How do you diagnose and recover from a Google ranking drop?
You might not be able to.
Hello! And thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
Let me give you some examples. I did a ranking drop analysis for Cancer.gov. It’s a huge domain, huge domain authority and yet it lost traffic.
The cause? Well, it’s always more than one factor. In this case, Google rolled out symptom panels that took over ½ of the first page of Google and the entire top of the page on mobile. Are you recovering from the fact that Google is now providing your answer directly in Google search?
Nope. Generally, when Google decides to provide answers directly in search for which you used to appear, you’re never getting that traffic back.
I’ve audited other clients where the intent for their target keywords changed or the media provided changed – it used to be web links and now it’s How-to videos.
Possibly you’re losing rankings because your competitors have upped their game, or maybe your industry is a Your Money or Your Life industry, and Google has mostly whitelisted the domains being displayed. You can work to improve your site’s EAT and brand presence, but when you’re up against sites like Discovery Channel, it might be an impossible battle.
I’ve also seen clients where the bar for the type of content displayed had changed drastically – they used to rank with informational based content, but when I checked where up against Hubspot’s pillar pages – smart, optimized content that was well linked internally and written by experts.
Possibly your website history is working against you. I’ve also looked at sites where their site’s history of thin content written by non-experts was holding them back.
This is not to say that you can’t document some of these issues and create a plan to improve, but the SEO space is a competitive one and if Google’s not eating your lunch, your competitors might be (yes, even for the federal government sites I work on).
As John Mueller has been quoted as saying in a recent Webmaster Q& A session,
“Just because a site was appearing well in search results for a number of years does not mean that it will continue to appear well in search results in the future.”
Thanks for listening.
Come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.
Listen to the previous episode: YouTube metrics that you should track
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