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3 Reasons to Chill About SEO Ranking Fluctuation

There are others, just like you. You don't have to fight this on your own...

There are others, just like you. You don’t have to fight this on your own…

Your search engine rankings are based upon a myriad of complex factors. As a business owner, you might be tempted to view your rankings as a simple thing, such as Google viewing your ice cream shop’s informational website and assigning it a rating for a query like “Buffalo ice cream shop.” However, this is not the case. Google indexes your site and each time an individual user types in a search query, the engine returns results based on both the user, your website’s data, the data of your competitors and every other website that they’ve indexed, including news sources that may have articles about local ice cream shops, personal blogs about local food, etc.

Therefore, you can see why rankings fluctuate pretty often. And, you might feel like that’s not a reason to relax, since you have so many things to worry about when it comes to your site’s rankings. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Here are three reasons to take a chill pill if you notice a ranking drops for your website:

1 – Rankings can return to Normal Autonomously

A few weeks ago, I checked a ranking for a newer search engine optimization client that dropped from page 1 to page 4. I was confused and certainly hadn’t done anything to warrant that sort of loss. So, I waited. We were in the early stages of optimization, and I thought that Google may have simply only given some initial precedence to the site after I’d only made meta changes and some slight on-page tweaks. If that was the case, then I’d have to do a lot more work to get that particular ranking to re-improve.

However, as I said, I waited. And, only after a day, I checked the query again and the ranking was back to page 1 in the exact same spot. I didn’t touch the site and, even if I did, it probably wouldn’t have re-indexed and applied it’s various algorithm measures to the pages. The truth is, my computer, my web browser, another website, an influx of blog articles or even a trend on Twitter could have affected the ranking for that term. But, those sorts of variables don’t have longevity, and the site’s status and authority regained its position for that term.


2 – Sometimes, Conceivably Positive Website Changes result in Lower Initial Rankings

When we changed our website, I knew that Google would react. We made design, navigation and url changes, even moving the blog to a subdomain. The latter of which really affected our rankings initially, as a lot of our good content could be found at Therefore, moving all of that over to “confused” search engines initially. And, consequently, our rankings dropped for some important queries.

However, hope was not lost, nor was our search presence. Now, our rankings for those specific queries have returned and I expect they will continue to work in our favor. The lesson: positive website changes take some getting used to, both for search engines and users. So, your rankings might drop, but that doesn’t mean that your changes were a detriment, it just means that you have to be patient, as much as it sucks.


3 – Just because Rankings drop for a Single Query doesn’t mean that you’ve lost Search Visibility

This is the last point in the list, but I hope that readers really implant this in their brains. Your ranking may have dropped for a single query, or even two or three, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve lost visibility for those terms. A query, for example, might say “ice cream buffalo.” And you might see rankings go from the second spot in Google to the fifth page. But, what about “ice cream buffalo ny,” ice cream in buffalo ny,” buffalo ny ice cream,” “ice cream shops around buffalo,” etc.?

It’s not realistic to sit down and think of every relevant query for your business and perform ranking reports based on those variations. Simply identify keywords, track rankings for a sample of specific queries and continue to remember that these queries are only a sample. They are a single piece of an infinitely sized cake. While we can’t actually see the other portions of this cake, it exists and other diners are eating it (the cake represents every possible search query related to your business and the diners represent web users who search with those queries).

Furthermore, you can use Webmaster Tools to see if people still find your site for similar queries. So, if in a month you still don’t have a top 3 ranking for “ice cream buffalo,” check Webmaster Tools to see if you’ve landed in search results for queries containing “ice cream” or “buffalo.” I’d hypothesize that you will have.


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