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6 Reasons Why Your Website Rankings Are Not Stable

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SEO can be a frustrating activity. Yesterday your website was on the first page of Google. You were delighted. Flushed with your SEO prowess, you performed the same search today and found your site was on page two – what went wrong? Has your website been pawed to pieces by a panda or pecked full of holes by a penguin?

increased-website-rankings

Newsflash! The Harm is Self-inflicted

You can relax a little. Your pages haven’t been attacked by marauding wildlife or even their algorithmic namesakes. The stability of your website’s search engine ranking is entirely within your control. If your rankings are up and down like the proverbial yo-yo, there are a number of elements within your SEO strategy and tactics that need some scrutiny.

The following five issues are among the most common reasons for unstable search engine rankings. Take a look then take some action. You should see an improvement if you can fix these common errors.

#1: You Did Map Your Keywords, Right?

Keyword mapping involves hierarchically classifying the keywords pertinent to your website by intent, relevance and significance, then segmenting them still further into groups and subgroups. The aim is to reach a point where each keyword you use can be closely associated with a single, specific page on your website, which should contain content that closely matches the keyword. If you haven’t performed this process, your page rankings are likely to be unstable and realistically, a restructure, with pages and content mapped to keywords, will be necessary to improve the situation.

#2: Your Website Has Crawling Issues

Another common reason for ranking instability relates to the search engine spiders and the way they work on indexing your website. Reid Bandremer, a project manager at consulting firm LunaMetrics, explains this really well in an article. Amongst the wealth of in-depth information in the article, Bandremer describes the three major types of crawl issues, all of which can contribute to problems with ranking stability. These issues are:

  • Crawl errors, resulting from a search engine’s inability to download your URLs

  • Pages don’t get crawled, which is usually because something in your website code is preventing the spiders from crawling your content

  • Spiders crawl pages on your site that aren’t actually meant to be crawled (such as private pages)

#3: Your Hosting Server is Not Serving You Well

Search engine spiders typically attempt to access your site a number of times each day. If they try to do so during a period when your hosting server is down, the attempt will of course fail. If this happens too often, your site will be flagged by the search engine as unreliable, which of course affects your ranking. Host-server downtime and page loading speed (which can be affected by your hosting provider’s server performance) are both taken into account in search engine rankings, so if your server performance fluctuates, so will the ranking of your website on search engine pages.

#4: Poor Internal Linking

According to Industry thought leaders, that there are numerous ways in which poor internal linking can degrade the ability of search engines to index your web pages. These include linking to pages that can’t be accessed without filling in a form and even linking to content using JavaScript or Flash. If your website is suffering from unstable ranking therefore, you should certainly check that you have plenty of internal links on your pages and that they are not broken or linking to pages that can’t be crawled.

When I was a consultant at ClickDesk, I only fix the internal linking of the website which result a decent increase the organic traffic. Here is a quick snap shot from GA.

data-for-organic-traffic

#5: Changes, Changes, Changes

While variety is the spice of life, changing things up too much on your website won’t help it rank in search engines. Of course it’s important to regularly refresh and update your content—in fact, it’s vital, but making too many changes all at once will certainly impact ranking stability.

#6: Blog to Target Otherwise Unachievable Keywords

Sometimes you just can’t target a specific keyword on a product or service page of your website – it just won’t fit and look natural. In these instances you can always take advantage of having a blog. Do a quick Google search for that keyword and check what other pages rank. Read the content on the pages and proceed to writing an epic blog post which you are sure will be better quality than the other pages which rank. This is a great way of bringing in long-tail traffic too.

How to Prevent Ranking Instability

It’s all very well to know what problems you can look for and fix to improve the stability of your rankings. However, as with everything, prevention is better than cure. Once you’ve identified and fixed the SEO elements causing your problems, whether they are issues described in this post or otherwise, you owe it to yourself and your business to create a proper SEO plan for your website.

Your plan should include a schedule of actions to regularly analyze SEO performance and continuously optimize the content on your site. By scheduling your SEO tasks, you can avoid making too many changes at one time. Analysis will show you how your site’s hosting server, keywords and links are performing, enabling you to take appropriate actions to improve ranking stability.

SEO doesn’t have to be especially difficult, but it does need to be well-planned and given plenty of attention if you want to achieve stable website rankings.

 

Moosa Hemani on LinkedinMoosa Hemani on Twitter
Moosa Hemani
Moosa Hemani is a search marketing consultant. He shares his thoughts and experiences on his blog setalks.com. Follow him on twitter (@mmhemani) to get in touch with him.
  • SenseiSteve

    I see a lot of sites with internal links that only point back to the home page, which seems a little crazy to me. Shouldn’t internal links actually link to relevant content on other pages of your site? Do you know what Google’s current stance is on internal link sculpting?

  • Nilam Bhadule

    Great post.Thank you for sharing this information and issues related to the website ranking.This information helpful for many of us.

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