Practical Tips for Correcting A Drop In Search Engine Rankings

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Checking search engine rankings on a daily basis can drive a marketer crazy and is not an indication of whether a marketing campaign is yielding results or not. This is especially the case nowadays since Google’s algorithm seems to be delaying search engine movement. Nonetheless, if you want to fix a drop in your search engine rankings, here are a few ways to do it.


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Work on getting more shares on social media.

Social media shouldn’t be ignored, even if it doesn’t have a direct effect on your rankings. There is a reason why the top Google results usually stay at the top: when people research an idea or question to find a reference for their article, where do you think they end up linking to most of the time? Some guide or resource that they come across in the first 10 results. In that case, how do marketers get linked to if their site isn’t already at the top?

Fortunately, social media is somewhat of an equalizer. Write something immensely useful, get the attention of a few influencers, and piggyback off of their reach. It’s a numbers game – eventually, some of their followers are going to deem your content noteworthy and link to you in a piece they are producing.

Here are some of the best ways to leverage social media marketing:

• Make social sharing buttons a priority. Social shares don’t pay the bills, so don’t prioritize them over revenue generation, user experience and even your mailing list, but make social buttons visible and easy to use. If your site design allows, add buttons to the top and bottom of your content, as well as floating to the site. You really never know when a reader will stop reading and decide they want to share your content.

• Just ask. You will get some of the best results with a simple request or reminder. At the end of each article, ask users to support the site and share content if they found it useful.

• Build relationships with influencers and grow your own sphere of influence. This shouldn’t be done just for the sake of leveraging their prominence. Influencers get hit up ALL the time and, like anyone else, hate to be used. Taking 5 minutes to chat via email once in a while can build a relationship that could pay huge dividends down the road.

Just remember not to get hung up on the intrigue of large numbers, such as Facebook’s “50,000 People Reached” or Twitter’s “100,000 Followers”. Reach and engagement are useless unless they translate into revenue, which is why social media isn’t my favorite way of earning links. I don’t like to just hope that someone will eventually link to my content.

Make internal linking a practice.

Internal linking is often under-appreciated, and although subtle, the benefits are worth the easy implementation.

For starters, it’s easy to incorporate links to old posts within the body of new content, but marketers should also edit relevant old posts to link to new published works. This helps:

 

• get your new post indexed and ranking quicker.
• users find new content.
• improve the user experience, which translates into longer on-site time, lower bounce rates, etc.
• instantly pass some link juice to the new post.

When internal linking, here are some important considerations:

• Link from an old, authoritative page within your site. If you want to improve the rankings of a specific page, find a post with high authority, and link from there. Use Ahrefs.com or Open Site Explorer to find the “Top Pages” or simply use Google Analytics to find a high-traffic post.

• Use long-tail keywords. If you want to rank a page for the phrase “SEO”, don’t link 100 internal pages with the same exact match anchor text. These days, it’s all about long-tail keyword traffic and minimizing the chances of over-optimization. Use “SEO guide”, “SEO tutorial”, “SEO tips”, “SEO for 2015”, “SEO for small businesses”, etc.

• Don’t expect results immediately. While internal linking isn’t an overwhelming game-changer for rankings, every little bit counts, especially when a tactic is 100% within your control. At the very least, marketers will improve the user experience and site usability stats.

Launch a link building campaign.

No matter what anyone hypothesizes about the future of SEO, link building continues to be the most powerful strategy to grow traffic and revenue. But marketers shouldn’t buy links, and why should they when it’s easier and cheaper to just ask for them? Developing an ad-free, non-commercial resource for a niche community can make it easier to reach out to bloggers who will appreciate its value. That’s exactly what I did for this page on “How To Come Up With A Blog Name” when I reached out to mommy and fashion bloggers.

While earning links the “right way” can be a slow process, that slowness can protect you from yourself. Most marketers make the mistake of pointing dozens of links in a short period of time, and directly to the page that dropped in ranking. Instead, the best strategy is to build a few links to that URL, but primarily focus on increasing overall site authority with diversified links and anchor texts. Maybe a few of the other pages you build backlinks to internally link to the specific page you want to boost in Google’s rankings.

Here are a few other tips:

• Only ask for links from websites with a Domain Authority (DA) of over 30.
• Use SEMrush.com to make sure the site is earning organic search engine traffic, otherwise, it may be penalized and not worth your time.
• Be conservative in your anchor text. Try to dictate the way you want your resource to be linked to, but make sure to change your request throughout the process. When in doubt, go for branded links with the “.com” at the end.
• Research your competitors’ backlinks to prospect for natural links.
• It’s a number’s game. If you have a money-related resource, search Google for “finance resources” or “business resources”, and send a personalized email to the top 300 relevant results. Depending on your email and the quality of your resource, this should net you 10 to 30 free links. With a paid link building campaign, that would normally cost a marketer a couple thousand dollars.

Update old content. It’s always interesting to see which posts end up ranking the best and bringing in the most traffic. Sometimes it’s not the ones marketers would expect because maybe they put more effort into developing some versus others. Furthermore, I am sometimes surprised to find the long-tail keywords a post eventually ranks for because I didn’t explicitly target them.

However, this information can be incredibly useful when updating content. If you’re experiencing a drop in search engine rankings, consider visiting Google’s Webmaster Tools, finding specific keywords you rank for but don’t mention in your content, and incorporate them into your text. For instance, what if you wrote an article about “Local SEO” and find yourself ranking for “Local SEO Expert” or “Local SEO Guide”, but haven’t used those exact terms in your content. It would make sense to update the content with sections discussing these topics, such as a paragraph on “How To Find A Local SEO Expert” and “The Best Local SEO Guides For 2015”.

Final Word
Tracking rankings on a regular basis can help you catch issues before they become more crippling problems, and the above tactics can help you overcome minor drops especially when you are targeting a few specific keywords. And while it may be best to combine all of these tactics, marketers should start slow and make small changes to determine which was the most effective. Finally, be patient. Rankings won’t return overnight or maybe even next week, but gradual improvement should be apparent after a few weeks. In the case of internal linking, it may even take a couple months.

What strategies do you employ?

Author Bio: Gary Dek is the blogger and SEO expert behind StartABlog123.com, which provides a free step-by-step tutorial on how to create a blog. Gary specializes in SEO, content marketing, and helping entrepreneurs build online businesses.

 

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7 comments

Trent Partridge 12-14-2014 2:30 PM

Good Article

RenoL 12-14-2014 3:55 PM

Gary I noticed you simply created  web link to your website. Would it have been better for SEO to use "how to create a blog" as your anchor text?

Justo A.S 12-14-2014 10:19 PM

Thanks for the tip on internal linking. We website masters often get caught up in social media and extenal link building and often forget that internal links can also help rank a website higher. Great article.

GaryD 12-14-2014 11:18 PM

@Trent: Thank you!

@RenoL: Yes, "how to create a blog" would be the more optimized anchor text, but over-optimization has been an issue Google has been targeting the last few years. Consistently linking back to my blog with exact match anchor texts is guaranteed to get me a penalty in the future. Plus, my contributions are not focused on simply building links. I am more interested in building a brand and interacting with the community so thank you for the opportunity! =)

@Justo A.S: Agreed. There is just so much to do and keep track of these days that it's helpful to just be reminded of even the simple things we've forgotten to do in awhile. Thanks for the kind words!

SEOS 12-15-2014 1:37 AM

Thanks for the article, it's always helpful to refresh my memory.  We take an overview that Google's endgame is to rank the most valuable websites first.  So we are always trying to provide grewat content for our clients readers.

Ronald Dod 12-15-2014 9:25 PM

Figure out when your rankings dropped and then find out the update that caused it. Research the update and then correct the issue when you see the problem correlates with your website.

MaiD 12-15-2014 10:05 PM

You will get some of the best results with a simple request or reminder. At the end of each article, ask users to support the site and share content if they found it useful

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