Was There Really a Change?
Sometimes ranking trackers don’t update locally the way they should, or it could have picked up an online ranking experiment. Believe it or not, the best way to rectify this is to look at the organic traffic on your page and see if it has dropped. Here are some things to consider:
Did it drop over a holiday weekend?
Is it a more emphasized drop than the usual ups and downs of the month? Look at a week-by-week basis to find out.
• Are the drops on the same days of the week continually?
• Did another search console have the same results?
• Looking at your tracker, does it show continuous ranking drops?
• Try looking at specific keywords over time
If everything is still up except for your rankings tool data, be patient and keep checking it. There can be plenty of fluctuation, so wait to see if this is a real issue or not.
What May Have Gone Wrong
Many trackers updates their algorithms almost daily if not more often than that. If you think that yours may have updated their algorithm, look for any articles or blogs that might make a note of the change around the time that the changes started.
Have any of your friends noticed a change? As an SEO, I’ve been able to make a good network of friends in the SEO circle who would likely be having the same issues and have some good ideas for different tests to run.
If Google did decide to update, you’d have to figure a way to get your rankings back up. Most importantly, find out what change was made, and why? What is it that they are looking to cut out of SEO?
Changing or Losing Links
Look over the site and see what links are there and if any are missing. If multiple links have gone missing from the site, you’ll have to try and replace them. Is it for the whole site, or is it for a group of pages or one page specifically from the site?
Did any of the links that these went to suffer drops as well or have they decided to update their page? This can have an effect on your links. Even just the URL or content can make a difference. If this is your problem, it’s important to figure out how to get them back. Try fixing the problem by:
• Reach out to the site owner and original provider of the links
• Find out if the links being removed was an accident
• See if the links now go to a new source – and then figure out how to make your links better than theirs.
• Ask your team to buy new links to replace what’s been lost
If the page has been modified at all, they might be misread and may not parallel as much to the actual target keyword. To combat this:
• Never change your URL
• Check for the presence of the target keyword in the page titles, and H1 and H2s
• Check that the keyword density is still the same
• Make sure Google can read all content on your page
• Watch for server and crawl reports to ensure that search engines can find your site.
Also, check to see if internal links were changed, site navigation or key pages were updated.
Sometimes, rankings drop because of outside reasons. If your competitor is ranking higher than it was before, it’s time to go through their sites and see what you need to change to make yours better.