Seo

Lost your Google ranking? Find out what to do to reverse it!

By May 31, 2020No Comments

No need to despair: here what you need to do to discover, avoid and reverse the loss of Google positioning!

How? Why would my links fall so low in Google ranking?

Whoever works with SEO must have already seen that question several times. Maybe due to an update of the search engine algorithm, or because of some problem on the site, or even because of a competition that does a good job – the reasons for losing the SEO ranking are varied.

But the feeling of discouragement is the same. All that work of optimizing the pages and conquering a good positioning… all down the drain.

Calm down! In this article we are going to help you analyze what is going on and get back to your positions in the organic search results.

Come on:

Confirm if your pages REALLY lost positioning in Google

Waking up in the morning, turning on the computer and noticing that your pages have lost position is not great. In this situation, you can overcome despair.

So, the first piece of advice is: relax, everything will be fine!

Then you understand what going on. Verify that there really was a drop in positioning, because the system may capture wrong information or Google may do experiments and you may be fooling yourself.

For that, check:

Did organic traffic fall on the affected pages?

In Google Analytics, it compares the organic traffic of the affected pages with other periods. Maybe the drop is just a natural fluctuation during a holiday or a certain day of the week.

Is the drop in positioning effective?

It worth waiting a day or two to confirm if the fall is sustained. If it is a natural variation, everything will go back to normal; if not, it is necessary to react. For that, monitor your main keywords all day long – that way, if a problem occurs, you gain agility.

Does Google Search Console show the drop in ranking?

GSC will help confirm if there was a fall. Check the clicks, impressions and average positioning of your keywords and pages to certify.

Find out what could have gone wrong and re-position yourself on Google

You did the above procedure and you$0027re certain there was a drop in positioning: Houston, we have a problem… Follow our step-by-step approach to discovering the problem and solving it:

1. Did Google update its algorithm recently?

The answer to this question will probably be yes. Google is always improving its algorithm to enhance the search experience and avoid black hat practices.

However, some updates are more drastic. In those cases, the whole SEO community moves, many blogs publish about the alterations and even Google itself makes an official announcement.

How to identify it?

First, find out about a possible major update near the date of your positioning drop.

If there is no news, check out the performance on the pages at Bing and Yahoo. If the sudden drop in positioning did not occur in them, it is with Google itself that you have to settle your accounts.

What to do?

Google will never penalize a site that follows quality guidelines. Therefore, if you were punished, you probably did something he didn$0027t like, like plagiarizing content or manipulating backlinks.

In those cases, unfortunately, there is no automatic action to regain your position. You need to see what you$0027ve done wrong, correct it and wait for Google to review your site.

And for future prevention, it always follows Google major principle: the user experience , should always come first.

2. Did your site lose backlinks?

One of the most efficient strategies to conquer a good positioning is the link building. With quality external links for your site, you earn Google trust.

Therefore, losing your SEO ranking can mean some problems with your backlinks. Especially if you have few backlinks, that impact can be great.

How to identify it?

To check if there is a problem, use some software that tracks backlinks, such as Ahrefs or Majestic. So, see if there was any significant link loss, if so, analyze:

  • Will the sites just remove the backlinks?
  • Will they insert the label “nofollow” into the backlinks?
  • Have the sites undergone any recent updates?
  • Will they be deactivated or off the air?
  • Was there any change in the URL of your pages?

These are some questions that help to understand what happened and to react to recover the links and the authority of the pages.

What to do?

You can try to contact the site administrator to find out if the removal of the link was conscious or accidental and try to re-conquer the link.

You may need to simply wait for the site to go back on the air, or request the link again, or make your content more appealing to be referred to once again.

If the URL of your page changed, either by a manual action or a change in the structure of the site, you will lose all backlinks. To correct this, old URLs need to be redirected to current ones. This way, users will get to the correct links and the authority of the pages will be taken back.

3. Did you modify the internal links of the affected pages?

It is not only external links that affect the positioning of pages. Internal links are also extremely important in SEO, as they reveal to Google the relevance and hierarchy of internal pages.

Therefore, if there was any change in the internal links, your pages could have been impacted.

How to identify it?

The identification of the internal link exchange should be done with your own team and with a tracking tool, such as Screaming Frog. Check to see if there were any recent alterations with those:

  • Changes to the above links, footer, side menu, suggested products / publications.
  • Changes to authority pages (such as home page or category page);
  • Or changes in the anchor texts of the links on the affected pages.

What to do?

The changes were probably made for major layout or usability issues, i.e. they were not by chance.

Then, before asking for everything to go back to the way it was, assess whether the impact is not insurmountable. You can create internal links yourself, in different places of the site. In this way, the authority of the affected pages will be resumed.

4. Did you make any recent changes to the affected pages?

To be always updated, sites must go through various changes in layout, content and code over time. However, in some situations, these alterations can harm the SEO work done until then.

The good news is that, since these changes occurred “inside the house,” it is much easier to go back or correct them.

How to identify it?

If there were changes in the content of the page, that may have impacted on the SEO positioning.

Check the keyword: does it appear in the title, in H1 and H2 tags and in good text density? These aspects are important for Google to index the page and identify its relevance to the term.

As for changes in the code, these can impact Google visibility on the page. Log in to the GSC to see if Google can enter the page and read all your content.

What to do?

If the change was made in content, it is worth evaluating and counting that time, and keep an eye on the important tags and keyword density.

But if the problem is a code tampering, we$0027re talking about something else. The reasons for Google not being able to enter or read your pages are diverse, from the existence of the “noindex” tag in the page code to problems with the site hosting.

Therefore, this is an issue for your development team, as it involves more complex technical issues. Moving around on your own can be worse.

5. Is the user satisfied with the experience on your site?

Google considers user feedback for positioning. But does it do that by asking people? No. During navigation, the user himself sends signals to the search engine about his satisfaction with the site.

And if the user is not satisfied with your pages, you lose points with Google.

How to identify it?

Three important pieces of information indicate whether you are offering a good experience on your site:

  • CTR (Click Through Rate): Indicates if the link is being appealing in the search results.
  • Time spent: Indicates if the user interacted with your content.
  • Rejection rate: Indicates if the user found what they wanted on your page.
  • Loading speed: Shows if the page is loading quickly.

Data on CTR, dwell time and page rejection rate can be found in Google analytics.

To find out the speed of loading, use and abuse PageSpeed Insights.

What to do?

The reasons for a drop in click rate or dwell time can be several. Therefore, you should evaluate if there was any recent change in the site that caused the drop in SEO rankings.

For example, inserting a pop-up can increase the rejection rate. Changing titles can make the link less attractive for results. Using a plug-in can slow down the site and scare away visitors. So, evaluate and correct those changes.

6. How is the positioning of the competitors?

Ok, you evaluated all the changes that occurred in your company, in your site, in your pages and in your backlinks and you didn$0027t find anything wrong. But maybe the drop in SEO positioning is not your fault, you know?

While you$0027re working, the competitors are moving too. And they may have outgrown your position on a certain keyword.

How to identify it?

Use tools that allow you to spy on your competition such as SEMRush and Open Site Explorer. But don$0027t leave the analysis only when there are problems – monitor constantly.

Watch out for them, check:

  • Which competitors are growing while you$0027ve fallen into positioning?
  • How has the competition won backlinks?
  • How is the competition site? What is good about SEO?
  • And how is their internal linking strategy?

What to do?

Unfortunately, you can$0027t just knock on the door of the competition and ask them to stop. What you must do is observe the movements and absorb the best attitudes for your company. But, when it comes to doing your job, you can be even better than them!

Conclusion

Now that you know what to do when you fall into SEO positioning, you can prevent that from happening. In the end, you don$0027t want to go through that scare again, do you?

Adapt your strategies to always act according to Google guidelines, explain to your team that some actions can impact on SEO, monitor your pages and backlinks and keep an eye on your competitors.

In addition to that, it is also important to monitor the metrics that show the performance of your strategy.

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