May 16, 2023

I Stopped Ranking on Google! Now What?

We all know ranking highly on Google is of the utmost importance when it comes to marketing and lead generation. Online leads are the fuel of any modern business. How are leads going to trickle down the sales funnel if they can’t find the funnel in the first place?

When you’re aware of this importance, ranking inconsistently on Google can feel especially frustrating.

Maybe you’re in this situation. You pull up an incognito tab on Google, enter a keyword your company has historically ranked in the top three results, but don’t see your site anywhere on the first page. Feelings of panic start to creep in.

Don’t fret!

Dramatic fluctuations in search results can be due to a variety of factors. Instead of asking yourself anxiety-inducing questions, ask yourself the following diagnostic questions to identify your root issue and treat it at the source.

1. Do You Have a New Website?

New websites rock! The time it takes Google to recognize your new website…not so much. After publishing a new site, it can take search engines anywhere from several hours to several weeks to “index” your pages — a process where Google’s robots read your content and store it in Google’s massive index.

The Solution: If you have a new site, congrats! That’s a huge milestone as a company and something to celebrate. Don’t be disappointed if your site is not immediately ranking as well as your old site. Chances are, in a few weeks, your new site will outperform your old site.

If not, reach out to our professional developers to ensure your site is helping you get the leads you need to meet your goals.

2. When Was the Last Time Your Sitemap Was Crawled?

Your sitemap is the blueprint of your website (most sitemaps can be found linked to a page’s footer). It tells Google how to read your website.

Like new sites, Google has to crawl old sites to check for new pages. If your site pages are linked to each other in a complex way, some pages may have slipped under the radar over time.

The Solution: Google claims to routinely crawl websites. However, we have found success by manually submitting sitemaps on a monthly basis. If you find that an un-crawled sitemap could be to blame, let Google know where your content is hiding by resubmitting your sitemap.

3. Is Your Page Speed Down?

Lots of things can slow your site speed down. Heavy fonts, large images, old website frameworks, and poorly written lines of code can cause long load times — turning away eager, future clients from browsing your site.

A recent study found that e-commerce sites experience a 0.3% decrease in their conversion rate for each additional second of load time. With average e-commerce conversion rates being 2.5-3%, it’s clear to see that just a few seconds of load time can cost your business significantly.

The Solution: Run your site through Google Search Console for feedback on what could be slowing your site down, and check out our Website Speed Guide for a better idea of what Google’s speed metrics mean.

4. When Was the Last Time You Posted New Content?

With all the changes we’ve undergone in the past five years — how much more likely are you to click on an article that was posted this year than in 2018? This is an easy one to wrap our heads around. Intuitively, the date indicator on a piece of content strongly affects page ranking by letting your readers know this content can be trusted.

The Solution: Start writing blogs again! Or start writing keyword-optimized blogs for the first time. Well-written blogs provide tremendous SEO value, and new blogs draw in valuable site traffic.

5. Is Your Content Optimized?

Content is only helpful from an SEO standpoint when it’s optimized. In fact, removing unoptimized or cannibalizing content can sometimes be more effective than creating new content. If your content is not optimized for SEO value, it’s just taking up space on your site and could be part of what’s lowering your ranking.

You may be wondering, how do I optimize my content? Essentially, all optimizing content means is making sure your blogs and other site pages target keywords that are essential to your business and follow SEO guidelines.

The Solution: If you used to publish blogs, but haven’t in a few months, consider taking a critical look at your old content before sinking time into creating new content.

SEO thought leader Neil Patel recommends optimizing content annually. This allows you to capitalize on the higher click-through rate (CTR) benefit of new content with a higher return on your time investment.

A simple way to start is to make sure all images on your site have alt tags! Use that valuable space to target your site toward the type of visitors you want to attract, while providing an accurate description of the image following ADA guidelines.

6. Are You Tracking Relevant Keywords?

When was the last time you took a look at your keyword strategy? Does it still capture the goals of your business? Do you have a keyword strategy in place?

If industry terminology has evolved since you’ve audited your keyword list, check to make sure you’re looking for success in the right places. Ranking low for a no-longer-relevant keyword is not necessarily an SEO miss.

The Solution: Give your keyword strategy a refresh!

7. Are There New Competitors in Your Industry?

Simple rules of pie-eating tell us that more pie-eaters mean smaller pieces of pie (that is unless you hire an experienced marketing team to manage your SEO). Your site could be as strong as ever, but if 27 stronger sites enter your market, your ranking will, unfortunately, take a hit to no fault of your own.

The Solution: Do some competitor research. If your competitors are ranking higher than you, chances are, there’s a lot to learn from the type of content they put out and how they’ve structured their site pages.

8. Has Search Volume Increased?

If the keywords you target are trending, you’re in a great place. This could be due to seasonality, or your industry could be growing as a whole.

The Solution: At face value, this is a great opportunity. The pie you’re splitting with your competitors just got bigger!

Taking advantage of this larger audience just necessitates some extra SEO work. Start by making sure your previously existing content is optimized, and, where relevant, put in some internal links between your pages that are killing it and the ones that could use an extra boost.

9. Have Paid Ads Increased?

Google Ads offers callout and image options that take up valuable results page real estate. Intuitively, an ad that takes up more space is more likely to be clicked on than a normal site. This robs organic traffic of some of its previous glory.

The Solution: If your industry is saturated with pay-per-click (PPC) ads, assess your budget to determine if joining your leading competitors in the Google Ads game is the right move for you.

Improve Your Search Engine Rankings with PHOS

Whether you found your root issue and could use some professional help implementing the application or could not identify the source of your ranking woes, consulting expert help is always the best practice when navigating the wide world of SEO. Stand out in search results by reaching out to the SEO fanatics and experts at PHOS Creative.

Amanda Smith

As an Inbound Marketing Executive, Amanda uses her love for creative copy and financial analytics to craft solutions that convert needle-pushing results for her clients. Applying her marketing and economics education from the University of Florida, she empowers each PHOS partner she works with to forward their mission through effective campaign strategy and implementation.

Outside of PHOS, you can find Amanda looking for any opportunity to visit one of Florida’s springs or craft a new Spotify playlist.