single day, and the consequences of it can be deleterious.
Hackers may gain access to your website and use it as a way to boost their own endeavors. There could suddenly be malicious code or links included on your website that is responsible for the rankings loss. A comprehensive set of security actions should be taken, including password changes and thorough assessment of content. Once completed and rectified, any consequences from being hacked will slowly begin to revert and rankings will begin to recover.
Inspect Inbound Links
While it may seem like it should be, problems with your website rankings can occur even from factors completely outside of your control. One major reason for rankings crashes relates to the prevalence of questionable links pointing to your website. This is actually a common tactic used by competitors: start pinging links to a particular website on sketchy or spammy platforms, hope their competitor doesn’t notice, and watch as their search rankings dive.
Using Google Webmaster Guidelines and the Disavow Tool, you can completely disavow any questionable links found online.
Last but not least, it’s crucial that you give your content a thorough inspection if rankings have suddenly crashed. Search engine algorithms are constantly in flux, and content that may have been acceptable yesterday could be damaging tomorrow. Be sure to review guidelines and double-check your content for any issues such as broken links or vandalism.
Due to a variety of factors, search rankings can and do fluctuate from time to time. However, sudden changes in traffic and rankings is not normal. By inspecting the above elements, you’ll be more likely to quickly diagnose the problem and generate a solution.