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Suffered a sudden rankings drop? It can be scary checking your ranking report only to find your site has disappeared from Google’s front page.

But don’t panic – we can help you determine what caused your site’s hard-earned rankings to drop, and how to recover.


The Cause: Google Updated Its Algorithm

Yes, those sneaky pandas and penguins can get you if you’re not careful. Google updates its algorithms regularly, so don’t be surprised if a new algorithm or a major update of an older algorithm comes along and changes the game.

You can check out industry news sites such as Search Engine Land to stay up to date with Google algorithm changes.


The Fix: Keep The Algorithm Happy

If Google has made some adjustments that have caused your spot on the SERPs to slide, you’ll need to find a way to pull yourself out of the penalty. If the algorithm update is in the search engine news, you should be able to find out why Google made the update, and what you need to fix to recover.


The Cause: Your Site Lost Links

Losing links can cause your rankings to drop, especially if your site doesn’t have many links to begin with. You can use link counters like Ahrefs to check your lost links report to find out whether you’ve experienced a:

  • Site-wide link drop
  • Substantial link drop to the page/pages that have dropped in rankings
  • Link drop to inbound links to the page/pages that have dropped in rankings.


The Fix: Get The Links Back

Whether you reach out to the site owner who originally provided the links, or you invest in new links to replace the old ones, it’s important to get that high-quality link count back up. You should also consider a strategy to make all forthcoming links more long-term, and continue to monitor your link profile regularly.


The Cause: You Recently Changed The Page

Did you recently make some updates to the affected page that might have changed Google’s mind about how relevant it is to the target keyword?

Things that might make Google give your page the boot include:

  • Changing the URL
  • Removing target keywords from the page title, H1 or H2s
  • Decreasing the keyword density.


The Fix: Revert The Page

Chances are, if you revert your site back to the way it was, you’ll probably regain the organic traffic you lost.

  • If you changed the URL, you may be able to change it back to the original. Otherwise, 301 direct the old URL to the new one. And don’t change URLs in future.
  • If you changed the text, change it back, or maintain a similar keyword density.
  • If Google can’t read your page, you need to get onto that, pronto. Your website development team should be able to take care of it.


The Cause: User Behaviour Has Changed

Google measures user behaviours such as your click-through rate (CTR) from the SERPs and how long visitors stay on your page to determine rankings. Things that can impact your CTR and bounce rate might include:

  • Adding a popup
  • Longer load times
  • Changed page titles.


The Fix: Make Your Page User-Friendly

Visitors want your page to be quick and easy to access. If you’ve dropped in rankings due to changes in user behaviour, you might want to use a different type of popup or banner, change your titles back, and get onto your web dev team about load time.

Dropped rankings can be stressful, but they can also be recovered. But if you review the above pointers you can get yourself back on track in no time!

A senior SEO account manager, Matt has been working in the wonderful world of organic search since 2012 starting as a content writer. Now he helps websites of all sizes rank in Google with SEO & Digital Marketing Agency Search Factory.

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