Final Descent: What to Do When Your Google Rankings Take a Hit
Most businesses want to appear high up in the search rankings for relevant keywords, and you are probably no exception.
So what happens when you suddenly find out that your rankings have taken a hit?
This is a situation that happens to many businesses, and it can be a nasty shock. Fortunately, all is not lost. There could be any number of reasons why your rankings are suffering.
Here are the steps that you should take when you find out that your rankings have fallen suddenly.
Have There Been An Algorithm Update?
The very first thing to do is find out whether Google has updated its algorithm. Google actually updates its algorithm all the time, but what you want to check for is any major update that could have affected your results.
The easiest way to do this is to head to an SEO website like Moz, where you will quickly find out if anything big is happening. SEO specialists keep a very close eye on their rankings, and if they notice that something is up, they will be quick to find out what’s going on.
If nothing has changed, you know it’s not related to the algorithm. However, if a large update has been made, you will most likely be able to find information about the recommended steps to take on the same SEO websites and blogs where you read about the update.
If in doubt about what the problem is or whether you are doing everything you should be, speak to a professional. Contact an SEO and marketing agency like Sticky Digital and they will be able to help.
Have You Optimized for Mobile?
Next up, has your site been optimized for mobile? If you have a responsive design, this is perfect because it will display correctly on any screen no matter what size it is.
Alternatively, you could create a mobile version of your site to provide a better user experience on mobile devices, but responsive is better.
Google has updated its mobile algorithm so that only mobile-friendly websites are displayed. If your site is not mobile optimized, this is undoubtedly going to have a huge impact on your rankings and traffic.
Go Over All the Basic On-Page SEO Factors
The next thing to do is check over all of the on-page SEO basics. While link building and off-page SEO are more important for improving your rankings, the on-site factors should not be forgotten.
Check the h1 tags, title tags, and meta descriptions of every page and make sure they are optimized for your keywords. Also, check that they show up properly in the search results.
Also, make sure you have optimized each page for a keyword or two (without keyword stuffing), and check that you have created alt tags for your images.
Make Sure Your Site Speed Is Optimized
The speed that your web pages load can have an impact on your ranking, so make sure it is as fast as possible. The best thing to do is visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Here you can find out whether your site is as fast as it could be, and Google also provides some useful tips for increasing the speed. Make any improvements yourself, or get your developer to make them, and this can have an impact on your search results.
Look Over Your Backlink Profile
Your backlink profile (the sites that link back to your site) should be natural and not contain large amounts of low-value or spam links. If you have built up lots of junk links from low-quality websites, this could be an issue.
Use Open Site Explorer or a similar tool to find out which sites are linking to your site, or check in Google Search Console. You can disavow links if you don’t want them to be part of your backlink profile.
Check Your Google Search Console and Analytics Accounts
You can find out a lot of information about your website by signing into your Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts. If you don’t know how to use these, you might want an expert to help you. Here you can pinpoint potential problems so you can take appropriate action.
Sort Out Your Site to Get Ranking Again
These are some of the most important steps to take if your website takes a hit in the rankings. Either go through them yourself or, if you are unsure about the technicalities of SEO, get a specialist SEO agency to take a look for you.
Whatever you do, make sure you take action. The chances are that there is a quick improvement you can make to get your site back ranking where it should be so you can start generating more organic traffic again.
Leah Stephens is an SEO guru who is passionate about helping the smallest businesses get found online. She writes a variety of marketing and SEO articles which appear online.