“Send help”. “Urgent”. Sound like you in a Google ranking crisis?

Here are six considerations for when you see your traffic or rankings fluctuate or take a dive.

1. Is The Volatility Real?

Eight times out of ten in a ranking crisis – the problem is with the data itself.

It could be that the tool they use to check rankings is having issues, or that the analytics code somehow got stripped off the pages.

While this may seems obvious, it’s similar to restarting your computer – check the most obvious things first.

2. What Changes Have Been Made?

If you’ve confirmed that the data is likely valid, the next step is to consider any changes that you have made recently.

  • Did you re-platform your site or move to https?
  • Did your server have any downtime, or were there any other technical issues?
  • Have you added or deleted a lot of content recently? How about accidentally?

3. Look At Your Links

Have you lost any big links recently?

Sometimes just the loss of a highly valuable link can send your rankings into a tailspin.

This happens a lot, as other companies change the way they do things too and might do something like move to https and forget to do the proper redirects.

4. What Has Your Agency Been Doing?

What has your agency been doing on your behalf? Have they been naughty boys and girls?

Ask them for details. Get a second opinion if you’re not convinced.

  • Have they been posting a lot of guest posts? or buying links on your behalf?
  • Have they done something else that is outside of Google’s guidelines?
  • Do you have any manual actions in your Google Search Console as a result? (Remember, no manual action doesn’t mean there isn’t an algorithmic one)

5. Have You Been Hacked?

It isn’t uncommon for us to find that a site has been compromised in some way when their rankings drop. It’s also a bit Tricky Dicky to spot.

Have you been hacked?
No thank you. Come back another day… how about… never.

6. Is Your Site Still Relevant?

If you go through all of the issues above and still feel confident that none of them are to blame, then you may need to simply accept that your website is not as relevant or valuable as it once was.

Google’s algorithms are always designed to elevate the best of the best. That doesn’t always happen in practice, but it’s always the goal.

Therefore if you find your own site losing ground, you may need to rethink your strategy and consider that maybe there’s more you need to do to be considered the best.

Based on your original question, which indicated that you’ve been seeing a gradual but consistent decline, the problem most likely is a relevance issue.

Your strategy may be outdated or not keeping pace with the competitions.

Hold your agency to task for this. They should be providing you with a detailed plan for how they’re going to turn this downward trend around.

If they aren’t, they may not be the right agency for you, or you may need to upgrade to a higher level of service with them.

Also, consider that it is not unusual at all for a consultant or other agency to audit a site and strategy even while you are with another agency.

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Try this next: Create great website experiences for the soul – not for the algo.