What Causes Google Rankings to Be Highly Volatile?


Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post! 

Welcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! Today’s question comes from Dwight in Texas. He asks:

Why is it that we see lately our rank on Google for “auto shipping” go from 6 to unranked? Then, in a day or so it shows back up in or around the same rank. We have not done anything to the site that should cause this volatility. We have an SEO service working monthly on the site. Our SEO score is pretty good on RYTE and Moz. We have lost most of our SERP on the high volume keywords over the past 2 years. We can’t seem to recoup our rankings and what we have is highly volatile… Any ideas? Thanks!

Google has been highly volatile lately. There have been a series of updates that have left a lot of sites scrambling.

Depending on the industry, a few of the sites I monitor also saw volatility.

I’m not going to go into details on what we think was in the algorithms themselves (i.e., what types of sites were winners and losers) because others have already done a great job of that.

I’m also not an algo chaser, so I generally look at volatility as something that is temporary, and it usually is.

So while I can’t tell you details about your situation without looking at your data, I can tell you some things it could be.

5 Reasons for Ranking Fluctuations

Here are five primary considerations when you see your traffic or rankings fluctuate or take a dive.

1. Is the Volatility Real?

Eight times out of 10 that a client comes to me in a panic, the problem is with the data itself.

It could be that the tool they use to check rankings is having issues, or that the analytics code somehow got stripped off the pages.

While this may seems obvious, but similar to restarting your computer, check the most obvious things first.

2. What Changes Have Been Made?

If you’ve confirmed that…


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