When you launch a new website redesign launches, there can be all sorts of issues that occur for ranking and traffic. If thought through and well planned, these issues can usually be addressed ahead of time and perhaps even increase rankings when relaunched.
But sometimes your website can suddenly experience drops for no apparent reason. Here is listed a few common reasons for this. Download a PDF for Quick Reference.
Why Did My Website Drop in Rankings?
Someone Deleted a High Value Page
Lots of traffic can often be attributed to a single page. Whether by accident or not, this can be a simple problem to address. You can restore the page or if you decided the page was obsolete, at least redirect it to the new one that replaced it or to another similar page to retain backlinks from other websites that were directed at that page.
Pages or Whole Site was No Indexed
Sometimes a wrong setting is clicked or code implemented improperly. Someone may have actually told search engines to ignore your website and either one or all pages are gradually falling out of the search engines completely. Check your robots.txt file or run Screaming Frog to check individual pages.
You May Have Been Caught Up in an Algorithm Update
Something that may have been working previously has been caught up in the numerous changes made all of the time by search engines. It is important to try and keep up with trends and the easiest way to diagnose is compare traffic drop dates with known updates.
SEO Changes Were Made
Well meaning but inexperienced practitioners of this mysterious art sometimes make changes that work counter to desired improved results. Plainly speaking is mistakes can happen and it is a good idea to keep a log of changes made so you can track down what went wrong. Sometimes a website audit is need to figure it out.
URL Has Been Changed
People can sometimes change the URL of one or multiple pages and forget to do a redirect. Even by changing one letter in a URL means Google can no longer find the address of that page. In this case it believes the page is deleted even if it finds the exact same content on another page. Fix the page slug or redirect the URL.
Paid Ads Are Winning
Sometimes other digital marketers identify the value of the terms you are ranking for and take your traffic by paying to be at the top of the results. Best action in this case is to also run ads since they will always rank higher than organic results. But don’t abandon the SEO value of that page as SEO will still drive quality traffic.
You Got Hit with a Manual Penalty
Google sometimes will see optimization practices that are clearly spamming tactics or outright go against their rules. You can do whatever you want with your website but Google does not have to allow you to rank in the search engines. Because of this they may artificially reduce your rankings or remove you from the index altogether. You can check Search Console for any penalties and easily check Google to see if your website has been removed.
If you want to be restored, you will need to address whatever the issue may be.
You Did Nothing
While you were sitting back and enjoying all of the free traffic, your competitors may have been hard at work creating content and building backlinks to win your coveted spots in the rankings. It may just be that you slipped in rankings and now you need to work at winning back those top spots.