How many times have you created a landing page and been thrilled when it all of a sudden pops into the rankings? Some pages step onto the stage at page 10, but this page you made LEAPS into the fray all the way at page 2. You’re riding high, but the page doesn’t climb, instead it starts to fall…and fall…and fall. Finally it steadies itself on page 8 and your left wondering what the heck happened. Sound familiar? It happens to most people’s small business SEO now and then, and Google’s own Matt Cutts has just released a video explaining why.
Matt Cutts compares your rankings to an earthquake (nice of him, right?) When your page is created, that’s the earthquake. The effects are seen widely and it’s unknown exactly where it originated from. As time goes on, Google is able to narrow down the results and find the epicenter, which is your original post. The original poster isn’t the only information they’re getting though. They also figure out various quality indicators like how well the page was received and if all the links to and from the page are up to snuff.
Your original ranking is Google’s best guess, and as more and more indicators come in, your page shifts as it finds its steady state. Also, some query’s are better served by new results, while others are better served by evergreen content. If your new page is ranking for a term that is better served by freshness, then you will experience a slow drop no matter what you do as newer pages are created.
In the end, it’s normal to experience a slow drop or minor fluctuations. The only time you should be worried is if EVERY page you create starts to drop after ranking, that’s a strong indicator that you’re doing something wrong.