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Why do some keywords fluctuate a lot (talking 20+ spots)?
I have noticed a couple keywords that fluctuate in ranking often. What are your tips for getting certain keywords to rank more consistently?
Rankings fluctuate heavily when Google hasn't "figured out" the best constellation of search results for a keyword. In this case, it will try out different things, like "what happens when I put this site in the top 3".
This has to do with user intent, meaning what is the user actually trying to accomplish? Many studies hint at CTR being one of the decisive factors to decide the best SERP mix.
I have also same problem faced to our website keywords. Great question shared.
Search intent behind keywords changes frequently, and Google's algorithm updates on a minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis. Google will rearrange the SERP and put new and different content in the top spots. Then it uses metrics like CTR to decide which piece most closely aligns with what the searcher is looking for, and rearranges again. The process is ongoing.
So, if your content is fluctuating in rank often, Google is simply trying to determine which piece of content most closely aligns with search intent and is having a difficult time making up its mind. Take a second to investigate the search intent behind the keyword to see if there is anything else you can do to your content to win back the top spot.
If you decide there isn't, wait it out and watch patiently. Eventually Google (and searchers) will decide what content warrants a top ranking. The SERP is a meritocracy. If your content is valuable and aligns with what the searcher is looking for, eventually it will win a consistent place at the top.
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