Diagnose and Fix Rankings Drops and Fluctuations: An Easy Manual

Diagnose and Fix Rankings Drops and Fluctuations: An Easy Manual

Rankings drops and fluctuations are a lump of life now that you’ve got a website. If you’re looking to rank for a specific keyword, they’re going to happen to you at some point, and they’re not usually a cause for alarm.

How familiar does this phenomenon sound? 


Have you kept on wondering as to what can be done about the sudden drop in Google rankings and avoid all the fluctuations?

Well, I’ve heard complaints from a lot of people; so I decided to make an easy manual, including what to do and how to do it. 

It’s fair to be worried about the drops and fluctuations, and you want to fix whatever problem there was that led to this situation. 

First, I would like to talk about what ranking drops mean and why they happen, and then we can move on to the stage of fixing the problem.

The drop in a few positions or more in the rankings of your page for a particular keyword pretty much sums up the whole idea of a drop in the rankings. These drops could be going down to the bottom of the page or right out of SERP

Either way, it’s not what you want. 

The Diagnosis 

What you want to do at this point is to breathe and try to find out what must’ve gone wrong, diagnose ranking drops, with these questions:

  • How big is this drop that you’re concerning yourself with?
  • Is there a pattern that you can find with the drop?
  • What has become of the organic traffic that you were experiencing before and after the drop?
  • How long have you been observing the said drop for?
  • Have you checked your Search Analytics? What is your observation?
  • Is your target audience busy? Or have they found someone better?

Monitor your keywords. Take a couple of days or weeks at a stretch to analyze all the essentials related to your keywords. This will tell you whether it was a blip or you need to make some major changes. 

So how do you exactly fix the drop in rankings due to one of these situations?

1. A Change in the Search Engine Algorithm

  • You must have already noticed that Google has a pattern, coming up with new updates every now and then. Sometimes, it’s way too soon than you would expect.
  • These updates in the algorithm can have drastic effects on your rank.
  • Each Google update was for a specific reason, with the Penguin update to penalize black hat SEO strategies, and the Panda update to give more importance to high-quality content that is unique as well.
  • As long as you keep doing right by Google and your users, these updates don’t affect your website as much as you’d think.
  • The user experience should be amazing. Always keep that in mind. If you want to be safe from the Google ranking fluctuation, then you must improve the loading speed of your website, create appealing metadata, and use white hat SEO techniques.
  • If you want to identify the exact cause of the drop, check your Google Webmaster Tools account. You should have received details as to what actions have been taken against your website.
  • Check your website for duplicate content. Google does not tolerate plagiarism.
  • Another aspect you must check before you start to panic is to see if your site needs to be restructured to create a mobile-friendly site.
  • Be organic, build your brand, and focus on the quality you’re providing your visitors with.

2. Google Flux

  • A Google Flux could be either of the two, a big drop, stopping your beating heart, or a small one, a slight cause for alarm.
  • This is one of those issues that cannot be predicted, ever! There are no signs that it might happen, making it extremely volatile.
  • To diagnose ranking drops by Google Flux, you’ll have to look at the following things:

·         There aren’t any issues with the competition

·         There aren’t any on-page issues

·         There’s no sign of an update

·         The links are working fine

  • In the case of Google Flux, chances are that there was a negative SEO attack, and when it finally realizes what has happened, your website ranking will go back to where it was before.
  • Considering there’s nothing you can really do about the Flux, you might as well just keep a check on your rank without going out of your mind about the drop.

3. The Competition got Better

  • For each keyword that you’re targeting, there are at least 100 other websites doing the same as well. So you understand how tough the competition is and why there is a Google ranking fluctuation.
  • There will be times where you come out on top, while some others, you might lose and you’re going to want to regain your position.          
  • It could be for one of these 3 reasons that your competition was able to get ahead of you:

·         The on-page SEO strategies are different, with theirs possibly being better.

·         Your link profile is weaker than theirs.

·         Their content is better than yours.

  • You could try to use the reverse engineering technique to get out of this situation. Look of the websites that your competitors are targeting to get their links. Outreach these websites and stand tall against your high-ranking competitors.
  • You must also visit their social profiles to determine what it is that you could be doing better.
  • What you can also do is keep a constant track of some of your biggest competitors and analyze what strategies they’re using.
  • But remember: Use diversity in your strategies. This will help you stand out in the market and rise in the rankings.

4. Change in the URL

  • You went ahead and did it anyway, didn’t you? You knew how big of a risk it was to change the URL, and you still did it.
  • You’ve compromised your SEO ranking big time! You’d lose a bunch of site traffic, and the open rate would reduce as well.
  • If you changed your URL in spite of knowing about the risks, the crazy and sudden drop in google rankings that you’d experience, then I’m sure you had your reasons for doing it.
  • So, what you do it now is that you redirect everybody to the new URL you’ve created.
  • With a 301 redirect you’ll be able to create a seamless transition for your visitors from the old website to the brand new one.

5. An On-page Mess Up

  • Every piece of information that has been mentioned on each of your website pages will have an effect on where your site stands.
  • Your SEO strategy should be such that it covers one of the most important factors related to your on-page activities.
  • Having loads of content on all your website pages, that don’t give out any substantial information is of no use. Not just that, having tons of pages with less than 500 words of information is useless as well.
  • So you see how there could be a sudden drop in Google rankings due to this messed up on-page activity?
  • You can either add smart and useful information on these pages or delete them altogether. You don’t want thin content on your website; it will only negatively affect you.
  • The next important part is the keywords. Both under-optimization and over-optimization can have adverse effects on your rankings.
  • Google gives high priority to pages that have just the right amount of keywords. Stuffing them (over-optimization with a keyword density that is more than 25%) is definitely something you don’t want to be doing.
  • You want to make sure that your keywords occur as naturally in your content as possible. And then you have the talk about LSI keywords that should also be a part of your content.

  • The link velocity will have huge spikes because there will be a lot of links that will have been taken away from your profile.
  • If you want to diagnose ranking drops, you will look at the data from the last 90 days. A bunch of links missing from your profile will indicate a ranking drop.
  • You want to analyze each of these links individually and see if they were removed by the website owner. If so, Google would have noticed it and considered this occurrence as a red flag.
  • Get the help of various tools and keep track of lost links. You want to get to know about this before things get out of hand and it’s too late to do anything about the situation.
  • What you really want is for your website to be organic and have high-quality links for your site.

The competition online is fierce, no doubt. If you want to get ahead, you’re going to have to step up your game.

People are very cautious as to what they upload on their website and what SEO strategies they use to get on top. They understand that with the help of black hat SEO strategies, there is always a chance of falling right to the bottom. 

Be aware of your surroundings, and make conscious choices, use methodological techniques to diagnose your website timely and take action only when and where required.

I sincerely hope this article was helpful to all of you who are worried about the sudden drop in Google rankings.

Author: Deepa Jatania

This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.

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