How to Diagnose, Correct, and Prevent Sudden Drop in Search Engine Rankings?

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.

How to Diagnose and Correct the Sudden Drop in 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.

Search Engine Land

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.

These types of minor and major algorithm changes are always coming out. Subscribe to these sites, MozCast, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, to know about the latest Google algorithm updates.

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:

  • Contact the webmaster and request them to link back to your site if possible.
  • There is a chance that you have lost the link after a site update or an accident. You can remind them about your site in that case.
  • If some other sites have replaced you, try to come up with better content. You can also find an alternative place that would happily link to you.

3. Changes in Affected Pages

Some changes could lead to a loss of authority in Google’s search algorithm. They are:

  • Change in the URL
  • Removal of keywords from the title, H1, H2.
  • A significant change in keyword density can impact your ranking.
  • Google is not able to go through your site content: Check out at page.
  • Check Google Search Console to see if your page is accessible or not.

Do these things to fix it:

  • Restore your previous URL or use 301 redirects to your new URL.
  • Undo all the changes in the texts, keyword density, title, and so on.
  • Make necessary changes to make Google-able reread your site content.

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:

  • If you have an irritating popup on your site, check out its impact on user experience and replace it with user-friendly popups like timed popups, exit popups, and stable banners.
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly and has an optimum page load speed.

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:

  • Internal site issues
  • Competitors issues
  • No link issues
  • No algorithm or some other common issues

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.

How to Reduce the Risk of Major SEO Ranking Fluctuations?

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:

  1. Google does not want to feed its users with crappy and irrelevant articles

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.

Search Console

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:

  • The crawl errors can block Google from reading your site content, and you can use Google Webmaster tools to find and repair it.
  • Keep SEO in mind before making changes in your site.
  • Make sure you regularly update CMS like WordPress and plugins.
  • Do not let your domain to expire.

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:

  • Make sure your site use Rel=canonicals where it is needed.
  • Optimize your headings, title tags, and image tags for getting the best results.
  • The navigation links must not have any errors.
  • Use SSL for ensuring the security of your visitors. Google recommends sites to use it.
  • Make sure your site load time is optimum, and it works great on mobile.

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:

Must Read:

How can Google Voice Search Help You Engage 58% Extra Consumers?

SEO History (1997-2020): How is SEO Drastically Different Now?


My Final Say

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.

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