Why did my rankings go down? What to do if Google drops your website rankings? : MARKETING

Google rankings drop – Table of Contents

+ Strike with a Google manual penalty
+ Problems with canonization on site
+ Server problems
+ Detection of malware or site hacks
+ Algorithm changes / Algo punishment
+ You have a new website
+ Spammy Links & Backlink changes
+ You have lost some great links
+ The quality of your content is poor compared to competitors
+ .htaccess or robots.txt file problems
+ Your competitors have overtaken you
+ Decline in indexed pages
+ Randomization or "The Google Dance"

A drop in your Google ranking can sometimes happen in a snap: one day you appeared on the first page of the search results, and the next day your website could hardly be found. If you depend on your search engine visibility to reach the majority of your visitors, this scenario can be quite scary. It is particularly frightening if you have no idea why the decline has occurred. There are many reasons why a website's ranking drops suddenly. Most of them can be fixed with a little time and effort. Let's look at some of the most common problems that can cause a website's ranking to drop.

Google penalties

Google penalties

A manual review of the links by the Google webspam team can cause your rankings to drop overnight.

To eradicate bad content and provide users with better search results, Google has taken tough action against websites that violate their policies. Older SEO techniques that used to be commonplace can cause your website to drop in rankings. There are a variety of violations for which Google punishes a website. The following list contains some of the most common errors:

  1. Keyword stuffing: In the early days of search engine optimization, it was typical to insert your keywords as closely as possible into your content. This naturally resulted in poorly written content that was clearly created for search engines and not for people. Pages filled with keywords don't get you far in today's ranking. The better strategy is too Integrate your keywords naturallywithout affecting the quality of the content.
  2. Artificial link building: Buying links, renting links, and participating in too many link exchanges are just a few of the sketchy link building methods that can get you a Google penalty. Google disapproves of any artificial means to build your link network. If you have to Increase your backlink Profile is best done the old fashioned way. By contacting the webmasters of other reputable websites in your niche and posting guests on popular blogs, you can create a solid set of links to your website.
  3. Duplicate content: Google doesn't want users to repeat the same content in a list of search results. To avoid the possibility of this bad user experience, websites with identical content may be penalized across multiple pages. Using tools like Copyscape can help you with this Make sure all of your content is completely original,
  4. Duplicate metadata: Similar to duplicate content, duplicate metadata can also affect your search engine rankings. Google won't punish you for having duplicate metadata. However, it is considered an indication that your website may have a duplicate content problem. Many content management systems and blogging platforms make it easy to commit this particular violation by accident. Make sure that you enter unique, original metadata for each page of your website.
  5. Thin content: Google likes to see pages that are rich in information and filled with original content. Pages that primarily serve ads are likely to be penalized. Similarly, e-commerce websites that copy their product descriptions directly from the manufacturer or another website can experience problems.
  6. Abuse anchor text: The use of your keywords in the anchor text of your links was previously a standard recommendation among SEO experts. The algorithm changes in Google's Penguin Update 2012 changed all of this. This is no longer recommended. Your anchor text should contain real phrases and of course flow with the rest of your content.

It takes time to recover from a Google penalty. If you are experiencing a problem, you must first fix the problem: rewrite any thin or keyword-filled content. Get these bad links removed If possible, use the Google Disavow Tool for links that you cannot remove yourself. Once you've done your best to fix the problem, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google and hope for a positive result.

Problems with canonization

problems with canonization are more like duplicate content issues. These problems occur when Google indexes a page on your website with several different URLs. Canonicalization problems can occur if two versions of a domain name are indexed, or if a single domain name is indexed using both HTTPS and HTTP. Unfortunately, this type of problem is easy to solve through no fault of your own. Anyone who links to your website with an incorrect version of the URL can cause canonization problems. In this case, it is important to contact the webmaster of the website with the broken link and arrange for a change.

Problems with canonization

By using canonical review tools like Moz or Ahrefs, potential duplicate content problems can be identified on the spot.

server problems

Google usually only awards short-term server problems on your website: If your website is unavailable due to maintenance work or if you experience availability problems for a day or two, your ranking should remain intact. However, if the search engines have trouble accessing your website for several days, a negative impact on your ranking, If you plan to deactivate your site for maintenance purposes, you should make changes to your server to generate a 503 code. This indicates to the search engines that the outage is temporary.

Malware detection

The presence of malware on your website does not directly damage your ranking. However, the impact on traffic you get from search results is equally significant. If Google detects malware on your website, a warning to users will appear next to your listing in search results. Various tools are available for finding and removing malware from your website. Once you're done with the infection, Google can remove the malware warning from your search results.

Algorithm changes

If you have followed the rules for your website and there have been no technical problems on your website, this may be due to a change in the algorithm by the search engines. In an effort to improve the overall quality of their results, Google and the other search engines have made numerous adjustments to the way they index and rate web content. Google's penguin and panda updates are two of the best-known algorithm adjustments that bring about profound changes in the SEO community. While most of these algorithm optimizations lead to a more gradual impact on the ranking, there can be a drop in overnight if your website is particularly affected by the changes. If this happens on your website, you just have to work on it Improve your website's SEO and try to make your website stronger and better.

Algorithm changes

Source: Extended web rankings

The most likely culprit is actually the simplest explanation. Google has released a new algorithm update or a new data update that re-evaluates the ranking of companies for a specific query (or the way in which the evaluation is carried out). Because of the update you rank lower.

Google releases updates from time to time, but it only takes a handful of attention. For example, Panda 4.1 and Penguin 3.0 were massive algorithm updates last year that got a lot of attention and led to significant changes in page rank. However, these are not the only updates released by Google. Google regularly updates the data in its index to keep the ranking predictable and to comply with current standards.While one of these data updates is small, it can easily disrupt your previous rank.

Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to reverse the effects of any of these updates. If it's a data update, there's practically nothing you can do. If this is a major update and Google has adjusted some of its ranking factors, find out which factors were affected and adjust your strategy accordingly to compensate for these changes.

Your site is new

Google loves new websites very much. And a lot of hate. It's complicated. When your website starts, Google has never heard of it and your website is not indexed. This means that you cannot appear in the search results. When Google indexes your website for the first time, it can artificially increase the rankings (since the Google algorithm temporarily favors new websites, of course), so you think you have reached these ranks alone. After this introductory phase, your rankings are likely to drop again as Google tries to better understand who you are and how authoritative you are. In short, volatility is expected and normal for new websites.

Spam links or major changes to your backlink profile

Even if you strictly adhere to best practices, though When you create links, a broken link may have been included in your backlink profile. You may have hastily created a link or posted it on a website that is not relevant to your brand, or someone else created the link entirely so that you can no longer control the incident. In any case, if Google sees an irrelevant, unhelpful, or low-authority link that points to your website, it may be enough to loop your rankings. You can check your backlink profile with Open the Site Explorer or a similar tool and remove any suspicious links with a simple request to the webmaster who hosts them.

Your backlink profile is a collection of links on the web that Google uses to analyze your authority on the web. If the constitution of this backlink profile suddenly changes, it can cause your rankings to decrease. If you found and posted an irrelevant link or link in a low quality source, or A dropdown is displayed shortly afterwards for each type of link that can be classified as spam.

However, changes to the backlink profile are not always borne by the webmaster. An external webmaster may have removed one or more of your existing high quality links. If your link profile is diverse enough, this should not be enough to move you. However, if several of your links or a large part of your links disappear overnight, the ranking can easily decrease significantly.

In addition, negative SEO attacks are rare, but possible. In the event of a negative SEO attack, a competitor or other malicious entity would intentionally write a bad post. Spam links to your domain to reduce your authority. If you have concerns about this or just want to check your current backlink profile, use the free Moz tool Open Site Explorer to check your external links. If you want an even better tool, we recommend

You have lost a good connection

You have lost a good connection

Losing one (or in this case) thousands of backlinks definitely has an impact.

If, on the other hand, you had a particularly powerful link to your website that suddenly disappeared, the authority that passed it will disappear. Suppose you have received a link to an important authority with a .edu domain.

This webmaster has decided to convert the link into a nofollow link or to remove it entirely. It is expected that your domain authority and thus your rankings will decrease, especially if you are new to the game.

A decrease in content quality

This is not a common cause of sudden traffic losses, as the quality of the content tends to decrease over time. However, it is possible that your last ranking report was influenced by a gradual change in your content approach. Google prefers elongated, very detailed, original content with heavily researched elements and understandable formulations. If your posts are less detailed, faster, or otherwise less useful to your readers, this can send a signal to Google that you are no longer as authoritative as you used to be. If you're concerned, do a content review to assess the strength of your latest material and update your approach to modern content marketing best practices.

Even the best content marketers are not always perfect. Writing well-written, reasonable, detailed, and relevant topics weekly or daily is quite a challenge, and a few deviations from this consistency are enough to cause a temporary shift in your online rankings.

There are some common culprits for this. First and foremost, you could accidentally trigger a minor content-based penalty if you publish part of the content that is a duplicate of the content that has already been published, or a copy of something that already exists on the web. Search and remove duplicate content from your website or use redirects to mask one iteration in favor of the other.

Posting content irregularly can also affect your page rank. If you typically post three times a week and stop for a month, the Google algorithm detects the change and couples you when new content becomes unavailable. That's where Guest blogging services can prove helpful.

If you've recently changed the subject or hosted an abnormal guest blog, the sudden change in eligibility can also affect your rank. For example, if you typically write about hamburgers and suddenly post about steak, your keyword ranking for hamburgers may see a downward movement.

Something has changed in your robots.txt or .htaccess file

Something has changed in your robots.txt file

Even small changes in your Robots.txt file can have a massive impact on your Google rank.

Your robots.txt file is an instruction file at the back of your website that search crawlers use to get various information about your website.

For example, you can tell crawlers to ignore certain pages or certain versions of pages.

Similarly, you may have problems with your .htaccess file, or the NGNIX redirect rules may have changed. The .htaccess file and NGINX rules control redirects for pages and posts on your site. Here is an example:

Changes to your .htaccess file can create 404 pages, redirect loops, and redirect posts and pages that may have been previously ranked. In some cases, webmasters may not edit these files directly (using a third-party plugin), may have their webmaster edit them, and in the worst case, these files can sometimes be hacked, creating redirects to unwanted and harmful websites.

If you've accidentally updated the robots.txt .htaccess file to tell Google not to index bulk parts of your website (this happens more often than you think), With the SERPs you obviously lose importance. continue reading Best practices for your robots.txt fileand check yours – just to be sure.

A competitor has emerged.

Let's be honest. You are not the only company in your industry that is currently battling for top spot in Google search results. If a new competitor appears on the field with a great new site and tons of interesting, original content, you could easily be torn from your position. Older competitors could also introduce new strategies and initiatives that make them more attractive for Google's ranking algorithm. In this case, you need to step up your efforts to keep up with yours, or find a new niche or perspective to gain a better competitive advantage.

Competitors can be sneaky, and even niche companies can face the emergence of a very similar competitor. It takes some time to build up search engine rankings. Therefore, a new competitor is unlikely to completely surprise you, but this is not uncommon. Take a look at the new company profiles of the companies that are currently in the shade. Has any of them made massive changes recently to improve their rank? Has one of them slowly got up from the back? In this case, it is possible that they simply overtook you because they spend more time and effort building their authority on the web with the help of an external link building solution.

To counteract this emergence, you either have to intensify your efforts to reach and exceed them, or you have to concentrate on specializing in another niche and overtaking them in a tangential strategy.

Reduce indexed pages

Reduce indexed pages

When doing a Google website search, the total number of indexed pages should be given. If that's the case, then you have a problem.

Google creates its rankings based on the information that is crawled on the web. If your website doesn't have enough information to be crawled by Google, the result will be lower. Usually, all of your internal pages should be crawled and indexed by Google bots. However, in some cases, the indexing of some of your pages will stop suddenly and your rank will be affected.

The indexing of pages could be removed due to a manual penalty. However, an issue that is easy to fix is ​​more likely to cause the pages to disappear. Check your pages for 404 errors, nofollow tags, or other quality features that could make them invisible to search engines. You can also log in to Webmaster Tools and check your website for crawl errors or indexed pages. In this way, you can analyze your current sitemap and fix any noticeable errors Prevent your pages from appearing.

Randomization or "The Google Dance"

Randomization, sometimes calledthe Google DanceIs the phenomenon related to websites that happen to jump around in the search engine rankings. This may be one of the most difficult ranking problems to explain. Basically, it's just a random mix of rankings that doesn't usually last long. If that's why your website's ranking has dropped, the good news is that it will likely return to its high ranking sooner or later.

As you can see, several factors can contribute to the sudden drop in search results on your website. It is important to know whether it is caused by a Google penalty, server problems or a change in the algorithm Identify the cause of the problem, Once you find the underlying cause of the problem, it is easier to take the necessary steps to fix the problem and make your website more visible in the search engines. There are several reasons why your website may not appear in the search engine rankings. On the other hand, your ranking may have been relatively high and then suddenly dropped for no apparent reason. Recognizing the reason your website is dropped in the search engine rankings is important because when you diagnose the problem, you know what you need to work on to get your website back in the rankings. Below are the top 10 reasons why your website ranking has suddenly dropped.

Would you like to find out why your ranking dropped? An advanced SEO check will likely uncover the problem, so you know how to get your website back on track.

Sam Edwards

Sam Edwards

Marketing Director at the
In his over 9 years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and Fortune 500 companies and organizations, including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC-based Price Benowitz LLP and the human rights organization Amnesty International.

He is a recurring speaker in the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today, he works directly with high-end customers from all industries to maximize on-site and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.

Sam Edwards

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