Leave a comment

We’ve all been there: all of a sudden you see a dramatic drop in your Google Rankings. There are lots of reasons for this to happen, among which:

  • Your site got a Google penalty
  • Your site was hacked
  • Google just released a new update
  • Someone on your team unknowingly messed up badly.

Regardless of what happened, this is costing you money.

Follow this easy 10-step guide to effectively diagnose the issue and recover your rankings. The guide includes best practices from SEO experts Barry Adams, Kevin Indig and David Iwanow who've seen it all, so keep this guide handy when the shit hits the fan!

  • IG

    Igor Gorbenko

    about 1 year ago #

    I believe step number one should be going to any community with SEOs and asking if there was a google update at the time your traffic dropped.
    At least that's what most people are doing :D

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      about 1 year ago #

      Hehe, yeah I can see why they do it.

      Personally, I think it's better to first get your facts straight before reaching out to others :)

      Thanks for weighing in though Igor, appreciated!

  • JC

    Jeff Chang

    about 1 year ago #

    Great blog post! I think it's interesting that you look at ranking changes mainly instead of traffic number changes. We (Pinterest) mainly look at traffic number changes because we have too many pages, so it's good hear about an alternate approach. Website changes/manual penalties/log files are also common things that we check.

    One thing that I would add though is that it's really helpful to have page-type segmented real time graphs of your traffic, so you can pinpoint a time of drop.

    If the drop happens at a specific point in time then it's usually one of two cases. If there were product changes at the time, then the page probably got accidentally changed. Otherwise, it's likely a google algorithm update. If the drop happens gradually over time, it's harder to attribute. However, we were able to catch a lot of product change traffic drops and google algorithm changes this way.

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      about 1 year ago #

      Thanks Jeff for your in-depth response!
      1) Rankings vs. Traffic - looking into the traffic drop is mentioned throughout the article a few times, and for a lot of folks this works fine I think. For Pinterest however, it's a whole different game with the numbers you guys are doing :) Interesting insights, tnx!

      2) Page-type segmented real-time graphs: what software are you guys using for this? And is this based on log files?

      3) "We were able to catch a lot of product change traffic drops and google algorithm changes this way." - I'd love to hear more about this. Have you guys written about this?

  • PS

    Phil Shawe

    about 1 year ago #

    Lots of useful information here. Thank you for sharing this!

  • JQ

    Jason Quey

    about 1 year ago #

    "When your rankings suddenly drop, the key is not to panic. It’s crucial to have a list of things to check in place, so that you do the right things for the right reasons and don’t start pushing buttons at random that could make matters worse."

    This is why systems > tactics.

  • NR

    Nikola Roza

    12 months ago #

    Hi Steven. I like your advice about keeping a cool head when rankings drop- because it's probably nothing serious. And then getting to work to see what the cause is... just in case:)
    I have a quick question for you.
    You said site migrations cause rankings to drop temporarily. By migrations, did you mean changing hosts?

    And does changing hosts cause a temporary authority drop?
    I ask because my new site is unsecured and Google will soon label it unsafe for Chrome visitors, so I know I'll soon have to get better hosting and switch to https.

    Thanks for your reply:)

    • SV

      Steven van Vessum

      12 months ago #

      Hi @nikola_roza!

      Good to hear you like the article :)

      As for your question:

      No, if everything goes well with switching hosts you shouldn't see a drop in rankings. And when I say "everything goes well", I mean: your website is the exact same on the new host, and everything works fine.

      However, if you're going to switch to HTTPS then you will need to migrate from HTTP --> HTTPS and redirect all URLs. So when you do that, you'll see a ranking drop. Usually temporary, but I've seen cases where you don't get back 100% after the migration.

      Does that make sense?

      • NR

        Nikola Roza

        12 months ago #

        Hi Steven. Yeah it does make sense. Lucky me, my site is brand new so there won't be too many url's to redirect. But I know I'll have to be extra careful not to mess it up.

        Thanks for your help:)

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
25
25