How to Work Out What Happened When You Lose Your Search Ranking Spot

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By Boris Dzhingarov

You may not believe that there is a valid reason for it, but it is common for a search ranking spot to be lost. Noticing that your website has lost its previously high position or no longer comes up in the results at all is not only an upsetting prospect, but it can also momentarily feel like all hope is lost. The truth is that websites move up and down in position all the time, literally every single day. There may not seem like there is a rhyme or reason at all, but behind the velvet rope, there are engineers and search engine results experts working hard.

First Work with Your Web Host

If the load speed of your websites slows down tremendously or if there is a disruption in service, you could be ‘demoted’ in ranking results. Talk with your web host about what is going on and ask them about any recent potential abnormalities, such as server outages or other backend issues. Even a short disruption in service can cause a website to be delisted or slide down several notches in position. Getting your website back online and resolving normally usually helps to fix any lost search ranking spot problems fast. This might also be a chance for you to work on obtaining a back-up server or even switching to a more reliable web host.

Consider Recent Changes on the Backend

Whether you are using WordPress along with a downloaded template to operate your website, or have built with basic coding yourself, it is crucial that you check on things on the backend often. A broken link, especially one within your website, can be disastrous for search rank position. A broken link to one of your more popular webpages or blog entries might substantially reduce your number of daily visitors. A broken link can also indicate that the content on your website is outdated and unreliable.

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Take a Closer Look at Your Content

A well-designed website that is easy to navigate counts for a lot, especially when user experience and engagement are considered. Ensuring that the font color on your website contrasts well against the background so that the content is readable is another consideration. What’s just as crucial is that the content itself is credible, enjoyable to read, and up to date. Content that is not considered up to par could cause your website to be ranked lower, leading your ranking to take a tumble. It helps perform content audits from time to time, just to be certain that everything flows well, is factual, timely, and contains no glaring errors.

Check on Those Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the key ingredients of webpages that end up getting ranked high in search engine results. Highly positioned webpages tend to have a large number of links that point toward them. If nothing else has changed because of the number of backlinks that your websites garner, then this could be the cause of your troubles. It is also possible that your website was linked to by some very spammy webpages, making it appear as if your site wasn’t as trustworthy. It would help if you were to immediately disavow those backlinks. It is not easy to gain or even keep backlinks over time, so consider link building as a means of regaining your position.

See What Your Competitors Are Up To

A loss of search ranking position may have more to do with your competitors than your websites or actions directly. For instance, if a competitor were to suddenly overhaul their website and include a huge amount of detailed content on topics your website doesn’t cover, it would make sense for your spot to fall a few positions. New competitors may have emerged, but only after studying your webpages and trying their best to outdo you. See what your competitors have been up to and see if you can beat them at their own game.

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Look and See if Your Website Has Been Penalized

A website penalty can come at any time, and most times you won’t be formally informed if it has occurred. Because website penalties tend to be manually applied, you have to take a step away from the situation and look at things through a different lens. Apparently, someone in a position of authority has taken a very close look at your website and decided that it did not deserve the rank it previously held. At first glance, is there anything that stands out to you? Think about any changes you have made as of late and then reach out to the search engines themselves to see if they have any feedback.

The Case of Algorithm Updates

In the event that you have lost your search ranking position shortly after a search engine algorithm update, the best thing that you can do is take a step back. Rest assured that you are not the only person noticing a change in your search rankings. There will likely continue to be shifts over the next few weeks, with your position moving up, and down, and possibly disappearing and reappearing, all without you doing a thing. Eventually, things will settle down and you will start to see patterns and similarities within the perceived ‘winners’ of the ranking results. Now, you can still make tweaks and changes to your website, but it could also all be in vain. It is better to simply check your content for grammatical and spelling errors, ensure that all of your webpages interlink properly, and fix any 301 pages.

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You might work very hard to maintain and even improve your search rank position, but you can never know what the results will be. Thankfully, you will learn and notice more things as you experience temporary setbacks as well as triumphs. Your search engine rankings will ebb and flow until you finally settle into a spot that you are proud to claim. Keep updating your content, check on the backend, and be vigilant about staying on top of your competitors and you’ll be able to avoid most serious surprises. As long as you never give up the fight, a lost search ranking spot can easily be worked out and re-established.