What to do if your website traffic starts falling

By: Jon Wade

Date: 7 August 2017

What to do if your website traffic starts fallingIf you have noticed a drop in organic traffic, there are a number of possible causes. But don’t worry - all can be corrected if you take a strategic approach to SEO.

If you have worked hard on your SEO to create a steady increase in your organic traffic, you can sometimes find that it starts to level off. Nine times out of ten, this is perfectly normal, and it has simply reached a natural plateau. What can be more alarming, however, is if it starts to tail off, or worse still, experiences a sudden drop.

This is a phenomenon that is commonly experienced by companies that start to take SEO for granted or see it as something to be implemented and then forgotten about, as opposed to being an on-going part of their digital marketing.

Here, we examine some of the possible reasons for a sudden drop in organic traffic and what to do to put it right.

Manual penalty

The first thing to do is check that you have not received a manual penalty from Google. They are not common, but it is easy to check, so your first port of call should be the Google Search Console, where there will be a notification that you have been penalised.

In the unlikely event that they have, you need to deal with whatever caused it. Typically, this will be spammy or plagiarised content. Get rid of it, and then appeal to Google to get the penalty lifted.

Pinpoint the problem

If there’s no penalty, the next step is to identify where the drop is happening. It might be across the whole site, but chances are, it relates to some specific area or keywords. Now you can focus on this content as you continue to investigate.

What is everyone else doing?

The traffic that you are losing must be going somewhere else. Take a detailed look at your rankings to see if specific competitors have usurped you. If so, how and why?

It could be that they have increased their own SEO efforts, leaving you behind. This gives you the option of either stepping up your game and directly competing, or perhaps changing your focus to a less competitive area.

Check your links

If there has been a change in the quality and quantity of links pointing to and from your website, this could certainly affect your rankings, and therefore your organic traffic.

You can analyse your links with a link-profiler to check whether new links have mysteriously appeared from spammy sources.

If so, that could definitely be the source of your problem. You will need to contact the webmaster to get them removed, or failing that, use Google’s disavow tool to remove the link in question from Google’s link profile.

Audit your content

If there is no obvious trigger from competitors and the links look OK, then perhaps the problem lies closer to home. Have you made any recent changes to the content you have on your site, or to the type of content you are publishing?

There is no quick fix here, the only answer is to get rid of the poorer quality content and invest time in creating what users want to read.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Jon Wade is content manager at Freelance SEO Essex.