Many blogs discuss the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and how it can generate traffic and increase revenue. There are also various resources for conducting SEO: what techniques are available, what strategies to avoid, what metrics to monitor.
Let’s say you follow these steps to the letter. You avoid black hat SEO and you optimize your website for the best possible user experience.
Most business owners are probably wringing their hands in anticipation for the supposed benefits of SEO to come rolling in, but what if, instead of getting the promised search ranking increase, your website gets demoted?
It’s a discouraging sight. All that hard work only to end up worse than when you started. However, don’t be disheartened. Don’t panic either. While it’s not the ideal outcome, it’s not going to spell doom for your business. You can still bounce back from a decrease in the ranking, and this article based on the experience of the best Portland SEO companies explains how.
Why did your ranking drop?
This is the first question that should be on your mind when you notice a drop in your search engine rank. In some cases, it’s not through any fault of yours. Google makes several algorithm changes daily, and sometimes these changes may cause your ranking to fluctuate.
A change of one or two positions isn’t something to worry about, but if you notice a dramatic drop, that’s when you need to pay attention.
We asked the best Portland SEO companies the most common reasons for site ranking demotion and what business owners can do when faced with this scenario. Here are the answers they provided.
1. Penalty for breaking search engine guidelines
Search engines have strict rules and guidelines that website owners are expected to follow. These guidelines ensure that only secure and fast websites with high-quality and original content can take the top spots in the overall ranking.
Developers created these rules around the time black hat SEO gained popularity among site owners. Black hat SEO involves using unethical tactics to launch their website to the top of the search ranking. Some of these tactics include:
- Keyword stuffing. Putting as many keywords on a webpage as possible. This increases their keyword targeting scope, but it results in redundant and incomprehensible text.
- Content duplication. Grabbing successful and viral content from other websites and publishing it on their own to generate user engagement. Alternatively, they repeatedly post their more popular content on the website to get clicks without exerting the effort needed to make new, fresher content.
- Clickbait. Luring users in using exaggerated and sensationalized titles and images only for the article to be completely unrelated. Some strategists even use this technique in conjunction with excessive internal linking to force users to delve deeper into their site.
As you can see, these techniques result in a poor user experience. If websites like these propagated and dominated the top search engine rankings, users would be inundated with low-quality, repetitive, and spammy content. Search engines are now sophisticated enough to detect when these techniques are being used and penalize websites suspected of engaging in black hat SEO.
If your website ranking dropped dramatically, there’s a chance your site was flagged for using black hat SEO techniques. You may argue that this is not the case, but just to be sure, check your website. You may have unknowingly duplicated your content, or you may have backlinks from suspicious websites. Take the necessary steps to fix any issues and hopefully, your ranking should return to normal.
Alternatively, if you’ve thoroughly checked your site and found no suspicious activity, you can reach out to the search engine’s tech support to contest the penalty.
2. Website overhaul
When a company does a website overhaul, they often forget that the impact reaches farther than their website.
If your site underwent a domain change, pre-existing backlinks from various websites might no longer work. Search engines will catch on to this loss and demote your website. Furthermore, it’s also possible that overhauling your site put your internal linking system in jeopardy. If you had a blog post linking to another blog post, those links might lead to an error page. Too many error pages and search engines will demote your website.
Does this mean you’ll have to start your link building campaign from scratch? Not necessarily. Audit your site and check for broken links. Fix them as soon as possible. Reach out to websites that linked you and request they update their links to your website.
Your competitors may be implementing effective SEO strategies that are pushing their websites up the ranking. This will result in a ranking drop for you if they overtake your position. Even if you get to a point where you’re comfortable with your ranking, don’t get complacent. Remember that all your competitors are also developing their SEO strategies. You need to counter them every day by keeping your website running smoothly and creating premium content at a steady pace.
4. Algorithm changes
As mentioned previously, search engines make algorithm changes daily, resulting in ranking fluctuations for you. However, some search engines may make major algorithm changes that completely shakes up established SEO techniques. An example is when Google recently implemented search engine updates like the zero-click search and improved video search. If you haven’t been monitoring search engine updates, you may still be using an outdated SEO strategy. Act quickly. Adjust your strategy to cater to these changes so you don’t get left behind.
These are only a few of the reasons your ranking could drop. If you’re still not getting any luck after trying all these steps, the best Portland SEO companies will be more than happy to advise you on what steps you can take to recover your ranking. Remember that a drop in ranking isn’t the end of the world. Businesses are faced with setbacks all the time, and what defines a business is if they can bounce back stronger than ever.