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A falling organic reach means that there is something very wrong with your search engine optimization (SEO). And you need to have it fixed quickly to ensure that you continue to receive the same and more organic traffic to your site. Recovering from a drastic drop in your search, visibility can be a daunting task. But, not if you have the right SEO checklist to follow. We designed this website SEO checklist to help you quickly assess the potential factors leading to your falling organic reach. So, below are the four crucial aspects of your SEO strategy that can affect your search engine rankings.
Has Your Website been Hit with a Google Manual Penalty?
If your site’s traffic has a sudden and drastic drop, one of the first things to check is if your website was penalized. They say Google manual penalties are rare, but unfortunately, they are not unique enough. Numerous factors could have contributed to the penalization of your site. These problems include on and off-site tactics which relate to:
- Duplicate content
- Plagiarized content
- Keyword stuffing
- Blackhat SEO tactics
- Poor website design
Your site could have also run afoul of Google’s Algorithmic penalties. Google’s algorithms test the quality of the content on your site, site usability, and over-optimization of the website. If you are not able to figure out why your site was penalized, then consider a service that offers Google penalty recovery. They can assess your website to see what may have triggered a manual or algorithmic penalty.
How Does Your Backlink Profile Look? Conduct a Backlink Audit
A second potential source of falling organic reach is a weak backlink profile. Backlinks are links from external sites to your website. The higher the domain and quality of the site that links to you, the higher your site will be rated. But, if the links are from poor quality sites, this will negatively affect your search engine rankings. To start the process of recovery from bad backlinks, you need to identify the source of the links. The best place to begin your link audit is with Google Webmaster Tools. This tool will allow you to review your link profile and figure out which links are marked as spam, links to scraper sites, etc. These are all backlink issues that will affect you. Other items to look out for include:
- too many links to your site from irrelevant sources
- anchor text manipulation or over-optimization of anchor link text to your website
- a high number of links from low-quality sites
You can combine the results of Google Webmaster Tools with Moz’s Open Site Explorer, which also analyzes the links to your website. Where you find a backlink to your site from undesirable sources, you should submit a request to that webmaster to remove the link. For some sites, you can expect that there won’t be any response. And where they have not responded to your request for the removal of the link, then ask Google to disavow the links. Keeping a clean, backlink profile is one area that you should stay proactive. Don’t wait until something has happened to audit your link profile. So, keep on top of your site with regular backlink audits.
What Have Your Competitors Been Up To?
Over time, especially if you are in a competitive industry, your competitors may outrank you. And when they do, this will result in lower organic reach for your website. To keep abreast of these developments, you must always keep your finger on the pulse and keep track of what your competitors are doing. Whether it is new entrants to your industry, or old competitors who have improved their competitive strategies, you will always need to keep your eyes on the ball. And that means actively reviewing and analyzing what your competitors are doing. If your competitors have improved their backlink profile and thus their domain trust and authority, this could account for them surpassing you in rankings and organic reach. It could mean that your competition has been investing in their SEO campaigns and working to rank organically. What this means for you is that you will have to step you your game. Otherwise, it will be difficult for you to compete as it’s no longer a level playing field. Your competitors are now at an advantage. You, therefore, need to assess their strengths and weaknesses to see where you can improve to retake your place.
Is the Problem Your Onsite Content? Audit Your Website Content
If no external factors are leading to your reduced organic reach, then it may be something internal to your website. And this is where a content audit becomes necessary. Well-written, engaging content that offers value creates an atmosphere conducive to gaining quality backlinks. Your content should fulfill the searchers’ needs and be of relevance. But, you can’t just put up content and forget about it. You should at least be conducting an SEO content audit regularly to make sure that your site is publishing quality content. An SEO content audit is strategically assessing your site’s current content, and its strengths and weaknesses to find any weak spots in your SEO. This allows you to identify:
- what type of content is performing well
- how your readers are responding to your content
- if the content is helping you to rank organically
- content areas that are negatively affecting your organic search results
- areas to be improved
If you are uploading too much low-quality content and no one is engaging, this can result in a reduced ranking of your site. If you are not updating your content regularly, this will also affect rankings. Conducting an audit helps you to find the areas that need improvement to impact your website’s natural search performance positively. This may mean removing low-quality content and investing in a content marketing strategy with high-quality material.
Planning for Strategic SEO – Reduce Falling Organic Reach
Managing SEO is not an easy task. The rules constantly change. What was best practice yesterday may not be relevant tomorrow? And are you taking advantage of local SEO efforts? These are just a few considerations when managing your SEO. And unless it’s done right, you can end up with a falling organic reach based on the issues we discussed above. When planning for strategic SEO, if you intend to outsource, assess the companies in the marketplace. If all an SEO company is promising you is guaranteed page one rankings in under a month, be wary. It may be that the keywords they plan to target aren’t being searched for or relevant to your business. You should be working with a company geared at increasing the number of visitors to your site. Reduced traffic means lost revenue. So, take your SEO seriously. An SEO campaign is a long-term investment, a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to do it right. And with the right tools, strategy, and leadership, you can continue to rank organically and reap the benefits of your organic traffic growth.