Frequently asked SEO questions
Why have my rankings dropped?
Rankings are the bread and butter of any SEO campaign, therefore monitoring your rankings on a daily basis is essential.
But what do you do if your visibility has decreased overnight and why might this happen?
All is explained below:
The most likely reason that a particular keyword has dropped is due to fluctuation, which is completely natural in organic search. There isn’t a day goes by where we don’t see ranking flux, and you will usually see your rankings improve again in the coming days. If there is a significant drop in rankings, then you may have an underlying issue on your site that needs investigating further.
Secondly, there may have been a quality update by Google, which happens on an almost daily basis. Due to the constantly changing digital landscape, it is essential that you remain up to date with the latest Google updates to ensure that you’re working within Google’s guidelines.
Another possibility is that the ranked page has lost some authority due to a loss of inbound links. Monitoring your backlink profile is something that you should be doing on a regular basis, and doing this religiously will ensure that you spot a problem before it affects your visibility. Our favourite tool for monitoring backlinks is Ahrefs.
If you see a site-wide drop in rankings, you may have been hit by a manual or algorithmic Google penalty. The difference between the two is that a manual penalty is applied by a Google employee, whilst an algorithmic penalty is automatic and usually caused by a Google update. You will know if you’ve been hit by a penalty if you see a harsh drop in your organic traffic, whilst rankings remain stable on other search engines.
If you have been hit by a Google penalty, you can check this in Google Search Console, by visiting ‘manual actions’ – this will give you more information on why you’ve been hit with a penalty, thus helping you to devise a solution.
Finally, there could be technical issues on your site that are hindering your SEO efforts. Technical is often one of the most overlooked aspects of an SEO campaign, yet it is an area where you can reap the highest rewards. We recommend conducting regular technical audits to ensure that your website is in good health which is something we do for each of our clients.
How do we gain visibility for featured snippets?
It’s now been three years since Google launched Featured Snippets in the SERPs, however, many digital marketers have failed to adopt them as part of their SEO campaigns. But why would you not want to rank above everybody else in the organic results? It doesn’t make sense to allow your competitor to gain a higher SERP real estate.
Firstly, you need to understand the opportunities available in your niche, and whether featured snippets are worth your investment. For example, if you’re a local brick and mortar business, we would instead recommend focusing on the organic and map pack results, as these would reap the highest ROI. On the other hand, if you’re in a market where there are a lot of questions, featured snippets will present a huge opportunity.
Once you’ve identified if featured snippets are relevant to your niche, you should begin conducting keyword research and competitor analysis’ to identify where featured snippets exist and if you are able to create content that’s better than what already exists. Alternatively, you can use SEMrush to identify opportunities through their featured snippet analysis tool, or like ourselves, you can use STAT to identify which of your tracked keywords feature an “answer box”.
Once you have identified opportunities within your niche, it’s time to create content focused on acquiring position #0. This content will need to clearly answer the question, have positive user engagement signals and have clean code that is easily digestible for Google.
Does page load speed impact my organic performance?
The answer is simple – page load times absolutely affects your organic performance. Google have indicated that site speed is used in their algorithm over on Webmaster Central Blog and we have seen multiple instances across our SEO campaigns where improving site speed has resulted in improved organic visibility.
Ensuring that pages on your site load quickly is also essential from a user experience perspective. A slower page load speed tends to cause a higher bounce rate, less time spent on a page and ultimately, fewer conversions. We recently wrote an in-depth blog post on how to improve your page load speed, which is definitely worth a read!
How often should I publish informational content?
Publishing content is something that we touched on in our recent SEO myths article, however, a question that is common relates to how often a business should publish informational content.
The truth is, there is no definitive number of resources you should be publishing in a specific time frame. It is more important to focus on creating informational content that will provide value to the user, capture customers at different stages of the sales funnel and gain exposure in the SERPs.
Creating one piece of exceptional content is much more valuable than 100 resources that provide no value to users or the search engines.
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And finally, take a look at our other blog posts to see what else we have been up to.