When you start optimizing your website for search engines, you’re going to see sudden increases and decreases over several months. It takes Google time to index your website and stabilize your website within the SERPs. These fluctuations are normal but you can see drops within the SERPs if you optimize your website incorrectly. Google, over the last several months, has been going through a lot of updates and the most recent are Panda and Penguin. These updates were aimed at low quality websites and those that fit a specific keyword pattern. Google has been focusing on increasing the user experience so focuses more on long tail keywords and latent semantic indexing (LSI). It’s important you start applying these patterns to your content to gain the most out of these changes.
If you have high quality content and optimized both your on and off page elements, then the drop in your rankings can be because of the following 5-6 reasons listed below.
Let’s get started…
Site Speed Matters
Because site speed impacts user experience, it’s important you have a website that loads in under 3 seconds. That’s the average speed that NOT only provides the optimal user experience, but also helps with the website getting indexed quickly. Google needs to access your website and will directly communicate with your server so the slower the speed, the more negative the impact it will have on your search rankings. A slow loading website will also interfere with visitors being able to access your content and forces visitors to leave without engaging with your content. This increases your bounce rate and, again, has a direct effect on your rankings. Here’s something to keep in mind…
When people use Google, they are expecting the best search results and experience. If Google starts displaying slow loading websites, it’ll impact the user experience and how often people use their search engine. This is why Google has made it a point to display the high quality faster loading websites first so it adds value to the user experience. Make sure you test your site speed and then optimize it to peak in speed. Here are a few tips if you’re using WordPress…
- Compress larger images.
- Install WP Cache.
- Install WP Minify.
- Split longer content into different parts.
- Always test your site speed every several months to make sure performance is high
Google, when indexing your website, will follow the internal linking pattern on your website. For this reason, it is important that you link together relevant content on your website. Visitors will also be able to find other relevant content by simply following your linking pattern. This is great for user engagement, but how does this help with search rankings?
Having a solid linking pattern will ensure that you start ranking for the keywords you use when linking to internal pages. Because SEO is moving toward long-tail keywords, it’s important when linking content to always avoid rich anchor text and try and include long-tail keywords. Here’s quick example, Neil Patel, when linking internal content together, will use the following keywords: “search has moved toward a long tail game.”
He actually had great success because his content started ranking for the term “long-tail game”. The point is, long-tail keywords have increased the user experience so make sure to include them in your internal linking pattern.
Optimize Your Design
The easier people can browse your website, the better the ultimate experience on your website. This is why web design is so effective in increasing your SERP rankings. It’s not the design itself, but what a solid design allows users to do when they arrive on your website. For example, it decreases your bounce rate and allows visitors to access information quickly. Next, it increases the chances of them engaging with more of your content and this means they’ll share it with their social network. The higher engagement on your content will alert Google that you have something of value on your website and your page is worth increasing for the “targeted” keyword(s) in the SERPs.
Update Your Content
Sometimes, you’ll experience a drop in rankings because your website hasn’t been indexed in a while. If you have slowed down how often you update your website, then it might be a good idea to simply update the older ones instead of creating new content. Why? Google has included a freshness update to their algorithm, which indexes sites that have been updated either with new or revived content. Go through your website and update content that has changed over time. Some of the best types of content that need updated are list-type posts as the information changes more frequently. This is why I recommend every blog to include a list type post because you can always go back and update it every couple of months, triggering the Google freshness update.