6 Common Reasons for SERP Ranking Drops and Their Fixes
We are in the final month of 2017 and if you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking ahead and plan your SEO strategy for the year 2018. With a large number of updates introduced this year that may show much more prominence next year and the future updates that we’ll see coming down the line, don’t let your SEO rankings get dropped. So let’s look at the 6 common reasons why your site’s Google Ranking may have dropped drop and take steps to fix it before it’s too late.
- Use Google Search Console
Use Google Search Console to analyze and diagnose the ranking issue.
Click on Search Traffic → Search Analytics as shown in below image.
Then click through the following steps:
Pages → Filter Pages → URLs Containing, then paste the URL of the post/link you want to analyze. Finally, click on Dates → Set date range → Last 90 days.
You can assess the changes in impressions, clicks, and CTRs as shown in the image below:
If the impressions are steady, but the no. of clicks (subsequently CTR too) are dropping, then either your rank is dropping and/or a search feature is pushing your result further down the SERP.
If the clicks (and CTR) are steady and the impression is decreasing, then decrease in the search interest may be the contributing factor.
- Are you getting fewer backlinks than your competitors/has your number of backlinks declined?
There are many reputable link counters available in the market like Ahrefs or Majestic. Their reports will guide you if there has been a site-wide link drop, link drops to pages linked to a particular website or another set of pages.
Now as websites continuously disappear or change, the loss of backlinks is inevitable. So what steps can you take to regain or replace these lost links?
- Reach out to the site owner to assess if the link was removed accidentally during a site update or replaced with a different source? In case, it was replaced, find ways to make the links more appealing.
- Work with your internal team/reporting managers to replace these lost links with a long-term strategy.
- Quote an influencer(s) by pulling from something they’ve published or reach out for a direct quote and ask them to share that post with their audience.
- It is important to note that having a single quality link is much more important compared to multiple backlinks.
- Competitors ‘On Page Optimization’ and ‘Social Signals’?
Assess if the competitor’s ‘on-page optimization’ rate betters yours. If this is the reason for the drop in your rankings, you’ll be able to regain your ranking with a little on-page effort. It is also recommended to monitor ‘social signals’ even though it’s still not clear if it impacts SEO rankings.
You must monitor your competitors’ websites and social media game and gain an understanding of their strategies and growth rate. If they are growing, they must be doing something right. Adapt your strategies accordingly even though they may not have outranked you yet.
- Google’s user feedback says you should rank differently.
Google uses machine language to determine SERP rankings. Factors like a popup blocking main content, longer load-time, changed page-title could contribute lower SERP ranking.
- If the popup is the issue, test different types of popup such as scroll popups, timed popups, and exit popups.
- Work with your development team to optimize the page-load time and deliver an improved user experience.
- If you recently changed the page title, it is recommended you change it back. Ensure you run necessary simulations before changing the titles next time.
- Has the post declined in the rankings for a major keyword
We recommend using SEMrush to assess and fix the drop in SERP rankings because of this issue. SEMrush is an intelligence suite utilized for online marketing, SEO and many more services.
You can login to your SEMrush account and follow the instructions to gain insights on the data of the month in which you gained high traffic compared to the most recent ones. This will enable you to compare and identify the keywords that may have contributed to the rise or drop in your SERP rankings.
- Thin Content on the Website
If the drop in rankings is because of thin content, you need to immediately identify pages with plagiarized content, pages with little-to-no content, content in affiliated links, and auto-generated content. Once you’ve identified the culprits, take them down work and work with your team to create fresh and unique SEO-friendly content.
Sometimes one can get outranked by a competitor when an unexpected Google update kicks in and make a mess of your pre-planned SEO strategy. But what do you stand to gain fretting on it? We hope we helped you understand and identify the basic reasons for ranking drops, thereby enabling you not only to fix it but also prevent it from recurring again. If you have more points to add, let us know in the comments below!