SEO keywords

Why Do Search Rankings for Certain Keywords Fluctuate So Drastically?

If you’re noticing that search rankings for some keywords seem to vary dramatically, sometimes even more than once in a day, you’re not alone. The reality is that there are various reasons why this could be happening. What’s more, often you won’t know for sure why rankings have changed after just a few hours.

Essentially, this shifting happens as Google’s algorithm tries to find the best ranking order for the search term in question. The potential reasons range from how established your website is and even the age of a particular page (older ones gain more trust from Google and other major search engines) to whether the content is news-based information. The types of links included, the length of time your site has spent in a first page slot and your exact position there, will also have an impact.

Here, we look at all this in a little more detail:

  • You don’t need to check rankings daily

It’s definitely not the best idea to look at your search results every day and certainly not several times daily. It makes you liable to knee-jerk reactions and won’t necessarily give you an accurate picture of performance. Try not to make assessments more than once a week for a better and less skewed sense of the impact your SEO and digital marketing efforts are having.

  • Consider the impact of competition

If a keyword is keenly sought-after, the rankings for it are particularly likely to fluctuate. That’s because the likes of Google will typically crawl those websites which are more relevant to that search query more frequently.

So if you’re competing with others for rankings based on that keyword, it’s even more likely that will be more regular shifts. Equally, there may well be what are known as ‘baby’ algorithms in place to rate sites based on that subject. These are in a state of unending flux, although they will settle down eventually. So, essentially, rankings are going to move about quite a bit more.

  • Remember what rankings are and what they aren’t

Search engine results pages (SERPs) can vary according to geographical location among other factors. So the results you see are not necessarily what your current or existing customers see when they perform a query. Rankings alone do not constitute success, important though they are, there are other metrics such as email sign-ups, leads and sales, all of which are just as significant to your business.

So, fluctuations are really just a natural part of SEO, like constantly changing weather conditions and not generally something to worry unduly about. Additionally, don’t forget that the majority of them are minor adjustments which won’t make a huge difference either way, things will average out over a period of weeks.

How we can help

At Front Page Advantage, we use our expertise in digital marketing and SEO across many different sectors to discuss these fluctuations with our clients all the time. We’re nearly always able to identify the issue and what action to take, if any.

We also appreciate the difference between a manual penalty, in which a website is taken off the SERPs completely, so that you need to reapply to be indexed again and algorithmic penalties, in which your ranking drops but keep your pages within the SERPs.

Quite often, it’s just a case of putting our clients’ minds at rest. However, if action is required, we know what to do and act quickly. Talk to us today about your website.