Imagine waking up one day & noticing a sudden drop in your website’s Google ranking or organic traffic. There are thousands of businesses and professionals who face the predicament of sudden traffic and ranking loss on daily basis.
Whenever a website’s rankings start to drop dramatically or traffic disappears, there is almost always a solid reasons behind the fall that can be identified with the help of a thorough checkup and rectification done for faster recovery.
To help businesses, webmasters, and marketers to recover from sudden organic traffic & ranking drop, Team Upreports have gathered the biggest reasons behind the dreadful happening. Below are the reasons why sudden organic traffic and ranking loss happens overnight:
Websites attract manual penalty from Google when they are discovered to violate Google’s link building, content, and SEO guidelines. Below are the reasons that can lead to a manual penalty from the search giant:
- Unnatural or spammy links to the website
- Keyword stuffing or hidden text (Black hat SEO)
- Low quality spammy content
- Cloaking or sneaky redirects for SEO mileage
- Spammy freehosts
- A spammy structured markup
- Duplicate content
Unnatural or spammy links can come from web directories, article directories, irrelevant sites, & spam sites, and often results in degrading your website’s ranking and traffic.
How to check if you have manual penalty?
Manual penalty alerts are forwarded by Google to the Search Console. If your organic traffic or ranking has dropped suddenly, check your Search Console for Google Penalty notification.
Nowadays, Google algorithm updates are real time but news about some major Google updates focused on specific industries and locations is floated online to inform webmasters and marketers. In the past, massive updates like Google Panda and Google Penguin (most recent was March 2019 Core Update) made millions of websites that violated Google guidelines disappear from Google search results.
While Google algorithm updates are unpredictable, they are basically done to improve search experience and give preference to the deserving sites.
How to check if you got caught in an algorithm update?
If you experienced sudden traffic loss and ranking drop, head over to see check news related to Google updates. If your traffic or ranking drop has coincided with an algorithm update, then, there is a huge chance that it is the reason behind the SEO disaster.
HTTP to HTTPS upgrade
HTTP is a web structure for transferring and receiving information. It frequently retrieves HTML web pages. HTTPS (S for SECURED) allows secured transactions and authorization over the web. Google has nowadays start giving ranking and search mileage to sites that have HTTPS certification.
If you recently updated from HTTP to HTTPS and forgot to make the update in your Google Analytics & Search Console, you will not see the actual traffic and ranking data. That’s because the website is still fetching the data for the old structure which is no longer working. Meaning, you didn’t lose the traffic and ranking; you are just seeing the wrong data.
How to check if HTTP is the problem?
If you have recently upgraded to HTTPS, then, there is 99% chance that this is the reason of negative traffic and ranking data. Simply make the upgrade in your Google Analytics and Search Console. No need to worry!
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When was the last time you checked the status of your backlinks to see whether they are growing or declining? Websites are always losing backlinks, and it happens for a lot of reasons. This is the reason why businesses and webmasters are so obsessed with link building. Below are some common reasons behind lost backlinks:
- Website shutdown
- Page deletion
- Change in link structure
- Manual removal of backlinks
if you recently experienced a drastic Google ranking drop, then, there is a chance that you lost some high-authority backlinks.
How to check lost backlinks?
Use links and search analysis tools like Ahrefs to check status of your backlinks. If you have lost a lot of them, it’s time to create more!
Data migration can be in form of cloud migration, application migration or storage migration. While doing substantial changes to your site like redesigning it, changing the CMS platform, or shifting to HTTPS (already covered) can sometimes go wrong. A small ignorant move will lead to bad SEO and lead to dramatic drop in the website’s ranking and Google traffic.
Lack of data governance, expertise, planning, insufficient data preparation software and skills, and unproven migration methodology are the most encountered challenges during the process of data migration.
How to check loss due to data migration?
Pretty simple, if your website traffic and ranking has dropped after any type of website migration, then, most probably that’s where the problem is. Speak with your migration team to check what went wrong!
Bounce rate jump
Website’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave quickly rather than continuing to view other pages. Bounce rate is used as a measurement of a website’s overall engagement. If the engagement is less, means the ranking is less.
Lack of user friendly interface, high loading time and irrelevant content are major reasons behind high bounce rate. A bounce rate in the range of 20 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. Bounce rate over 70 percent is disappointing.
How to confirm bounce rate related ranking & traffic loss?
Analytics is the easiest way to check bounce rate related data. Bounce rate often jumps when we undertake website redesign and end up making website really heavy. So, if you recently redesigned a website, do check its load time!
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Negative SEO aims at decreasing a competitor’s site rankings in search engine results. It includes creating spammy or unnatural links to the site, content scraping, and sometimes hacking the site.
Negative off-page SEO targets your website without internally affecting it in any way. A negative off-page SEO manipulates with the site’s backlinks or externally duplicates its content. An unethical practice, it is used by rivals to get mileage through digital sabotage.
Negative on-page SEO attacks are complex to perform and involves actually hacking a website. It can be done by many ways like:
- Altering your website’s original content
- Getting your website deindexed
- By modifying the redirects
How to identify negative SEO?
If your website is hosted on a CMS platform, check website logs to locate access from unusual locations and systems. Looking at activity log can also help in identifying damaging site changes. Hire a website security expert to identify core script changes.
Factors that lead to gradual traffic & ranking loss
The above listed are the most common reasons behind a sudden drop of website’s ranking. There are other factors as well that degrade your website through time, without creating a sudden visible impact. If you want to avoid your website’s failure in the long run, make sure you control these factors in advance:
Competitors can not only overrun your business by defaming you but also by deploying better digital marketing strategies. Stay updated with the latest SEO techniques and follow professional digital marketing ethics while creating links, content, and online presence. It will improve your website’s ranking and organic visibility on the search engines.
Audience behavior changes
If a website is not user friendly, there is a possibility that your user customers will shift to other alternatives over the passage of time. This will drop your website’s Google ranking and traffic slowly. To avoid this, it is very essential to create a responsive and user friendly website and undertake timely enhancements to keep it modern & user friendly.
Poor content quality
Content is the most critical factor behind the success and failure of a website. If you fail to create original and engaging content for your website, the traffic will grow very slowly. To maintain a good rank, the best way is to create quality content consistently. By doing this, more and more users will interact with your website and stay with it.
Domain Authority creates a direct impact on your website’s ranking. If your website lacks relevant content and backlinks, there is now way your rank will improve. If your website has a good DA and it is improving consistently, it will not lose its Google traffic dramatically in coming times. While Domain Authority is a third party measurement about website performance, it is widely consulted by marketers and webmasters for benchmarks.
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Poor link building
Poor link building is a result of backlinks from irrelevant sources or websites. A negative link will harm your website’s identity and lead to a substantial fall in its rank. Concentrate on getting links from genuine websites which themselves have a good authority in relevant topics. Getting backlinks from such sites will indirectly improve your website’s ranking too.
A follow-up traffic & ranking note
Top 3 search results on the internet get over 50% of Google’s traffic. Once you have identified the source of sudden organic ranking and traffic loss, the bounce back will depend on the right remedial steps. It goes without saying that websites ranking good on Google fetch more business than the others.
Don’t forget, SEO helps a website rank on Google. Whether you are redesigning your website, creating backlinks or promoting your business, follow proper SEO techniques to retain its authority and visibility.
If your website has dramatically lost its ranking and you need expert advice to fix the issue, we are here to help! Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do everything in our power to get back what was lost!