Understanding a Drop in Your Site's Ranking in Search Results

4 min read
Following our steps to optimize your site for SEO can help make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site. However, it doesn’t automatically guarantee that the ranking of your site will always go up. 

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Factors that affect your site's ranking

Search engines use many factors to decide which sites to show on results pages. Some factors that can affect your site's ranking are: 
Want to learn more about how search engines rank sites?
Read our article about how search engines work.

Search engine algorithm changes

If you notice that your site's ranking is going down instead of up, it could be due to a change in the way the search engine chooses results. Sometimes search engines modify their algorithms to trial new ways to decide rankings.

If your site's ranking drops unexpectedly, it's a good idea to wait a day before making any drastic changes. If it's caused by a search engine algorithm change, the ranking may recover by itself. If it doesn't, you can use Google Search Console to verify that it has really dropped.

Recovering your ranking after a drop

If you see a definite drop and want to recover your site's ranking, here are a few things you can try to get it going in the right direction again.

Check your recent changes

If you recently made significant changes to your site design or content, your ranking might be affected. This is often not something to worry about unless your ranking doesn't recover.   
If you notice an unexpected drop after making a change, try the following:
If you want to change the URL of an existing page and keep the previous ranking for it, you can set up 301 redirects for the old URL of the page.

Identify search engine actions

Although it's uncommon, some changes to your site may trigger a ranking penalty from search engines. This happens when your content does not comply with the search engine's quality guidelines, or the search engine thinks that you're trying to manipulate your ranking.
If you think your site may have been penalized, check that all of your site's pages are still indexed. You can also check in Google Search Console for penalties that you need to address in the Security & Manual Actions section. 

Give your content a refresh

Search engines give higher ranking to sites with high-quality content that is regularly updated. If you haven't updated your content in a while, it may be time to give it a refresh.
Some ways that you can keep your site up to date with regular new content are creating a blog, making an FAQs page, and adding a testimonials page. Learn More

Optimize your keywords

If your ranking has dropped after making changes to your site, make sure you haven't accidentally removed important keywords or search phrases from your site's content. 

The keywords you use should be the ones that are most likely to reach people who are genuinely interested in what you do. It's also important to use your keywords in a natural, unforced way
Want to learn more about keywords?
Backlinks (also known as incoming links, inbound links, or inward links) are links that direct users to your site from other relevant sites. Sites that have backlinks from reputable sites rank higher in search results. 
If your site has low-quality backlinks or loses some of its backlinks, it can have a negative effect on your site ranking.
We recommend using a backlink checking tool to analyze the quality of your backlinks and whether any of your pages have recently lost backlinks. 

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