The aim of the majority of website owners is to see their site rise high up in the search engine rankings. If your site doesn’t appear within the first couple of results pages, then you’re not going to pick up much organic traffic, but even when your site seems to be doing well, it can still all go wrong very quickly.
That’s because nothing ever stands still in the online world. Anything from an algorithm change to broken links can have an impact upon your search engine rankings, so it’s crucial that you keep a close watch on your website’s performance, acting quickly to ensure that your site is attracting attention for all the right reasons.
If you notice that your website seems to be plummeting down the rankings, you need to take action quickly to limit the potential damage. Although it’s almost impossible to cover every single eventuality, we’ve addressed the more common problems that could be affecting your site’s position. There are plenty of helpful tools available to help you to keep control over the performance of your website, but if you’re still having problems it’s well worth calling in some expert help to get your site back on track again.
Search engines are constantly adapting and refining their algorithms to ensure that they provide the best possible results to their users. During periods of testing, you could well find that your website’s position in the rankings has been compromised, but order is often restored quite quickly with no long-lasting ill effects.
However, if an algorithm has actually changed, then you may need to adapt your SEO strategy to ensure that it meets the new standards. If in doubt, consult an SEO expert who will guide you through the process to make sure that your site conforms to best practice guidelines.
Slow page loading speeds
Web surfers have short attention spans, so if your web pages aren’t loading within a couple of seconds, you could be losing out on significant numbers of site visitors. There are all sorts of reasons why your pages could be slow to load, but fixing the problem should be a priority, as search engines are looking for the optimum online experience for site visitors.
Spikes in traffic
Ideally, your website should be able to cope with heavy traffic on occasions, but not all sites can cope with unexpected surges in visitor numbers. Avoid the problem by caching content, adding a CDN, setting up cloud hosting or setting up a load balancer, to ensure that your site won’t be brought down by a rush of visitors.
Migrating to new servers might seem like a good idea, but if you fail to set up your 301 site redirects correctly then your new pages won’t be indexed, and you could even find that you’re penalised for duplicating content across two separate sites.
Lost or broken links
Links are a vital part of the SEO process, but it’s all too easy to lose track of them. Link-checking software can help to identify problem links, which then need thorough investigation to establish the reason for the loss. Removing dead links and repairing broken ones will help to get your site back on track again, so this is a very useful exercise that should be carried out on a regular basis.
Outdated and/or irrelevant content
Evergreen content remains relevant and timely, but out of date content needs to be addressed as quickly as possible, as it sends out the wrong message to site visitors. You don’t have to rewrite every piece of content across your site, but do make sure that you read through it regularly, removing outdated elements and keeping it fresh and engaging for your site visitors.
Incorrect or inappropriate keywords
Your site’s SEO strategy can stand or fall according to your keyword selection process. Choose the wrong keywords, and you could end up spending good money on an ineffective campaign, so it’s well worth taking the time and trouble to explore your keyword options regularly. The way that people search for goods and services is constantly changing too, with a current increase in voice search, so revisit your keywords regularly to make sure that they’re continuing to work well on your behalf.
Poor user experience
Search engines are increasingly aware of the need to provide visitors with the best possible online experience, so there are various factors which could contribute to plummeting rankings. Even something as apparently simple as the colours that you choose for your site could have an impact upon your rankings, so spend time deliberating over every aspect of the user experience that your site delivers.
Search engines look at a huge range of metrics to determine the value of your website, including the length of time that each visitor spends on your site, their click-through rates, number of visits and, of course, bounce rates, so you need to keep your eye firmly on the ball. That means using relevant and appealing metadata, clear content structure and pages that are easy to read, with clear fonts and plenty of white space.
Of course, there are many other reasons why your website could be experiencing a downturn, but if you address all of the above points you stand a good chance of restoring your site to its rightful place in the search engine rankings. The key message to bear in mind is that the world of SEO never stands still, so there’s no room for complacency. Think of your website as a living entity that needs care and attention if it is to grow and thrive in the online environment.