Infuriating SEO Problems That Need Fixing: Ranking Problems
October 20, 2015
This is a question I’m often asked by website owners. One minute they are ranking OK then they suddenly plummet and can’t be found.
Why is this?
Well it certainly is an infuriating problem and I’m afraid the answer isn’t necessarily going to satisfy you either.
You see there are several reasons why your rankings can yoyo .. yeah, they go up as well as down (but no one complains when they go up).
1. Google made some changes to their algorithm.
As they make hundreds of these each year this is the most likely cause of problems. But remember that if a change made by google sends some people down the rankings, then other people must go up. And that could be one of your pages.
2. You made some changes to your page.
You might for example tweak any number of things such as the meta tags, alt tags or, better still, the headlines, subheads or content. Even quite subtle changes could have a big effect.
3. Your competitors have made some changes to their pages.
They can just as easily change the same things on their site as you do on yours. You should review your pages from time to time and see if improvements can be made .. because your competitors are probably doing this to their site.
4. A new, or existing, business has created a new webpage that competes with yours.
New pages are added to the web in their millions each day so this is a common problem. If their content and other SEO attributes are better than yours they will knock you down the rankings. The answer here is to review the topics/content you want to rank for and produce new pages from time to time. Pages that are up to date and use the (new) terms you want to rank for. I say new terms as over time new keywords emerge. Sometimes this is as a result of new technology and sometimes as a result of new words that describe old ideas. The thing is to keep on top of content.
5. Searcher behaviour changes.
This might be because of new terminology as above or because something that no wasn’t searched for in volume before suddenly is. For example people might have always searched for widgets but suddenly technology changes and everyone wants 3D widgets. Suddenly your widget page drops down the rankings because the term 3D widget suddenly swamps it.
Behaviour change can also be related to customer/user experience. If you and your competitor have pages that are otherwise equal but one of you has a better user experience then visitors will favour it by checking out more pages, spending more time on the site etc. These factors can then give it a slight edge and it will rise in the rankings above the other page.
Finally let me remind you that Google doesn’t really rank websites. It ranks individual pages or posts. Certainly a site that has a lot of well ranked pages may have a slight edge but it is really about individual pages.
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