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Staying Resilient in the Face of SERP Turmoil

5 min read

While search results may seem steady on the surface, the truth is that Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can exhibit a higher degree of dynamism and volatility than commonly perceived.

Within this article, you’ll gain insights into the underlying causes of SERP volatility and discover actionable steps to enhance your prospects of maintaining a stable search presence and minimizing disruptions.

 

Defining SERP Volatility

 

SERP volatility characterizes the rapid and unpredictable fluctuations in search rankings. It signifies the swift and often unforeseen alterations where web pages appear in search results.

Let’s delve further into the various factors contributing to SERP volatility:

  1. Search Personalization: Search engines like Google aim to provide highly relevant and personalized search results to individual users. They achieve this by considering a user’s search history, location, and online behavior. As a result, the search results can vary significantly from one user to another, even when using the same query. This personalization, intended to enhance the user experience, leads to SERP volatility as the results adapt to cater to the specific interests of each user.
  2. Algorithm Changes: Search engines frequently update and refine their search algorithms to get better quality search results and combat manipulative tactics. These changes can be officially announced updates, such as Google’s major algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, and BERT, and undisclosed or minor adjustments. Whenever an algorithm update occurs, websites that may have ranked well before the change may experience significant shifts in their rankings. SEO professionals must stay vigilant and adapt their strategies to align with the evolving criteria set by search engines.
  3. News and Current Events: SERP rankings can be influenced by breaking news, trending topics, and current events. When significant news or events occur, they can temporarily alter the search landscape. Web pages related to these topics may experience sudden increases in visibility while displacing previously prominent pages. As the news cycle evolves, so do the rankings, contributing to SERP volatility during these periods.
  4. Quality Signals: Search engines, notably Google, employ complex algorithms to judge the quality and relevance of web content. They consider content freshness, engagement metrics, backlinks, and user experience. When these quality signals change—for instance, when a page’s content improves or deteriorates, or its backlink profile evolves—search engines may adjust the page’s rankings. Pages that maintain or enhance their quality signals often rise in the rankings, while those that falter may experience declines. These fluctuations in quality signals contribute to SERP volatility.

Understanding these factors is crucial for SEO professionals and website owners to adapt their strategies and stay competitive in the ever-evolving search landscape. By acknowledging the role of search personalization, algorithm changes, news impact, and quality signals, they can better navigate and respond to the dynamic nature of search engine results pages.

 

Which Tools Are Suitable for Monitoring SERP Volatility?

 

Numerous leading SEO data platforms provide keyword position tracking tools designed to monitor the rankings of various keyword phrases. Some popular options include:

  1. Semrush Position Tracking
  2. Ahrefs Rank Tracker
  3. Moz Rank Checker
  4. Keyword.com Rank Tracker
  5. SE Ranking Keyword Rank Tracker
  6. Mangools SERPWatcher

Many of the above tools offer free and paid versions of their keyword rank-tracking solutions. Exploring and experimenting with these tools is recommended to determine which one aligns best with your specific needs and preferences.

WordPress Rank Tracking Plugins

Specific WordPress plugins are designed to seamlessly integrate with the Google Search Console via an API, enabling the display of user-friendly keyword ranking data.

Nevertheless, many of these plugins have not received updates for an extended period, and websites do not widely adopt them. This makes it challenging to provide recommendations for their use.

However, there are two reputable SEO plugins with substantial user bases and ongoing support that we recommend for displaying keyword ranking information:

  1. RankMath Pro SEO Plugin With Rank Tracker
  2. SEOPress WordPress SEO Plugin

These two WordPress plugins are trusted and widely utilized for tracking keyword rankings.

What Measures Can Be Taken to Mitigate SERP Volatility?

The triggers behind fluctuating SERPs are multifaceted, and the response should be done to address the specific causes of ranking instability.

Analyzing Algorithm Updates for Insight

When facing ranking fluctuations resulting from algorithm updates, the optimal response often involves patience, as SERP volatility during these periods is typically temporary.

It’s prudent to take note of the stated objectives behind the update and evaluate your site for potential vulnerabilities.

However, it’s essential to recognize that there may be nothing inherently wrong with your site. The root cause could be a shift in the definition of what’s deemed relevant.

Consequently, it’s advisable to compare the top three ranked websites with those that have lost positions, focusing on how the leading sites address a specific topic.

Remember that precision in content can surpass comprehensiveness. Broader topic coverage may lead to less precise and overly general content, potentially affecting your rankings.

Detecting Subpar Quality Indicators

Addressing SERP volatility stemming from subpar site quality hinges on meticulously evaluating webpages for elements like user experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

It is equally essential to assess whether webpages serve users’ needs impartially.

A substantial contributor to SERP volatility related to quality factors occurs when publishers or SEO professionals excessively prioritize keyword phrases, sometimes to the detriment of providing content that offers comprehensive and precise coverage.

 

Additional Measures to Mitigate SERP Volatility

 

  1. Keep Webpages Up to Date:
  2. Regularly review all articles to remain current and relevant, especially in response to evolving topic trends or recent events. Swiftly update articles that require adjustment due to current developments.
  3. Yearly/Quarterly Site Audits:
  4. Conduct comprehensive website audits at least annually or quarterly, employing SaaS or desktop tools to identify and resolve technical issues that could hinder crawling and indexing.
  5. Prioritize User Satisfaction:
  6. Proactively deliver helpful content to users rather than waiting for search engines to emphasize its importance. Anticipate user needs by creating content that enhances the user experience. Consider implementing elements such as original product photos for review sites, following best practices long before search engines officially endorse them.
  7. Think Like a User, Not Just an SEO Professional:
  8. Approach site audits from a user’s perspective, not solely as an SEO expert. Identify areas where user satisfaction can be enhanced and prioritize content and features that genuinely serve user needs.
  9. Understand Google’s User-Centric Concept:
  10. Recognize that Google’s primary goal is to satisfy its users. Most algorithm updates are rooted in this concept. Familiarize yourself with Google’s stated principles for user satisfaction, as these can provide valuable insights for anticipating and proactively addressing changes to maintain SERP stability.

These proactive measures can help you stay several steps ahead of SERP volatility and enhance your site’s resilience in a dynamic search landscape.

If you still find the process challenging and complex, consider exploring our monthly SEO packages. Our team of experts is well-equipped to manage the complexities on your behalf, ensuring your SEO needs are in capable hands.

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Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]