What to Do If Your Ranking Slips

Ian Lurie

Caution Sign

You’ve been #1 for a month. Traffic and sales are rolling in. Then, one day, you check on your ranking on Google and it’s happened: You’re #2. Augh!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Don’t Panic. Sometimes ranking changes are temporary. If you watch them every day you’re bound to see a lot of wiggling.
  2. Check the Competition. Who’s the upstart that took your spot? How’d they do it? There are a few simple things you can do to figure out how they did it. Go to Google and search for site:webaddress.com, where webaddress.com is your competitor’s address. Then do it for your site. Do you have more pages in the Google index or do they?
  3. Check them Again. You might be able to see where your weakness is, too. Try using allinurl:keyword, allintitle and allintext searches for the keyphrase you’re after. That will restrict your search to links, title tags and body text, respectively. It gives you a great idea of where your competition might be stronger, and where you can work to beef up your SEO profile. You can read up on these and other advanced search operators at http://www.google.com/help/operators.html
  4. Get To Work! Don’t just sit there. Write some great copy for your site! Adding more well-written, keyword-rich pages is a surefire way to move up. All that writing may seem like Mt. Everest right now, but writing gets easier with practice. Keep doing it.

It’s no fun when you slip a few spots in the search engines.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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