Has your company’s website experienced a sudden decrease in viewers? Has your PageRank score gone down? Don’t panic. It’s normal for websites to experience fluctuations in the amount of search traffic they get and to even experience changes in their page ranking. Often, it isn’t even your fault. You just need to know what causes poor search engine optimization (SEO) and fix it so your website can climb in the rankings once again. Here’s what’s hurting your website’s SEO, and what you can do about it.
Duplicate content occurs in chunks of content that appear in more than one place, whether it’s more than one page on your website or more than one website on the whole internet. Google’s algorithm penalizes duplicate content, so it can hurt your SEO to “borrow” content from another website or even copy it from one page to another on your website. Pages lacking in content can also be flagged as duplicates.
The solution? Create 100 percent original content for every page of your website. Give each page unique title and heading tags. You can replace old pages with new pages containing similar content, but you’ll need to use a 301 redirect. Use the rel=canonical tag to help the algorithm distinguish which page is the original. If you need help with the technical details, consider hiring an Albuquerque SEO company.
A redirect is when a viewer opens one URL, but is taken to another. Redirects aren’t necessarily bad; developers typically use them to direct traffic to a new page that offers the same content as the old page. A “bad” redirect takes the user to a page totally unrelated to the original URL – one that isn’t helpful. Make sure your redirects go to pages with the same or better (relevant) content than the old URL.
Low-quality links come from low-quality sources, like spam comments and web or article directories. Accumulating a lot of them can seriously hinder your site’s SEO. If you get enough of them, Google will even send a message to your Search Console, asking you to fix them. Even if you don’t get one of those messages, though, you should still check your links in your Search Console. You will have to ask the respective webmasters to remove their links to your site, and you may have to disavow them.
Whether you do so by accident or on purpose, perpetrating copyright violations will hurt your website’s SEO. Google wants to help users find high-quality, legitimate sources of content, so it will penalize sites that have a lot of valid copyright complaints against them. You can use the Google Transparency Report to find out if anyone has filed copyright complaints against your domain. Take down any pages that violate copyright and avoid using copyrighted material without permission in the future.
New content isn’t bad for your site’s SEO in the long run – in fact, great content is ultimately what drives traffic to websites. But if you make a lot of changes to your content or add a lot of new content, you can see a drop in search traffic. Make sure you’re using relevant SEO keywords throughout your new content, especially in titles and headings.
If your company is the only choice local customers have, you’re naturally going to rank high in search engine results for your area. If a new, competing business comes in, you’re going to see a drop in your SEO. Combating this effectively is a job for an SEO expert. You’ll need to identify your competitors and what keywords they’re ranking for, then make adjustments to your SEO strategy to compensate.
Changes to Google’s algorithm can mean changes to what Google will penalize, so if a new algorithm update penalizes something you’ve been doing a lot of on your site, you’re going to see a slump in search returns. Follow the Google Webmasters blog to stay abreast of upcoming changes and what you’ll need to do to prepare. Follow SEO industry blogs, too, for the best tips on how to ready your site for an algorithm change.
It can be shocking to see a popular, high-performing website take a nosedive in the search engine rankings for seemingly no reason. But there’s always a reason behind SEO problems – and there’s almost always something you can do about it. Fix your website’s SEO, so you can enjoy the benefits of high search traffic once again.