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Navigating SERP Volatility and Mitigating Its Impact

One day you’re on top of the world, dominating SERP rankings, and the next, you’re at the bottom of the page without a clue.

This might be the result of a penalty from Google, poor SEO practices, or simply because of a thing we call SERP volatility.

SERP volatility can be defined as a change in the search engine results—often for the worse. It threatens to undo months or years of work and rank maintenance or improvement with a competitor site, especially when coupled with intense competition. You might notice a dip in organic traffic, search visibility, and your place on the first page, which is damaging given that the #1 result on Google gets 32% of all clicks.

So What Do You Do To Combat This Issue? 

If you’re left scratching your head and wondering, “How can I improve SERP impact for my website?” or are looking for tips on adapting SEO strategies for SERP fluctuations, you’ve come to the right place.

Our local SEO experts have the experience, knowledge, and insights to help you understand factors that contribute to SERP volatility and generate an actionable plan to overcome them.

Let’s dive right into it, then.

Search engines like Google and Bing have varying requirements for SERP rankings as they take into account numerous factors to assess the relevance and quality of a website’s content in relation to specific search queries. While some ranking factors may overlap, others can be specific to each search engine.

This means that you can’t apply the same strategy from one search engine to the next and need to take a tailored approach for each platform, focusing on what works based on their individual requirement, algorithm, and your own business strategy.

That’s where the challenge lies—there’s no one-size-fits-all SEO strategy. And if you try to create one, it’s very likely that you’ll fall victim to SERP volatility.

Let’s learn more about it below:

The Many Factors That Lead To SERP Volatility And Changes

Among the various factors—both within and outside your control—that have an impact on local and mobile SERPs, some of the most common include:

  • It can be attributed to Google Algorithm changes that take place 500-600 times a year to maintain maximum relevance, efficiency, minimize spammy or low-quality content, and stay up to date with efficiency guidelines. You can combat this by adapting your website and its content based on the latest trends and requirements.
  • But it may also be in response to user behavior and search intent, which are known to change over time. Google focuses on the user and centers all content and information around their needs, so any changes in user intent, search questions, keywords, and the type of pages they visit can indicate a shift in your rankings. The simplest way to test this is by searching your keywords or looking at analytics related to it and revising your strategy based on SERP impact and user intent alignment.
  • …or perhaps your competition is wiping you out and overtaking your SEO, which definitely isn’t great for you. It means they’re doing something that you’re not, and you need to conduct a competitor analysis to know what that is.

A graph and arrow depicting what SERP volatility looks like visually

Recommended Read: 8 Crucial Google Ranking Factors You Shouldn’t Ignore in 2020

How SERP Volatility Impacts SEO Performance Adversely

In the big picture, losing one keyword or having one poorly optimized webpage or a couple of penalizations from your Search Engine isn’t terrible.

However, when you put these factors together, you stand to lose a lot of organic traffic, your rankings are dragged down, and most of all, you lose money. Not only will you stop generating revenue from these low-ranking pages and see failed conversions and lower sales, but you’ll also lose money spent on marketing which can cost anywhere from $1500-$5000 a month—and who wants that?

Here’s a quick overview of the impacts that SERP volatility has on local and mobile:

An illustration depicting the stages of the impact that SERP volatility has

It’s time-consuming, but being thorough is what will help you the most. Individually look at which keywords are being impacted the most, what type of content is generating engagement, and what kind is performing poorly, and do a complete audit of your website to see if it’s functioning optimally.

Sometimes something as inconspicuous as a technical fault at the backend, slow loading speed, poor backlinking, and other on-site issues could be costing you valuable rankings.

Let’s talk about one of Search Berg’s oldest clients, Ancient Hair Secrets. Their case exemplifies how fluctuations in search engine rankings can significantly affect a website’s visibility.

Ancient Hair Secrets was operating in a competitive market for its products. They ranked for their top keyword, ‘African Americans hair growth serum,’ at number 6—which isn’t ideal because the average CTR falls sharply after the third position.

Through Search Berg’s SEO interventions, Ancient Hair Secrets saw a drastic improvement in their keyword rankings (see the table below).

A table showing the progression of rankings after SEO campaigns

This demonstrates the importance of staying proactive and adapting to SERP changes for better results.

So, how should you go about it? Let’s break it down for you.

Recommended Read: 3 Insights from Google I/O 2023 for Local SEO

Adapting SEO Strategies To Minimize SERP Fluctuations And Maintaining Your Rankings

What are some great tips to boost SERP impact and visibility for your website and brand?

How do you stay on top of your game and mitigate SERP’s impact on user behavior and engagement?

You take a detail-oriented, custom approach to addressing any and all possible causes.

Every website has its own issues with SERP volatility, which is why you will require a detailed audit to identify where the issue lies in yours and take necessary action to rectify that. Here are some tips:

  • Update keyword lists, optimize higher-performing keywords more, remove all technical faults and issues, and double down on your local SEO practices. Routine audits should be a part of your local SEO
  • It’s not going to be a quick fix, and it’s a lot easier to lose your ranking than it is to regain it, given that 90% of content gets no Google search traffic. But you need to be persistent with content creation and quality, focusing your strategy based on the numbers.
  • Always follow the latest guidelines, like the Helpful Content guide from Google, to know what these search engines are rewarding and what they’re penalizing.
  • Keep your SEO strategy flexible based on the results and numbers you’re seeing. What worked for you 6 months ago may not work for you now.
  • Look at what your competitors and industry are generally leaning toward. Again, a professional analysis can help you determine what you should be doing to keep up and take the lead.

Here’s how we helped one of our clients, Western Mass Auto Insurance: They ranked on the first page of Google for only 4 keywords, which wasn’t working in their favor. Through a combination of SEO strategies, including content marketing and lead generation, we increased their organic traffic by 29.34%, and they shot up to number 1. They also started ranking on the first page of SERPs for 14 other industry keywords.

Need Some Stability in Your Life? Hire Our Local SERP Impact Services

Search Berg’s services focus on evaluating local SERP impact and work closely with you to adapt SEO strategies to manage SERP fluctuations.

Our team will evaluate mistakes and issues that could be hurting your ranking and devise customized strategies to mitigate their effects. It’s one of the most effective ways to boost your rankings and maintain your position despite changes in the algorithm.

This is what a winning SEO strategy would look like for you:

An illustration depicting the components of an SEO strategy

Are you ready to let us be your guide to success?

Don’t let SERP volatility drag you down—give us a call today!

It's time for a 180-degree transformation, Search Berg style. Rank higher on Google SERPs, build brand credibility, and drive more revenue by signing up with us today!

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