What to Do When Your SEO Clout Has Dropped

February 10, 2016

You check your Google rankings to only find that your popularity appears to have plummeted online.

First off, don’t panic.

“Most ranking drops are temporary and easily reversible,” writes Jayson DeMers, a contributor for Forbes.com. “Before you start making guesses about how this could have happened or formulating a plan without a foundation, troubleshoot the issue, step by step, to uncover and understand the true culprit.”

DeMers suggests doing this by first making sure there is nothing wrong with your website by visiting it across devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet) and ensuring no 503 or 404 errors pop up. Those would indicate to Google and other search engines that your site is unavailable or pages have disappeared.

Next, make sure there’s not a problem with the indexing of your site, which would prevent Google from cataloging it properly. Do that by logging into the Google Search Console. Under “Google Index,” check “Index Status.” You’ll see how many pages are currently indexed for your site compared to the previous weeks.

“If you notice a significant drop, this is because Google has stopped indexing sections or pages of your site, and this can result in significantly fallen rankings,” DeMers notes. This might be from you removing several pages without creating a redirect to replace those pages, a change to Google’s algorithm, or Google has flagged a link problem.

Of course, technology may not to be blame at all for your drop in rankings. Your competition may have just gotten smarter. Examine who is pushing ahead of you.

Get more strategies from DeMers on evaluating your SEO and how to boost it at Forbes.com.

Source: “How to Troubleshoot a Sudden Drop in Google Search Rankings,” Forbes.com (Feb. 8, 2016)