4. Deepen your SEO Knowledge Search Rankings Drop Analysis

Learn how to do a Google Search Rankings Drop Analysis with free reliable resources and guides. 

Debugging drops in Google Search traffic

Guide from Daniel Waisberg / Google

 

Google Ranking Dropped Dramatically? Here’s How to Recover in 13 Easy Steps

Guide from Conductor

 

SEO Rankings Drop: A Step-by-Step Guide to Recovery

Guide from Kristina Kledzik / Moz

 

Google Ranking Dropped Dramatically? (Here’s What to Check)

Guide from Chris Haines / Ahrefs

Using the Flowchart Method for Diagnosing Ranking Drops

Guide from Kameron Jenkins / Moz

 

How to do a post Google Update SEO Analysis to recover lost rankings

Video from Aleyda Solis

 

Analyzing A Recent Google Update Impact via Search Console Data with a Segmented Looker Studio Report

Template from Aleyda Solis

LearningSEO
Why my Page Doesn’t Rank [Better or At All] in Google? A Checklist

This is one of the most common questions you’ll get asked as an SEO. To help you, here’s a checklist with basic SEO diagnostics questions to ask, as well as areas to analyze and type of tools to use.

Why my Page Doesn’t Rank [Better or At All] in Google? A Checklist
Search Rankings Drop Analysis Tips

Learn from experienced SEO specialists to identify the cause of your organic search rankings drop. 

The first place I always start with a rankings drop analysis is to check data over 3/6 months in Google Search Console to see what queries dropped and then what queries rose over those comparison periods. Is this a search intent change? If it's not, then you can begin diving deeper into your data to get to the bottom of it.
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"Many many times what looked like a ranking drop due to a penalization, finally resulted in seasonality shift causing that - for example - the informational content about X had been substituted by other websites’ pages targeting a “new” intent . So verify if there was a shift of intent caused by seasonalities of the targeted query set."
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1) KPIs/Business Relevance
Some drops are irrelevant - If the drop doesn't impact the business, don't sweat.

2) GSC+SERP
Is it actually a ranking drop, or a SERP Feature pushing you down?

3) Check GSC for errors/stability
Make sure no outages etc.

4) SERP+Topic
Check if the Topic has Shifted (jaguar = car or animal)
Check if Seasonal

5) SERP+Intent
Check if the Intent has Shifted (Mothers day = Info to Trans at set points of year, set locations)
Check if Seasonal

6) Notes/Log
Were any changes made (migration, theme, plugin, content, internal links)

7) SERP+Competitors
Have you been overtaken? Was it a switch around, or a sudden rise/fall? Were you monitoring? Can you see what was changed (page/section/site)?

8) GSC, Scope/breadth
Is the drop for a specific term/page, or for a range of terms/page, or across multiple pages/section(s) etc.?

9) GSC, Stability
Is this new, or a history of fluctuations?
Is there an alternate/canonical issue?
Multiple outages or slow-responses?

10) SERP, Quality
Being utterly honest - look at what's ranking,
and compare it to your own.
Does yours deserve to rank higher?
Above theirs?

11) CM/Date
When was the page last updated/refreshed/changed?
If recently, it's possible it's "settled" (not a real drop).

12) Analytics/Tracker
Check User Satisfaction signals/metrics.
Are the BR/ToP/ToS/SD/RVR poor (for that type of content/query)?

13) Title/MD to Page alignment
Look at the content, and decide if it's aligned properly with what the Title/MD suggest
(is it clear, early)

14) Evaluate...
Taking into consideration the answers to the above,
the value of the page (to the site/business),
the estimated costs to fix/improve,
you can decide whether:
* it's worth worrying about
and if so
* it's worth fixing or removing etc.
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Consider comparing historical search performance with content changes to pinpoint drops better. Also, including competitor benchmarking can provide valuable insights for a comprehensive analysis.
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Sort your data and pages by:

Channels (not just SEO)
Categories and folders
Products
Topic groupings

Now you quickly see if it was the full site, a specific channel, a category or folder, or a top product and service. Then you can diagnose indexing, crawling, content, etc
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Search Rankings Drop Analysis FAQ
Does a drop in organic traffic mean that my rankings have also declined?

Not necessarily. A drop in organic search traffic might have other causes such as a change in search behavior, seasonality trends, a drop in CTR without changing position due to a shift in SERPs (eg. search features, ads). That’s why is important to assess first that there has been a real rankings drop and then, the queries and pages affected, and causes of it, taking context into account. 

Should I always try to recover the rankings that have dropped?

Drops in organic search rankings are not always negative. Your site might occasionally drop in rankings for queries that are not significant to your business—terms that do not drive relevant traffic contributing to your goals. In such scenarios, you might choose to take no action. It’s why is fundamental to understand the affected queries and pages, and their role in your customer search journey and SEO goals.

Does a drop in rankings always indicate that the content of my affected pages is not optimized?

Not necessarily. Google will update its rankings to better fulfill users search needs and goals, and if they identify that their intent have shifted and they now need a different type of content, they might decide to provide more visibility to other type of pages. In this case, you might not need to optimize further the pages that have dropped in rankings, but create a different type of content that better fulfill the affected queries intent. 

The SEO Learning Roadmap

Take a look at the SEO learning roadmap below, featuring the different areas, from the basics of SEO, to the most common activities and phases of the SEO Process:

Start learning SEO with the fundamental concepts and areas, why they're important, and the basics to execute them: keyword research, content optimization analysis, technical optimization and link building.
Once you know the main SEO concepts, it's time to put them in practice by learning to develop an SEO process, from establishing a strategy and setting goals to management, measurement, and reporting.
Learn to implement the most important SEO configurations in the top Web platforms in the market, along with considerations to take into account.