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SEO Rankings Suddenly Dropped? Here's How to Fix It

Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff

Steer clear of black hat SEO tactics and follow these other tips to revive your ranking.

It's not a good feeling when you check your analytics only to realize your content isn't ranking as well as it was recently. In short time, the metrics surrounding your SEO strategy have decreased, leaving you confused and wondering what to do. This affects how well your business is able to create conversions and generate leads.

When your Google rankings drop, it affects all areas of your website: page views, organic traffic, length of sessions, engagement level and more. According to a study by BrightEdge, more than 50 percent of organic traffic comes from search. Simply put, you need a recovery plan that will boost your SEO back to where it was before.

If you suspect your SEO rankings have dropped because of any of the following issues, here are ways to fix them.

Content is altered or removed

In the process of redesigning a website, you might conduct a content audit where you change or remove a majority of content to enhance your rankings. This includes altering keywords, URLs, headers, subheaders, body text and a subject's perspective. It's meant to match the feel of the site's new design and align with your brand.

You might think this is the best way to improve your site's SEO, but it might have caused your rankings to drop. When you change copy on your website, Google has to recrawl its pages to check for relevancy and authority. If important keywords are deleted from areas such as descriptions, tags, titles and alt text, its relevance drops, and so does your ranking.

The problem could also be that you deleted and removed pages of content altogether, causing a disruption in content flow. Rankings you had before can disappear when you allow topic and content gaps to form all over your site.

To fix this, check which keywords bring you the most ROI and traffic before altering or removing any content. This is content you don't want to mess with, as it'll continue bringing you visitors. If you have access to the pre-edited content, revert it to the old text and monitor it through analytics to make sure it gets a boost.

Google changed its algorithm

Google silently updates its ranking algorithm daily; most of the changes are minor and barely noticeable. However, when there is a bigger update, it affects the rules of how to rank higher. When this happens, your only option is to implement the best SEO practices to match what Google wants.

Figure out what Google penalized your website for. How does this match up with the update? Why would that affect your ranking? You can use a tool like Google Algorithm Changes to track fluctuations in its search results and evaluate their impact on the ranking of your website. Google Search Console will email you when Google catches on to issues on your site and shows you which URLs they link to.

The best thing you can do to stay on Google's good side, despite the algorithm updates, is to steer clear of black hat SEO tricks. These are disapproved SEO tactics that could potentially rank you higher in SERPs but violate Google's terms of service. Their use results in websites being banned from ranking, as Google considers them spam. Some examples are keyword stuffing, link schemes and duplicate content, to name a few.

Strive to create only valuable content with useful information that will help users and increase their engagement with your site. Google recommends monitoring your site regularly for hacking, and preventing and removing user-generated spam, such as in the comments.

Thin content

Thin content is another spammy SEO tactic used to boost a site's ranking despite the site not having the most relevant, useful information available. Google describes it as content that adds little or no value to the user. It exists without the purpose of helping its audience.

If your rankings have plunged, reassess the quality and functionality of your content. Check commonly shallow pages like automatically generated content, thin affiliate pages, low-quality content from other sources and doorway pages. Remove any content that doesn't increase its value to your visitors.

Create content that's insightful and helpful to users who visit your website. People catch on to sites and businesses that only want their money and views, and don't care about anything else. Be genuine in your approach to appease your target audience and provide them only with the best.

Wrapping up

There are many reasons why your site's SEO rankings might have dropped. Websites encounter tons of errors every day, and Google doesn't mess around in how it ranks a site's performance. No matter the issue, it's important to stay on top of your site by monitoring its performance and staying abreast of Google's rules.

Image Credit: isak55/Shutterstock
Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff Member
Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.