Factors that can affect SEO rankings

So you are trying to grow your rankings on Google. 

You’ve been spending your time learning about the various SEO techniques and how to implement them, or maybe you even hired an agency or specialist to help you do it.

It’s been weeks or months and you are not seeing the results you are looking for. 

You’re finding that your rankings seem to fluctuate or even drop.

What could it be?

Before jumping to conclusions that your SEO specialist or agency is not doing the job right, here are 3 factors that may be affecting your SEO rankings.

Algorithm Updates

Google’s goal is to serve the best possible results to their users. 

So because of that they have a tendency to make changes to the “algorithm” or the computer formulas they use to match search results to users pretty often.

Moz reported Google can have as many 3,000 updates per year.

If you average it out that’s almost 10 updates per day (3,000 / 365 = 8.21)!

To make things more interesting, these updates are often unannounced

So rankings and traffic are likely to change week over week or even day by day.


Another thing you may not know about Google, is that they change which features and  placements that are shown on the search results pages during peak and slow seasons (Oncrawl). 

Also during peak season paid traffic takes over more of the SERP (Search Engine results page) than organic. 

So there is honestly no way to guarantee how many organic placements will be on the first page. 

For instance, with the keyword “Winter Coat”, SEMrush found that during November or peak season, there were five organic placements, but during the off season in July, there were as few as two. 

And again, this does not count the preferential treatment Google gives to its own hand picked content ( People Also Ask, Reviews, Sitelinks, paid ads, etc.). 

So if your business is a niche that is seasonal or specific to a certain time of year.

You are going to want to make sure that you prioritize making content that is evergreen to help combat this.

Competitors are also doing SEO 

As you can imagine, competitors want access to this “free traffic” as much as you do. 

So they are more than likely investing in SEO help as well.

Also if they have a larger team or have been doing it years before you it will take some time to be able to outrank them.

So the best way to ensure that you are staying ahead of the competition is to take the time to look at your competitor’s web pages that rank higher than yours, and see what they are doing.

I wouldn’t go as far as to copy them, but instead look at their website to find content ideas that maybe you missed.

Performing SEO does not guarantee page 1 rankings

The key thing to take away from this post is that there are no guarantees with SEO, let alone marketing in general.

While with paid traffic, you can exchange money to guarantee a high placement, and secure placement even if a competitor out bids you. 

With SEO, you are competing against other companies who are essentially using the same strategies and techniques to influence search engine rankings, for a small number of slots. 

So again expect ranking to change from time to time. 

It is better to look at SEO results holistically and instead take note of the actual amount of customers that are coming from it.

As long as the number is going up you are on the right track.

But if after reading this you still feel that your agency or specialist is not cutting it. 

Black hat SEO may be going on.

Read my post on 3 Black Hat SEO warning signs, and how to pick a good SEO company to prevent this from happening to you again.

Best of luck and until next time, see ya!

Raj Clark is a 8 year SEO professional & career mentor. He is also the author of the books ABC's of SEO: Search Engine Optimization 101 and The Technical SEO Handbook He has worked with a wide range of clients in many industries including B2B, SaaS, Fintech, Home improvement, Medical, and E-Commerce. He started the company, Bounce Rank, as a way to help business owners grow their website traffic and to help people who want to get a job in the SEO career field.

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