What to do when you are experiencing ranking fluctuations

Updated on: 9 August 2017

Are you experiencing ranking fluctuations? Here are the things you need to know:

One of the things that can cause a lot of panic to SEO consultant is ranking fluctuations. Many questions such as what did I do wrong come crossing the mind. However, these fluctuations happen to everybody. In this post, we look closer at these fluctuations to establish their causes, why you have to stay cool during the fluctuations and pick instances when you should be alarmed.

Why does ranking fluctuations occur?

For people who track their site’s ranking on Google Analytics on a daily basis, it is not surprising to see the ranking move between positions one and six. Many will ask; why is my ranking fluctuating this much? What should I do? You do not have to do anything!

The search engine result pages fluctuate because of what visitors are looking for, and it is very difficult to remain in one position for long. Depending on what visitors are searching, you will get the ranking sticking to the same position in some days and fluctuating with a wider range on other days. As far as you have worked on your content marketing well, the technical SEO of your site is ok, and everything is on the right side of Google, there is nothing to worry about.

What should you expect when ranking fluctuate?

The fluctuations for top ranking sites will be minimal
Note that the fluctuations are more in sites that are ranked lower on Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) than those on the top. Therefore, if your site is ranked top, the fluctuations will be less.

You will experience more ranking fluctuations when you immediately land at the top
The first moment of landing at position one-six is characterized by a lot of fluctuations. However, once you have sustained the top position for some time, the fluctuations will be minimal.

Anticipate more fluctuations when there are highly temporal discussions
If there is a very hot topic in your niche, you are likely to experience sharp fluctuations. Google usually notifies webmasters using a gray text indicating when the temporal discussion came up.

The best course of action

Once you have noted these fluctuations, here is what you should do;

  • Stay cool: When the fluctuations are noted, many SEO managers panic and turn the heat to their team. If you notice fluctuations between position one and five, do not panic; it is okay. You have not done anything wrong, and everything will oscillate back.
  • Take time to evaluate your SEO performance: Just like it took a lot of time and effort to get to the top, you need to take time to assess about 4-6 weeks of ranking. This will help you understand the source of the problem and rectify it appropriately.
  • Compare your ranking with that of competitors: If you establish that even the ranking of the competitors is also fluctuating, it means that the cause of the issue is SERP.
  • Compare the ranking with traffic: One of the reasons your ranking is surging might be you are getting a lot of visits from specific devices or even region on specific days. Consider using top tools such as Searchmetrics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to get the right analytics.

When is ranking a serious problem?

If you notice that the ranking has fallen precipitously through many pages within a very short time, there is a serious problem. For example, if you ranked top but the site suddenly falls about 20 or 50 pages, you should commence investigations immediately. Google might have caught something thought to be sketchy and devalued your links within hours or days.