Search engine rankings are always fluctuating. That’s why it is essential to accept the simple fact that no matter what you do regarding SEO, you will not be able to lock down one place on the results pages. And it doesn’t matter whether your website is six months or 6 years old!
So why does this change occur so frequently
Good SEO is a long-term plan; it takes continuous effort to rise in the overall search trends slowly, and day-to-day rankings don’t mean much at all. Keyword rankings can fluctuate continuously for days on end. It may seem incredible to go from page 23 to page 5 in a day, but this kind of volatility means that the progress is short-lived. Don’t be too happy when such a jump occurs, because the opposite might happen also. So, sit back, relax, and take a more comprehensive view of things.
One way to not feel worried when such fluctuations occur is to learn more about them. Let’s take a look at what may be causing your Google Rankings to go crazy:
Because It’s Google
The lower your website ranks, the more prone it is to Google’s natural volatility. When you are number one, it takes longer for your website to move in the rankings. You might drop a position or two, but then your site is back up in a day or so. A more substantial website which is already ranking high will mostly remain stable in the top results.
But when you are down below in the rankings, there’s a lot more competition. Therefore, even the minutest of changes can have a substantial impact. Every time the search engine changes the search algorithm or you adjust your site plan or other elements; your rankings are affected. So, it’s perfectly fine to see the site jumping rankings every time you add new content to your site!
Google Algorithm Updates
Google makes small tweaks to the ranking algorithm almost on a daily basis. Its machine learning aspect takes care of these adjustments, tuning changes and pushing out more extensive updates regularly every few weeks.
These changes can explain the fluctuations that occur daily. Moz tracks updates quite regularly, and with it, you can stay on top of these changes. Significant upgrades have names like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc. And the fluctuations caused by them are lovingly known as the Google Dance. And since this is entirely natural, and entirely out of your control, there isn’t anything you can do about it.
Sudden Competition for Keywords
Did a few more competitors enter your stratosphere? Well, their entry can rock your boat as well. Think of it like a person doing a cannonball into a pool with several other people already chilling in there. They are going to feel the new entrance. And it will take a while until things settle down and return to normal.
With thousands of websites being launched on a daily basis, your website’s rankings are falling victim to the resulting fluctuations. Again, there isn’t much you can do against the competition apart from strengthening your SEO and improving your website. It is the only way to buffer your rankings against newcomers.
New Trends Popping Up
One day your site is resting nicely on the number 10 spot, the next day it has climbed the charts suddenly and is resting cozily at number 2. It can be a result of a sudden surge in the popularity of your products or a related topic. This new-found fame gives your website new traffic, and this gives Google a whole lot of new data to figure out that why visitors prefer going to your site, automatically hiking it up in the results.
On the other hand, any damage to the reputation of your business may reflect upon the SERP ranking of the website. If you fear that your business is being targetted by negative propaganda online, it is a good idea to invest in reputation management services that can help contain the harmful noise about your brand online.
Now, the trouble is that these trends can’t be predicted or planned. While everyone is on a quest for virality, no one has cracked the code yet. The best you can do is to ride the wave and capitalize on your 15 minutes of digital fame.
Some websites and keywords enjoy time-based traffic. Take, for example, Christmas sales or Black Friday deals. These categories remain inactive for most of the year but start to pick up around November. You can strategically plan for this unexpected rush of temporal traffic as it is risky to leave it unattended.
Every year, even the most prominent websites give up under inevitable heavy load, and even a brief outage can take the site down in search results. If your website is looking forward to this seasonal traffic, make sure it’s all geared up and ready for the thousands of visitors it’s going to get during the sale season.
Addition of New Content
As you publish a new blog, press release or article, Google’s complex machinery springs into action. It indexes your new content piece and figures out how it should be ranked, where it should show up in search results and for which keywords.
Due to this, it is why it is vital always to publish the best possible quality content. After all, Google is all about helping websites build better relationships with the visitors. That’s why lousy material can drag down the entire website in search rankings.
Removal of Out-dated Content
A content audit is worthwhile for more prominent, content-intensive websites. Thousands of old websites have web content that is dragging them down the search results, and they are wrongfully under the impression that all that matters is the content. Contrary to this belief, old, outdated, uninteresting, and plagiarized content will only drag your website down.
However, removing this old content can lead to a lot of fluctuations. In some cases, Google can decide whether it can trust your website again or not and consequently drops the rankings. On the other hand, if the content was awful and you replace it, your website may shoot up the rankings, making all your SEO efforts worthwhile.
Auditing for Links
There is no denying the fact that links are the backbone of Google Search. All other elements of SEO are built on the foundation of the network of links between websites.
But link audits are an entire re-evaluation of your website’s current status. And removing bad links can cause a drop in your rankings for a few days. But fret not; you are going to end up in a higher position with regular link audits.
Changing the URL of your website
Now, this is a massive and dramatic change as far as Google is concerned. Changing the URL of your website will cause massive fluctuations in the search rankings of your website. For Google, it’s not an old website with a new name. It is a NEW website which could be an imposter for all it knows.
That’s why the change can lead to a lower search ranking. It can take a few months for your website to recover from the change entirely, so only do it if the new domain will add serious value to your brand.
If your website is found to be using dubious SEO practices for ranking, it may be subjected to automatic and manual search penalties. Yes, Google has decided to take action on such websites.
You will have to conduct a site-wide SEO audit and figure out where the problem lies according to the latest algorithm update. It is essential to take the necessary action fast to figure out this problem.
Negative SEO Attacks
Did you experience a sudden drop in rankings, while there is nothing unusual in your search console? Google hasn’t released a new algorithm overnight, and you are 100% sure that your site is set up according to the search engine’s guidelines.
Well, it could be a negative SEO attack, where someone is out to spam your website with bogus links, slowing down its performance to show Google that it isn’t working at an optimal level. In cases like these, you must move fast to disavow any shady links and get back your former ranking quickly.
However, no matter how fast you move, there is no way to avoid the sudden drop and fluctuations. The only good news is that once Google has figured out that you didn’t put up the bogus links yourself, your rankings will return in all their former glory.
When your site’s security is lacking, or if it has been hacked with obvious tell-tale signs, then not only will it rank low in the search rankings, it may disappear altogether.
You will need to remove any damage done to the content of your website. Then comes the time to re-secure the digital premises and ensure that your site is safe from all future attacks and that none of the user data has been compromised. You may have to invest in SEO from scratch to regain the higher ranking of your website.
The last word
Create better content, builder higher quality links, and there will be no reason why your website won’t be able to rule the SERPs for the long-term. All this is good SEO which helps in ranking your site higher and keeping it there.
Make sure your site offers valuable, relevant and up-to-date information, as well as, easy-to-use navigation that makes the visitors feel welcome. Google will also love to show it off to new prospects, ultimately putting your site higher in search results.
Focus on the big picture; build a high-quality website that conforms to all of Google’s specifications, and you will rank higher for longer.