Falling? Don’t worry, we’ve got you
A month or week ago, or even yesterday, you gleefully typed your location and product/service into Google Search and glowed with pride over a great ranking result for your website. Then you did it again today. All of a sudden your top spot has been relegated to the bleachers towards the bottom of Page One, or worse (gulp), the wasteland of Page Two. Panic sets in. A sleepless night will surely ensue. That feeling of powerless is crushing for businesses that depend upon Google Search “real estate”, but trust us – it’s not the end of the world. What has most likely occurred is a Google algorithm update. The next time this happens, here’s what you need to do.
5 Things to Do When Your Website Suddenly Loses Rank to a Google Algorithm Update
1. Don’t Panic
It’s important to understand that you’re not alone. When a Google algorithm update occurs thousands of businesses are feeling the same as you. In many instances this shake-up may only last a few days, especially if your website has held a strong ranking position for many months. When an algorithm update occurs it is very common for ranking sites to shift position in either direction for about 48-hours, or even up to a week. Websites that have bought into link schemes and black hat tactics to manipulate rank will not boucle back. Those that play by the rules and provide site visitors with valuable content in a user-friendly environment normally do. Breath deep, and proceed to the next step.
2. Check Your Google Search Console
Log into your Google Search Console. This will show you if there has been a flatline of activity. This is especially important for those who have not recently checked their rank, and will help identify when the drop occurred and if it was indeed immediate, the latter being indicative of an algorithm update. If you don’t see a dramatic flatline then you’re not necessarily in hot water:
Normal ebb and flow of traffic
Beyond the Search Console Overview, also look to Coverage, which will show you if there have been persistent or extended periods of server downtime. This may be what caused a quick drop in rank, as opposed to a Google algorithm update. Fix that problem and you’ll more than likely get your rank back.
Look for possible server errors
Is your website not set-up on Google Search Console? This may be the root of your vulnerability to a Google algorithm update. Contact us to get it set-up (and more).
3. Check Your Google Analytics
Now it’s time to login to your Google Analytics. This will provide you with further insight into when the drop in rank occurred, and whether or not it coincides with a drop in traffic. If the latter is not happening, keep monitoring data for the next 72-hours. If there is no correlation you may have uncovered a pleasant surprise – that the keywords you’ve been chasing aren’t the ones driving your online business. This opens up a number or re-targeting opportunities, although that’s a different discussion altogether. Otherwise, this look at your Google Analytics will help you identity when your loss of rank occurred. This will allow you to trace the steps of when a Google Algorithm update landed (more on this below).
Is your website not set-up with Google Analytics? Once again this may be the root of your vulnerability to an algorithm update. Contact us to get it set-up (and more).
4. Connect to the Google News Community
Forget the speculation about whether or not a Google algorithm update occurred, and verify it. How? Simply hop on to Google News and search Google algorithm update. The following resources will have the latest updates in the Google Newsfeed:
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Land
Look for their recent inclusions in the Google Newsfeed, with headlines mentioning algorithm updates. If the date of these press releases coincide with your recent drop in rank then you know it’s probably connected.
5. Contact a Digital Marketing Consultant Right Away
Once you’ve taken that aforementioned deep breath (as per item #1) you can now take the most important step. Contact a digital marketing consultant and let them know what has happened. They will look into it for you, with some reputable firms willing to provide a FREE SEO audit. This will uncover the root (or roots) of the issue. From there corrective action can be taken.
Once you have an established partnership with a digital marketing consultant you will not only have someone on-call for these events, you will have a partner that is looking out for you on all future Google algorithm updates. More importantly, they will have already optimized your website to mitigate the risk of falling prey to future updates. Tactics include on-page fixes to address issues with user experience, page speed, mobile friendliness, and fresh content delivery (via blog posts, targeted landing pages, etc.) along with off-page work including backlink tracking and social media profile management. In 2021 (and beyond) nearly everything that occurs in your digital-sphere can create risk and opportunity in how your website performs on Google Search. Make sure yours lands in the latter side of the spectrum by partnering with a digital marketing firm that understands SEO.
Never again feel powerless against a Google update and drop in rank. Contact Strategis Consulting Group today.