With giant Google algorithm updates and changes becoming a way of life, more and more business owners are running into sudden drops in rankings or traffic and aren’t sure what happened. One of the things I enjoy most about SEO is helping business owners find a path back to success, either from nowhere or from a missed turn they took through bad or ignorant advice.
There are a few common areas where I see people that have had a bad ranking experience and need help, and we have helped people recover from all of them.
We Believe in SEO, but it Didn’t Work
One of the more common issues I have come across is simply someone who signed up with an SEO company for six months or a year and nothing happened. This will sadly leave a bad taste in your mouth for SEO and is sad to see. Because of how effective good SEO is, many companies try to use that as a selling point but don’t really know what they are doing. If you are lucky, they won’t do any harm to you, but if you are unlucky, they will use old or clearly unethical practices that just don’t work and you won’t see any results after putting your hard earned dollars toward moving up the rankings. We do free audits to get a feel for where you stand and often find that companies that have been doing SEO already still haven’t even covered the absolute basics and we can see a gain right away by applying some fundamental tactics.
Our Google Rankings Suddenly Took a Nose Dive
This is the one I get approached with urgency most often. Companies have been riding the success of great rankings for a long time, which was leading to calls and sales, and now all of the sudden it went away. What happened? Was it an algorithm change? Was it something we did on the site? Was it something somebody else did to us? Help us get our rankings back!
Often sudden rankings drops are because of Google adjustments to the algorithm, but on some occasions, I have seen things like the web developer accidentally putting code on the site that tells Google to go away. We will check for all of that and create a path to get you back. When Google makes an algorithm change, it is for a reason, often awarding certain factors more than in the past, or pushing down sites with certain flaws more than in the past. We are on top of these things as they happen and the data soon comes in to help us make actionable steps forward. In 2017, many adjustments were based on content, and we often had to help clients overhaul, refresh, and expand their content to get back on the right path. Other times it is their links, or their local business listing inconsistencies, or even a number of bad reviews. Whatever the issue is, we identify it and develop a plan to fix it. Not every fix is instantaneous because that is not how SEO works. However, knowing what is wrong and setting a course for correction is far better than sitting and hoping, and sometimes fixes can be done within a month or two.
We Got a New Website and Disappeared
Unfortunately, this is more common than it should be. A good developer knows the basic steps you need to take to limit rankings collapses from a site update or overhaul. The web developers I work with and recommend know this and do a good job of checking before putting the new site in place. With any site change, there are going to be some changes to the rankings simply because what used to be there is now different, but there are some fundamental tactics that need to be put in place to retain site strength that I see ignored and skipped on a regular basis. These simple steps, if not done, can cause a good ranking site to disappear almost immediately. Luckily, we know how to fix them.
Some common SEO issues with new sites:
- Don’t Retain Title Tags and Become Generic
- 301 Redirects Ignored
- High Content Sites Switch To Low Content Sites
- Thick Content Sites Switch to Thin Content Sites
- New Site Adds Significant Amount of Duplicate Content
- New Site is an Exact Copy of the Site that was “In Development” on another domain and was left active.
Google Figured Out The Scam
Unfortunately, another common problem is companies that have found a scammy way around the algorithm and have success selling their tactics, only to see Google figure out what they are doing and knock you right out of the rankings. Google is getting smarter and smarter at figuring these tactics out, so they aren’t as common as they were a few years ago, but I still run into it more often than I would hope. Sometimes in smaller markets or industries, unethical tactics don’t seem to get found as quickly as they are in higher competition areas, as they don’t show up on Google’s radar. Rest assured that when they do, your site will pay for it. It is better to avoid these tactics entirely but some business owners aren’t even aware that tactics are “black hat” or unethical. If it sounds like your plan is meant to “trick” Google or work around the rules, I would avoid it at all costs.
If you need SEO ER, please give us a call. There is a path back to the top of the rankings. You just have to do it right.