Why Am I Seeing a Decrease in My Local Ranking?


It happens to every company: You build your site from the ground up, buff it up with top- notch SEO, and sit back as your search engine ranking climbs higher and higher. It all seems good for awhile, but then suddenly, your ranking plummets.

Why does this happen, and what can you do to fix it?

The first step is don’t panic.

Search engines are constantly changing and growing. With a goal to find the most active and accurate information first, there are always going to be new and better ways to do that. Unfortunately, it means the old techniques you were using may not work anymore.

Proximity to Searcher

One thing many of us started noticing in 2017 was the change to the local three pack. Many businesses showing up happened to not be claimed, and have no website or a minimal effort towards one. These businesses may not even have reviews!

The one thing that did make them stand out, was proximity.

Where businesses used to rank per city, search engines like Google are honing in to make them as local as possible. Proximity to searcher is the new #1 ranking factor, so if you’re on the other side of the city from your location and expect to still be number one, it’s not going to happen.

Google Penalty

If your website visits suddenly drop by thousands, you could be suffering from a Google penalty. Some penalties are algorithmic, and some are manual.

If you can’t think of anything you’ve done when it comes to ranking your business, you are still vulnerable to algorithmic penalties that appear without warning when updates occur, such as the proximity algorithm.

To find out if you have a manual penalty, log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account and check for “Manual actions”. Penalties will be listed here, and after fixing them, you simply need to request a review.

Link Quality and Loss

Link building is a great SEO tool. However, if it’s done on the cheap search engines will put an end to “search engine spamming” occurring on websites with a large quantity of low-quality links.
If your links are good, check to see if the websites you posted on have gone offline or if your post was removed.

Either way, it is important to always be building high-quality links to attract search engines and clients alike.


Of course, competitors can be a problem. Keeping track of what your local competition is doing will help you succeed in the long-run. Becoming confident in your online presence is a good idea, but don’t take it too far and forget about everyone else around you.

Where you succeeded with SEO, your competition can as well.

Stay Up to Date

No matter the cause, you can always keep your ranking up by doing two things:

  • Constantly working your SEO.
  • Being aware of Google updates.
  • As long as you follow those two rules, you won’t be caught off-guard when your SEO dips.


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