As the weeks roll by and patterns emerge from Google’s Hummingbird update, some clients are seeing little or no effect and some are seeing a drop in organic rankings. As both internal online marketing teams and external SEOs know, it’s a good idea to look for as many patterns and correlations as you can before taking action. So we asked our Colorado SEO team what tips we should pass along for those who are working their way through a Hummingbird rankings drop.
1) Make Sure You’re up Against the Algorithm
It’s easy to see a drop in rankings and jump to conclusions…but with all the data afforded a good internet marketing team, make sure the data support your hypothesis before you take action. For example, if you’re afraid you made an SEO error around the same time, due to a negative shift on a cluster of terms, look back at your old site copy and meta data to see if those terms were present before the edits. If they aren’t, (and that was all you changed around that time) you may be facing an algorithmic issue…not an SEO misstep.
2) Check the Competition
Although we tend to tell our clients not to get too sucked into watching the competition, don’t discount the possibility of a shift in competition as well as an algorithm change. If an old competitor is suddenly outranking you, it’s time for some competitive analysis. If there is a new player in the space, or a new site has launched, that can affect rankings as well and may have nothing to do with Google or your recent actions.
3) Trim the Fat
Any site that has been around for multiple years will have vestiges of one-time best practices that are now out of date. Site features or copy which might have been doing a great job for you in the past may actually be hurting your rankings now. Ask tough internal questions about what was done in the past and as the old saying for writers goes…don’t be a afraid to kill your darlings. A complicated design or overworked onsite copy can do more harm than good. Get a fresh set of eyes on the site for a second opinion.
Hopefully an algorithmic setback can be worked through without too much trouble, but as with all change, the pain you experience up front may be just the push you need to put your internet marketing strategy back on the right path. As always, if you need a hand with your SEO or SEM, get in touch, and we’d be glad to give you a second opinion or help you problem solve.