Examine the technical foundation of your website:
- Site map – Do you have the most up-to-date sitemap in Google Search Console? If not, resubmit.
- 404 errors – These can have a negative impact on your rankings and can result in a poor user experience for users that land on these pages, resulting in higher bounce rates.
- Site speed analysis – How does your site score in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool? Google has confirmed that page speed is a ranking factor for mobile search, not to mention its impact on user experience, which Google also takes into account.
- Robots.txt file – Ensure that this is configured properly so search engines can crawl your site efficiently and index everything properly.
- Backlink audit – Ensure there are no spammy websites linking to your own. If your agency finds some, be sure they disavow them promptly so as to disassociate your website in Google’s eyes. If your website took a very hard hit, this is the most likely cause. I would suggest talking with an expert SEO agency to solve this problem and not try to fix it yourself. If done incorrectly there can be major consequences.
- Missing metas – SEO tools like Screaming Frog can tell you in one fell swoop how many metas and critical on-site SEO elements the site may be missing, helping you come up with a plan for remedying the drop-in rankings.
Examine the quality of the content on your website and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your content Educational in nature, not focusing on acquiring customers but focusing on increasing their knowledge pool?
- Is your content Authoritative in nature, written by authorities in the space who ideally are credentialed? Credentials go a long way here, if applicable. If not, positive reviews can help build that authority.
- Is your content Trustworthy, clearly conveyed by an expert in the field? Especially in the eCommerce SEO realm, your website should scream trust.
- E-A-T: Is my content built to add value to the life of my end-user?
Focus on Existing Pages First
The existing content on the site is what Google has already indexed you for, and if it’s missing any important metas or on-page optimizations, these should be the first issues that are addressed, as they will have the most immediate impact on your rankings. These include, but are not limited to (listed in order of importance):
- Page Title
- Other subheads
- On-page content
- Image alt tags
- Meta descriptions (impacts SERP CTR, which can impact rankings)
- Internal links / anchor text
Create an SEO Content Plan
In order to build expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), it’s critical that you construct a robust content plan that is going to drive inbound traffic to the site and educate your user base for years to come. An information or resource center, complete with an FAQ, embedded YouTube videos, and articles/blog posts, is a great starting point and should be continually expanded with high-value content. This will also present you with ripe opportunities to build up your internal link structure, hyperlinking keyword-rich anchor text to relevant pages to both improve the user experience and build more authority in Google’s eyes.
The old adage (“old” from a digital marketing perspective) is “Content is King.” It was true ten years ago. It’s true today. And I can assure you it will be true ten years from now. Sure there are other elements you have to take into account, but if this concept is at the core of your digital marketing strategy, it will be difficult for any Google algorithm update to waylay you for long.
At the end of the day, an organization’s website has to provide value to the end-user; so don’t focus on Google, focus on the user. If users find value in your content, they will continue to come back, traffic your pages, and ultimately convert to become a valued customers.
Google’s algorithm changes may temporarily set back websites that have been doing this well, but it’s critical that you keep fighting the good fight, stay up to date with the latest algorithm updates, and have the right marketing agency on your side to help you through the tough times.