Let’s say you open Search Console and see that your Google Search traffic has dropped. What to do in this case? Dropping organic search traffic can happen for many reasons, and most of them can be fixed. But finding out exactly what happened to your site can be tricky. In this article, we’ll cover some reasons your traffic may have dropped, as well as how to fix this drop.
Why Does the Organic Traffic Drop?
From time to time, organic traffic can drop dramatically on any site. However, this is not a reason to panic. The main task in such a situation is to conduct a detailed analysis and identify probable causes. Most often, the problem is solved quite quickly either by yourself or with the help of a professional SEO company like SeoProfy.com. Below, we will explain some reasons for the drop in organic traffic:
1. Seasonal Demand
The nature of the demand for a product or service affects the dynamics of search traffic. When selling product groups with an obvious seasonality, the number of organic clicks to the site will greatly decrease during the off-season and increase sharply during hot periods. For example, fluctuations in queries are important for food sites: people are more likely to google diets in January, recipes with turkey in November, and in December they search for the best champagne deals. Each industry has its own level of seasonality.
2. Incorrect Robot File Settings
It happens that sites are blocked from indexing through the Robots system file. There are special settings that exclude individual pages from the view of the search robot. Thus, indexing of duplicates, service folders, and other elements of the site is prohibited. However, sections that are essential in terms of traffic generation are often accidentally hidden from search engines. Therefore, after any changes in the file or relocation of the resource, it is necessary to check the availability of priority pages for indexing. Having found hidden places, you should re-create the Robots file or delete the lines with the “disallow” directive.
3. Changing URLs
Traffic drop also occurs when the general appearance of links changes. This is a common situation when moving a site to a new domain or finalizing the structure. Link metrics do not move to a new address immediately. Because of this, most indexed pages can give a 404 error. To avoid the problem, you need to use a 301 redirect.
4. Search Engine Filters
Another common reason for a drop in traffic is the sanctions imposed by the search engines. The filters include sites that are suspected of trying to manipulate search results. What actions are subject to sanctions?
- Overspam — an excess of keywords;
- Publishing irrelevant content of poor quality;
- Intrusive, aggressive advertising;
- Use of hidden content;
- Numerous purchased, unnatural references;
- A spike in inbound links.
When hit by the filters, the site owner does not receive any notifications. Therefore, you need to check the existence of existing sanctions yourself. One of the main indicators is that the main page of the site is not ranked by the search engine. To get out of the filters, you should contact technical support or a competent SEO specialist.
5. Google Core Update
Several times a year, Google launches updates to its algorithm, called “Core Update”, to make search results more relevant and valuable to users. In May 2022, Google formalized the roll-out of a new Core Update. If you notice a drop in performance after the update, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your webpage violates search engine guidelines or necessarily has something to change. It is not intended to penalize certain content, but rather to promote others that are now considered more relevant and valuable. To fix the problem, you just need to familiarize yourself with new rules and follow them.
6. Poor download speed
Slow loading of web pages is one of the most common causes of targeted visit loss. If the site loads longer than 1.5-3 seconds, most of the users leave without completing the conversion action. Plus, it’s bad for rankings. Speed can be lost for the following reasons:
- hosting can not cope with the current load;
- there are too many ads, and Flash content on the site;
- there was an excessive increase in HTTP requests;
- caching mechanisms are not applied;
- bad quality code is used;
- no distributed network of independent CDN servers;
- images are not optimized.
To check the download speed of a resource, you can use any online service. To improve performance, it is worth abandoning “heavy” images, reducing file size through GZIP compression, using caching, and optimizing code.
7. Changing Behavioral Factors
Visitor behavior reflects the level of satisfaction with usability, content, and other important parameters of a web resource. Behavioral factors serve as a signal to search engines. If they get worse, organic traffic drops. The dynamics of indicators can be tracked in Google Analytics: you can see in what period the failures begin to grow, and then associate this with specific events. For example, changes were made to the site or the content had not been updated for a long time.
If the poor behavioral factors are associated with new changes, then the audience is more satisfied with the original version. Therefore, it is worth returning to the previous version (design, navigation elements, etc.). It is also essential to check the correct display on a mobile device. Perhaps it will be necessary to refine the adaptive layout.
A steady flow of organic traffic ensures high conversions. It is attracted due to competent external and internal optimization. The volume of organic clicks must exceed all other channels. To improve performance, it is necessary to analyze competitors, take into account low-frequency search queries, control the correctness of links, and regularly publish and periodically update content. If there is a noticeable drop in traffic, check to see if the flow from organic has been threatened. If yes, then it is already worth identifying pages with maximum losses, finding specific problems, and eliminating their causes.