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6 Reasons Why Your Website Rankings Are Not Stable

Originally published: December 17, 2019 11:58:18 AM, updated: November 19, 2022 12:00:00 AM


SEO is a highly competitive market. Search engines like Google are constantly updating their policies and the global market nature of it always shifts and changes. It can be quite a task to keep up with all the changes. One day your site can be ranked first in their algorithms and the next it came in second or even at the bottom in the search result page. The main question on everyone’s mind is what went wrong? The thing is, good SEO practices are always long-term oriented and there is no short term, quick-fix solutions. They are also oriented towards building upon overall trends as opposed to day-to-day rankings. What gains several places on the scoreboard can also drop by the same if not even larger amount in the next few days. Volatility goes both ways, kind of a double-edged sword. As we can see, there are many factors that can set our SEO rankings off balance. Let’s go over the most likely culprits and the solutions for each one.

Keyword mapping

Mapping keywords properly involves the hierarchical classification of keywords related to our website by intent, relevance, and significance. Further grouping and subgrouping can be applied when necessary. The end goal is for that keyword to be associated with a single, specific page on your website. Of course, that page needs to contain the relevant content in relation to that keyword. That is what the SEO algorithms are looking for, and there is no fooling them. Failing to do this basic step could lead to your rankings being unstable. A restructure might be necessary to map proper keywords on your pages with the appropriate content in order to improve your rankings.

Inadequate hosting

Inadequate hosting

Search engines typically try to access your site at regular intervals, most likely several times a day. If that occurs while your hosting server is down, the attempt will fail. If that happens several times, the site will be internally flagged as unreliable by the search engines, which in turn, affects your rankings. Apart from host-server downtimes, there is another important and related factor, that is loading speed. This factor is directly dependant on your hosting provider’s performance and is also taken into account in search engine rankings. In short, if our infrastructure is inadequate and we have regular downtimes and performance issues, our Search Engine Optimization will be much less than optimal.

Internal linking

Poor internal linking also has a great effect on SEO. Internal links are the ones that are pointing to other pages on your own website. Not having links pointing to other material within the same domain is bad practice. Search engines will have a difficult time to index your web pages. This also includes links pointing to pages that cannot be accessed seamlessly, that is, without filling out some sort of form as an entry condition. If your site is having ranking issues, it pays to separate a little bit of time in checking for any broken links pointing to non-existent material.

Natural fluctuations

Natural fluctuations

Usually, the lower your website is in rankings, the more volatile it is as opposed when you are number one which will generate some fluctuations. A drop of a spot or two for a short period of time is normal. Yes, it can have some impact on traffic but for the majority of the time, you are stable in the top few results on the first page. Once you fall into the double-digit numbers, the situation changes. There is a lot more competition for just a few points. Logically, any minor change in this segment can have a much larger impact. The best way to distinguish your site from the rest in these cases is to publish new, quality content on a regular basis. Natural, organic traffic is what improves a site and by extension, its SEO rankings. And that kind of traffic is generated with engaging content. Search engine algorithms are changing on a regular basis, probably every week, if not every day. The machine learning is always fine-tuning different changes and issuing large updates alike. All of these updates, no matter the size, will affect different websites in different ways. There is nothing really one can do about it, but adapt over time.

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It is always possible that you have done your due diligence and are doing everything right. Sometimes you are losing traffic and therefore, SEO ranking dips because there is competition doing a slightly better job than you. It is not the end of the world, however. It is a great opportunity to monitor and analyse the competition, use and apply what you can do to your own website. Social media activity, link building strategies and content marketing are just some of the points to look out for and follow. Once you understand what the competition has or is doing to achieve a higher SEO ranking, can you internalize those changes and maybe even improve upon them.

Redundant content

Redundant or duplicate content is defined as content that appears within a domain which is very similar or completely matches another piece of content. It does not always indicate deceptive or malicious behaviour but will surely negatively impact SEO rankings. Duplicate content is often used to deliberately manipulate rankings and increase traffic in an artificial manner. Search engine algorithms are on to those types of behaviours for some time now and can only result in major ranking dips. Make sure that there is no redundant or duplicate content on your website as it will be frowned upon by the search engines that be.

When it comes to search engine rankings, the algorithms involved have had much time to mature and become intelligent. There is no shortcut to increase website traffic and influencing search engine rankings. A successful SEO campaign should revolve around continuously optimizing the content of a website. It is a long, arduous and continual process that really has no end, no finish line. As competition and market change, so do we.

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