Tracking your search engine rankings is an important part of managing your SEO campaign. You should be monitoring your rankings on an ongoing basis; at the very least, you should check them monthly to ensure they are heading in the right direction (increasing steadily).
Of course, anyone who has ever taken part in an SEO campaign knows that, from time to time, rankings decrease. Despite doing all the right things and giving your campaign the attention it needs, your rankings will occasionally decline.
The most obvious question people ask when this happens is “Why?” While every situation is unique, here are some of the most common reasons a website’s rankings decrease.
- Google has changed its algorithm—Google’s main objective is to provide users with the most relevant search results possible. Improving the quality of the search experience is an ongoing task for the search quality team at Google, and they are regularly implementing changes to the algorithm to achieve this. As the algorithm is tweaked and search ranking factors are changed, it’s natural for your rankings to fluctuate as well. Sometimes, these decreased rankings are only temporary; other times, they require a shift in your SEO strategy.
- Your competition is stepping their game up—The search engines are like a battlefield. If you want to get the top rankings for your targeted keywords, you’re going to have to outperform the competition. While your competitors may not have been SEO savvy a few months ago, they may have recently started taking their own measures to improve their search rankings, leading to your decline.
- Your links are going away—Google has been making major changes to its algorithm over the past few months. Most recently, the search engine dropped countless low quality blog networks from its index. If you had any links from these blogs or directories that were dropped, you lost them and whatever value they were carrying. Thus, your search rankings could have dropped as a result.
- Your site has been penalized—It’s quite possible that you’ve broken Google’s rules and been penalized without even realizing it. Always make sure you avoid any shady, black hat SEO techniques to avoid any Google penalties.
- There is no real reason—Ratings fluctuate. That’s all there is to it. Over time, your ratings will bounce up and down, but as long as they’re trending upward over the long haul, you’ll be fine. In other words, don’t panic over the occasional decline, but if it becomes a trend, you need to reassess your SEO strategy.
These are just 5 of the many reasons your search rankings could be dropping. Remember that every case is different, and finding the true cause of your rankings decline will require careful analysis.