Why Does My Google Ranking Keep Changing?

website traffic

When you’ve put a lot of effort into creating an appealing website, it can be frustrating to see your ranking in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) keep changing. However, this is actually quite normal, and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Google rankings are constantly getting updated, so slight volatility in your rank is common. If you’re worried about getting lost underneath pages of other results, understanding why these changes happen can be quite helpful.

Here are some of the most common reasons your Google ranking dropped:

1. Borderline Content Quality Issues

Borderline content quality refers to content that teeters on the edge of Google’s quality guidelines, often resulting in fluctuating Google rankings. This type of content may not be outright poor or in violation of Google’s policies but lacks the depth, originality, or user engagement factors that contribute to consistently high rankings. As Google’s algorithms continuously update to prioritize high-quality, relevant content, websites with borderline content quality may experience search engine rankings that oscillate, jumping up when minor improvements align with algorithmic preferences and ranking drop as the content fails to meet the evolving standards for depth, authority, or user satisfaction. This inconsistency in rankings highlights the importance of continuously improving content quality, focusing on user intent, on-page factors, user experience and adhering to Search Engine Optimization(SEO) best practices to stabilize and enhance Google rankings over time.

To avoid low-quality or spammy content, I’d recommend using tools like SurferSEO or Clearscope to improve your content quality scores.

2. Google Algorithm Updates

Google uses a complicated algorithm to decide how to rank sites. These ranking factors takes into account everything from how much content is on your site to what types of social media you use. Google tends to tweak this algorithm regularly in its quest to provide users with the most accurate results.

After each update, it’s normal to see a shift in algorithm rankings as Google takes different details into account. In most cases, things settle back down after a day or two. However, if a sudden drop greatly affects your SEO, you might need to get professional help creating a site that addresses the new algorithm changes.

3. Searcher Behavior Changes

Your search ranking also takes into account how often people search for your keyword rankings and how many people click on your website. Therefore, changes in searcher behavior can end up affecting your website’s ranking. For example, if you had a high SEO ranking among people searching for winter coats, you might have a drop in rankings in summer when no one is looking at your most popular web pages.

If changes to search behavior cause a decline in your ranking, it might be a sign you need to update your SEO strategy. You can help your website rank higher by content optimization. However, depending on the type of business you run, a change might not be a reason to worry. As seasons change and news cycles shift, your organic traffic should return. You can accurately track these changes using Google Search Console, Google Analytics, or third-party SEO Tools/rank tracker tools like Ahrefs.

4. Changes to Your Website

Any change to your website can have a surprisingly large effect on your search ranking fluctuations. If you remove old content with a lot of information that made it score high in organic search queries, your rank might plummet. Meanwhile, adding a lot of new content that attracts positive attention might make your rank soar.

Every time you change your website, you can expect your search ranking to change. This can provide valuable feedback on your content. Quality content tends to lead to higher rankings and vice versa. However, keep in mind that it can take a few days for results to become apparent. In the first few hours when barely anyone’s seen your content, Google’s analysis of it won’t be accurate.

Competitors Improving Their Content

5. Competitors Improving Their Content

Not every instance of a rank change is due to something you did. Keep in mind that your ranking is also affected by all of your competitors’ actions. If someone manages to create excellent content, they can end up getting ranked so high that it pushes you down in Google’s search results.

If you suspect this is happening, it’s useful to monitor your competitors using rank tracking. Make notes about things they do that are causing you to slide down in the rankings, and consider implementing similar changes on your own site.

6. Backlink Profile Changes

One of the main ways that Google assesses a site’s reliability is by looking at its links. Both links from you to reputable sources and from reputable sources to your site help to boost your site’s rankings. Unfortunately, this means that another website changes can impact you.

It’s a good idea to regularly check up on your backlinks and make sure they all point to active pages. You can also benefit from link building, this means collaborating with other sites and asking them to link to your pages. These actions can help to keep your rank from declining.

7. Changes to Your Personalized Results

Did you have a great ranking when you searched for your business from one computer but are now panicking because a different computer search shows you’re nowhere near the top? This happens because Google search results are always personalized. Every person sees a slightly different search page depending on their location, history, age, and more. Sometimes, a drastic shift in search results happens because you’re checking your rankings from different accounts or devices.

This is often a sign that your SEO does a great job of targeting one set of user demographics but is forgetting about another. You can often address the issue by broadening your SEO. Adding content that appeals to other demographics can bump up your search rankings across the board. Just keep in mind that targeted content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you aren’t showing up in the search rankings for people who aren’t going to buy your product anyway, there might not be a reason to worry.

8. Technical SEO Issues

Don’t forget that Google cannot read your site like a human can. In order to check it and assign a rating, the system uses Googlebot to index web pages and analyze them. However, there are quite a few technical errors that can get in the way of this process. If your site is offline or very slow to load, you might struggle to rank well. You can also run into problems if your site isn’t mobile-friendly or doesn’t use a standardized menu system.

Other technical issues could include manual actions (manual penalty), disavow errors, page speed, site speed, keyword stuffing, improper robots.txt file configurations, indexed PPC landing pages, and mismanaged redirects.

For further reading, I’d recommend reading up on Google’s guidelines (formerly Webmaster Guidelines) and its Panda and Penguin algorithms.

Conclusion

If your SEO content seems great but you’re still struggling with search rankings, it’s worth talking with some tech experts. They can help check out your website and ensure everything is running smoothly enough. In addition to boosting your search rankings, this also has the helpful side effect of making you more accessible to clients.

As you can see, Google search rank shifts are common, but they don’t have to harm your business. The right SEO helps you stay on top no matter what the Google algorithm does. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, digital marketing, content marketing and get tips for improving your company, email SEO North today.

FAQ

  • True or False? Domain authority is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithms.

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Posted in SEO

Published on: 2024-02-24
Updated on: 2024-03-14

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.