For those wise to digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) can be a great, inexpensive tool to get a website in front of customers online.
So if you’ve done your homework and maximized your SEO, nothing can be more disheartening than suddenly watching your search results plummet for no apparent reason.
If this has happened to you, you know the feeling of all that hard work and research slipping away in a moment. SEO, after all, is an inexact science.
But there is good news: If a website ranking has suddenly bottomed out, there is usually a reason for it. With a bit of research, the cause of that ranking drop can be sussed out and remedied in no time.
Here are four tips and tools marketers, business owners and anyone in between can determine why a website’s ranking has dropped and how to fix it.
1.) Go to Google Search Console
The first stop on any ranking detective mission is Google Search Console, which provides a wealth of helpful information for website owners and managers.
With Google Search Console, users can get email notifications telling them if their website is experiencing serious crawl errors and schema problems. If a website is having serious structural issues, it can be flagged by search engines and cause a sudden drop in rankings.
More importantly, using Google Search Console can help website owners get a degree of granular detail that will help find out the underlying issues causing a ratings drop.
2.) Has Your Website Been Hacked?
Sometimes the fault doesn’t lie with a website owner but with a hacker.
Hacks are common and can cause havoc for website owners and managers. If a website has been hacked, it’s important to determine the degree of the hack and take meaningful action to make your site secure.
Fortunately, some hosting companies like Screaming Frog offer site scanning services that provide downloadable information on a site’s code to determine whether anything seems missing or out of place.
3.) Keep an Eye on Links
One of the central tenets of SEO is the quality of inbound links, but the authority of those links is often out of the control of a website’s owner or manager.
If a quality inbound link suddenly loses authority or is flagged by a search engine, that can suddenly affect ranking. That’s why it’s important to perform routine audits of inbound links and determine whether a website has any weak spots in its linking strategy.
4.) Take a Close Look at Your Content
If everything on a website hasn’t been touched, the simple truth is that it may no longer be optimized a given search engine.
SEO rules change constantly so it’s important to stay on top of the most recent trends in the field and tweak content to match the newest rules. If you want to keep your website competitive, it’s important to invest the time and effort to make sure your content is unique, authoritative and maximizes search engine crawls.