Website organic traffic drop cover image

Performance

Why has your website’s organic traffic dropped?

by

Anita Szilágyi

6 min read

June 24, 2022

Do you monitor your website’s organic traffic? Are you aware if your traffic is stable, or shows a decreasing or increasing trajectory? If not, let’s have a quick look at it now! What do you see?

How to discover the cause of an organic traffic loss?

When checking your website’s performance in Google Search Console (GSC), you can easily pinpoint if something is not right with organic traffic. Organic clicks are usually one of the main metrics to monitor and they are easy to visualize.

There are several reasons for website traffic drops, so you need to do some research in order to find the root of the problem. You’ll either find one problem or several issues. There are 2 visual projections: a sudden drop or a slow decrease over months. Taking a look at the graph will help you on how to start the audit – even if you would check everything anyways.

A sudden drop could be the result of a site-wide technical issue or an algorithm update. If the traffic comes back, it might even have been a reporting glitch. On the other hand, a slow decrease usually stems from a change in demand or weak website content that loses visitors. If the traffic changes periodically, it means the brand has a solution/product/service for which demand is seasonal.

Types of website organic traffic drops
Analyze organic traffic in Google Search Console

SEO checklist for traffic loss

We have collected some elements you should check when facing an organic traffic drop. Going through this list will help you identify the root of the problem and set next steps accordingly. Read the details below to understand the logic and the process, then download the SEO checklist in PDF for a short output.

Why did organic traffic drop?

Technical issues

First and foremost, Google has to be able to discover, crawl, index and serve the pages. These issues can easily affect the whole site, and thus result in significant change in website traffic.

Next steps: Perform a technical audit and make sure to check:

  • Coverage: are there any 404, 5xx pages?
    • Go to the ‘Coverage’ report in GSC and check if there are any errors.
  • Redirects:
    • Are they implemented properly? Are there any loops or redirect chains?
    • Use a web crawler (e.g. Screaming Frog) and drop the redirected URLs in List mode, then export the results and check the final URL’s response code.
  • Indexing errors:
    • A quick indexing check in Google is to just drop “site:https://domain.com/” in Google Search to see the pages on index, but this doesn’t replace a thorough audit (e.g. using Screaming Frog).
    • Manually check those pages that had the most significant drop:
      • Are they on index?
      • What is the status code of those pages?
  • Sitemap:
    • Is it submitted in the correct format in GSC?
    • Does it contain pages that return a 200 response code?
    • Are there any (new) pages missing from the sitemap? Do you need to generate a new one?
  • Manual Actions in GSC,
  • Blocked URLs in robots.txt: make sure your site isn’t blocking search engines from crawling.
  • Core Web Vitals report in GSC: are there any issues with page load time?

Tracking issue

Tracking should be reviewed when using Google Analytics, especially when the results don’t match with Search Console or suddenly no sessions are being recorded.

Next step: Audit tracking codes. Start with:

  • Checking properties and views in Google Analytics:
    • Are you looking at the correct property and view? Check if the views are OK and if the code matches the one that is implemented on the site. Chrome’s Tag Assistant extension might be a helpful tool.
  • Implementation of tracking codes:
    • To find out how tracking codes are implemented, you can use builtwith.com
    • Scrape the site with Screaming Frog and use “custom extract” to check the implementation of tracking codes: include gtag.js or gtm.js. You can use online tools like gachecker.com if you prefer them, or just want to cross-check the results.
    • It is also a good move to check real-time website traffic: see whether the site can detect a visitor when you are on the site.

If you need to deep dive more, ask your analytics expert to perform a thorough audit.

Top level performance check

When moving on to the content audit, first check some top-level metrics to have an overview of what has happened.

  • When did the decrease happen exactly?
  • Is it a seasonal change?
    • Check organic traffic year-on-year (YoY)
  • Were there any changes in rankings?
    • It’s possible you’ve only had a small decrease in avg. position, but if this means you fell back to the second page, this could result in a bigger change in traffic. Don’t forget, CTR decreases a lot as you move towards the bottom of the page.

Then proceed with page-level audits.

  • Which are the pages that suffered the most significant drop? Take a closer look at them:
    • Technical elements
    • Organic performance
    • Competitors
  • What are the keywords that suffered the most significant drop?

Decrease in demand towards product/service

If you have found a significant drop affecting the keywords about the products/services the brand offers, it is worth checking the search volumes. It is not necessarily the website that underperforms: customer behavior is always changing, just like other external factors, and you might also discover the seasonality of certain search terms.

Next steps: Check keywords’ search volume and seasonality in Google Ads.

Non-branded performance

If there was no decrease in search intent, then it is possible that the website’s non-branded performance has weakened. There could be search terms where the average position went down – causing a significant decrease in traffic.

Next steps: Review the content.

  • Is it good quality content?
  • Perform a competitor analysis. Do they have better content?
  • Do you have content cannibalisation? If you have several pages to rank for 1 keyword/topic, then traffic is shared between multiple pages instead of having 1 good quality content to receive all the traffic (and backlinks).

Decrease in branded search terms

Even though SEO is focusing on non-branded performance, auditing branded terms is still an important part of the investigation. It is essential to know how the search intent changes and how the website ranks for these queries. Besides SEO, this could be a general brand awareness issue, so other teams need to be involved.

Next steps: Audit branded keywords’ performance, involve marketing and PR teams.

Lost backlinks

Google’s John Mueller has already confirmed that we don’t need to worry about low-quality backlinks and uploading disavow files, as Google is able to handle spammy links.

On the other hand, it does matter if the site loses good quality backlinks. This has an effect on the backlink profile, and the site might lose authority which can cause lower rankings. That’s why it’s important to monitor the backlink profile regularly and take steps if you lose quality backlinks – and of course to pay attention to redirections to avoid losing backlinks.

You can try Ahrefs’s free Backlink Checker to see the current state. In Ahrefs (if you have a subscription) it is even possible to check the changes in the number of backlinks from day to day, and you can dig deeper into what caused the issue, and which domains/backlinks you have lost.

Google Algorithm update

A sudden drop in traffic (instead of a slow decrease) might also be the sign of an algorithm update that has hit the site. With a quick Google search, you can find out if any algo updates happened around the time of the traffic drop. Alternatively, directly visit trusted sites like MOZ’s Google Algorithm Update History or History of Google Algorithm Updates on Search Engine Journal.

Next steps:

Recently, Google algo updates have been affecting the core algorithm and analyzing the website as a whole, so usually there are no easy fixes; it is not enough to just review backlinks, technical elements or on-page elements only. You need to continuously monitor your site: perform technical SEO audits regularly, and review the quality of your content. Most importantly, besides performing the audits, make time and effort to actually solve the issues.

Takeaway: do website audits regularly!

If you take a closer look and check all the elements listed above (make a copy of the checklist in Google Drive), you realize that traffic drops can happen due to just one or even multiple issues combined.

So the takeaway is to do regular website audits because it’ll make your life easier when facing a traffic drop or an algorithm update. In case of a sudden drop, now you’ll know how and where to start your investigation!

How Mito Performance can help you?

Mito offers thorough technical and content audits. We are usually approached when a client faces a sudden drop in organic traffic and we need to investigate the reasons behind it. If you have any questions, reach out to our SEO expert team!

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Streetball szabályok

Csapatlétszám: 3 fős csapatok versenyeznek egymással, de a csere lehetőség miatt minden csapatnak min. 1, max. 2 tartalékos megjelölésével kell jelentkeznie.
A játék időtartama:
  • A mérkőzés időtartama 1×15 perc (futó órával) vagy 15 pont. 
  • Amennyiben a 15 perc letelt és az eredmény egyenlő, a mérkőzés a következő kosárig folytatódik. 
  • A csapatoknak egy-egy időkérési lehetősége van (30 mp), ezen idő alatt az óra áll.
Labdabirtoklás, pontszerzés:
  • Minden kosár egy pontot ér, kivéve a hárompontos vonal mögül dobott kosarat, ami két pontot. 
  • Minden dobott kosár után automatikus váltás van. 
  • Kapott kosár után az ellenféllel kezeltetni kell és a kétpontos vonalon kívülre kell vinni a labdát. 
  • A mérkőzés kezdetekor sorsolás útján lesz labdabirtoklás. 
  • Feldobásnál a csapatok felváltva kapják meg a labdát. 
  • Hosszabbítás kezdetekor a labdabirtoklás joga azt a csapatot illeti, amelyik a mérkőzés kezdetekor a sorsolást elvesztette. 

Röplabda szabályok

Csapatlétszám: 6 fő max. 2 cserejátékossal
A játék időtartama:
  • A mérkőzés egy csapat által nyert egy játszmáig tart. 
  • A játszmát az a csapat nyeri, amelyik előbb ér el 25 pontot legalább 2 pont előnnyel. 24-24-es egyenlőség esetén a játszma addig folytatódik, amíg valamelyik csapat el nem éri a két pont különbséget. 
  • Mérkőzésidő max. 20 perc, ha ezen belül a fentiek alapján nem dől el a meccs, a 20 perc mérkőzésidő leteltével előnyben levő csapat nyeri a mérkőzést.
A csapat létszáma a pályán nem csökkenhet 6 fő alá. Azt a csapatot, amelyik nem tud az összetételi előírásnak megfelelő 6 főt a pályára állítani, a játékvezető “hiányos”-nak nyilvánítja.

Labdarúgás szabályok

Csapatlétszám: 5+1 fő.

Játékidő: 2×10 perc (szünet nélkül térfélcserével)

A mérkőzéseket 3×2 méteres kapukra játsszuk.

  • A mérkőzéseket a kispályás labdarúgás szabályai szerint bonyolítjuk le.
  • A mérkőzéseken csak hernyótalpas, terem- vagy edzőcipőben lehet szerepelni, fém, vagy gumi stoplis cipő használata szigorúan tilos! 
  • Ha bármelyik csapat létszáma a kiállítások, sérülések következtében 3+1 fő alá csökken, a mérkőzést be kell szüntetni. 

Introducing Nokia to website performance measurement through page speed measurement

Business background

Page speed has become an important factor for website owners and SEOs since Google began focusing more and more on user experience factors. If companies don’t adapt to this new mindset, they will lose their organic power.

Nokia has experienced an extensive page load time on most of its pages, but lacked proper measurable information about the performance of the website. It is challenging to adapt site-wise technical modifications without understanding what is really behind the curtain.

Our solution

Mito introduced a multifactor, multi locational-targeting page speed measurement and reporting system across different devices.

Our focus was to develop a measurement system from scratch that is able to report on different page speed KPIs so we can better understand what additional analyses are needed to increase the pages’ performance. We did not only focus on a page level measurement, but also grouped pages to page types that assists us in making more educated assumptions.

We paid attention to location modularity in order to extend the number of analysed locations to additional countries by adding new Virtual Machines to our framework.

We are able to measure different KPIs on both mobile and desktop so we can see how the site performance is realized across devices.

Our measurement system and dashboard provided us insights on what type of elements of the different page types might cause low speed performance and it helped us to further analyse the loading curve, just as the opportunities in Google PageSpeed Insights recommendations for the different page types.

Results

We set up the measurement system and the dashboard that reports on website performance and opportunities.

Through properly tracking the page speed improvements, Nokia becomes a more powerful organic participant in the telco market in Google search, while they provide a better user experience for their visitors.

End to end measurement solution for Nokia

Nokia is an innovative global leader in 5G, networks and phones.

An international business of this size requires a comprehensive measurement strategy including responsible data collection, consistent management of tags and measurement codes, personalized website tracking and purposeful conversion rate optimization (CRO).

We kicked off Analytics projects from January, 2020, beginning with extensive Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics audits. Besides inspecting the different system settings, we also optimized the measurement and pixel implementation processes within Nokia in order to increase efficiency and reduce implementation periods.

After the key adjustments and process harmonization, we have moved forward and started to work on the website and landing pages’ efficiency, including several conversion rate optimization tasks such as heatmap analysis and A/B testing.

Results

Nokia is receiving continuous support from our analytics team to ensure the client’s measurement and data is reliable. Due to streamlined processes, implementation periods are shorter and we eliminated unnecessary website tracking codes which cause longer loading times.

Nokia Allwhere - Private Wireless - Global digital media campaign planning & execution

Building brand awareness and creating demand for Nokia Private Industrial Wireless in new vertical markets

Nokia launched a digital campaign to educate the market that their industrial-focused LTE solutions are the key in accelerating the ultimate benefits of digital transformation and realization of the fourth industrial revolution.

The goal: to build brand awareness and create demand for Nokia private Industrial Wireless solutions in new vertical markets, especially infrastructure or asset-heavy industries where digitization has been mostly restricted to point solutions without general network connectivity.

Our approach

We’ve developed a multi-touch global digital media campaign, which covered the entire user journey of business leaders, from education to making a business decision.

Our main goal was to make Nokia visible on a large scale through automated solutions and smart targeting to reach people when they are reading, talking, learning about or searching for private wireless networks.

To archive this, we’ve utilized the combination of digital media platforms, including industry specific content sponsorships, social media ads, paid search, programmatic hyperlocal and Digital out-of-home ads in front of target company HQs. We’ve made sure that when our key audience is browsing the web, using social media on their phones or just walking outside of their offices, they see a relevant Nokia ad.

Results

The campaign has reached over 80 000 business decision makers and influencers in 3500 target companies, across 5 industry verticals globally.

Private wireless solution specific brand search volume increased by 70% during the campaign period (YoY). In Q2 and Q3 2020, Nokia Enterprise had a double digit year-on-year growth in net sales and new customers.

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