When Rankings Drop Suddenly Do These 10 Steps Pronto
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When Rankings Drop Suddenly Do These 10 Steps Pronto


In this video I’m going to show you what to do to recover from a sudden rankings drop. I am going to walk you through the things
that I have seen in my career as an SEO that typically cause or lead to these sudden rankings
drop, so that you can quickly run through this checklist and mitigate the problem. Before we get into the actual checklist, I
just want to remind you, take a deep breath, do not panic. I know it is easy for me to say when it is
not my site, but I have dealt with a lot of people in a lot of these situations and I
cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten an email or a call and two or three days later,
this cleared itself up, pretty much on its own, and it was just a random blip. Step 1: Review any big changes
Pretty obvious, but if you have changed the navigation, if you have redirected pages,
go back and check those redirects. Or maybe you redirected something a month
ago, go back and check. I was talking with an Enterprise client today
and their old redirects just stopped working. You want to go and double check all of those
changes that you have recently made and make sure that they are still in place, still proper,
and not causing any issues. Next thing you want to do is to look externally
at some tools and they are algorithm change monitors and I have three of them and they
are all pretty good. I’ll show you the first one, which is from
MozCast. Moz has had this kind of weather report for
a long time, if you see it and it’s really hot and stormy, like it was on Thursday, August
10th, you know that some changes are afoot. I’ll show you advanced web rankings as well
and I’ll link all of these in the description, but what you’ll want to look for is more patterns. See, on the 10th, they are showing changes
as well. So kind of high activity right in that range. And SEMrush is a new entry into this field
and their sensor tool is quite good. I really like it because it also offers categories
so you can see right here that sports and news are being more affected than other categories. You can actually enter your own site and get
a personal score for your own rankings, which is really nice, and you can flip between mobile
and desktop. And again, if we look here, see the 10th and
11th, they are kind of showing in that same range as the other tools, some high activity. So using these altogether kind of gives you
an idea if some ranking changes are rolling out as we speak. The next thing you’re going to do is– you’re
going to want to go to Search Console. It used to be Webmaster Tools, but Google
changed the name to Search Console. If you do not have an account, get one. It’s free, easy to activate with tools like
Yoast if you’re on WordPress. First thing you want to check is messages
and just see if Google has left you a message telling you you have some issues. And you’d be surprised, a lot of times that
they are having issues, crawling something, they’ll leave a message right there for you
detailing exactly what that issue is. Now this is a– we just moved our site, to
HTTPS, literally, and it’s still propagating so I’m not going to have really any data in
this account, but I’m using this to show you. You go here to messages, then you’re going
to go down the list and you’re going to check for manual actions. You’re going to check pretty much everything
in crawl. So in Search Traffic, you’d select Manual
Actions. Now a lot of people, they think if there’s
no manual action, they haven’t been penalized. But it’s more rare to get a manual action. That means, someone at Google literally reviewed
this and manually applied a penalty to you and you will get a message there. So check that and make sure that’s the case. But a lot of times, that does not mean you
didn’t get an algorithmic penalty or some algorithmic action that the algorithm itself,
without human intervention, just did to your site. And so that wouldn’t show up here in manual
actions. But do check that. You’re also going to want to go down to crawl
errors. Check all of these. Check for big errors and crawl stats. I want you to go fetch as Google. So pick out some of your pages and fetch and
render them. And make sure you’re not seeing anything crazy. Go to robots.txt tester. Make sure that you’re not seeing any errors
or warnings blocking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen
a new website go up and they forget to update robots.txt because they were blocking it on
staging– blocking Google. And then, they update the new site with the
blocked robotos.txt and they lose all their rankings. Also look at security issues just in case. This is if your site maybe got hacked and
it’s displaying malware. Obviously, Google will not want to rank you
if that’s the case. So checking these will give you a really good
idea. Mainly, you’re looking at your index, your
crawl stats. Is Google okay with your site map? That kind of stuff. So if you go in here and you see tons of sitemap
errors, that could be an issue. The next is to go look at technical issues. Now this is a little bit harder to talk about
in just one video, but this would be hosting issues. Let’s say you are using HTTPS, make sure you
do not have any issues with your SSL certificates or are you using a content delivery network
like MaxCDN to speed up your site? Make sure everything is rosy there and not
causing problems. Many people use cache. So I use WordPress Fastest Cache on my WordPress
site. If that’s not set up properly or something
went squirrelly, caching can cause a lot of problems if it’s not working right. Lastly, I would say, a lot of people will
fall into the bucket of, there is a real time kind of penalty being applied to them, and
that penalty is usually a Penguin or a Panda penalty. So these used to be kind of manually run very
infrequently by Google, but they’ve been moved into the real time algorithm, and I’m going
to be very broad here. But Penguin, if you just had to say one thing
it’s about, it’s about your backlinks. And Panda is about the quality of your content. And so these are now running in Google’s core
algorithm. So what you’re going to want to do for Penguin
is you are going to want to check and see if you have a lot of keyword-rich backlinks
to our site. If you do, and you are seeing a big rankings
drop, it could be a really good sign that you have been infected by a Penguin. For Panda, you’re going to want to look at
the quality and depth of your content, you’re going to look at how long people are scrolling
and staying on the site. If they just leave right away, it could be
signaling that your content quality is thin. So thin content that does not provide a lot
of value is usually the issue with Panda. Let me give you a free tool to use to check
your backlinks. Obviously, I’m a big fan of Moz, SEMrush,
Ahrefs for checking backlinks, but this is free right now and it is openlinkprofiler.org. I kind of did a chuckle when I went there
because I did not know they were using one of my tweets saying, “Hey” to check them out. But obviously, that’s cool with me and it’s
a really cool tool. What you’re focused on are your anchor texts. We can get into– maybe I will do a video
on SEO profiler at some point and show you some of the cool stuff you can do. But you’re looking here, and if you see things
like your name, Ghergich and company, Ghergich, Ghergich, A.J. Ghergich, that’s me, your URL. You’re good to go if that’s the majority of
your links. But if you’re seeing instead of here you saw
something like SEO agency, SEO consultant and there were tons of links in here, you
would be at risk for a Penguin penalty because you’re using too many keyword-rich, non-natural
links to your site. Most people are going to link to you by your
brand name or someone’s name there at your company or a tool that you have. Something branded to you. And if Google’s not seeing that, it’s going
to think you are manipulating and so that would be– you would need to clean that up. Just Google articles on how to clean up Penguin
penalties. It mostly revolves around you removing those
backlinks, writing them, emailing them, trying to get them down and then disavowing all those
links in Search Console. Let me know down in the comments if this kind
of sudden rankings drops has ever happened to you and maybe how you got out of the problem
or what the problem actually ended up being. It is interesting to just kind of learn from
each other through our experiences and I will see you guys in the next video.

3 Comments

  • Tony Sloane

    I had a webpage performing very well and increasing in the google rankings everyday. The web page was only 4 months old. But it literally dropped in rankings overnight. The content is genuine and it's high quality content. I have no spammy back links. All my other pages seem to be fine. It's just the one keyword that dropped but it's the most important one. I am still getting traffic to the webpage through other similar keywords. How would I try and repair the issue?

  • franciscosautomotive

    wondering if you could help. I took a look at my google search console and noticed in the structural data > hentry it says the error is " missing: updated" how can I fix this issue? thank you.

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