Top Reasons for Sites to Lose Google Ranking

It’s best to learn straight from the horse’s mouth the reasons why sites may lose their ranking on Google. One of the best people to tell us this information is Google’s John Mueller. In one of their webinars, a site owner asked why their site suddenly lost its keyword ranking after being consistently successful for seven years. Mueller gave a general overview of what could be the reasons and some insights that would set you off to formulating a sound recovery plan. 

Top rankings are temporary.

Once a site is ranked particularly if it’s at the first three, it gives a false assurance that it’s going to be there for good. However, site rankings are temporary. This was reiterated by Mueller.  

As regards the changes and the “unranking” of some sites, Mueller said, “These kinds of changes are essentially to be expected on the web, it’s a very common dynamic environment.” 

Google algorithms are constantly changing.

Changes in Google’s algorithm are one of the reasons for dramatic changes in Google’s site rankings. This does not mean that ranking factors change, but it means that Google changes its understanding of web pages.  

A few years ago, web pages that dominated the search rankings were those that have the top 5 lists. It’s probably because that’s the way Google understands web pages: the top 5 lists are easier to read and understand. That is no longer true for today because algorithms change. 

Site publishers often commit the error of looking inward to the site to figure out what it is going wrong. Another error is to think that Google has a type of site in mind. You have to bear in mind that search-related algorithms are all about satisfying and understanding users and understanding web pages. 

Changes in Google’s algorithm often cause chaos online. All webmasters suddenly become frantic to make sure their sites will survive. Of course, we at 1768degrees.com are on top of all these changes. The only difference is that we are ready for it all the time. 

The Internet is continuously changing.

Almost everything that you can find on the Internet changes. Links to your site may vanish while your competitor may gain links. Content may also change while new sites can appear. All these are contributing factors to how relevant web pages appear on search queries. 

Mueller said, “On the one hand, things on the web change with your competitors, with other sites…”

People change.

The manner and reason why people search changes. The things users search for also changes. When a type of product’s popularity wanes so does the traffic towards the sites that deal with this product type. It’s important for you to keep up with user trends.  

“And finally, on the user side as well, the expectations change over time. So just because something performed well in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to perform well in search in the future,” Mueller added. 

Manual Actions.

Manual actions are implemented by human reviewers employed by Google. These are actions done on your site when some of its pages do not comply with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. Penalties are caused by several factors which include the site being hacked, has unnatural backlinks, thin content, user-generated spam, and uses cloaking. Each manual action is explained by Google and can be found in the Google Search Console. Go to Security & Manual Actions and choose Manual Actions.  

If your site is under a manual penalty, you will see a note there that informs you of the cause and specifying the sites that are affected. For issues on-page, you have to revert some of the website adjustments. For off-page issues, you have to review your backlink profile for any unnatural links. If you are clueless about your site’s penalty causes, you may need to check on the following issues: thin or scraped content, user-generated spam, unnatural outgoing links, unnatural incoming links, sneaky redirects, and compromised site security. 

Essential Site Changes

Your site rankings can get messy when you make essential changes to your site such as redesigning it, changing the SMS and moving the site to HTTPS. You have to be careful since the smallest oversight can cause serious consequences to your SEO performance, and this may result in a ranking drop.  

If you have implemented several site changes lately, just open the Google Search Console. Go to Index and then Coverage. If you find a fast increase in errors and warnings that coincide with the dates during the implementation of the site changes, then your suspicions are likely confirmed. 

Google logs and provides descriptions of all the crawling and indexing issues that it finds. All these are found in the Coverage tab. This makes it easy to identify and resolve the issues. 

SERP Changes

Google enhances its search results consistently with snippets, product pages, knowledge panels, video clips, Q&A sections, job ads, and many other elements. They are highly beneficial to site users, but they take a lot away from the organic search results. If you want to find out if you have been a victim of these enhancements, you can open the Rank Tracker, go to Target Keywords, then Rank Tracking, and SERP Analysis. You will find on the dashboard the history of SERP enhancements. This will let you see if any of these correspond to your ranking changes. 

Just like anything in this world, the only constant is change. We make sure that change is always for the better though. 

Lost Backlinks

Gaining new and low-quality backlinks have adverse effects on your ranking the same as losing your high-quality backlinks. If you want to find out if your lost backlinks caused the rankings to drop, open the SEO SpyGlass, go to Summary, and check New/Lost Backlinks History. After this switch to the Backlinks tab and click the header of the Links Back column. This will sort all the backlinks by status. Those links that say “link is missing” are the lost backlinks that may have caused the issues. To resolve lost backlinks, you have to communicate with the webmaster. If you have a relationship with the site owner, all it takes is a quick call. If you are not familiar with the webmaster, your best bet would be email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

We at 1768degrees.com are aware of the site’s volatility in terms of SEO ranking, traffic, and consequently profits. This is the driving force behind our company’s mission and goals to help our clients rank #1 on Google.

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