Have you ever experienced a drop in your organic traffic from Google? Do you want to know the possible reasons for this? Then you will most probably find this article very useful as in it I will give you ideas on things you should check on your website in order to make sure you know the exact reason why your SERP positions and traffic have suddenly deteriorated.
Nowadays, the Google Zoo is causing lots of problems on the World Wide Web – Algorithmic zoo updates such as Pandas & Penguins, ExactMatchDomain updates are running around constantly. They give rise to continuous ranking fluctuations, which make SEOs and webmasters restless about their web projects. Everyone wants to know how to prevent such sudden events by knowing the reasons for their appearance. Let’s see what they are.
Common reasons for a sudden drop in Google positions
Alteration in Google Algorithms – The most frequent reason for a decrease in SERP positions. Each time when Google modifies its search algorithm we observe drop in most of our websites’ positions. This is normal and continues until the update is over.
Content Freshness - By constantly adding fresh content to our website (news, articles, etc.) we ping Google and it often boosts our SERP positions, but when we stop adding new texts this advantage disappears.
Detected Malware - Websites that have fallen under hacker attacks and were infected by malware tend to lose their usual SERP rankings until the malware have been removed from the site. Always check your Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) account when you suspect your website has been hacked.
Loss in Google PR -It’s a good idea to check your home page PageRank when you experience a drop in positions. Sometimes a sudden decrease in your PR may suggest a Google penalty.
Penalty for Low Quality or Duplicate Content - If the level of uniqueness of your website content is low this will lead to duplicate content problems, such as Panda related penalties. Always strive to write fresh, unique and useful articles for your sites.
Unnatural Looking Links to the Site - This is one of the most common and dangerous issues during the last year. Penguin related warnings and penalties for unnatural backlinks have been intimidating the SEOs all over the world since the Penguin algorithm was initially launched on April 2012. Make sure you check your messages in GWT at least once a week to be timely informed of any possible warnings you might have gotten from Google.
Selling Links to Other Sites - This idea is strictly forbidden by Google as we all know. Websites that are involved in buying or selling links are due to be penalized by the most popular search engine. Penalties may vary in their strength and may be manual or algorithmic.
Google Dance - Whenever Google updates its SE algorithms the positions of all the websites in its index tend to dance. This effect is also known as Everflux.
Server Related Problems -If your web server has been down for at least several hours this may have caused deterioration in your SERP rankings. Make sure you use a reliable hosting provider to ensure this doesn’t happen often.
404 Error Links – The presence of lots of broken links that lead to your website may be considered a problem by Google. It’s advisable to check your backlinks on a regular basis and fix or remove the broken ones that generate 404 errors.
Google Sandbox Boost – Usually when brand new websites are launched their webmasters observe a temporary raise in their SERP positions after which everything goes back to normal and this effect vanishes.
Robots.txt Related Issues - Sometimes webmasters and SEO experts make mistakes when modifying the robots.txt files of their sites, which may lead to deindexation from Google. Always ensure you have checked and double checked your robots.txt rules and you’re not blocking the googlebot unintentionally as this can hurt your rankings big time.
Using Forbidden On-page Methods – One of the most popular blackhat techniques are probably the cloaking (showing different things to the users and to the search engines). This may lead to a serious Google penalty and may harm your positions and even lead to deindexation of your site. Always show the same content to both human visitors and bots.
Any Other Type of Violation to Google’s TOS – If after you have read all the things above you’re still incapable of explaining the reason for your lost Google positions I strongly suggest you to spare some time and read Google’s terms of service as this may be the only chance for SERP improvement you have left. I hope you never get here!