Do you see a negative trend in your Google Analytics account? Are you wondering why your organic traffic is down?
Is this time to panic?
Before you rush to find a new agency to try and figure out what happened, here are 4 ways to diagnose a decline in organic traffic.
First Things First: Which Page is Declining in Traffic?
So you see some unfortunate trends on your overall Google Analytics reports. How to tell what exactly is being affected?
- Login to your Google Analytics account and click Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels
- There select “Organic Search”
- Select the time range (if the trend is most recent, the 7-day time frame would work best)
- Check the box that reads “Compare” to and keep “Previous period” option there intact
- Click to “Landing Page” and scroll through the results
Now that you know which page needs your attention, go ahead and run some checks.
1. Check Which Search Queries Have Been Impacted
Google’s Search Console will be able to help you identify your most impacted search queries:
- Login to your Google Search Console account and proceed to “Performance” report
- There, again, select the timeframe and choose to compare it to the previous period:
- Click the “Pages” tab and click the page you identified in step #1 above
- Go back to the “Queries” tab and sort by “Difference”
You only want to pay attention to your top 10 rankings, as nothing else was driving many clicks, so you can also sort results by the number of clicks the page was generating during the previous period.
This task would be much easier if you were tracking your most important search queries. In that case, it would just take one click to your tracked #1 positions. Site Checker does a good job saving your time here:
2. Check SERPs Changes
The good news is you are not alone. There are at least 9 more pages ranking for that query as well as many other search features that may start stealing your clicks. So next steps are:
- Search for the identified query on Google. Is there a new search element you didn’t see before? Examples of click-stealing search elements include featured snippets, image and video carousels, etc. Don’t forget to search on both mobile and desktop devices.
- Check the recent SERP movements. Again, a solid rank monitoring solution should come with a comprehensive SERP monitoring feature. Here’s one Site Checker is equipped with:
SpyFu comes with that feature as well, so if you were not tracking your keyword check if SpyFu has records for it:
If you notice a competing page that is confidently moving up, check it out. Are there link building or content tactics that may be moving the needle?
3. Check If Anyone Else Is Experiencing Anything Similar
Are you alone in seeing some unusual organic traffic fluctuations? A few quick resources to check here are:
- Search Engine Roundtable: Barry does an awesome job monitoring all the active discussions across SEO forums and on Twitter. If there’s anything going on, you will definitely see him reporting here within hours.
- Barry’s Twitter account @rustybrick is another source to watch as sometimes he shares stuff on Twitter that didn’t yet make it to his blog.
Knowing that there’s an update going on will help you understand whether it is anything that needs an immediate fix. If there’s a global update going on, you will need to give it some time. Things take time to stabilize, and there’s never anything urgent.
4. Audit Your Content
- First things first: Is the information outdated? In many cases, this is the first thing to look at.
- Can it be expanded? As Google is moving to seek better answers to more specific questions, it is always a good idea to edit your content to cover more related angles, questions and concepts.
- More importantly, is the page doing a good job satisfying a searcher’s intent?
Keyword intent optimization will boost both organic rankings and conversions, so it is a must when auditing content that is losing rankings. Commercial (or purchasing) intent is something you need to look out for. Lior Krolewicz of Yael Consulting explains purchasing intent as:
a measurement of the likelihood that a given individual will be purchasing specific goods or services at some point in the future.
Optimizing for what your potential site user intends to do on that page is crucial.
To help you expand your copy as well as optimize for search intent, use Text Optimizer. The tool uses semantic analysis to help you discover related concepts and entities to be covered in your content for it to do a better job to address a target query:
To start, run your current content through Text Optimizer and see your current score. Aim for a score of 60 and higher for better results.
Also, make sure your grammar is always perfect. There are a lot of tools that can help to see your errors, illogical constrictions and make your speech smooth.
Organic traffic fluctuations are normal and need to always be expected, so really the most important tip here is “Stay calm”. Once you notice something going on, give it a couple of days and then look into that. Auditing traffic declines can be done at home, so save yourself some time and money and look into that using the steps above.