10 Reasons You’re In An SEO Slump Right Now

by Neil Patel

Last updated on May 28th, 2018

When you have a business, having a website that many people visit is essential. You want to gain customers and build a reputation. Until now, your Google rankings were doing well. But recently you have noticed a slump in your search engine rankings.

What’s up with that?

First off, don’t panic.  It’s going to happen to everyone some point.

Here are ten common reasons why your rankings are going down. Notice anything that might be going on with your website?

1. You’re Too Focused On Keyword Rankings

Most recently, there’s been more of a shift towards using natural language in searches. People are typing or speaking whole sentences into the search engines. They aren’t using just a couple of keywords.

What’s the takeaway? Use a longtail SEO strategy. Once you implement a longtail SEO strategy, you’ll start to track the right data, and see the right results.

long tail of seo


If you’re just tracking the generic keywords, you may have to rethink your strategy because it may be outdated.

A user’s search signals their intent, which brings them further down your conversion funnel. Targeting phrases as opposed to keywords is a smart marketing move, not just some nifty SEO trick.

customer behavior


People who are searching for you will be using new phrases or keywords. That means that you have to update your site with a new strategy for your keywords.

2. The Infamous Google Dance

It’s not unusual for website rankings to change from time to time. This can happen each day or it can even change based on user information, location, and many other variables.

Google is always testing the possible variables that it’s detecting by changing the search results. This is one reason why you shouldn’t focus heavily on certain rankings.

Your metrics dashboard probably gives you some nice digestible chunks of data.

people talking total likes

But is this really the data you should be focusing on?

Maybe, but don’t get fixated on the daily changes. It’s going to happen.

The SEO agency you’re working with may be supplying you with ranking reports. However, if you’re checking specific rankings using a different software, you may find they’re completely different.

What changed?  Google did. SERP volatility happens all the time.

average serp


Try to weather the storm, and see what happens when things calm down.

3. Your Website Has Changed

If you have launched a brand new design for your website, you should expect a drop in rankings. It doesn’t matter how you prepared for your launch and how you have improved the SEO on your website.

To minimize this ranking drop you should have the right 301 redirect plan. There have been companies who have lost their entire business because of not having the plan.

traffic after redesign


Be sure that your new website’s optimized well before it is launched. But also understand that you will see a drop in your rankings, even if it’s temporary. As time goes by they will recover and it usually will happen in a month or two, and sometimes even faster.

website traffic


4. Your Website’s Not New Anymore

You launched a totally redesigned website and replaced your old one. Then you saw a drop in its rankings before they quickly rebounded.

Now you are noticing that they have gone down again. Or maybe you created a brand-new site, and after it was live for several weeks it was right on top of the search engine rankings before dropping down by a great deal.

This is also very common. You want to take a deep breath and invest in the best practices for SEO.  If you want rankings for the long term you will have to work for it.

5. Problems With Links

Many websites have a backlink problem.  There are two different problems that links can cause.  The first problem is having links of low quality.

But since the search engines started doing updates to stop spamming of search engines, websites that have a lot of links of low quality that are pointing their way are noticing that their rankings are dropping or even disappearing.

It’s important to clean up those unnatural links that point to a website if they are not being controlled by you and they’re harming your ranks.

Another problem with links is when you lose good links. If your rankings are dropping, you may be losing links of high quality. Maybe the webpages or websites disappeared, or your website’s link has been removed.

In many cases, losing great quality links can cause your rankings to plummet.

referring pages


No matter the problem, it’s important to always be earning links of high quality. This means that you should attract the links with great content.

Earn the links. Don’t build them.

link building link earning

This can be done by creating shareable and amazing content, or even content that is helpful.

6. You’re Not Updating Your Website Regularly

Above we discussed how you can build links that are of high quality and mentioned content.

One of the best ways that you can do that is through having a blog. There are plenty of blogging platforms so that you can choose one that you enjoy.

Here are four tips that you can use for updating your blog and keeping people coming to your site.

1. Create a regular schedule – Sit down and look at the types of content that you want to put on your blog. Whether you post daily or every other day, people want to know what to expect.  So it’s a good idea to choose a topic for every day you blog.  An example schedule could be as follows:

  • Monday – Tip day, when you give your readers tips about your business. People always love free advice!
  • Tuesday – Upcoming events day, when you tell your readers about what is coming up in your business, the world, or anything appropriate.
  • Wednesday – Complementary business day, when you provide content that is related to your business but isn’t your business. For example, if you sell wedding dresses, write an article about choosing the right flowers.  It’s a great way to get more quality links to your website.
  • Thursday – Featured product day, when you choose one of your products and feature it. Tell readers what it is, what it can be used for, who can use it, etc.  This will be a great setup for Friday.
  • Friday – Special discount day. Offer a special discount, whether it’s for free shipping (if you don’t already offer it), a percentage off, or a free item with purchases. Most people get paid on Friday, so this is a great way to get sales. It’s also a good idea to keep it good for at least 24 hours, since you don’t know when someone gets home from work.

2. Don’t Make It all Sales – When you are watching television, you don’t want to watch a lot of commercials. So your blog visitors don’t want that either. Choose one or two days of the week to post a sales blog. Use the rest of the week for interesting and helpful information.

3. Read Your Comments – If your readers are commenting on your posts, read them and take them to heart. You never know when the information that a reader has written can be helpful.

4. Proofread Your Posts – Nothing turns someone off more than reading a post that is full of grammatical and spelling errors. Take some time and make sure that your posts read well.

A blog can be very helpful for both you and your readers.  Once you have stuck to a regular blog schedule you will have a large following because people will know what they can expect on a certain day.

7. Poor Hosting

If you have recently switched hosting providers, your hosting provider could be the source of the problem.

If you have hosting that is low quality or the loading slowly, your visitors aren’t going to be happy.  They will quickly close down your website, and that will be reflected in your rankings.

Faster websites get better results. Plus, they get way better conversion rates — a double whammy upside.

fast load walmart


Search engines will recognize the behavior of the visitors. If your site is slow, your SEO is going to suffer… It’s best if you choose a hosting provider that will give your visitors a fast experience.

Remember that cheaper isn’t always better.  You may be saving money on your hosting plan but you may also be paying for it in other ways.

8. Your Robots.txt Is Screwed

True story. A friend (in a different industry) called me one day in a total panic. “My SEO rankings are gone! I have like zero traffic to my website.”

I was like, “Calm down, man. Tell me what happened.”

“Nothing! My developer was making a few tiny changes a couple days ago, and now, look! It’s gone! No traffic! No nothing!”

While I was on the phone with him, I checked out the robots.txt. There it was:  The entire site blocked to web crawlers.

“Easy fix, man,” I told him. “Your robots.txt is screwed.”

Basically, his developer was making changes to the site. For some reason, he decided to prevent web crawlers from indexing the site while he did so. And then, he forgot to put set the robots.txt back to normal.

If you are having trouble with your rankings, take a look at your robots.txt file and look for any typos or accidentally blocked sections of the site.

google bot


It’s an easy fix and can quickly solve your problem. This isn’t a tutorial on robots.txt, but you can find a good one at robotstxt.org. Be sure to check out Yoast’s helpful guide as well.

9. Your Competition Is Getting Smarter

Everyone has a website, and everyone’s getting smarter about search.

Every time another website comes online with the same keywords as your website, there’s a chance that your website is going to go down. It’s a never-ending cycle.

That’s why you’ve got to keep up with SEO trends, and also updates.

10. Google’s Updates Are Freaking Unpredictable

Google is always working hard to improve search algorithms. This is updated countless times every year by the wizards and engineers that Google employs.

Some updates can be disruptive and large. Others have a minor impact. You may recognize some of the wildlife that have made their mark on the SEO landscape.

google algorithm timeline



If you are having problems with your website’s rankings going down, it is likely due to one of the above reasons. Stay calm and see if you can find the problem. Once you understand what the problem is, you can fix it.

But this also brings up an interesting point. Are you too heavily invested in SEO as your main marketing channel? Does SEO make or break your business? You should seriously consider diversifying your marketing campaigns so that you don’t rely too heavily on SEO. Remember, you don’t have control of what the search engines do. You can only follow best practices.

What are some reasons your SEO has slipped?

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.


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  1. Kiran Zaffer Iqbal says:
    November 30, 2016 at 2:58 am

    You did a very good job and you just eased the word for any new SEO student who want to learn it for professional purpose and please carry on your work. Thanks

  2. Lottie says:
    June 27, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Fantastic stuff, I redesigned our blog and the search rankings plummeted
    Are you active on any social sites

  3. Anonymous says:
    April 21, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Great Article for a newbie like me. 🙂

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