Top Reasons Why Your Website Ranking and Traffic May be Dropping

Christian Thomson
LinkedIn

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

You may have a variety of different goals for your website, but at the end of the day one thing is true for all sites: they exist to be seen. You aren’t putting work into your posts and blogs for no reason, or for them to remain unseen. If your ranking and traffic are dropping and you’re not sure why that is a cause for concern. Here are some of the reasons why your website ranking and traffic may be dropping:

Tracking the Wrong Ranking.
Broken Redirects.
Changes to Algorithms.
Page Speed.
Changes in Search Trends.
Clickbait.
Stiffer Competition.
Server Problems.
Penalties for Poor Quality Links.

Tracking the Wrong Ranking.

Is your website an older one? Perhaps the keywords that once performed well for you are no longer relevant today, particularly if you are using terminology that is not commonly used by your potential customers.

Over the years, Google’s engineers have made great strides in natural language comprehension. This means that today’s users—many of whom are using voice search—are receiving results based on more natural language. Search engines are also ranking websites on full sentences rather than just specific keywords. If your site is relying on old, generic keywords, you need some updating.

Broken Redirects.

These can be especially troublesome. Make sure to have a proper 301 redirect plan in place any time you are launching a new website, moving to a new server, or making significant structural changes to your site, otherwise, you are sure to see a drop in your rankings.

Much like a change of address tells the post office where to send your mail when moving to a new home, a 301 redirect tells the search engines where to find one or more pages, or even your entire site when they move to a new location. Doing this correctly will protect you from losing your rankings and will also keep you from being penalized for duplicate content since search indexes will be indexing both the new and old addresses.

Changes to Algorithms.

This is something you are already quite familiar with, as Google makes frequent changes to their algorithms. These changes invariably impact many sites, resulting in a drop in rankings. To minimize the effect of the changes in algorithm, employ a cross-channel marketing and traffic strategy. Take advantage of social media and other available media channels.

Page Speed.

No one likes to wait, least of all those searching for something online. Mobile users will not wait for pages to load and there is really no reason for your site to make them do so.

Has something happened to slow your page load speeds? Even worse, has your site just always been on the slow side? It may be that nothing has changed on your site, but if other similar sites are loading faster, users will not wait around for yours, clicking away within seconds.

Changes in Search Trends.

Occasionally the drop in traffic and ranking will have nothing to do with you or your website. User behaviour may be responsible. If, for example, a given topic becomes popular among users, Google may provide newer results. Older, static content will be pushed further down, leading to a loss of ranking. You may wish to examine Google Trends to see if you can spot topics that are affecting you.

Clickbait.

Simply put, clickbait is to be avoided. Yes, it may still work, but users don’t appreciate being manipulated and if they come to associate this tactic with your site, they will avoid it. Use accurate titles and avoid using phrases like “you won’t believe what happens next!”

Stiffer Competition.

Your site doesn’t exist within a vacuum and there are many other site owners out there trying to climb their way up in the rankings. They are not sitting still and hoping for the best, they are working to improve their own visibility and boost their rankings. It just may be that they are doing a better job than you.

By analyzing what your competition is up to, you might see what has made them so effective. Are they stepping up their social media activity? Have they revamped their site? If you use backlink tools and discover that they have an abundance of new backlinks, it might indicate that they are running a new SEO campaign. Once you know what they are doing, you can take their strategy and improve upon it.

Server Problems.

You may be experiencing a server issue due to an empty markup served to Googlebot or even a broken caching function. Whatever the case may be, server issues need to be resolved as quickly as possible. You should look for errors in your server logs and test how a URL is crawled or rendered by using Google’s Fetch and Render tool.

Penalties for Poor Quality Links.

Google may penalize you for your links if they are spammy or a result of outdated strategies. Google has stated that links they consider part of a scheme to manipulate PageRank are a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines. If you have broken links, fix them, and start building good links. One way to do this is to promote your high-quality content on social media.

Your ranking and traffic are vital to the success of your website. If you see them dropping, you need to find out why and address the situation. Gaining and maintaining your ranking takes time and effort. Avoid using questionable tactics or looking for shortcuts or you may find your site working its way down the results page.

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