Marketing

Why Do Our Search Rankings Drop On Weekends?


Today’s Ask An SEO comes from Deimante, who asks:

“Hello, I have a question regarding positions and impressions drop (Google Search Console).

I have noticed the positions and impressions drop on weekends for my site. Could you explain why this is happening? No changes were done on weekends. I’m confused.”

Great question!

It is hard to solve your problem without knowing your website, what your company does, or if you’re a business or publisher.

But this question does come up in many scenarios, so I’ll answer the possible causes I’ve seen working in brick and mortar (restaurants and shops), B2B lead gen, ecommerce, and publishers.

Brick And Mortar

One cause of traffic fluctuations on the weekends could be that you have your hours listed in Google Business Profile, schema, and on your website.

If your physical locations are closed on the weekends or a specific day of the week, and your competitors are open, Google may be showing them as people look for services and retailers within your area.

To test this:

  • Log out of Google and go incognito.
  • Now search for a few of the phrases you normally show up for.
  • If you are not showing up, but a competitor is, compare their schema and listed business hours to yours.

Remember, Google’s job is to show the most helpful answer to a query possible.

If a similar service to yours is open for business and you are not, even though you are the better website SEO-wise, the person searching needs a solution they can implement now, not once you’re open again.

Also, people often go to new locations more on weekends, which means more local, relevant results will surface for searches from a specific location. It may cause impressions and ranking fluctuations based on the searcher’s location at the moment of the search.

B2B Companies & Lead Gen

Suppose you’re in the B2B space, including plumbers/janitorial services and electricians, SAAS companies, or anything else. In that case, there is a good chance your rankings have not dropped or changed on the weekends only.

It is more likely that people who use and research your services are not working or looking on the weekends.

If you sell servers to IT teams or the government, most people looking are probably IT professionals and not working or doing their research on the weekends.

Because fewer people are searching on the weekend, you’ll see drops each time. Your rankings didn’t change, just fewer people are searching specific days of the week.

It’s similar to seasonality.

Very few people search for spring holidays like Holi, Ramadan, Mother’s Day, Easter, or Passover in October.

If you specialize in supplies for these holidays, there aren’t any people searching for your phrases, so you don’t have the traffic until the season starts again.

Publishers

This one gets interesting.

On weekends, user intent can change. That’s because many people’s activities and needs are different than on workdays, so Google may lower pages that were previously ranking high – to show more relevant results to the user search.

For example, it might rank video content on top of results rather than publisher articles.

Suppose the publisher caters to office workers, for instance. In that case, traffic may drop on weekends – mainly because the volume of search queries drops as people aren’t working.

That often happens when a publisher thinks their rankings change on the weekends when they actually look at their analytics incorrectly.

Publishers can have any number of topics.

If the publisher does cater to office workers, then you may see a drop in weekend traffic, but not your actual ranking positions.

The culprit I see most often when a publisher thinks their rankings change on the weekends is they are using their analytics incorrectly.

Instead of looking at the website as a whole, look by category and topic type.

This is where we normally find fluctuations on specific days.

If you cater to parents and create printables, activities, and things to do, I have seen situations where traffic drops because those parents are with their kids on the weekends.

They research what to do with them during the week and then do them on the weekend.

This same thought applies to activities and sports like fishing.

The person going fishing will learn how to tie a knot or use specific gear during the week, but they’re out fishing on the weekend and not researching the topics.

Yes, they may look for tips specific to a region or fish type while on the water, but they’re mostly out enjoying the day.

Without knowing your specific situation or what your website is for, I cannot give an exact answer.

But, these are some of the more common situations I have seen where it appears rankings drop on the weekends and return on weekdays.

For the most part, the website’s rankings did not drop.

There simply aren’t as many people searching on the weekends, which can cause confusion.

More resources:


Featured Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

Editor’s note: Ask an SEO is a weekly SEO advice column written by some of the industry’s top SEO experts, who have been hand-picked by Search Engine Journal. Got a question about SEO? Fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!



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