Why Your Rankings Are Dropping And What to Do

After logging into your analytics account, you notice a downwards trend in traffic.

You do a search for your primary keywords to confirm your suspicions. Your site is not longer ranking at the top. It is still ranking on the front page but most of your competitors now have higher positions. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common.

The absolutely worst thing you could do is nothing. There is a reason why Google is ranking your site lower whether due to low quality content or spammy links. You need to find out why your rankings are suddenly dropping and take steps to address it. Otherwise competing sites will continue to push your site further down the search results.

Here are some of the main culprits of lower rankings and how to recover your previous positions.

1. Low Quality Content

Anytime someone does a search, they expect to find the answer right away.

No one has the time to wade through pages of content.

Visitors quickly leaving your site is an indication that engagement is low. It means that they didn’t find the information they were looking for so they clicked the back button. If analytics data shows that the average visit lasts less than a minute you have a problem.

Sites that are cluttered with poorly written or scraped content stand little chance of ranking thanks to the Panda update. The update was initially rolled out to punish “thin” or low quality sites while rewarding higher quality sites in the process. If your site is suddenly dropping in the searches, it could be because of low quality content.

Solution: Go through each page on your site. Remove any poorly written posts or have them completely rewritten. Be careful not to over-optimise (i.e. keyword stuffing) and write naturally for your visitors.

2. Too Many Irrelevant Backlinks

It used to be that you could build thousands of links to your pages and rank the following day.

But the release of the Penguin update punished sites that had link profiles consisting of purchased links through spammy sites. Many sites that were once ranking for competitive keywords were suddenly nowhere to be found. If your rankings are dropping, it could likely be due to this algorithm update.

Examples of what can trigger the update include:

  • Building too links too fast using automated tools
  • Purchasing links from spammy link networks
  • Having too many links with the same anchor text

Solution: Links are still important but now there is a strong emphasis on relevance. If you are in the technology industry, then aim to build links from related sites. These links are incredibly powerful and can even drive referral traffic to your pages in the process.

3. Your Site is Too Slow

Site speed is important from both a user and search engine standpoint.

If a visitor lands on your page but it takes too long to load, they will exit out of frustration and click on another site. Search engines obviously want their visitors to find the right results the first time time instead of having to click on different results.

Google has even made site speed a ranking factor. If your pages take too long to load, your rankings could start slipping in the search results.

Solution: The solution is obvious. You need to improve your site loading times. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how well your site ranks in terms of speed and make the recommended changes.

Conclusion

Rankings are constantly changing.

If your site starts to drop in the search results, it is likely due to one of the above. Conduct a comprehensive content audit and take note of any pages that are poorly written or low quality content. Then either remove them or rewrite them from scratch. Be sure to also conduct a link audit as links from questionable sources could be harming your rankings. Finally, run a quick speed test of your site to see how quickly your site loads. If it takes longer than a few seconds your visitors will not hesitate to click the back button.

Address each of these issues to regain any lost rankings in the search results.