As SEO consultants in Melbourne, we occasionally get asked the question, “why has my ranking dropped 20+ positions?” When successfully completing SEO work, the ideal result is for web rankings to increase consistently over a number of months, before holding steady at their new-found lofty position.
Of course, the ideal result isn’t what always occurs; Google rankings aren’t static, and just because you’re moving upwards, what is to stop your competitors from doing the same thing? On a month-to-month basis, you are going to see fluctuations in web ranks; up five places one month, down two the next, up three after that, down four, and so on.
What shouldn’t happen (i.e. what is unlikely and often completely out yours or our control) is a rankings drop of more than 10-15 places in a single month. Maybe on third or fourth page of Google, fine, it can happen. But from low-first page position to third or below is simply unfathomable, for both you and your SEO provider.
Big drops in rankings are essentially cause by external influences that cause the ranking to move. We’ve already acknowledged that competitors might put all their focus and energy to pump you off the perch, but not twenty different competitors in the space of a single month.
The first reason for a drop off that can occur is through a Google Penalty. Newpath WEB has been very fortunate to have never been flagged by Google for unacceptable SEO practices, but it can happen. If someone is performing BlackHat SEO techniques like buying backlinks, keyword spamming or doing any number of no-no actions, prepare to see your rankings plummet.
The second reason for a drop off can often be as a result of on-page issues. Your website is a living, breathing organism, and can have mood swings and temperament changes, just like you or me. The issue with website are that they are even less functional than us, and hate new additions to their lives, especially if they are implemented incorrectly.
By including new content, new pages, new anything really, on your website, you can sometimes create more errors. The more errors you have, the hard Google punishes you, because they don’t want customers to be unhappy with their experience with your website. I mean, Google told them to go there, so if you suck, then Google sucks, right? Ensure that all issues on your website are remedied quickly, and constant vigilance on your error count can be very helpful.
Third, you can drop rank if you’re haemorrhaging backlinks. Yes, we know: the two most important factors of SEO are content and backlinks. SEO providers will create backlinking profiles in an efficient, effective, and controlled manner, using trustworthy websites that provide the greatest influence on your rank.
What happens if you build links on a website that suddenly deletes years’ worth of backlinks? Buh-bye rankings. Of course, SEO companies are very selective with the websites they trust to build backlinks on but this can still happen. It might not even be something as simple as that; there simply might a number of little backlinking pages that update their content or change their pages or do any number of things in the space of a month that kick you down a peg.
Finally, and this is the most frustrating one, is that the Google algorithm may have changed. Google are pretty good in telling you that change has been made, and there are a number of resources online dedicated to outlining recent and upcoming updates, but that doesn’t mean bupkis when you have no idea what is being changed. A big drop could mean that you’ve been hit hard by something big or something small, it’s hard to know. Trust that SEO providers are aware of these overarching trends across their client bases and do what needs to be done to remedy the situation.
Well, that was a read and a half! If you’re still concerned about big drops in your rankings, something else might have happened, I don’t know. We control one element of an increasingly complex and chaotic system that is search engine rankings. The one thing you need to know is that Newpath WEB are experts at what we know, and as SEO consultants in Melbourne, our team are able to identify fallen positioning and remedy the situation effectively. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we’re all over it!