D’Sessions #1: Al Gomez on Ranking Drops and Working on It - Dlinkers

D’Sessions #1: Al Gomez on Ranking Drops and Working on It

ranking drops
D’Sessions #1: Al Gomez on Ranking Drops and Working on It

Being in the SEO industry, we all know the importance of increasing or maintaining a high rank. However, as we also know, the internet is a very dynamic place. Nothing is permanent. Especially not on the internet and most probably not on the SERPs. Searchers and consumers don’t seem to mind or even noticea h the changes in the SERPs, however, for business owners, it means everything.

Business owners and SEO specialists shouldn’t worry though. Panicking and worrying won’t solve anything. Therefore, the best thing that you can do is find out what happened that made your rankings drop.

Five (5) Ultimate Reasons for Ranking Drops

1. Received a Penalty (Manual or Algorithmic)

Don’t say Google didn’t warn you. One of the top reasons why you have got a ranking drop is from penalties given to you by Google manually or algorithmically. Algorithmic penalties are given to you when your site hits by major algorithm penalty i.e a Penguin update due to your spammy links can make your rankings completely vanish from Google search.

Manual penalties are decided by search quality raters after doing a manual check on your site and seen that you have violated webmaster guidelines.

How to Diagnose?

For Algorithmic penalty you can check it using Google Analytics, you can find the status of your organic traffic by going to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Monitor your organic traffic and see if there are any drastic changes. When you find out that your site ranking drops on Google while it seems to be faring well on other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo!, you might be penalized by Google.

Algo penalty

What to Do?

Fixing Algorithmic Penalties

To recover from algorithmic penalties, be sure to do the right thing now. If you got hit by Panda update be sure to check your content and make it valuable to both readers and both.  If it’s a Penguin update, do a link audit ASAP, check for link schemes or those low-quality links. After a full audit and submitting low-quality links for disavow, request for a site reconsideration.

Fixing Manual Penalties

Google usually send a notification of manual penalty to a webmaster with the steps on what to do.

Manual Penalties

Check the Search Console

With the Google search console tool, track and find out what penalties you received in the Manual Actions. Below is an example of a manual action.

Manual Action

Aim for No manual webspam actions found which signifies that your site received no penalties.

Search console

Common Penalty Problems

  • Spammy links to your website
  • Spammy links from your site
  • Thin Content
  • Poor content
  • Duplicate content

After cleaning up your site and submitting a disavow, it’s time to submit a reconsideration request.

Request

Things to remember when applying for reconsideration:

  1. Be sure to use the disavow tool correctly
  2. Use the fetch as google accordingly
  3. Don’t submit empty sites

Be sure to do work on the right fixes and never be involved in gaining unnatural links and low-quality content. And you will surely receive a good news like below:

News

2. Competitors Outranked Your Website

You are not the only one who is vying for the top spot on the SERPs. If you are working hard to get to the top, the others are probably doing the same. It is inevitable that one way or the other they will be able to produce a strategy that can outrank you.

How to Diagnose?

Do a Google search for your keywords. Find out who are your close competitors. These are the sites ranking above you. You can start by checking on first-page competitors or you can use a keyword explorer from Ahrefs to identify top competitors for certain keywords.

Top Competitor

What to Do?

When you got outranked by the competition, do your best to outrank them as well. Here are a few things that you can do to outrank them and take back your rank.

Monitor the competition. Number one rule in business is never to ignore the competition. Understand them and keep an eye on what they are doing. Ahrefs is a useful tool that enables you to check competitors’ backlinks. Discover link opportunities and linkable assets that you can utilize. Are they building it manually or gaining it naturally?

backlinks

Improve content creation. Collect what makes their content special and unique, spot the missing points and take note. Then create content from it applying points that are missing making it complete or write it from a different perspective.

Learn and adapt. If your competitors are growing their ranks steadily, it means that their strategies are effective. Understand, learn and adapt to their strategies. Incorporate your own flare to stand out and make yourself more unique against the crowd.

3. Existing On-Page Issues

On-Page issues can either cause ranking drops or you can’t grow any rank at all. This may also cause your competitors to outrank you easily on the SERPs. It is important that you fix on-page issues that hinder Google from ranking a site that has a lot of errors.

How to Diagnose?

You can use Google Webmaster Tools when fixing this problem. Access the Search Console of your site and check the Crawl > Crawl Errors. You will be able to know if there are errors detected on your site. If you have no errors, that’s brownie points for Google. You should monitor for site errors at least every 90 days to make sure that everything is where it should be.

Crawl Errors

Moreover, you can also diagnose On-Page Issues in your site via Search Appearance > HTML Improvements in Google Webmaster Tool. You will be able to see additional errors with regards to your on-page site. The most common error that you encounter is the Duplicate title tags.

dupe title

What to Do?

If you do encounter a site error, you should fix them and not wait for them to get worse if you don’t want Google to lower your ranking due to many errors.

Fixing DNS Errors

If your site is having DNS or Domain Name System errors, this can block Googlebot from connecting to your domain. This can result in either a DNS lookup issue or a DNS timeout issue. Access Fetch as Google and Fetch your page’s status. Ask help from your DNS provider to solve the problem.

Fixing Server Errors

Server errors happen when Googlebot tries to connect to your website but takes too long that it can’t load your page completely. Common causes would be your website is overloaded with web traffic. There are plenty of types of server errors so be sure to diagnose the specific one and refer to Google Search Console for help.

Fixing Robots Failure

This occurs when Googlebot can’t retrieve your robots.txt file. It tells Googlebot not to crawl certain pages. To fix this, you have to make sure you configure your robots.txt file properly. If it’s alright with you, you can always remove robots.txt file rather than having one that isn’t properly configured.

Fixing for Duplicate, Short or Long Meta Description or Title Tag

Despite having other HTML improvements, duplicate title tags and duplicate meta description is the most common error people encounter. It is an easy fix, though. For a WordPress site, all you need to do is have a Yoast SEO. Just edit the title and meta description that have issues and after fixing submit the page for indexing.

dupe edit

Additionally consider also on your radar, the technical elements like the structured data and sitemap issues. For the structured data, you have to fix if there’s an indicated error i.e. see the example below:

schema

4. Severe Loss Links

It is known that backlinks are an important part of ranking up. You can experience ranking drops when you lose a severe number of these links. Either your links were removed or are broken, it is imperative that you get to fix them as soon as you’re able.

How to Diagnose?

There are tools available on the internet that you can use to check for broken or lost links. Ahrefs is one of the best tools that you can use for this. You will be able to monitor and check your live links and attempt to fix your lost links to gain back your rank.

Lost Links

What to Do?

Track and check your removed links and find out if the webmasters removed those links due to it looking spammy. Although you can ask them back, it is risky since Google will notice those links and penalize you anyway. However, if they were removed accidentally, you can contact the webmaster to correct the error.

5. Algorithm Update Occurs

You may have noticed that Google made it a habit to update their algorithm without any notice. This is one of the factors that you can’t control or fix in the SEO world. These updates result in drastic shifts in the rankings on the SERPs. You may experience a severe drop off of your rankings during these times.

How to Diagnose?

One of the best ways to diagnose and prepare for an algorithm update is to check and monitor if Google is up to something. You can use helpful tools on the internet such as MozCast. This tool notifies you any turbulence in Google’s algorithm that can affect rankings and help you brace yourself for the effects.

MozCast 1

What to Do?

As long as you are adhering to the webmaster guidelines, building your brand, fixing technical issues and staying as organic as possible, you’re in good hands. Focus on your brand, engage in your community and keep an eye out for new rules and regulations in the new update.

Keeping on Track

As mentioned before, the internet is a very dynamic place. You have to be alert and vigilant in order to maintain your rank and work on improving it further. SEO requires dedication and constant monitoring.

If you have any problems with any technicalities regarding SEO, our SEO Expert is ready to help you recover your rankings.

SEO Expert Al Gomez on SEO