You might have had great positions for some of your target keywords up until now, but suddenly things may take a turn for the worse at any moment. Most professional SEO specialists have been there before at some point. It can be very frustrating not knowing why you were suddenly considered less worthy of ranking after you followed all the best advice perfectly. To help you diagnose sudden drops in positions, here is a checklist to run through. Hopefully you can identify one of these potential problem areas as something that applies to your site, and work on it quickly for a swift recovery.
1) New linkage – Even links from good quality websites can temporarily interfere with rankings if the number of them popping up at once appears suspicious. Unnatural links are a dangerous sign as far as Google is concerned, and it will sometimes act fast to penalise a site if your links are sending the wrong message. If you didn’t deliberately get any new links, use a backlink analysis tool to check if there is something you missed.
2) Lost links – Old links disappearing can have even more of an impact on what’s going on with your new links. A handful of top quality links can be enough to support great positions on Google, so sometimes it’s a case of putting too many eggs in one basket. Keep an eye out for disappearing links, and if anything major is gone, work fast to try and replace it.
3) Algorithm updates – There are usually new developments on the horizon when it comes to Google’s automatic ranking system. The algorithms that power it are gradually changed to accommodate new ranking factors, and this will logically affect rankings. Check if you missed a major update which means your website is now considered outdated in some way, or if it’s just a temporary glitch.
4) Manual penalties – If your website has been classed as a problem by Google in terms of suspicious linkage or other misuse of the ranking system, you could be subject to manual penalties that stop you ranking. Any breach of policy can result in this, so ensure this is not the reason before spending time working on SEO factors.
5) Technical problems – Sometimes Google may be getting inaccurate or incomplete information about your site due to some obscure issue with your website’s technical aspects. For example, a server problem could be responsible for problems with caching or crawling. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of these kinds of issues so you will need to communicate with your tech support team.