Why Did My Impressions Drop and How to Fix It
Google Webmasters Tools gives webmasters valuable information concerning their site. You will find crawl errors, links to your site, keyword usage, what keywords make impressions on SERPs, which ones users click, and the keywords’ average position on Google.
I always want to give myself a pat on the back when I see the percentage increase for impressions in green and instant panic when it is red and has decreased! It made me wonder, why the decrease in impressions occurred after seeing a great increase!
1. Changes in Search Volume on Google
Your impressions can be impacted by search trends. If searchers have changed the keyword used to search for what your website offers it will impact how many impressions you get each month. A decrease in the keyword volume for a keyword you are ranking for can greatly impact your website. It is important to research keywords and long-tail keywords using keyword planning tools like the ones from Google.
It is important to also consider factors that could affect how users search for services, products, and procedures. Ranking for different variations of a search are important and you never want to over-optimize for a single keyword or phrase. For example, as an SEO agency, it is beneficial us to understand that while some potential clients are familiar with “SEO” others might simply search for “how do I get found on Google,” “improve my Google ranking,” or something as simple as “Search Engine Optimization” instead of just “SEO”. Varying your keywords across your content is a great way to cover your bases and cast a wider net.
We highly recommend taking a look at Google Trends as not only can you see ups and downs in search volume but you can also see similar keywords and breakout keywords.
2. Understanding Your Digital SEO Competition
A common mistake made by companies is assuming their competition online is the same as their physical competition. As a business, you are likely aware of your local competitors that provide similar services and are in your area. But online there are companies from all over that might be competing with you for your keywords, and for a variety of different reasons. User traffic is an important currency to online copywriters and there are thousands of people trying to rank for the same keywords you are.
If your competition has stepped up their game and started pushing out similar content to yours, you could lose your impression share and see a decline in Click Through Rate (CTR). Keep rolling out relevant content for those keywords you want to appear for, there is no such thing as too much content (unless it is a lot of duplicate content, then you’re just not even trying). Google’s algorithms are designed to know the difference between well-written content designed to provide value to users and a company that is just producing thin or duplicate content purely for SEO benefits. Not only will this content not rank well, but it could also eventually impact your entire site’s SEO.
3. Managing Google's Algorithm Changes
Was there an algorithm change recently? Google is constantly updating its algorithm to benefit sites that provide strong content and answers to Google’s users’ questions. Similarly, they are going after sites that are trying to game the system. A Panda algorithm update could have occurred without you even knowing. This algorithm affects website with low-quality and thin content. Check your content and make sure it is relevant, unique, and informational. Remember to write for the user, not search engines.
Beyond content, there are other algorithm updates that can affect your site. For example in 2021, Google released the Core Web Vitals algorithm update to target sites that provide better usability to customers. Websites that load faster and are easier to navigate on phones tend to rank better in mobile search than sites that are hard to use.