Ranking on the first page of search engine results is among the goals to achieve when maintaining your brand’s online visibility. As much as you want people to find your site, you should expect the search ranking to change from time to time.

With good SEO (search engine optimization) efforts, your site can be seen by consumers looking for services/products similar to yours.

To avoid hurting your site’s search ranking, you need to know what causes it to drop. You also need to know how to address those issues.

As an experienced SEO specialist, I’ll discuss 27 reasons why your website search ranking may have dropped.


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1. Launching or Terminating Ads Meant to Boost Your Site’s Search Ranking

Always expect to see a fluctuation in your website’s search ranking when you launch ads or terminate the active ones.

Note that this fluctuation may last less than two days before your site regains its position on the search engines.

Consider launching good ads (with links), which are known to boost traffic when consumers view them. A bad ad, on the other hand, is one that fails to attract more visitors to a website.

2. Publishing Duplicate Content

One of the questions that business owners and marketers who are new to the online marketing realm ask is “what is a search engine?”

Well, my answer to this question is that a search engine is an online tool that crawls through web pages finding new information and listing snippets of these web pages.

When you publish duplicate content on your site, a search engine like Google can remove the site from its index.

Instead of ranking low on the search results pages, your site is likely to not appear in the search results.

3. Natural Search Engine Fluctuations

Since most competitive keywords require the marketers to place bids, there’s a possibility for your site’s search rankings to naturally fluctuate. For instance, the website may drop to position four from position three and retain its position after two days.

As these changes take place, my advice is that you should revisit your SEO tactics to see if they’re still effective.

4. Significant Updates on the Search Algorithms

Search algorithms, which tend to change regularly, can have an impact on the visibility of websites on the search engine results. You need to be patient whenever these updates occur.

Give new versions of the search engines some time as they use a new paradigm to index your site.

5. Getting Rid of Old Content

Though it’s a great idea to keep your site updated with new content regularly, removing the old content may affect its position on the search engines.

The search engines tend to take some time to re-analyze and reposition your website once you remove old content. Consider performing content audits frequently to identify content that’s less valuable to your site.

Ensure that the remaining web pages capture the keywords that consumers can use to find you online.

6. Website Updates or Redesign

Giving your website a new look by updating its themes/plugins or redesigning it completely can affect its search engine ranking.

Since you don’t want to lose the rankings and traffic that took time to build, I encourage you to verify that the inbound links in the updated site are working properly.

You should also get metrics reports such as traffic, page URL mapping and site audit before redesigning the website.

I’m certain that such information can help you retain your previous SEO tactics and make updates/design improvements at the same time.

7. Overloaded Server

A web server that’s not adequately prepared for a sudden increase in traffic is likely to collapse due to being overloaded.

Having your website hosted on a shared server can make that server crash due to the amount of traffic it handles. Your site’s search rankings are likely to decrease when its host server crashes.

Consider signing up for a hosting package that gives you bandwidth that supports your preferred number of visitors.

8. Source of Website Traffic

Common website traffic sources include organic search, paid search, social media, direct traffic, referrals, and email marketing. The traffic implies to the number of consumers that get access to your website.

A high number of visitors on your site can improve your brand’s visibility on the search engine. Focus on offering your visitors valuable and expert information to encourage more of them to view your content.

9. Hacked Websites

The goal of most hackers when targeting websites is to steal user information or deface the site’s appearance.

In my line of work, I’ve noticed that hacking can also result in a significant shift in a site’s search ranking. To fix such an issue, I advise you to beef up security on the site and remove any signs the malicious users left behind.

10. Search Penalties

Search engines such as Google may penalize you for failing to audit your site or failing to adhere to the user privacy standards. One simple penalty can make your site rank low or fail to rank on the search engine results.

You can use a search engine ranking monitor to figure out the mistakes you did and take the right course of action. You can also check the webmaster console to identify the cause of the penalty.

11. Misleading Meta Descriptions

Also known as Meta tags, Meta descriptions give the search engines brief information about your website.

The “title tag” is among the most crucial Meta tags you can use to increase your search rankings. I encourage you to include consistent information in your Meta descriptions of each webpage.

I also believe that adding a target keyword to the title tags is an effective SEO technique.

12. Changing Your Site’s URL

URL changes on your site can tremendously lower the site’s SEO rankings. Before changing the URL, I urge you to evaluate its relevance to your products, services or content.

If it’s mandatory for you to assign a new URL to your website, consider using a search engine ranking monitor to track the site’s performance on both organic/paid searches.

13. Changing Your SEO Strategies

SEO techniques such as getting published on guest posts and targeting new keywords can help improve your brand’s visibility on the search engines.

However, a sudden change of these tactics may make your ranking too drastically change.

You should expect the rank changes to last a few days as Google considers your new SEO strategies.

14. Removing Bad Links

Through link audits, I’m certain that you’ll manage to remove and change the bad links pointing to your site. Though this initiative can boost your search ranking, it can significantly lower the ranking if you accidentally removed the good links.

Use a link research tool to evaluate the value of both external links (found on guest posts) and internal links (found on your site).

15. Changes in Online User Behavior

Consumers partly determine the websites that deserve to be ranking on the search engines.

Your website visitors are likely to stop visiting your site if they suddenly notice activities or content on the site that negatively affect their user experience. As much as you’re trying to rank higher than your competitors on the search engines, ensure that your reputation isn’t ruined in the process.

Invest in the best online reputation management practices to win back the trust of the consumers.

16. Sudden Changes in Click-Through Rates

A sudden drop in click-through rates (CTRs) may imply that your site has certain design issues or is taking too long to load. This drastic change may hurt your website’s search engine ranking.

Check out this article to learn how to increase click-throughs via email marketing.

17. Adding New Content

Publishing new material on a webpage can affect your site’s present and future search ranking. To my understanding, good content can boost CTRs while bad content can lower the CTRs.

You’ll experience a change in your search ranking after publishing new content since the search engines take some time to scan your site for updated material.

18. Location of the Searches

Checking your search engine rankings in several geographical locations can help you get more accurate and precise insights about them. I discovered that the rankings tend to vary with the location the consumers that made the search.

You should consider logging out of your search engine account and repeating the search to get better ranking results.

19. Seasonal Offers/Discounts on Goods and Services

I’ve always noticed that certain keywords and businesses usually gain high traffic during certain seasons. For instance, your site’s search ranking may drop during the festive season since there are other websites offering more competitive goods and services.

When such a situation happens, I advise you to capitalize on SEO strategies that will attract more traffic and conversion rates to your website.

20. Using an Outdated Keyword Strategy

Consumers are increasingly using new words and phrases to look for things online. Including these keywords in your content can help them find you easily on the search engines.

Your success in local SEO lies in your keyword strategy.

21. Sudden Change in Demands for a Particular Keyword

Your rankings are likely to drop when a particular topic increasingly becomes popular. Such a change may make demands for certain keywords high. Though trends are difficult to predict, make the most of them to generate more leads for your website.

22. Poor Internal Navigation on Your Website

Consider keeping your internal navigation simple and precise to make it easier for the visitors to find the content they want. The visitors are most likely to leave the site if it has too many unnecessary links.

I also believe that it will be difficult for search engines to index your site if you fail to include keyword-rich internal URLs.

23. Page Loading Speed

The type of experience your visitors get on your site largely depends on its loading speeds. You’re likely to have fewer conversion rates and rank lower in the search engines if the site’s page speeds are low.

Consider using fewer images/videos and including fewer pages on your site for it to display content faster.

24. Competitors Upping their Game

The keywords you’re targeting may be less valuable to your site when there’s sudden competition from businesses in your niche. For you to survive this shift, you need to constantly improve your website and SEO strategies.

You also need to keep an eye out on what your competitors are doing.

25. Missing or Inaccurate Robots.txt File

Search engines use the robots.txt file uploaded on your web files to index your website for new content every day. They may ignore your site if it lacks the file.

Consider editing the file as instructed since minor typos may affect your search rankings.

26. Negative SEO Profile

Your site’s SEO profile largely determines its position on the search engines’ results. Including unnatural links and keyword stuffing can negatively affect the SEO profile.

I encourage you to carry a thorough SEO audit on your site to identify any discrepancies that may be hurting your site’s SEO profile.

27. Broken Redirect Links

A redirect link comes handy when you’re redesigning your site, migrating to a new web server or opening a new website.

The redirect URL helps notify the search engines that you moved your entire site or part of it to a new web address. Failing to update it may result in penalties for duplicate content.

The updates also allow the search engines to index your previous and present web addresses.

Getting the Most out of Your Website’s Search Ranking

Though search ranking fluctuations may be frustrating when they occur, you can have them fixed. The best way of getting an edge over these fluctuations is by monitoring your rankings weekly or monthly.

Throughout my career as a digital marketer, I’ve learned that the most effective keyword and SEO tactics are crucial to have great rankings.

As I look forward to helping your brand regain its online presence, get in touch with me to learn more about how I can help.