Understanding a sudden drop in rankings
A sudden and distinct drop in rankings may seem alarming at first but fortunately fluctuating rankings can easily be reversed.
Web rankings can fall for various reasons including the following:
Google updates: As Google works on improving their search algorithm hundreds of times each year, you may experience a drop when Google makes an update. To ensure your website does not get affected by these updates, follow the Google Webmaster guidelines and engage in white hat SEO practices.
Poor inbound links: The quality of your links are more important than the quantity. Harmful inbound links include: links from link farms or link directories with no useful content, links from sites with explicit or spam content, broken links and irrelevant non-industry related links.
Keywords: Your business’s keyword strategy may need to be revised. Ensure your content is optimised for long-tail keywords which are complete sentences often based around a question as well as including short keywords.
Competition: It is possible that your key competitors have gained rankings and are consequently pushing your website down. As SEO is an ongoing process, ensure you are continually reviewing and improving your SEO tactics.
New website: A new design for an existing website can result in a drop in rankings. Ensure a proper 301 redirect plan is in place to help minimise the drop. The rankings should return within 1-2 months.
Bad hosting: Websites with slow load times are now penalised by Google. Visitors should be able to load your website and internal pages within three seconds or less.
Duplicate content: Duplicate content does not necessarily mean plagiarised content; in an SEO context it refers to content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. If you do have duplicate content, the best way to address this is to set up a 301 redirect from the duplicate page to the original content page.