Rankings will fluctuate for a number of reasons including:
- Search semantics/machine learning – What is the user really searching for here or expecting to see?
- Site/page changes (for better or worse)
- Competitor site changes (for better or worse)
- New sites and pages
- Algorithm updates
- Search volume fluctuations
- User behavior changes (search intent, clicks, bounce rates, etc.)
A best practice is to monitor keyword rankings in combination with organic search traffic in order to identify the causes of increases and decreases. It is important to remember that a variety of factors influence keyword rankings and not all fluctuations are red alerts. Businesses can expect to see a normal fluctuation of rankings over time.
It is most important to monitor keyword rankings for high ranking, high volume terms that drive your site’s search traffic. We consider this list of terms your “business-critical” search terms that should be monitored closely for any potential impact.