You have probably heard of penguins, hummingbirds and pandas and consider them cute animals. However, when in relation to the World Wide Web, these friendly animals have their dates – and are not that cute. If you have noticed a decline in your website’s search traffic – this may not be due to an algorithm update.
Even though Google has announced the new Penguin update for the end of 2015, it has not started yet, so your website’s traffic drop may come as a consequence of one of the following things.
First stop: Mobile search optimization
When investigating reasons in your search engine traffic drop, your first question should be:
Is my site optimized for mobile search?
Research has shown that mobile search grows rapidly, so maybe your site is lacking traffic due to it not being optimized properly. In fact, at the beginning of Q2 of 2015, Google rewarded mobile-friendly sites by improving their position on the search engine. So, if you have experienced a soft decline in visits to your site, and you still do not have responsive design up in your sleeve – you know what to do next.
Historical data review
What many Search Engine Optimizers often neglect is reviewing historical data. By doing this, you can improve your analysis and see which pages drove a lot of traffic in the past, so you can re-evaluate keywords and find new ones to lift the ranking up.
Stale content may be one of the reasons for your website falling off the first page, as well as lack of social engagement and promotion in general. You may also be falling behind your competition due to their changed or improved social media or content strategy.
Check how your links are doing from time to time, because you may have experienced a premium backlink loss (due to either site restructuring, migrating or some other internal issues that may have caused the link to break).
Even though the World Wide Web looks the same to its end users – because they get what they want, and they get it instantly. However, major search engines have improved their performance, moved a few drawers a bit, and now show different things to users (without them even being aware of those things).
For example, Google included three paid search ads which are now influencing both website visibility and traffic – causing sites without paid content to drop down the search engine and redirect traffic towards other sites. Organic search traffic thus paid a great toll so now, if you notice a slight or major decline in your traffic reports, check what is going on with your preferred search engine.
Audit site content
Lack of engagement with your site may come due to it becoming stale – i.e. when it no longer offers new and fresh content that causes interactions with its audience. Even though it is recommended that content should be informative, it also needs to be useful and interesting enough for your organic visitors. Compare it with your competition’s content and be honest – which one is better and is there room for improvement? (Yes, there probably is…)
Analytics can say a lot
Another thing SEOs often forget is setting up the web tracking code. It can help you collect basic page tracking data from your website and see it in your Google Analytics reports, including user characteristics, browsing information, and traffic info. Make sure that you have tracking code on every page indexed by Google’s crawlers.
Marketing campaigns usually do not come alone, but hand in hand with or consecutively after another campaign. In other words, at the same time you competition may be working on getting ahead of you, so while you are focused on content and social media promotions, your competition’s marketing team may be link building on some other place. Make sure that you assess what is going on in your niche and keep up with all current trends.
Technical issues & website changes
Before blaming your SEO team on the slight drop of traffic, first check if your web development team has made some changes or updates on the site, without consulting you. Disturbed or changed URL structure can make a huge mess and result in your site going down the search engine drain. Unclog mistakenly changed directories and redirect your website’s URL structure to let it breathe again and see the light of the First Page.
The Scale of URL Readability (Source: Moz)
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