When you witness a sudden decrease in leads and sales, the first thing you should do is check your website’s analytics report.

If you see a distinct loss in traffic, your SEO rankings could have gone down. Let’s look at some of the reasons as to why this could happen and ways to cope up.

Losing Links

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks (or links) from other websites to your own. It is used to navigate between pages on the internet.

Search engines use links to discover new web pages and to determine how well a page should rank in their results. The more high-quality links you have, the more likely you are to rank well in search results.

Losing high-quality links may cause a drop in your SEO rankings. Either the links to your website could have been removed or those websites or webpages disappeared. There are many tools available for analyzing your link data like Moz, Majestic and SEMrush. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to get a free backlink count.

The only good solution here is to build more high quality links by creating more share-worthy, interesting and helpful content.

Manual or Algorithmic Penalty  

An algorithmic penalty refers to drastic falls in a site’s organic visibility as a result of Google updating their algorithms and algorithmic filters. The most common algorithmic filters are Penguin and Panda, which look at link spam and content issues respectively.

A manual penalty is given by a member of Google’s search quality team when a website is deemed to have subverted guidelines in order to have a page ranking advantage. In this case Google notifies the webmaster of the manual penalty imposed and the reasons behind it.

Imposition of a Google penalty can cause a drop in rankings or removal of the web page/website from the index altogether.

If you’ve been slapped by a manual penalty, you can make necessary changes and submit a Reconsideration Request to Google. The only way to recover from an algorithmic update penalty is to fix whatever issues the update targeted.

Outranked by Competitor

The drop in ranking here is usually neither sudden nor drastic. This can happen when your competition gets stronger or weaker. You can use tools like Versionista or WayBack Machine to constantly monitor and analyze your competitor’s websites and social profiles.

Tracking your biggest competitors and understanding their strategies can help you plan your next move.

You should keep an eye on their content tactics and link building strategies. If their rankings are improving, you now know about tried and tested strategies that work for your niche.

All web development companies know that websites are never fully optimized because competitors are constantly improving theirs. You should be diverse and creative with your content marketing strategies so you can differentiate your brand from others. Continual effort is the only way to stay on top of this game. 

There are many factors that can be attributed to the loss of ratings besides the three mentioned above, but these are the most common. The important thing to do is analyze where the problem lies and fix it ASAP.