We have come a long way since the birth of search engines. There were many search engines before Google that was doing pretty well back in the early days. After the birth of Google, it has been able like a synonym of the search engine. As of now, Google has over 90% of the total search engine market share.
Image Source: 1&1
Google is now dictating the terms and conditions regarding the sites’ rankings. It takes a lot of time to rank your web pages on search engines for competitive keywords (I’m talking about months or even a year). With that said, a web page that manages to rank for a competitive keyword can get tons of targeted traffic and a massive revenue to a company.
However, there are times when your site can be nowhere on Google despite dominating the search results for months or years. For some companies, it means losing a significant portion of revenue. That same condition could be for you as well.
In this article, we will talk about all the things that you need to know for dealing with a sudden drop in search engine rankings.
Let me make one thing clear to you in the first place. There are a lot of reasons for the sudden drop in rankings. It is not possible to list out all the minor and major reasons for the decline in rankings. However, you will get to know all the primary reasons for your loss in rankings after reading this article along with the ways to fix the problems.
There is an excellent chance that your drop in Google rankings is because of one more than one of the reasons that I’m about to reveal.
The New Google Algorithm Updates Affect Your Ranking and the Most Recent and Big Update is Florida 2.0
Google is always updating its algorithm to enhance the search results, user experience, and tackle black hat activities. The change in the algorithm can impact your search ranking, and you need to make some changes, according to the needs of the update.
Image Source: Search Engine Land
The most recent Google algorithm update is the broad core update, and they call it Florida 2 update. It is a massive update, as per SEO experts. They assume that Google has made some changes in the scale of various factors that Google uses for determining the rankings of the page.
The broad core updates do not target particular niches. It is about changes in ranking factors algorithms like adding more elements or increasing and decreasing the value of the ranking factors. Google make these updates to match queries with results for enhancing user experience accurately.
The best way to respond to the broad core update is by tracking how various ranking factors are playing a role in determining the search engine rank. Whatever the case, the backlink will always have a huge importance in determining the rank.
Last year, Google introduced a new AI algorithm, and, i.e., neural search algorithm. It helps in matching the query with a web page for a better search result and also scans synonyms for ranking web pages.
The new Florida 2.0 is about a significant update that deals with making changes in ranking factors, while neural search algorithm is about putting forward relevant web pages by better understanding the queries.
2. You’ve lost Your Backlinks
The process of building backlinks is not a one-time thing. You need to develop backlinks and track your backlinks continually. The number and quality of backlinks were one of the deciding SEO factors, and it still holds vast importance.
Image Source: Backlinko
I highly recommend you to invest in SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, Majestic, and so on to monitor your backlinks if you are serious about SEO. These tools will show you the pages that have lost backlinks. You should also run Screaming Frog test to test your internal links and outgoing links.
At first, you need to fix issues with internal links if the drop in ranking is because of the loss of backlinks. After you complete your internal link issues, you should recover your external links. Here are some of the ways to get back your lost external backlinks:
3. Changes in Affected Pages
Some changes could lead to a loss of authority in Google’s search algorithm. They are:
Do these things to fix it:
4. Google’s User Feedback Could be the Reason
Google wants to offer the best possible user experience to their visitors. The machine learning algorithm of Google will drop your ranking if there is a higher bounce rate, lower click-through rate and so on.
Here are some of the tips for dealing with this issue:
5. Your Competitors Took You Down
The drop in rankings could be because of your competitors. Your competitors may have come up with better pieces of content or strategies to outrank you. You can use Versionista or Wayback Machine to keep track of your competitors.
You should keep an eye on their external backlinks, newly published or updated blog posts, site’s UI, and so on.
In this case, the only thing you can do is learn from your competitors and make necessary adjustments.
Image Source: Technians
6. Google Flux
There is a high chance that the case is Google flux if your site’s drop is not the result of:
You do not need to panic in case of Google flux. All you need to do is be patient and wait for the recovery. It is familiar with sites.
It is wise to take actions to counter the drop in rankings, but it is wiser to minimize the risk of the decline in rankings. The tips that I have mentioned above will help you reduce the damage, but the thing is that those tips will take some time to come into effect.
The best thing to do is to prevent your sites from coming down from search results. Here are some of the ways you can reduce the danger of falling in Google rankings:
Is posting a lot of items the way to go? It is true that you must be consistent with your content marketing, but sacrificing quality for quantity can cost your site. Google has made it clear that low-quality articles can impact the whole authority of the website.
Google PageRank was the way to test the sites’ authority back in the old days, but now it’s domain authority (DA). Moz has announced a better technology to measure the site’s authority, and they have named it DA 2.0. They have made a lot of changes like an introduction of the neural network in measuring the site’s authority, better linkage with Google data, and so on. Here is an article to know more about DA 2.0.
The higher domain authority is only possible to achieve with top-notch articles. You should regularly perform a site audit to weed out irrelevant blogs and consistently publish quality articles. You will notice that the traffic will go up once you get rid of poor quality content like Ahrefs. It will also drastically reduce of risk of being penalized by Google.
2. Monitor your links and guard against negative SEO
Your backlinks will significantly decide your ranking on Google. Your job is not over after you get some quality links to your site.
There are times where your competitors will attack you with negative SEO. What this means is that your competitors will send you links from porn, gambling, or other irrelevant sites to negatively impact your rankings. Use tools like Google disavow links, Ahrefs, and other tools to monitor and remove those backlinks from your pages.
3. Minimize common SEO mistakes
Some common mistakes could cost your ranking. You should regularly check your site health to minimize those mistakes and make changes before they affect your rankings. Here are some of them:
4. Address technical SEO issues as quickly as possible
You will make errors while creating and maintaining your site. However, it is possible to identify and fix errors with the help of knowledge and tools. Here are technical issues that you must address:
5. Be updated with the latest algorithm updates and strategies
Google algorithm updates can impact your position on Search Engines. That does not limit to Google penalties. For instance, Google introduced mobile first algorithm update and started giving more preference to social signals, user experience, and click-through rate.
The traditional SEO strategies could work, and some get outdated over the period. For instance, article marketing once was a hot thing in SEO, but now it is obsolete. Go over to SEO sites and subscribe to their newsletter to get updated information. You can go to MOZ, Ahrefs, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, and so on for obtaining reliable information.
Be updated with the latest SEO practices that work.
6. Use SEO tools for getting the best results and preventing the worst incidents
In the earlier part of this article, I talked about how SEO tools can help you scan your backlinks, track competitors, and so on. With only those examples, you must have understood the value of SEO tools. Here is the list of SEO tools that I recommend you to use:
The modern search engines are advanced. It is going to get better with the growth of emerging technologies, such as AI, machine learning, IoT, Big Data, and so on. You can expect more sophisticated search engines in the future.
To rank well or to maintain your rankings, you need to carry out an SEO audit consistently. It is essential to keep track of the latest algorithm updates and SEO techniques as well. As of now, you can use the above information to diagnose, correct, and prevent a drop in your rankings.
I hope this article helps you out. If there are any more insights that you want to add in this article, let me know in the comment below.
There is an apparent rise in the volume of voice search. Below is the bar graph that shows the rapid increment in the market size of global digital voice assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and so on.
Image Source: Digital Journal
The experts predict that 50% of the overall searches will be voice search by 2020. Google, who is the market leader of the search engine with over 90% market share, is now focusing a lot on giving appropriate results on Google voice search results.
Over 58% of searchers used voice search at least once in the past 12 months to find local business information. Furthermore, the people using voice search for buying products are increasing at a steady rate (Source). The voice search is predicted to be the next big thing in the world of SEO and marketing in general.
The voice search is a type of search where users talks to a specific device to generate search results to their queries. The technology use speech recognition to understand user queries with maximum accuracy.
The digital voice assistants are incredibly smart these days. For instance, Amazon Alexa can smoothly go through Spotify’s musical inventory or shop via Amazon if the user commands it does so. The number of users who only search by voice is also on the rise due to the increasing popularity of digital voice assistants.
Image Source: WordStream
What is voice search SEO? The voice search SEO is all about optimizing your site content and using various tactics to rank well on voice search results.
The value of voice search SEO is increasing at a tremendous rate with the increment in the volume of voice search. The users are getting a great user experience due to voice search. All you need to do is speak, and that is it.
Google cares a lot about its users, and it wants to provide the best possible results to them. They go through the relevant sites and rank the content from the relevancy as per the voice search. If you are not optimizing your website for the voice search, you are missing out on a lot of search traffic.
The number of voice searches already surpass a billion search. The traditional SEO strategies work for general search, not the voice search. There are similar factors that contribute to the ranking of both traditional search and voice search results. However, there are plenty of unique factors that contribute to voice search alone.
We will talk about the ways you can optimize your site for voice search in the upcoming section of this article.
There is no magic trick to get tons of traffic and sales to your site via voice search. Keep this in your mind before moving forward. I’ve seen plenty of people who expect quick results. However, SEO does not work that way. It takes a bit of time to get results, but it will be a long term gain. If you manage to rank well on a few search terms, you can get sustainable traffic for a long time.
The seven hacks that I’m about to reveal fact-based. Here are the seven hacks that will help you with voice search optimization 2019:
The traditional SEO tactic works in voice search optimization as well. The users do not get a good experience with a slower loading website.
Here are some of the ways you can optimize your page load speed:
We can observe that the sites that load quickly rank well on Google and that is the same for Google voice search as well. The Speed Update report by Google confirmed that it is going to increase the importance of page load speed to improve the user experience.
More than 50% of users leave the site if it takes more than 3 seconds for it to load (Source). Try to do whatever you can to minimize the page load speed.
Image Source: Ezoic
You do not want to wait forever after asking Google assistant or Alexa to answer your query. That is why page load time is crucial when it comes to ranking your site on the voice search result.
There is an excellent chance to be found it you focus on local SEO. According to the study, around 22% of total voice searches are users searching for a location-specific topic. The phrase “near me” can help in increasing your chance to be found on voice search.
Like I’ve mentioned in the first section of this article, around 58% of users used voice search at least once to get information about a local business. As a savvy marketer, you must capitalize on this insight. The people usually search for restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, clothing stores, and food delivery services (Source).
Over 40% of total voice search results appear from featured snippets. You can create quick answers, answer boxes, bullet points, heading tags, and so on in your article to increase your chances of getting a higher position in voice search results.
The traditional SEO practices can help you perform well in voice search results. The voice search assistants use the top 3 results of the Google homepage, 74% of the time to source the information. What this means is that digital assistants are likely to quote your site if you manage to get on the top of Google search results.
To increase your chances to get on the top of the Google search results, you need to have a good domain authority, a high number of quality backlinks, and social media signals.
If we analyze the Google Home search results, we can see that the top performing articles are long articles. The average word-count of those articles is 2,312 words. There is a good chance that your blog will answer the users’ query if you publish a long article.
The use of questions in your article will prove to be a good tactic. Make sure that you have “Frequently Asked Questions-FAQ” section on your site. The voice searchers usually ask questions to their digital assistants. Think about how you interact with your assistant and make adjustment accordingly.
Google wants the sentences to be short and on-the-point for excellent user experience.
The sweet spot or an average voice search answer is 29 words. If you want voice assistant to quote from your site, you should make sure that you are not inserting too many sophisticated and long sentences on your website.
Go through your article and optimize your sentence if you want your site to do good in voice search results.
In recent times, we have seen the site with a secured layer (HTTPS) performing well on search results. Google gives a ranking boost to sites with SSL certificate. The report has found that around 50% of sites with HTTPS are on the top page of Google (Source). For voice search result, that percentage goes up to 70%.
Here is a relation that you would want to analyze. In the above point, we found that the top 3 results dominate the voice search. The SSL certificate results in a better Google Home Page ranking along with an improved voice search result. The addition of SSL can benefit you in both traditional and voice search.
If you still have not installed SSL, it is a time for you to do so. An authoritative site has an SSL certificate, not only for performing better in search results but also to give additional security to users. It is not an expensive investment as well.
Image Source: IONOS
Here is a fact, “People do not like to think a lot to understand something.” If you use a lot of jargons and insert complicated sentence, you will neither get love from users nor Google. The digital assistants quote sources that are easy to understand; the average is 9th-grade standard.
A short sentence with a simple structure and easy-to-understand vocabulary is a key to increasing your chances of performing well on voice search.
You can Schema.org to make search engines better understand your sentences. Around 36% of total voice searches. Schema markup is not a magic pill that will automatically boost your site rankings. However, the proper use of Schema for voice search can impact your search engine visibility. Give Schema Markup a try.
It is tricky to know the exact process of how voice search can increase your traffic. However, the truth is that it does increase your site traffic, which will engage your users and improve your conversion rate.
What happens when someone asks something to Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant? They answer the user with the following line, “According to …”. If your site appears on the top of voice search over and over again, your brand awareness and authority will increase over the period. Your targeted audience will be more likely to buy from you if you continually offer value to your audience.
Furthermore, the users are also able to look through written dictations of search results. They will see links to various sites that appear on the top of search results. If the users want to know more about the particular topic, they will visit the site traditionally, resulting in increased traffic and engagement.
Here is one significant fact: The study shows that voice search shopping is going to touch $40 billion in 2022 from around $2 billion. Amazon is already enjoying a great revenue via voice search.
You can do voice search optimization on your own, or you can find voice search optimization services to do the job for you.
Here is the graph that portrays the industry-wise voice search eCommerce status.
Image Source: Voicebot
It is without a doubt that voice search enhances your brand awareness and conversions. When it comes to tracking voice search results, it is tough. ROAST claims that it can monitor voice search ranking via its software. It enables them to run various queries to produce a report that can estimate the ranking.
Even though the ROAST report is not highly accurate, it can be a great tool to estimate how you are doing in a voice search. Moreover, technology will pave the way for better software in the future.
For the time being, you can focus on following the best SEO practices and doing whatever you can (like following the tips that I have mentioned) to get the desired results from your efforts.
The number of interconnected devices is expected to surpass 75 billion by 2025 (currently it is over 25 billion). We can expect the voice search to dominate the search result more in the future with the rise in the interconnected devices. With this rate of increment in the popularity of IoT devices, we can say, “voice search the future of SEO.”
The voice search optimization skills must be in your arsenal. You should make necessary changes in all the pieces of content that you have published in the past for an increased volume of traffic and engagement.
You will see an increment in brand awareness, purchase, and revenue if you invest in voice search. There is still a lot of room for growth in voice search. If you start optimizing your website for voice search from this day onwards, you are likely to reap a lot of fruits now and the times to come.
Before the introduction of the internet to the public, we were forced to search out for a simple piece of information in the library. Even doing that was extremely difficult. There were a lot of books and magazines to seek before we could find the necessary data.
The introduction of the internet has resulted in a free flow of information. However, it was still challenging to find the website that had appropriate information. That problem gave birth to search engines (Google was not the first search engine). If you are curious to know about search engines that existed before Google, here is the link.
Fun Fact: Altavista refused to acquire Google for a million dollar back in 1998.
Image Source: Blogoscoped
Let’s get back to the main topic Even after the birth of a search engine; they still needed to find the best web pages for the search term. The search engines back then crawled through the indexed web pages and gave the best appropriate results to their users, according to the score given by their algorithm (Search engine uses a complex mathematical formula to give rankings).
When businesses knew that they could get a considerable number of targeted visitors on their website, they started to follow unethical practices to rank their web pages. A single piece of algorithm update took a lot of time back then. It allowed the black-hat tactics to flourish in those days and websites were free of severe penalties like today.
In the early 90s, Yahoo was a significant player on the internet. In 1998, Google entered into the business.
For those of you who are not aware of “What is SEO and how it works?”, I will explain SEO Meaning to you in a simple manner before moving forward. The full form of SEO is search engine optimization.
SEO is a process of making your site visible in search engines with an aim to rank it higher on search results with the use of various Types of SEO strategies. We can categorize startegies into on-page and off-page SEO strategies.
I will also clear your confusion regarding “Search Engine Optimization Vs. Search Engine Marketing”. Search Engine Marketing includes other methods other than on-page and off-page optimization and focuses on increasing traffic via other means. One of the ways to get more search traffic is via pay per click ads (PPC). Follow this link for detailed comparison.
In the early 2000s, Google was getting ahead of others in the game of search engine. It started publishing guidelines and began updating algorithms to penalize websites, following unethical SEO practices like a link farm, keyword stuffing, and so on.
Image Source: Digital Gyan
In this era, Google gave the taste of personalized search engine experience by showing relevant search results. The websites that appeared on search results helped to connect ethical businesses with customers.
Moreover, the local SEO appeared in this period. The search results gave users information about maps, local stores, checkpoints, and so on.
Google dominated this era by capturing the majority of the market share. Currently, Google captures over 85% total search engine market share, and it has been able to be a synonym to search engine.
Google promoted white-hat SEO practices during this period. The businesses started searching how to do search engine optimization and SEO keywords. The firms during this time heavily focused on inbound links for better visibility. Thus, this era set the foundation of the personalized search engine experience.
Google along with MSN, Yahoo, and others introduced No-Follow attribute to links for reducing spammy links. It significantly reduced the volume of spammy links.
Image Source: OvertheTop
However, there were still many unethical SEO practices around this era. No one was penalizing the websites, who were generating many spammy links and stuffing keywords. I still remember the days when it was possible to rank higher in search results by distributing crappy articles in various article directories.
In 2008, Google revealed its amazing Google Suggest feature. It drastically improved usability by offering more relevant search results by historical data. Google also created many search engine optimization tools like Keyword research tool, Google Analytics, Google Trends, and so on for a better SEO practice.
The marketers began to find better white-hat SEO strategies to give a useful piece of content, which was appealing to both users and search engines.
In 2009, Bing came to challenge Google in a search engine space. In some instances, Bing was able to provide more relevant search results. However, Google had many great strategies in their arsenal.
In August 2009, Google unveiled its Caffeine algorithm update. Google started including tweets, and There was a creation of Google Universal Search. Google Universal Search helped in offering better engaging content media in searches, such as video, images, news, and so on. It also focused on real-time updates. It bought journalists and web copywriters in the world of web.
Image Source: The Drum
Finally, the businesses in this era got severe about publishing quality blog posts on their websites to earn rankings. They got serious after Google penalized many sites who were scamming the users.
The massive corporation like J.C. Penny got penalized by the new regulations and stricter Google algorithms. Google was not emphasizing on content rather than over-optimized content.
At the end of 2010, Google began to consider social signals as the ranking factor. The term “page rank” also started to gain momentum. The page rank is an algorithm that gave a ranking to the website and web pages.
The NightMare for Black Hat SEO Guys: The Entry of Penguin and Panda
Google got severe in this era. They began to realize that their users will shift to other search engines if they do not deal with black hat SEO strategies. Google could catch the more straightforward shady tactics, but not clever blackhat tactics.
They brought Penguin and Panda algorithm to counter the dangerous black hat tactics. In those days, Google gave higher authority to .edu site. But, Overstock.com decided to use this unethically by asking by asking .edu sites to link back to them with keywords like a vacuum cleaner, bunk beds, and so on giving away discounts to students.
Google penalized Overstock.com, and it was a huge event back then. Google Panda algorithm cracked down on content farms and sites who were consistently sending low-quality backlinks.
Google Panda was a pain in the butt for many webmasters. However, that was not the only algorithm that got birth in this era. Google Penguin came in action after Panda. Google Penguin rewarded top-notch sites and penalized sites that were using shady tactics. It looked after clever blackhat tactics of SEO professionals in those days. It penalized sites that were informative but was using spammy links, which has nothing to do with the content itself.
Google Panda and Penguin algorithm are updated now and then to counter shady SEO practices on the internet. These algorithms also gave a shock to many article directories in those days who were publishing crappy pieces of content. All of them were nowhere in search results after Google penalties.
Image Source: Neil Patel
Google also hit hard against those websites who were reserving huge space for ads, hindering user experience.
In 2013, Google started going beyond punishing spammy content. It brought PayDay Loan algorithm update. It was brought to counter keywords like payday loans that could result in many spams. Google started putting more effort in only showing legitimate sites on the search results.
Google goes local in 2014 with the release of Pigeon. It made a massive impact on local search results. It also massively brought maps into action and helped users to find local content and businesses. It gave birth to specific regional SEO strategies.
In 2015, Google realized that users also care a lot about their web experience on the website. With the growing usage of smartphones, Google started giving a strong emphasis on the mobile experience, while deciding the rank of the site. The mobile friendly test got momentum after that. Google forced the webmasters to improve their mobile experience. Those with mobile popups ads got penalized.
Today, the users have personalized experience, but they are concerned about privacy.
Finally, we are at the beginning of 2019. Here are some of the trends that you should watch out in 2019.
The researchers predict that around 50% of total searches will be voice search by 2020. Focus on the ways to optimize your sites for voice search.
2. People will demand more video content
More and more people will request quality video content. Be prepared to produce videos and integrate it on your blogs for better results.
3. Privacy matters
One important thing: If your site still has no SSL installed, you must do it in 2019.
4. The user experience as an important ranking factor
The internet users hate to visit the site with lots of ads and non-intuitive interface. Google hates it when their users have a bad experience. In 2019, you can expect Google to put heavy emphasis on the user experience.
5. Artificial Intelligence will play a role in SEO
Artificial Intelligence will most likely have a massive impact on SEO in 2019. Google can train an AI algorithm to weed out sites using blackhat strategies so that you can expect a quicker penalization due to AI. Other than Google, businesses and SEO companies will also be aggressive in looking for the ways to use AI on their SEO plan.
We have come a long way since the birth of search engines. The modern search engines are advanced, and they use sophisticated algorithms to find the best pieces of content for the specific keywords and also to find unethical SEO practices.
The future of SEO is difficult to predict; however, one thing is for sure. The search engines will get more sophisticated. With that said, we can make some general predictions.
According to the report, Google is paving a path for Artificial Intelligence (AI). We can expect to see even more complicated AI technologies integrated with search engines shortly. However, we cannot be sure of what future holds for us. To be aware of the future of SEO, we need to keep an eye on the evolution of advanced technologies, trends, and internet users behavior.
The technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality will most probably affect SEO in various ways in times to come. By looking at the current trends and the demand of virtual digital assistants, we will see the rise of voice search, accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and a higher impact of social signals on SEO.
I hope you’ve found value in this article If you want to contribute your valuable insights in this article, feel free to leave a comment below. I will be happy to read and reply to your comments.
In this article, I will walk you through a fascinating history of SEO from the year 1997 to 2019 and beyond. It is crucial for SEO professionals to know about the history of SEO and this article will give you information about essential events that took place in the various period from 1997 till this date.
I took the year 1997 to start the journey, as there was not much happening before 1997. There were search engines before 1997, but the significant SEO trends began with the birth of Google, which is 1998. From its birth, Google has improved a lot and has been able to be a synonym of the search engine.