fix website rankings

How To Get Started Diagnosing A Drop In Website Rankings

Don’t panic — be prepared to recover from whatever caused the rankings to drop. Follow this shortlist of recovery steps to help walkthrough and move forward in recovering your rankings.

There is nothing abnormal about traffic swings. However, it is good to put together a traffic overview for the last 12 months and analyze average deviations. If you see a dramatic drop for a prolonged period of time, you have cause to investigate.

There are several causes for manual Google penalties. Some of the most common is a hacked website, a website producing user-generated spam, unnatural backlinks, low-quality content.

1.) Google Search Console

A great place to start to rule out anything obvious that may have been missed is your Google Search Console. Open Google Search Console and go to your account > Security and Manual Actions > and check to see any alerts present. The alert will not tell how to fix the problem, but it will be a great place to start fixing your website rankings.

google search console

Find out more about what type of manual action is needed and how to deal with it from Google.

The information provided by Google Search Console is pretty straightforward, but it is a great place to start.

2.) Review Recent Changes To Your Website

Have you recently made adjustments to your website or hired a web designer to make changes that may have impacted your rankings? Do any of these changes recently take place?

  • New site theme or update to theme
  • Additional content added to pages
  • Changes to URL structure, the addition of a new sub-domain
  • Update or new plugin install

One of the most simple items to check is ensuring your site hasn’t accidentally added a noindex tag. A “noindex” tag will disallow search engines from crawling the website. This is good news as it is an easy fix.

3.) Recent Updates to Google Algorithm

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm, and keeping up to date seems like a daunting task. However, below is a good article highlighting Google Algorithm updates and why even the previous update still matters even in 2022.

These Are the Most Important Google Algorithm Updates (That Still Matter Today)
Keep in mind that Google releases multiple updates each year, so your ranking will fluctuate. If you are affected by an update, it forces your SEO team to make the fixes according to Google guidelines for that specific update. Put a plan in place and execute the changes laid out by Google’s guidelines to recover your rankings. Staying up to date on Google’s updates may assist you in determining what may be affecting your rankings.

4.) Check Your Backlinks

The links that point to your website have a massive impact on your search engine rankings. Checking for lost backlinks from an authority site can significantly impact your rankings and contribute to the drop in rankings.

There are multiple tools for checking the loss of backlinks. If you need help diagnosing lost backlinks, contact us, and we can recommend some of the tools we use to analyze website traffic.

When analyzing your website’s linking profile, look at anchor text for all links pointing to your site. These should be branded rather than keywords, and the sites linking to yours should be highly relevant. Too many sitewide links with keyword rather than branded anchor text from non-relevant sites, on the other hand, can have a detrimental impact.
Look at your backlinks profile for any unnatural links to your website; if they look suspicious to you, then chances are they abnormal in Google’s eyes.

Always-Disavow any links you receive a manual action/notification for in Google Search Console.

Improving the health of your backlink profile goes a long way to helping rankings as well as recovering from a rankings crash. Always look to build more natural/in-content links and produce content that gets linked to and is sharable.

If you’ve seen a sudden and unexplained drop in your website rankings, don’t panic! Instead, follow these simple steps to help walk through the recovery process. First, look at your website traffic overview for the last 12 months and check if there is an abnormally large deviation from your average. If there is, then you have cause to investigate further. Next, try to identify what might have caused the penalty and take corrective action. Finally, reach out to us for technical assistance with recovering your lost rankings. We can help guide you through this challenging time and get your website back on top where it belongs.