Diagnosing a drop in flow rate? Breathe!

30 second summary:

  • A drop in traffic does not necessarily mean something is wrong-in most cases, this is natural
  • The traffic of all sites is declining throughout the life cycle, which can be explained by seasonality, loss of PPC budget and many other factors
  • When it comes to a drop in organic search traffic, it is usually caused by stagnant content, the emergence of new competitors, or the loss of backlinks
  • To diagnose a drop in traffic, determine which source of traffic is dropping, and then find which pages are losing traffic
  • It’s important to avoid rushing decisions and take the time to research whether you have lost any positions and which pages replaced your positions
  • Try to evaluate the reasons for this change and how to solve it

Have you ever checked your analysis and found a sudden or gradual drop in organic traffic? Who didn’t? In any marketing strategy, if there is one thing in common: all of us have dealt with the drop in organic traffic in many situations. Any website there has frequent traffic drops, even often.

When you see similar content in Google Analytics, how do you deal with a natural drop in traffic?

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

When diagnosing a drop in traffic, perform the following four well-defined steps:

Step 1: Check which traffic sources are affected

This is obvious, but too many people automatically think that Google’s organic traffic has dropped.

Therefore, please make sure that PPC traffic is not exhausting your budget. This is more than you think!

So, assuming this is a natural decline in traffic, let’s continue to check:

Step 2: Which page is offline?

To quickly find out which pages are down, navigate to “Get” -> “All Traffic” -> “Channels” in your Google Analytics account. Click “Organic” here, and within the date range, select “Compare”, and then select “Previous Period” from the drop-down list:

Compare website traffic over a period of timeSource: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

Now, scroll down and click on the “Landing Pages” tab to see all your pages and how your visits this week compare to the previous week.

Landing page and website traffic drop analysis

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

No need to scroll a lot here. If you notice a drop in traffic, it may be that your higher ranking pages have been affected. So please look at the top of the list.

Now, the most important thing is that if all your pages are welcomed, that is a good reason to worry. This may indicate that the website has been affected by the recent Google Update, and may even be punished (this is rare in recent days). This article It lists some good ways to check whether the survey has been updated and how to assess whether you are affected.

A more common situation is that you will see some pages drop. Others will stay the same and even start to increase traffic. This is a good indicator, and you don’t have to worry about any measures Google might take. Most pages will always move up and down in search engine results pages.

Now you will get a list of rejected URLs and study them further.

Step 3: Does it affect rankings?

This is not a rare thing: we see a gradual decline in traffic without any noticeable impact on rankings. It can be explained by two possible reasons:

  • People just don’t search for that query anymore. This is very common in 2020, when search patterns have changed dramatically. This is still the case for seasonal queries (such as “clothing”, “ski suit”, “swimsuit”, etc.).
  • A new search element has been added to the search engine results page, which attracts attention and clicks.

So, how to diagnose whether your ranking is down?

These days, this question is difficult to answer. If you want to monitor your ranking, then an obvious step is to go there and check it.

Google’s Search Console is another inspection platform, but it’s not easy to quickly diagnose the ranking drop there. The tool lags behind in displaying data. However, if you take some time, you can use the “Compare” tab in the “Performance” section of the report to analyze your ranking:

Search Console comparison

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

After selecting the date range, scroll down to the data and filter by the “Location Difference” column.

Please keep in mind that everything you need to pay attention to here will be lost or rejected, because your second page ranking will not cause traffic loss anyway. Say it again, breathe.

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

Instead, you can filter Search Console data by “previous post” to see the missing #1 ranking:

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

Another (possibly smarter) way to diagnose hit queries is to judge based on the number of hits. Search Console will show the number of clicks sent for each query and how it compares to content sent in the past. If Google is not the only search engine you care about, then use Finteza to find that the search query traffic is less than before:

Finteza search

Source: Author’s screenshot (April 2021)

Finteza’s default search keywords report merges data from all the search engines where you appear. You do need to run for a while to accumulate this data. Easy to integrate.

Finteza is paid (a monthly fee of $25 per 100,000 unique users), but it is the only web analytics solution that can still provide reliable keyword data.

In order to better understand the state of organic traffic, it is recommended that you use all (and more) of the above methods. Similarly, with search personalization and localization, it is difficult to understand where you gain (or lose) from it, so combining data from multiple sources is key.

Step 4: Determine why these rankings are down

This is another tedious part of our analysis. Generally, as Google finds a better page ranking, your ranking may fluctuate or drop. This could be caused by:

  • Your query deserves to be fresh, and there is a fresher page at the top of yours. If this is the case, then you are now accustomed to fluctuations.
  • Your competitor has created a better page with better backlinks.
  • You lost some important backlinks, which led to the loss of some rights

Your location monitoring solution may provide you with some clues to help you understand which page is better than you in the SERP. Most ranking monitoring platforms have a “SERP tracking” function, which can periodically capture important SERP snapshots.

You can monitor the movement of the target SERP for you, for example:

Evaluate the visibility of the websitesource: SE ranking

For queries with high search volume, SpyFu keeps records of key SERP campaigns:

Image Source: spy

In order to easily find the missing backlinks, which may be the cause of the drop in location, please use a link monitoring tool. They record exactly when each link is lost, so you can easily assess whether this will have an impact on your ranking and organic traffic:

source: LinkChecker.pro

When you know which page is replacing search results, try to find the reason. There may be multiple reasons, including the most common reasons (and combinations of these reasons):

in conclusion

Controlling the flow is beyond your control. All you can do is to be vigilant (Build dashboard It can make operations easier and more consistent), and create a complete routine for analyzing possible drops.

When you see a drop or drop in organic traffic, it usually doesn’t mean that your website is subject to any form of filtering or punishment (this is the most common assumption). In most cases, this is a very natural continuous SERP fluctuation. Stay calm and carefully analyze what has changed (and why). Don’t rush to take any action or take any measures before checking various data sources and taking the time to develop a strategic plan. The most important thing is: breathe!

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager of InternetMarketingNinjas.com.You can find her on Twitter @seosmarty.

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