Google uses about 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. Your website may not be ranking #1 due to one or more reasons. What’s more, ranking fluctuations — both up and down — occur naturally. These fluctuations tend to self-correct, so if after a period of four to six weeks your rankings haven’t adjusted, you may want to look at the following:
Backlink issues — The two main types of link issues that may affect your rankings are upsurges in new links and the loss of old links. A temporary ranking decline could, therefore, be caused by a sharp upsurge of backlinks or the removal or temporary unavailability of backlinks.
Content changes — Significant changes to your site’s content can also trigger a ranking decline, as can adding new sections of content that make search engines believe a new theme has been implemented. This could be as simple as adding large sections of content about new products or services, as the search engine may take some time to determine how to treat your site.
Website changes — While it’s great to make changes and optimise your website, it’s important to understand that any changes made to your site may affect your search engine rankings. Changing the domain name is a common reason for a drop in rankings, even if it’s only a simple domain change and you’ve properly implemented the required 301 redirects.
Algorithm changes — With Google’s algorithm changes occurring more frequently than ever before, ranking fluctuations are to be expected. While there are no more major ‘Penguin’ or ‘Panda’ updates on the horizon, the ongoing and relatively minor tweaks and changes being made to its search algorithms will result in temporary ranking fluctuations.
Penalties — There are two main reasons why Google may penalise your website — it believes your site provides a poor user experience or that you’ve been using manipulative methods to increase your ranking. It’s worth noting that if you’ve been penalised your rankings will drop significantly and not just a few places.
So, if your ranking has decreased by two or three places, chances are there’s another reason for the ranking decline. Moreover, it should also be noted that penalties can be applied for actions taken months or even years ago, so an action taken last year which resulted in your previously high ranking could be the cause of the penalty.
Interested in SEO? Bambrick Media is a leading SEO agency in Brisbane — we’ve helped hundreds of local and international businesses increase their online visibility and welcome the opportunity to help you achieve your digital marketing goals. To arrange a time to chat with a digital strategist about your search engine optimisation goals, contact us.