Just imagine: you open your Google Search Console and suddenly see that the search traffic to your website has dropped dramatically. So you suffer from an SEO drop. Of course, that is not immediately a reason to panic, because a decrease in your search traffic can have various causes. And if you know what you’re doing, you can reverse many of those reasons yourself.
Do you want to know everything about the SEO drop and are you looking for some useful tips to analyze the drop in your search traffic? You will discover it in this blog!
SEO drop: the main causes
Of course, it is first important to know which factors are responsible for the SEO drop in your search traffic. Below we list the most common examples of SEO drops and their causes.
There are five main causes for an SEO drop in your search traffic:
- Technical issues: These are the errors that prevent your website from being crawled, indexed, or shown to your visitors by search engines. Just think of a server that is not available or the retrieval of robots.txt.
- Security issues: Is your website not properly secured and is it, therefore, a security risk? Then Google will warn your users not to visit your website, which of course leads to a decrease in your search traffic.
- Manual actions: If your website does not meet Google’s guidelines, several web pages or even your entire website may disappear from Google’s search results.
- Algorithm changes: Google is constantly improving its algorithm with minor and core updates. This can cause some pages to perform better or worse among the search results.
- Other search interests: It sometimes happens that your visitors adjust their search behavior due to some trend. Those changes are usually seasonal and occur throughout the year. External causes can also ensure that your search traffic decreases.
drop Now that you know the main causes of the SEO drop, the next step is of course to analyze why your website is experiencing an SEO drop. For that, you need to ask yourself several different questions. The answer to that will help you understand why your website is getting fewer visitors.
1. Was there a recent update to Google’s algorithm?
If Google has recently updated its algorithm, it may affect your search traffic. By understanding the nature of each new Google update, you can ensure that your website is not at risk of another SEO drop.
2. Is the SEO drop specific to a particular segment?
One of the most useful practices for analyzing your website data is dividing it into specific segments. This way you can look for that one segment that has dropped more in traffic than any other. That is often the first step in identifying the root cause of SEO drop. Two segments that we recommend that you check out are the type of device and the type of page.
3. Are you penalized by Google?
It is unlikely that your SEO drop is a penalty from Google, but usually, such a penalty can also be refuted fairly quickly. Check your Google Search Console for a message regarding penalties, then search yourself on Google. If you don’t appear, you may be penalized.
4. Did the SEO drop coincide with a major change to your website?
5. Have you lost some of your market share to a competitor?
There are several tools that can tell you if you’ve lost search traffic to a competitor:
- BrightEdge’s Share of Voice
- GetStat’s Share of the Vote
- SEMrush’s Distribution of Rankings Report
If you’re experiencing an SEO drop, it’s worth researching the specific keywords you’ve lost and found out if there’s a trend. For example, has your competitor launched a new page or added content to their pages? Does he have more internal links on his website than you? Of course, it can always simply be a new player entering the market.
6. Did your SEO drop coincide with an increase in direct traffic?
If so, make sure you haven’t changed the way you classify this traffic. Otherwise, you may just reclassify your organic traffic as direct traffic.
7. Has there been a change to the Google results page?
To answer that question, you can use Moz’s SERP Attributes report, or manually look at the SERPs you care about to see if their design has changed. For example, Google may now answer many of your relevant queries directly in the search results or have placed an image carousel on them, all of which could be responsible for the SEO drop in your search traffic.
8. Is the SEO drop specific to branded or unbranded traffic?
If you have historical Google Search Console data, you can look at branded clicks versus unbranded clicks over time. A simple proxy for proprietary traffic is your homepage traffic. For most websites, the majority of home page traffic will be proprietary. If your SEO drop is specific to branded search then you are probably dealing with a branding problem, not an SEO problem.
9. Have a lot of pages disappeared from the index?
The Google Search Console Index Status Report makes it clear when suddenly a lot fewer URLs are being indexed. If this is the case, you may inadvertently reject or fail to index URLs.
10. Has your number of referring domains or links decreased?
It is possible that a large number of your backlinks have been removed or are no longer accessible for any reason. Ahrefs can be a quick way to determine if you have lost backlinks and also provides very useful reports for your lost backlinks or referring domains to help you find out why you may have lost those links. Such a sudden drop in backlinks could be the reason you’re seeing an SEO drop.
Hopefully, these ten tips will help you to prevent and if necessary solve SEO drops!
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