Lost positions on Google? In this guide you will learn how to diagnose your problems and recover your positions!
More difficult than reaching the top of Google, is staying there!
Many believe that reaching the top position on search engine pages is accomplishing their great goal. Finger wrong.
The impact good positioning on SERPs has on your site / blog is directly related to the time it spends there.
If you have been following the blog for a while you must have seen me saying that Google is a real battlefield .
And one certainty you can have is that everyone below you is crazy to take their place.
Also, the result pages are constantly changing and the positions rotate a lot.
Therefore, having a position recovery strategy is critical to your success in your SEO strategy .
In today’s content I will explain how I do it here at Rock to make sure our eventual downfalls are always momentary.
Check it out!
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How big is your problem
This content could easily be divided into two. But I’m not the kind of person who likes to ask one question and leave you with another.
So in this post I will highlight the two common situations in which you will need to retrieve positions on Google.
- You lose position for one or more keywords key to you;
- Your page is missing from Google. It is not even appearing on the third page (also applicable to one or more pages).
The first situation is a little simpler to solve.
The second already requires a more complete diagnosis to identify the root of the problem. The page may be missing for several reasons.
I will first teach how to act on situation 1. And then I will explain how to deal with situation 2.
That’s because, once you have diagnosed problem 2, plan 1 will quietly serve you to apply and recover the positions you lost.
I lost positions! And now?
As I said, the war is constant and the variations are absolutely normal.
It has happened many times with us here at Rock. We already lost positions and had to recover, just as we have stolen positions from many people as well.
We currently have a very positive balance.
We even lost position for our main keyword: “ Digital Marketing ”.
One of those times was at the time of our classic case “ Thank you Neil Patel ” in which he stole our position and we ranked first for his name.
The GIF below represents how was the period when Patel and other competitors reached the top for this keyword:
Therefore this variation is normal . It was not the first time we lost and it will not be the last.
And to be honest, I think it’s good when it happens.
Losing positions takes us out of commonplace, makes us realize that what led us to the top is not enough to keep us there.
Generates learning and growth. And surely losing positions made me a much better trader.
Besides, beating anyone is not funny at all!
It’s amazing to look at SERP and see that we are in front of major (keyword) competitors like Digital Results or Neil Patel.
So the risk of having to regain positions on Google constantly is high!
The most important thing is knowing exactly how to react when these situations happen . So let’s step by step on how you should act when you lose your beloved position.
1. Understand “what he has that I don’t have”?
The first thing I do when I lose a position is to understand why.
What does my competitor have that I don’t have? What did Google see in it? Why is he more worthy to win this position of honor than me?
Some of the reasons that may have directly influenced:
- CTR ?
- Google test?
- Time on page?
- Better content?
- More interactive page?
- Domain and Page Authority (DA / PA) ?
- Number of links?
It is important that you make a very critical comparison to identify key points for improvement.
If you can identify any main points, run to improve it. The important thing here is to understand that at first, before applying the following practices, you must make a diagnosis of your problem .
Including this diagnosis will be critical for you to determine which practices you should prioritize.
That said, as of now, they are not in a required sequence of execution.
2. Update the content
If you lost positions, it is possible that your loss happened because your competitor responds better to the user’s search than your content.
Therefore the update is necessary.
At this point a new diagnosis fits and should not be limited only to the competitors ahead of it.
Ideally, you should review all content on the first page. Note:
- Titles of competitors;
- Meta Description ;
- Topics covered within the content;
- Size of Content;
- Use of media (videos, images, infographics);
- Information that may be out of date in its content;
- Structure of the post.
Another tip is to use Google’s advanced search to check content that ran into this search in other languages , creating more ideas on how to optimize your content:
Simply go to settings and select a language and even a country to benchmark.
Want to learn all about updating content? Download our complete guide on the subject!
Intent of the user
I wrote content with the Guide with (almost) everything I do when I want to rank first for a head tail word.
Responding to user intent is probably the main factor within content.
To identify the intent behind a search you need to look at the results page , after all, if the content is on the first page Google considers that they respond to the search you made.
Two examples I really like:
Repair search results page for the search for “ Inbound Marketing ”
All content that ranks in the top 5 positions is focused on explaining what Inbound is and how to apply the strategy.
That is, if a person wants to rank for Inbound Marketing, content needs to answer these questions for the reader.
Now for another example, what do you think a person looking for “cute dogs” wants to find on Google?
Note that Google already responds to Image Search . That is, it would be almost impossible for you to rank for this search with content that does not have videos or pictures of cute puppies.
This may be the problem that caused your position loss. So identify if you respond to the reader’s intent.
Other important factors for you to update in your content are some writing techniques, which help to optimize and keep the reader longer within your post .
This is one of the key signs of the quality of your content for Google.
Good writing practices to improve the evaluation of your posts include:
- Scanning ;
- Bucket Brigade: These are phrases that encourage readers to stay engaged in content such as: “and not only that,” “let’s do the best”, etc;
- Intertitles that present clear benefits to the reader;
- Formula APP: Make a complete introduction that convinces the user to read all the content. You agree with his pain (Agree), promise the benefits of reading the content (Promise) and give a preview of how he will achieve it (Preview).
If you want to apply these techniques, check out my other complete post where I teach and show each one applied to you to make great blog posts !
3. Improve your titles
How long have you not reviewed the titles of your content?
Have you been testing changes and comparing clickthrough rates (CTR) between them?
Well, here is some necessary advice for position recovery: optimizing your SEO Title !
We often create our content, choose a title, and leave it forever the same.
What a serious mistake.
First, because CTR is an important ranking factor, after all, if people don’t click on your headline, they get the message that it doesn’t respond to their search intent.
If your content doesn’t have a good click through rate for the position it is in, it is likely to lose positions.
Secondly, SEO Title is the first impression a person will have when they find your content.
You definitely want this first date to pique the reader’s interest in knowing your content better and reading what you have to say.
Anyway, I wanted to show initially the importance of CTR, now I will show how I can optimize it:
Improving CTR with Google Search Console
This is one of my favorite features of the GSC . The tool allows you to accurately identify searches made when people clicked on your content.
You need to access Search Console and select the Performance part:
You will have the following options to perform an analysis within your site / blog:
At first, let’s select the “Pages” tab to choose a specific page that you want to optimize CTR for.
In the case, the content you need to retrieve positions.
This time I will use the post “Digital Marketing” as an example.
My favorite case with this Hack is the “4 Ps of Marketing” that you check out in my content with Advanced Content Hacks !
Since I’ve used it as an example, I’ve opted for other content now.
After selecting the chosen page, return to the Queries tab:
Queries show users’ search intent, and you can use elements in your headline to stimulate clicks and broaden your CTR.
Also, using these terms may improve your ranking for that particular query.
I used the “all about” and “online marketing” elements in my headline to drive more clicks and rank for those specific queries.
Now look at SERP for the “Digital Marketing” search:
Notice how many of these content also uses “Online Marketing” in their title.
That’s right! None.
But let’s do the best part.
Let’s now look at the search results page for the “Online Marketing” search
Realize that the one and only result is the first! In this case, ours.
Although Neil Patel is still second, he is ranking with a different post. I honestly see no need for two content when I can rank 1 for both SERPs.
Of course, that wasn’t the only factor we ranked first for both searches. However, as is clear from this example, the title had a great influence.
See just how important headlines are for ranking a post?
Now, when you lose positions, you can be sure that this is one of the main factors for you to get them back.
Note: This is one of the advanced Hacks I teach in other content. If you want to know tricks to optimize your results check out the full post: Advanced Content Marketing and SEO Hacks!
4. Review your internal link
Good internal linking work is critical to showing Google the relevance of your content.
Search for the keyword internally on your blog and find content that you missed the opportunity.
In internal linking it is crucial that you also think about the next steps your reader will take. Then make strategic links .
Another interesting factor is to remember that anchor text is not so relevant when it comes to internal linking. Then you can use creativity and make catchy, click-attracting links.
For example: Learn about Google ranking best practices
This link goes to our SEO page. If it were external, I would prefer the anchor to go straight. But as it is internal, I prefer to convince the reader to click, strengthening the target content.
Another initial tip is to link directly from “Home” to your most important pages.
“Home” is the most important page on your site, and the shorter a person reaches your most relevant pages, Google will understand them as higher value pages .
A Digital Results does it very well in its Home:
5. Satellite Posts
Directly linked to the previous practice of internal linking, is the production of new satellite posts .
Satellite posts are content related to a main theme, usually focused on a long tail keyword and which strengthens a head tail word .
For example: Digital Marketing.
This is a KW with a very high search volume and huge page competitiveness.
In addition to creating complete content it is critical that you create content on directly related topics to strengthen the main post , for example:
- Digital Marketing Courses;
- Digital Marketing Plan;
- Digital Marketing Books.
Finding those long tails that you haven’t explored yet can be a great way to recover lost Google positions. Since these satellite posts, properly linked, strengthen their pillar content.
To identify these opportunities, you can check queries on that specific page through Google Search Console (same process we did to improve CTR) or use a keyword tool.
For example, using SEMrush’s KW Magic Tool I found the following content opportunities:
You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest. We have content with the best keyword tools, check it out!
When you find these opportunities that you haven’t explored, create content and link directly (preferably the first post link) to the pillar post.
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6. Prioritize backlinks to this specific page
If you have been playing a content strategy long enough to worry about losing positions, you probably already have a backlinks strategy .
If you don’t have one yet, you need to start one.
When you lose a position, especially keywords for your business (adjective, I didn’t write without a hyphen, hehe), you need to prioritize that term in your link building campaigns .
For example, you will exchange 5 guest posts that month, make sure that the word you need to retrieve will be linked to each of these contents.
And most importantly, prioritize so that it is the first link to appear in that guest. Recall that links have hierarchy within the pages , the first being the one with the highest authority and so on.
Alert this specific keyword
An important way to gain backlinks is from unlinked mentions of your keywords.
Visit Google Alerts , and create an alert for the specific word you need to retrieve.
You can configure the alert to your preference.
Whenever any site quotes this KW, you will receive an email warning:
If relevant, you can approach the owner of the mention by saying that you have complete content on the topic and may be an interesting addition to their reader.
“It’s not good for the man to be alone” and you certainly have good partners and even clients who can help you with this kind of situation.
If you have quality content and so does your partner, this link exchange takes place naturally.
Take a sincere approach by saying that you need links to this specific post opening doors for a favor in return.
A tip, never simply ask for a link: “I need a link to: X” .
But find content on your partner’s website / blog that makes sense (and you can insert a link) and shows that you have already found a good opportunity for him to do so.
This makes it easier for you to work, not creating the need for them to search your own blog for opportunities to link to the specific topic you need.
Identify links your competitors have and you don’t
One of the best ways to regain positions on Google is by getting exactly what may have gotten you off the top.
If your content is already better than your competitor’s, you need authority and links to confirm this.
And nothing better than stealing what he has and you don’t have it.
I’ll teach you how I do the process using SEMrush (you can look for other free and paid options too, such as Linkminer ):
For a practical example, I will use the URLs of SERP’s top competitors for “Digital Marketing” in the United States.
Hubspot is first followed by Marketo. Both companies are giants.
Is what backlinks profile is directly influencing positions? Let’s do an analysis:
First let’s go to the “Backlinks Gap” option in the SEMrush toolbar.
You will have the option of placing up to 4 competitors at a time to compare the profile of your backlinks.
Just enter the two URLs you want to compare.
Notice the details that I highlighted there. The default option is “Root Domain”, which would compare all backlinks in the domain.
This is also a great strategy, but as our focus is on retrieving a specific page, let’s select the URL option and put the URL of the page instead of the domain .
The result obtained was this:
I don’t know about you, but in my humble opinion the 40,000 more Backlinks that Hubspot receives should be directly influencing your first position in Google.
But the best part is a little lower:
SEMrush shows you which specific domains are linking to your site and your competitor’s site.
The blue column shows the Domain Authority. Just look at how many domains with authority over 80 (which is excellent) that link to Hubspot and not to Marketo.
Let’s look at the Kinja domain, which sends 31 links to Hubspot and none to Marketo:
The best part is that I can see exactly how this backlink was made. Just click on number 31 and I will see another page showing exactly where the link comes from:
Anchor text, data, and especially the exact URL where the link comes from.
All the data I need. Then just go to the page that makes the backlink to better understand the opportunity.
The link could not be better. And it doesn’t come from a guest post, but it’s a natural backlink (at least apparently, we don’t know behind the scenes, right !?).
This shows how the prospective site has a great willingness to backlinks to good content. Which opens up a lot of possibilities for Marketo to also receive domain links.
This practice is one of the best opportunities to make your backlink profile better than your competitor’s. You get new domains and prevent them from receiving links you don’t have .
Just curiously, since Hubspot’s profile was cowardly with this absurd number of links, note the comparison of Marketo (2nd) and Neil Patel (4th):
Again we see how backlink profiling directly influences ranking.
This is undoubtedly one of the most important practices in position recovery.
7. Optimize Your Goal description
More overlooked than SEO Title is the meta description.
Fine, I know you have a meta description, but have you ever tested it? How many times has it changed since posting your content?
The idea here is to follow the same pattern we did with the SEO Title. Compare with all competitors, identify user intent and highlight the main benefit of reading your article.
Remember, the meta description is focused on clicks ! Its purpose is to convince the reader to click and read your content. You don’t have to explain concepts or ask questions with it.
But make a promise that will be fulfilled internally.
And remember, the keyword sought by the reader is bolded in the meta description, drawing more attention. Be sure to use it.
8. Mass Sharing on Social Networks
Do social networks influence the ranking of a post?
No, but yes.
If you ask Google he will say no. But from experience, and many other SEOs, the answer is yes.
The truth is that whenever you have content mentioned and shared on social networks, your content gets what we call “Social Signals.”
But how does this influence ranking?
Well, it’s a great way for Google (people and other searchers) to know that your content is up to date and of quality.
Recalling that Google indexes social networking pages , and even though the mentions are nofollow, meaning they do not pass link authority, the searcher identifies the citations as good signs.
One of the times we lost our top position, I not only asked for massive sharing from our entire team, but also pinned the Facebook post with main.
Which brought a good result to an explanatory and evergreen content that we’ve already released a few times:
A lot of people forget to notice this, but content that is widely disseminated on social networks has a huge chance of receiving backlinks .
After all, your content will impact many people and increase their chance of mentioning your article on their websites and blogs.
The Buzzsumo tool, for example, identifies content that content has been shared on social networks by mentioning your article:
By clicking on the “view backlinks” option you will be able to see exactly the article post that mentions yours on social networks:
Then you will identify these pages:
This shows how search engines can identify links on social networks.
Best of all, you will find people who admire your content and can be good partners for promoting and submitting more links to your domain.
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9. Achieve SERP features
Another important tip is to identify which features are the features that the specific SERP has.
For example, a long time ago we had never ranked first for SEO. But we were doing a good job with the post.
At the time Google began placing Featured Snippets on the results pages, I soon went on to learn how to steal them.
And it worked very well.
Even in third (or fourth) position, we got the Snippet.
This Snippet has increased our CTR and consequently the number of hits on the post. Because the content is good and holds the reader, the signs probably convinced Google that we deserved to get a spot in the sun.
Today, besides the Snippet, we are first.
But as you can see, this same page now has another new feature: People also ask .
Another opportunity to get answers on SERP and increase our number of visits.
It is critical to note these features on the results pages, especially for local searches .
Winning your seat in these features can be the next step in gaining better positions.
Today’s Featured Snippets are on the rise. If you want to learn how to win amazing Snippets like this from SEO, check out the complete Featured Snippets acquisition guide I wrote!
Or watch this issue of Rock Labs:
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