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Why Did My Search Engine Ranking Drop

Why Did My Search Engine Ranking Drop?

When it comes to growing your business and broadening your audience, improving your site ranking is extremely important. You may have spent months or longer optimizing your website with great meta descriptions, informative content marketing, just to have your ranking suddenly dropped below your competitors.

Have you wondered what you have done to get this Google penalty on your website? There are many different factors that can cause a sudden ranking drop, from duplicated content that is not appropriately sourced, to mobile friendly designs that do not load properly across all devices affecting the user experience, and more.

Forbes outlines 10 of the main causes for a sudden drop in your online ranking:

  • 1. You’re tracking the wrong rankings. In recent years there has been a shift toward “natural language” when it comes to searches, that is, people typing, or increasingly speaking, complete sentences into search engines, rather than just a few keywords. If you’re only tracking generic keywords, it might be that your keyword strategy is outdated. The people who are looking for you are using new keywords or phrases, and you need to update your keyword strategy.
  • 2. The Google “dance”. It’s normal for rankings to fluctuate. Not just from one day to the next, but from one computer to another, one location to another, and based on a host of other variables. Google is constantly testing every variable it can detect by changing search results. This is part of why it’s counter productive to focus too heavily on specific rankings. Your SEO firm may give you a ranking report, but if you check the rankings on your own computer they may be different, simply because the report was run from a different computer. Or because the rankings have changed since yesterday. Generally rankings that aren’t subject to other forces on this list won’t vary too much, but the Google dance might be the only logical explanation for small drops in rankings.
  • 3. New website. If you launch a new design for an existing website you can expect your rankings to drop, regardless of what you do to prepare for that launch, and regardless of how much better the new website is, in terms of SEO, than the old one. To minimize the drop in rankings make sure a proper 301 redirect plan is in place. I know of at least one company that went out of business because of that single mistake. Make sure the new website is well optimized prior to launching it. But be prepared for the rankings to drop, at least temporarily. Generally the rankings will recover within 1-2 months, if not quite a bit faster.
  • 4. New website no longer. You launched a redesigned website to replace an old one and the rankings went down, then came back up quickly, even higher than they were before, and now they’ve gone back down slightly. Or you launched a brand new website, and after a few weeks your website shot to the top of the rankings, and then dropped back down–a lot. This is also a common occurrence. The key is to be patient, and invest in best practices SEO. Long term rankings require long term work.
  • 5. Low quality links. Many companies made the mistake a few years ago of succumbing to an offer of thousands of links for a low price. Now, with various updates made by the search engines to stop what they see as “search engine spamming,” websites with large quantities of low quality links pointing to them are seeing their rankings drop or disappear entirely. Google says if your site is being harmed by links you don’t directly control, “You should…make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site.” As a matter of last resort, you can disavow those links.
  • 6. Losing good links. A drop in rankings might be due to losing high quality links. Perhaps those websites or webpages disappeared, or the link to your website was removed. Whatever the cause, the solution is to continually be building high quality links. And when I say “building,” I mean attracting, because the best links come naturally. How do you attract high quality links? By creating amazing content, or merely helpful content, that people find interesting enough to share.
  • 7. Bad hosting. Switch to a low quality hosting company, or a company whose data center isn’t in the ideal place to provide fast page loads for your site visitors, and you can end up with user behavior on your site that tells search engines they should rank other websites before yours. The solution is to make sure the majority of your website visitors have a fast, snappy experience on your website by hosting the site in close proximity to your visitors, where possible, and paying enough to have your website on a server that isn’t bogged down with 5,000 other websites.
  • 8. Incorrect robots.txt file. Several years ago I made a mistake in the robots.txt file of a blog I owned and managed. In effect, I told the search engines to ignore my website and not let anyone find it. Whoops. My traffic dried up almost entirely. The good news is that once I noticed the problem and fixed my mistake, the rankings came back within a few days, a few weeks in some cases. Make sure you employ best practices for your robots.txt file, and don’t make typos.
  • 9. Competitors. Search engine rankings are a zero sum game. For any given keyword if one website’s ranking improves, at least one other website’s ranking must go down. This is part of why SEO services are ongoing, rather than provided just once. Your website is never fully optimized, because your competitors are constantly improving their websites. It’s an eternal game of king of the mountain, and the only way to stay on top is continual effort.
  • 10. Google update. Thousands of PhDs are employed at Google working to improve their search algorithm. The algorithm is updated hundreds of times each year, with some of those updates being large and disruptive, while most are minor in impact. The larger updates usually receive some sort of animal-themed name, such as Penguin, Panda, or Hummingbird. The point is, when Google makes an update, it changes rankings negatively for the websites that aren’t in compliance. To avoid death by Google update, follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines as best practices, and engage only in white hat SEO tactics. This is the path to rankings that will generate traffic now as well as three years from now.

These aren’t the only reasons your rankings might drop, but they are some of the reasons I see most commonly impacting rankings and traffic. Have you experienced a drop in rankings due to reasons other than those listed above? Tell us about it in the comments.

SEO Marketing For Businesses in Houston, TX

If you are not making efforts to optimize your website, you are falling behind because your competitors already have begun implementing SEO design strategies to their websites. As the gap grows between how much effort your competition puts into their online marketing and how little work you put into your website, the more difficult it will become to engage with customers online. The Houston Small Business Marketing team works hard to help your business stay relevant in this online-focused world by tracking the latest strategies in online marketing for businesses.

Don’t lose potential customers and become a force within your industry! From excellent web design to social media management, the team at Houston Small Business Marketing is here to help you broaden your reach and grow your audience! If you are tired of giving away potential customers to your competition, contact us today! We dedicate ourselves to working closely with business owners to come up with a marketing plan that helps them succeed. We provide each customer with a free consultation for your website and social media to let you know how you can improve your placement online and grow your engagement with local potential customers looking for your services.

Houston Small Business Marketing 
1415 North Loop West #950 
Houston, TX 77008 
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When small and medium-sized businesses embark on their journey to establish an online presence, they often place a high priority on finding cost-effective ways to attract customers through internet marketing. This involves a mix of various online strategies, such as local search engine optimization (SEO), Google Maps marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) management, reputation management, content marketing, social media marketing, and web design. However, the implementation of these strategies can be both expensive and time-consuming. Small and medium-sized businesses frequently grapple with common challenges, including cash flow problems, the need for significant capital expenditures, and a lack of in-depth knowledge in the field of internet marketing. These challenges are part of their daily operations. For these businesses, finding a viable and affordable alternative for internet marketing in the specific locale of Houston can be quite challenging. This is where Houston Small Business Marketing steps in. As a company specializing in internet marketing services tailored for small and medium-sized businesses in the Houston area, we offer solutions to help mitigate the costs associated with online marketing. Our primary focus is on assisting smaller businesses in Houston, and we excel at collaborating closely with them to develop customized internet marketing strategies. By partnering with us, you can benefit from reduced costs for your Houston-based internet marketing efforts. If you are seeking personalized strategies to enhance your online presence and attract more customers in the Houston area, do not hesitate to get in touch with our office. We are here to help you achieve your internet marketing goals affordably and effectively.

Houston Small Business Marketing is a comprehensive digital marketing company located in Houston, Texas. Our team specializes in collaborating with business owners who aspire to grow their enterprises and expand their online presence through tailored marketing strategies tailored to their specific industry. With a proven track record of success, we have partnered with clients from a wide range of professions, aiding them in reaching their goals and expanding their businesses. Whether you are a new startup or an established business seeking to boost your online visibility, we have the expertise to assist you. Our marketing agency in Houston provides a wide range of services, including reputation management, social media marketing, web design and development, Google Maps listing optimization, and content marketing. These components are seamlessly integrated to create a winning marketing strategy for your company, enabling you to stand out among your competitors. The services we offer can be quite time-consuming for business owners to tackle on their own. By working with our team, you can build your online presence, expand your reach, and grow organically, allowing you to concentrate on what matters most – running your business. For small and medium-sized businesses, competing online against corporations and industry giants presents unique challenges. Our team specializes in assisting smaller businesses in such scenarios because we recognize the significance of independent company success in our society. We are a results-oriented full-service digital marketing agency that adopts an inbound lead approach to internet marketing in Houston. Our customized approach delivers qualified leads to business owners, leading to trusted conversion rate optimization. This can manifest in various ways depending on your company goals.

Whether you aim to increase website traffic, enable clients to book appointments through an online portal, improve local search result rankings, or enhance your social media presence, we have the solutions you need. At Houston Small Business Marketing, we understand that a robust marketing plan begins with a well-designed and mobile-responsive website that attracts customers. The design of your website also significantly influences SEO and overall online ranking. We can assess your website to identify factors that may hinder higher online rankings. A poorly designed website can discourage potential customers and hinder your online visibility. When you collaborate with our meticulous web developers, you can be sure your website makes a strong first impression online. For businesses in competitive industries, focusing on online visibility can provide solutions for success. Developing a successful and enduring brand requires various elements, but without visibility, building a customer base becomes a challenge. Online marketing enhances your businesses visibility, connecting you with real-world customers who genuinely need the services your brand offers. Online marketing allows you to target a specific audience with the intent of engaging with a business in your industry. At Houston Small Business Marketing, we work with your brand to showcase your services and highlight what makes your company unique compared to competitors. A broad spectrum of businesses can benefit from our services, whether you are a service-based company, a top attorney at a legal firm, or a medical group looking to attract more patients. Our online marketing services are designed to help your business achieve its goals. If you are eager to expand your business, our team can create a customized digital strategy that aligns with your specific requirements. Whether you want to dominate local areas on Google Maps, generate more appointments through your website, or gain an edge over your online competitors, we have the expertise to assist you. Houston Small Business Marketing employs digital marketing specialists with hands-on experience in online marketing, including those who have launched their own businesses. This means we can develop a Houston internet marketing plan tailored to your specific industry and needs.

In the realm of local SEO, businesses can pursue a variety of objectives that significantly shape their strategic approach. Among the primary aims for many businesses is the quest to enhance their visibility, a feat often achieved by optimizing their Google Map Listing. The importance of achieving high visibility on Google Map Listings in local search and business directories cannot be overstated, as it translates to more direct customer contact and increased foot traffic, complementing the benefits of website visits. Our dedicated team collaborates closely with your company to facilitate your inclusion in the coveted Google local pack or 3-pack. This refers to the first three business listings that prominently feature within the Google Map section when users search for businesses in their vicinity. Local businesses, upon securing a spot in this select group, experience a surge in website traffic, heightened phone inquiries, and a substantial increase in the conversion rate, effectively turning online users into real-world customers. To paint a comprehensive picture, it is crucial to acknowledge that individuals employ various search engines when scouting for local businesses. Platforms like Google, Bing, Yelp, and Apple Maps come into play. To assemble the data required for local search results, search engines rely on a diverse range of signals. These include local blog content, social profile pages, internal links, and accurate and up-to-date citations. By incorporating these elements, search engines can provide users with the most pertinent and relevant local search results. If you are eager to delve deeper into the intricacies of Houston Local SEO, we invite you to reach out to our team today. We are here to demystify the world of local search optimization and help your business thrive in the digital landscape.

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As you gain more business through us, your business will expand, allowing you to do more online. We have a convenient monthly plan for you.

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