03 May Why your keyword rankings are fluctuating, and how to fix them?
Well, most people are excited to see how their sales are going and how much growth is happening. In addition, most people are always curious to check how many people have visited your website.
However, you may open and see many changes happening to your ranking of the website. Many questions may arise in your mind once you see the analytics and notice some unexpected changes.
The continued fluctuations between keywords could confuse many people into thinking. What could have happened? You may get stressed when something unexpected happens that you don’t know correctly about.
We will cover the 7 main reasons why your keyword rankings can fluctuate. Not only will we cover the main reason for keyword fluctuation. But we will also cover the tips on troubleshooting the factors that may come in helpful.
The 7 major factors that cause fluctuation in keyword rankings:
1. Updates in Google Algorithm
One of the many reasons is that Google keeps updating its working algorithms. They keep doing a lot of updates to the algorithms day today and making some significant changes over a year. Ultimately these updates are made to improve the experience of the users.
These updates make Google more relevant and search-specific. So every search made on Google has accurate results. Therefore, updates make Google understand how much value your website holds to rank on search results.
Google sometimes may get confused and show your website on non-relevant queries. However, it is not helpful to your website as you don’t want to rank on the wrong searches.
For a specific scenario, If you want to rank on Google, you need to have good keywords that could make it possible. However, Google verifies many things, and its algorithm makes it possible to understand how relevant your website is for specific queries.
Major Google updates could bring a lot of change to the ranking. These types of updates introduce broad and general changes to the ranking factors. For example, an update could determine and prioritize things such as the number of backlinks a website have. Overall, this would decide whether you have enough authority on a particular subject or not. However, the updates that have significant algorithmic changes to improve the relevance could make your website rank low. This happens because the keywords that your website shouldn’t be ranking for are removed.
In other cases, Google could also rank your website on the base of how much smooth or fast it is. However, a slow website could lose ranking to its competitors.
How to check if it is an algorithmic update? [Troubleshooting]
Usually, you would notice these types of patterns on search engines during an algorithm update:
You will start noticing unusual changes in your rank tracker. You will see some keywords moving in a specific direction while others move in the opposite direction. For a good example, you will notice some keywords gaining good ranking while others just lose the ranking they always get. Like your blog would get a lot of traffic than your product selling pages.
There is no specific explanation as to why they act that way. There are so many different aspects to a major algorithm update that we don’t particularly know about. And because of a lot of aspects of updates, we can’t foresee every particular change made in the algorithm. However, after an update has been implemented on the algorithm, the professional SEOs start figuring out the changes made. They start reverse-engineering the changes with a lot of methods. This helps them figure out the logical outcome and explain differences with the list of improvements.
The explanations of the updates are figured out in these ways for most cases. There are certain checklists available that you can use. These checklists have to be followed step to step to recover from them.
2. Actions are taken Manually or Automatically.
One of the other reasons why your website rankings could be fluctuating. Specifically, your website could lose ranking or be missing in Manual Actions. Teams of thousands of Google employees monitor the web for any suspicious activities or bad practices. Such could be people who try to scam others or people who quickly get on top rankings. Google manually reviews these websites if its algorithm flags any inappropriate or suspicious activity.
This usually happens a lot with bad link building. Bad link building is when a website owner tries to obtain too many backlinks in a short-term amount of time and tries to build trust for their website to rank high.
This is because Google uses links and anchor text as a signal to rank a website. So the website that tries to use it for the wrong purposes is always on the target of Google manual check.
Most people would not worry about manual actions since they would be aware of how and when to build links. Therefore they would be conscious and know about building site authority without suddenly destroying it.
How to know if it is a Manual or Automatic action? [Troubleshooting]
However, if there is any doubt in your mind, then it’s worth checking your Google Search Console account. There you would easily find anything listed under “Manual Action.” Google search console account will immediately show if your website is penalized for anything.
3. Adjustments in Google Servers
While most of the time, this happens when you publish an article or post. This could also occur with any older post that is more established. There are thousands of servers Google has all over the globe. These servers are further away, while some may be close to you. Google has to do extreme engineering to synchronize and maintain all of the servers. Fortunately, Google has good technology and engineering for now. However, your post or website might be limited to one server. For example, Google might store your post on a single server and not store it on another in the starting periods when you publish your website.
Therefore because of this, your rankings can fluctuate. What happens is that you may open Google on another server that has not yet synchronized your website or information properly. This could result in a fluctuation in the ranking of your website. Your users could also face this issue on other servers. Therefore you should try to understand ranking as a relative position rather than an absolute number.
For example, if you are ranking at #10, you may find your website on the starting two pages of the search. However, it may vary for people who are trying to access your website from other servers may not find it on the starting pages. The result may also vary on the time and day when users try to reach your website.
Do Google servers keep adjusting? [Troubleshooting]
You could do one thing to see the changes that happen due to synchronization between servers. You simply need to open your website on Google from two different devices and locations. To try this out, you can search your websites on Google from your mobile phone at home while staying connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. And then, once more, you have to Google your website from another location that could be your workplace. Finally, you simply need to open your website in an incognito tab from another location. However, if you find any major changes in your website layout, such as pages not appearing, this could be because of adjustments in Google servers.
4. Continuous Content Updates Being Made on Your Website
It is one important factor when it comes to the subject of changes. Your website could fluctuate in ranking while making consistent changes are made on your website. Now don’t get a wrong idea here; this does not mean you should not make changes to your website to avoid any fluctuation in your rankings. However, it becomes important to update keywords if they are not ranking as well as they used to before. For certain, you should consider making changes to your website if it starts losing rankings. In a case where your website is ranking at the top of search results, it becomes very important to make the right changes only. This is because there are many good reasons why your website is on the top. Such as, users may like your content and find it more useful and relevant than others.
Google eventually considers a lot of things to rank a website; every change you make on the website is noticed. The changes such as fixing page titles, changing website hosting service, URLs, content, or complete revamp of a site are noticed. Changes could be a good ranking factor as a single change could make Google decide your rankings again.
Are website Changes a reason for fluctuation? [Troubleshooting]
You should try to keep notes on the dates you made any updates on your website. This will help you determine the reason behind the fluctuation. And let you know If those changes are the factors causing ranking fluctuation on your website.
5. Changes Made on Competitor’s Website
By knowing, you would know about manual actions and about how Google could penalize you for any suspicious activity and website changes. Therefore you should know that the same could also happen to your competitors. Many other factors that apply to you are also applicable to them. This means they also have to deal with every factor you have to face, which takes us to the point that the changes your competitor makes could also affect your ranking.
There is no saying whether ranking would go up or down. Because ranking could go both ways, you cannot predict it. This depends on the changes made by your competitor. It could be worse or better over time or instant. For example, there is also a chance that rank changes cause algorithm updates.
Because of this, your ranking keeps fluctuating over time by default. Websites keep changing. While some websites may get better, or some of them may get worse. There is also a chance that a website will disappear or a new one will appear. Here’s a good analogy to understand imagine having a job. Your colleagues keep changing; some leave new, one joins, some get old, and a few of them are on the fast track to becoming managers.
Do competitors keep updating their websites? [Troubleshooting]
One of the main things could also be that you haven’t done anything while your competitors keep updating and ranking keeps moving.
If that is the scenario and you have made clear that there is no update being rolled out by Google. Then it is a good time to look out for your competitor’s website and check if they have made any changes or if they have better and smooth pages than your website. However, if they had outranked your website, then it might be time for you to update your website.
Other than this, you could do one more thing. You should go to the competitor’s website and open the website’s source code with a simple command in windows (Press CTRL+U in Google chrome). You would easily find the dates the pages were published and updated in the source code menu. By doing this, you would get a good idea of the reasons for rank fluctuation.
Lastly, confirm if the reason behind the ranking change is your competitors or not. You would need to see if the search ranking for a specific keyword has good performance or not and track them to see if they are changing with keywords performance. It’s simply the same thing you do on your website to track keywords. It does not require a lot of setups. You would need to enter the competitor’s website in a rank tracker, and they will benchmark their ranking by tracking their keywords for you.
6. Experiments are constantly happening in Google
You should know that Google constantly keeps running new experiments to update its platform. It is not necessary that there is always an algorithmic update when ranking fluctuates. There is one more thing you should consider there are a lot of people who publish content from all around the world. And this becomes Google’s responsibility to keep pushing the best content to the top when someone does any search. They keep trying new websites in search results to rank them.
However, this makes it possible for new websites to come within reach of people to use. It could also be your website; you can check it in your search console you would see a spike around the time you published your post. This happens cause Google not only tries to understand what the page is about but also checks it by users’ signals. This helps them rank a website that is more relevant to the search.
How to know if it’s a Google experiment? [Troubleshooting]
There is no certain way to determine that it was a Google experiment. But one thinks that you could try out is to check out your impression count in the search console. There if you see any certain changes in the pattern, then you can know if it was a Google experiment.
7. It could be your personalized search result.
This could also be a reason for seeing any difference in search results when you search your own website while directly searching for directly in your browser. This is because Google is showing results based on your search history.
How to know if it’s a personalized result? [Troubleshooting]
You can use a rank tracker tool to find out the correct results. That would search your website with a new IP address and give you the right results possible. You can use many other ways too to determine the correct result.