Have you ever experienced a sudden drop in SEO ranking?
You've struggled so hard to rank your pages at the top of the search engines and now you sit and watch your hard work going down the drain.
The huge organic traffic drop from Google is due to the Google Algorithm Update (also termed as a Google Core Update).
The thing is, Google makes major modifications to the search algorithms and systems many times a year. The reason it keeps updating its search algorithms is to simply offer more authoritative and relevant content to its searchers.
In this post, we'll discuss what you should do after a Google Algorithm Update. You will also learn the best practices to follow in case you see huge fluctuations in Google SERP positions and a drop in organic traffic from Google.
Let's dive right in:
How to Check if A Google Algorithm Update Has Affected Your Website?
Before you start taking steps to recover your site after a Google Algorithm Update, you should wait for at least a few weeks for the update to completely roll out.
We say this because Google can also decide to reverse the modifications in the update. If this happens, your site can recover without you having to take any measures from your end.
In case your site doesn’t get recovered, here are the initial steps you should take:
- Add your website to Google Search Console and SEMRush to monitor the change in SERP positions for your keywords.
- Create a list of pages that show a decline in traffic and SERP rankings.
- Jot down the keywords you have lost, or those which went through an unexpected drop in SERP rankings.
- Now, search the primary keyword of every web page and check which site gained a better SERP ranking.
- Create a list of all the winners and losers in the Google Algorithm Update.
- Also prepare a list of all the mistakes and differences you can find. This will help make further evaluations or any necessary improvements.
Analyzing Drop In Your Google Organic Traffic
After you gather all the above information, you need to analyze the following:
- Check what the winning web pages contain that your web pages don’t.
- Check if they have outbound links to stuff you don’t.
- Check what elements you don’t have.
- See which Schema and links you don’t have.
- Conduct a content gap analysis.
- See if you need to add more relevant videos or images.
- Check content via NLP and look for missing entities.
- Look for missing ‘Related Queries’ or ‘People Also Ask’ queries from Google SERPs.
After this analysis, you can take the necessary steps to tackle the issues you have recognized with your website after the update hit.
Use Google Search Console
An amazing tool you must use when a Google Algorithm Update happens is Google Search Console.
This is because you can easily know when the update hit your website and how severely it affected it. Google owns this tool, so the data you will get is accurate.
Plus, here’s also some useful information you can get from the tool:
- The amount of time it takes a user to load your content.
- The number of people who are searching your site.
Tip: Learn how to use Google Search Console for SEO and you are set!
Use DashClicks' Analytics App
If you want to monitor and report all your marketing campaigns in one place, then you can choose DashClicks' Analytics app. When you use this app, you get a bird's-eye view of all your marketing campaigns.
The best thing about the app is that you can track your keyword performance and also view granular data insights.
Reasons for a Dramatic Drop In Your Google Rankings and How to Fix It
Different reasons can be behind an unexpected, dramatic drop in your Google rankings, such as:
1. Low-Quality Pages
The algorithm will recognize low-quality pages on your site, if, for instance, the Google Core Update that hit your site is content-related.
If the algorithm recognizes pages on your site that it considers low quality, it may demote those pages and your site rankings may then see a decline.
To recover from a content-related update, you must go through your site and delete low-quality pages that can hamper your site rankings.
Tip: We recommend you conduct a complete website content audit every month to eliminate thin content web pages. The audit will also help you recognize worst-performing pieces that you can improve.
2. Link Rot
Over the course of time, the backlinks pointing to your site begin to lose their power. This is called Link Rot.
We suggest you build new links to your website in a consistent mannerāthis will prevent Link Rot.
3. Your Site Was Manually Penalized
Your site receives a manual penalty when Google (either its algorithm or employees) reviews your site and deems it violates Webmaster Guidelines.
You can check Google Search Console for manual penalties. Here's an example of a manual penalty:
Now, what to do in case you receive a manual penalty?
Manual penalties are mostly link-based. See if you have received the penalty for unnatural outbound or inbound linking practices and accordingly solve the issues. For example, if a lot of spammy links point to your site, do all you can to remove them.
4. Your Rivals Got Better
Sometimes, your website can see a decline in rankings and traffic even when you think the links and content are extremely good.
Why does this happen?
This is because your competitors got better.
If your rivals are building more valuable backlinks and content than you, there is an increased likelihood of them moving ahead of you in the SERP positions.
We suggest you keep a consistent check on your competitors to know what they are up to. Check what they have that you don't. If you notice that some stuff is missing, take steps to incorporate it on your site right away.
5. You Lost Crucial Backlinks
Your site may be suffering from link loss and hence, causing a drop in your rankings. Use SEMrush to check all the links you have built so far. This will help you identify any crucial backlinks your website lost.
All you need to do is enter your domain URL and select Link Building > Backlink Analytics.
If you see that your website has lost a crucial backlink, try to recover it if you can.
But, how to recover it?
If the site is operational, email its owner and request them to embed your link again.
6. Technical Changes Were Made to Your Website
If certain technical modifications were made to your website but not carried out correctly, you would see a potential drop in your site's SEO rankings.
Examples of such technical modifications could include:
- Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to help your website pages load in a more efficient manner.
- Migrating your website to a new and improved web host.
- Transitioning to premium add-ons and plugins.
- Performing technical SEO.
- Redirecting an aged domain to your website.
If such technical changes have been made to your site, check if they have been correctly carried out so that they don’t hamper your rankings.
Here are some tips you can follow in this regard:
- In case you change your hosting, ensure you fix the DNS records in order to point to the right hosting. People and search engine crawlers will be able to access your site only after you execute this step.
- Your developer can forget to allow Google Bot to crawl your website. So, ensure you check this.
- Check if media-rich images that were helping SEO are still there or have been removed.
How to Recover from a Google Algorithm Update Hit?
Here are some crucial steps you need to take to recover your site from a Google Algorithm hit:
- Check Google Search Console and identify any technical issues or any other related issues. If you find certain problems, you can go ahead and start fixing them for your site to function to the best of its abilities.
- Ensure links pointing to other pages aren’t pointing to irrelevant or broken pages.
- Join some SEO communities and discuss an SEO strategy that can help you counter the update. These communities may also provide you with algorithm-specific information, helping you figure out why your site suffered a hit.
- Check if the sites you are linking to aren’t flagged as suspicious and spammy.
DashClicks' White Label SEO Services
If you are a digital marketing agency, you can use DashClicks' white label SEO services to get your client's site ranked at the top spot for multiple search terms in Google.
When you hire these services from DashClicks, the fulfillment is carried out by SEO experts. Hence, in the end you get to deliver only the best results to your clients.
Wrapping It Up
Leaving your site at the algorithm's mercy is not something you should do because then it will only result in decreased ranking and traffic to your site.
Whether the update is focused on a specific niche or is a broad core update, you need to take specific actions to tackle it. You can always recover your site from Google updates if you carefully follow the steps we discussed. After you make the necessary tweaks to your internal linking, site content, backlink profile, etc., ensure you check your web pages to see which ones went up. This will help you update your editorial/writing guidelines for future use and reference.