It is a nightmare when you have spent so much time on your own search engine optimization and one day, suddenly, your website lost a lot of search engine traffic. The first thing that you should understand is that there is no need to panic. This happens to a lot of people and while it can be a bit of a hassle to fix, it is not irreversible. Sometimes, it can happen simply because Google’s indexing process is acting a bit weird and your rankings may come back in a day or two. However, if it doesn’t come back, then it may be something more serious. In this article, we will outline some methods that we used to help many people fix their drop in rankings.
Before we talk about how to fix this, we need to know why this is happening. The most likely reason is that Google may have penalized your website and there are two ways Google can penalize your website; the first way is a manual penalty which is when someone from Google sees that your website had certain issues and decided to give it a penalty. The second one is an algorithmic penalty which is when Google’s search engine algorithm finds a negative pattern related to your website and it automatically drops your rankings.
When you see that you lost a lot of search engine traffic, then the first thing to do is to find out what is causing the issue. It is not easy to find out what the issue is but there are certain things you can do to.
Fix errors on your website
Firstly, the easiest thing to do is to check if your websites are having any issues that may be impacting your search engine rankings. It is difficult to find these issues without tools and we recommend the SEMRush Site Audit tool. This tool analyses your website and provides a Site Health Score which assesses the number of errors and warnings on your website. This can help you easily find and fix any issues with your website including, crawlability issues, site performance issues and whether you have followed the SEO best practices.
Check Google Search Console for Manual Penalty
A manual penalty from Google is often something that is easy to fix because it will show up in your Google Search Console. Navigate to “Security & Manual Actions” and then “Manual Actions” and the details about your penalty will be listed there if you have one. Here are 2 common reasons for getting a penalty and here is how to fix it:
Unnatural Links: You will get this penalty when you have spammy or low-quality links pointed to your website.
Solution: You will need to audit your backlinks and remove the low quality and spammy backlinks. It is difficult to find all your backlinks without using any type of tools and we recommend the SEMRush Backlink Audit tool. The best thing about the tool is that not only does it display all your backlinks but it also assesses the quality of the backlink and identify toxic backlinks. Once you have found the link, then either contact the webmaster to remove the links or disavow the links. SEMRush makes it easier for you by providing a disavow list in the dashboard; all you need to do is add the toxic links to the disavow list, export the text file and send the list to Google as it is. SEMRush will export the list in the correct format for you saving you time.
Thin Content: You can get this penalty for having low quality content.
Solution: You will need to add more relevant content to your website and improve the user experience of it. SEMRush also has a content analyser tool that can help you find weak content and improve it as part of their Content Marketing tools. Not only can the tools help you find good topics to write about but it also assesses the quality of your existing articles.
There are 1.5 billion websites in existence so it is absolutely impossible for Google to manually issue penalties to all those spammy websites. Therefore, Google uses algorithmic penalties to differentiate between high quality and low quality websites. The Google algorithm will penalize low quality websites by finding specific patterns in the website and rank websites that have positive aspects. For example, a Google algorithm may penalize a website that has build 10,000 backlinks within a day. There is no doubt that this website has used software to general a high number of low quality backlinks. As Google continuously updates its algorithms, you may one day see a drop in rankings after a Google Core update. There is no way to be 100% sure that you got an algorithm penalty because Google doesn’t release all the information of their algorithms to prevent people from finding backdoors to rank high on Google. Most importantly, Google Search Console will not tell you if you got an algorithm penalty so the only way to know is if you see a big loss in traffic and rankings in multiple or even all your keywords.
Algorithm penalties are the hardest to solve because you don’t know what caused the penalty. Is it low quality backlinks or is it low quality content?
Check your backlinks
Sometimes, you get a drop in rankings because you lost some backlinks. It is not uncommon that your backlinks get removed; maybe the website owner updated an article with a link to your website or the webmaster deliberately removed it. Normally, a small number of lost baclinks will not influence your rankings much and it will only affect your website if a large number of backlinks were removed. You should use backlink tracking tools like the SEMRush Backlink Audit tool to track your backlinks which tells you new backlinks obtained and lost backlinks. The best way to prevent backlinks from getting removed is to build them organically and do not use any software or black-hat methods for creating links.
Your competitor outranked you
When your competitor outranks you, you will often see a small drop in rankings and some other websites may have the same rankings. When doing search engine optimization, you want to constantly look at what your competitor is doing because you need to try to outrank them before they outrank you. If they build 2 high quality backlinks, you should build 4. Constantly monitor your competitor’s content and link building strategy and if they are rising through the rankings, then they must be doing something right. Therefore, you should learn from their strategy and make that your strongest weapon. The SEMRush Competitive Research tools will give you everything you need to spy on your competitors and outrank them.
Even if your search engine rankings are very good, you can still improve it further and it is important to use a good SEO tool like SEMRush to plan your SEO strategy and dominate search engine rankings. SEMRush is not only good for finding issues that are affecting your rankings but it is also a very good tool to improve your rankings. There are many features that can help you with finding new markets, monitor social media activity, social media posting and advert creation.
SEMRush mainly has positive reviews online; most people using it are very positive about it and it has 4.6 star review on Capterra.co.uk and 4.5 stars on g2.com. It is not a cheap tool but you get what you pay for. If you know what you are doing, SEMRush can help you dominate search engine rankings and you can easily earn the money back.
At the end of the day, avoid using any shady SEO tactics to get high rankings quickly is the best solution to avoid losing your search engine rankings. However, this article isn’t just aimed at people who had their rankings destroyed; knowing what are the common causes for losing rankings is the best way to avoid it. Using the best tools to aid your strategy is the best way to dominate search engines. If you do have trouble with your rankings, we hope that we helped you in this article.