SEO Visibility Issues

What are the possible causes of the drop in SEO visibility and performance, and how can businesses identify the root cause?

There could be a number of reasons why your business is suffering from drops in organic visibility. 

One reason may be a change in Google’s core algorithm (of which they announce on their blog) which may cause big fluctuations in search rankings. There may also be major updates, such as the Helpful Content Update or Product Reviews Update which favour sites that have been focusing their efforts in these departments.

Another reason could be a manual penalty on your website, which is when Google’s team affirms that a site is not compliant with Google’s spam policies. These are less common these days, though are usually caused by black hat link acquisition or techniques such as cloaking.

 In general though, if your team are adhering to SEO best practices and avoiding black hat or otherwise manipulative techniques, your business shouldn’t necessarily fall foul of algorithmical or manual penalties in the long term.

On a more general ongoing basis, drops in visibility in search rankings around your industry are more often than not caused by competitors outranking you on target keywords / topics. To keep at the top you have to consistently review and improve your content offering and ensure that your content offers the user what they need on your target search terms better than everyone else.

A good first place for your team to go is to assess drops on individual pages and keywords associated with those pages, and see if there are any marked declines in rankings. Your team should then look to take steps to improve elements of that content, be it keyword targeting, site speed or user friendliness to improve your rankings.     

What are the best practices for monitoring and tracking SEO performance, and what tools and resources are available for analysing website data?

Your best single source of truth for your team to keep track of SEO performance on a macro level are Google Search Console and Google Analytics, or whatever analytics suite your business is using. 

These tools, when set up correctly by your teams, give you accurate metrics such as page views, user engagement and end of funnel metrics such as conversions and purchases. Google Search Console also gives your SEO team an overview of how Google is interacting with your site in terms of crawling and indexing and potential bug discovery, and in general should be a first port of call to assess wider SEO performance.  

However going beyond this, there are a number of third-party SEO tools which can provide you more data. While they won’t be able to accurately report back on traffic, they will provide you insights on keyword rankings, quick-win opportunities, top performing pages, competitor performance as well as more in-depth technical SEO analysis. Popular tools such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Sitebulb and Searchmetrics can all help you unlock more data in these areas.     

How can businesses evaluate the impact of recent changes to search engine algorithms and updates on their SEO performance, and what steps should they take to adapt to these changes?

Search engine algorithm updates these days tend to be quite specific in the types of websites or content they impact. Many SEO publications also do write ups on industry types or leading websites that may have been impacted (good or bad) by any given update. This can be a good place to start to keep on top of trends.

For your team, it’s important to drill down and get deep in the data in terms of what’s been impacted. Get your SEO and analytics teams to report back on any standout keyword ranking or traffic shifts following these changes. 

If there are declines, identify trends in these changes against competitor data that may have improved and see if there are ways in which your team can improve your existing content, technical or user experience offering based on what Google is seemingly favouring. 

What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to recover from a drop in SEO visibility and performance, and how can businesses avoid making these mistakes?

It may be an overused adage, but it’s important to emphasise the mantra of “keep calm and carry on” if your business is seeing a drop in performance initially. 

While receiving an SEO report or logging onto your analytics tools and seeing downward arrows marked in red may induce panic, it’s important not to be reactionary in your approach. 

Search engine rankings fluctuate a lot, and if your team are on a solid trajectory in terms of a well-thought out SEO strategy that has been ratified and thoroughly researched, they should stick to this as it will bring dividends in the long term.

That being said, if the drop in SEO visibility is sustained over a period of weeks and there are some clear downward trends and you are losing revenue on important pages and keyword rankings, steps should definitely be taken. 

Your team should look for clear trends in the types of keyword rankings that have declined and assess opportunities to improve authority on these pages to remedy the situation. This could be anything from a content refresh, tweaks to match intent, schema enhancement, linking profiles and more. Your SEO team should explore all these possibilities and look for opportunities to regain any commercial and revenue-centric declines as a matter of urgency.     

How can businesses optimise their website’s content and structure to improve their search engine rankings, and what resources are available for keyword research and analysis?

Once a piece of content that is researched, designed, written and subsequently published as part of your wider SEO and content strategy, it’s important to continue monitoring performance and look for ways to improve search engine rankings ongoing.

Have your team monitor rankings and traffic to your key commercial and traffic-driving pages and keep an eye on content that may be performing better. What are your competitors doing in terms of structure and answering user intent? Are they embellishing their content with schema or video content that gives it an extra edge? 

Keyword research should always be an ongoing venture as trends shift and new opportunities emerge, and this is the case for all industries. Aside from a consistent monitoring of keyword opportunities on third-party tools, utilising tools such as Google Trends can be a great way for your business to keep on top of live trends and capitalising on content opportunities on a more reactive basis.  

How can businesses optimise their website’s technical SEO in the event of visibility drops, such as page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and crawlability, to improve their search engine rankings?

There are plenty of technical SEO aspects that your team can potentially be addressing, ranging from image optimisation, redirect over usage or overall indexation issues. Technical SEO assessments can often be long and exhaustive in terms of issues highlighted, and of course there can be arguments made to address each and every one of these.

The key thing is to focus on technical SEO issues that are clearly clashing with visibility on key commercial pages and impacting user engagement. 

Page load speed is a core component of this, with techniques such as reduction of on-page code resources and caching techniques good areas to explore to improve search rankings and user engagement on key money pages.

In terms of crawlability, get your development and SEO teams to work together to identify any commercially-important pages that may be experiencing indexation issues and assess key causes to this.    

My website’s visibility dropped after I migrated to a new domain. What SEO factors might have been affected during the migration?

Migrations are a common cause for visibility drops from an SEO standpoint. Even if they have been carried out flawlessly from an SEO perspective, there will always be a likely initial drop in visibility as search engines recrawl and reassess changes.

However, common causes for visibility drops following migrations include problems around redirects from old URLs to new ones, redirects not being implemented quickly and aspects such as XML sitemaps not being updated to reflect this. 

If your team have launched a new website and everything is looking good but your SEO visibility hasn’t bounced back over time and it has impacted revenue, make sure your SEO and development teams are examining these areas.   

Could a decrease in social media activity or engagement be connected to the recent decrease in my website’s search engine visibility?

Social media signals don’t have a direct correlation with search engine rankings, however there may be indirect impact that have knock on effects on SEO visibility. 

For example, if you pause your social media activity across any given channel, this will lead to an overall reduction in brand visibility across wider digital, which can mean a reduction in not only referral traffic via the social channel but also potential backlinks. A viral post on social media may get picked up by a third party publication who link back to your website and will thus provide tangible organic benefits.  

SEO Visibility Issues Case Study

Big ecommerce retailer recovers from massive drop in organic visibility due to large array of thin content with refreshed strategy.

Problem: A household name ecommerce brand with a huge digital footprint suffered a big drop in organic visibility following Google’s Helpful Content Update.

Solution: Identifying a large number of old product and blog pages that were deemed “thin”, the business took steps to redirect out of date blog content that fell victim to this update. In addition, revenue-centric product pages were also refreshed with additional product descriptions and product schema, seeing a gradual recovery in performance.  

Let's work together?
Discuss Project