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Why Is My Website Ranking Worse? How To Analyse Drops In Google Search Traffic

Gary Green
Shai Khullar
October 13, 2021

If you’ve opened your Search Console and discovered that there has been a drop in your Google Search traffic what can you do?

Why has this occurred?

It’s important to understand why drops in Google search traffic can occur in order to determine how to take action to resolve the issue. Here, we take a closer look at how to go about doing this.

Why Has My Search Traffic Dropped?

In fact, there can be several reasons why you may have experienced a drop in your organic search traffic. Luckily, most can be easily reversed as long as you understand the reason for it. However, it isn’t always as easy as it may seem to work out precisely what has occurred to your website.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons why you search traffic could have dropped. We’ll also look at how you can use the Performance Report on the Search Console as well as Google Trends in order to debug your drop in Search traffic.

What Are The Primary Causes For Search Traffic Drops?

In order to get a better idea of what’s impacting on your search traffic, you need to know why drops occur and what they may mean for you.

Five main causes exist for Search traffic drops. These include:

  1. Technical problems – these include errors which stop Google from crawling your pages, indexing and serving them to users like server availability, page not found errors, robots.txt fetching problems and others. It’s important to be aware that issues may be side-wide or page-wide.
  2. Security problems – when sites are impacted by security threats, Google can alert users before reaching your website with interstitial pages or warnings. This may reduce your search traffic.
  3. Manual actions – when sites fail to comply with the Google guidelines, the whole site or some of its pages could be left out of the Google Search results via a Manual Action.
  4. An Algorithmic Change – often, Google improves the way in which it assesses content and it accordingly updates its algorithm. This means that both core updates and small updates alike can change the way in which some pages perform, and this impacts on the results in Google Search.
  5. Disruption to search interest – often a change in user behaviour changes the demand for specific queries. This could be because of new trends or seasonalities during the year. As a result, traffic can simply drop because of an external influence.

Analysing The Drop Pattern

It’s important to take a closer look at the Search Console Performance main chart report as this summarises most of the information you need to understand what has occurred to your search traffic. If you analyse the line’s shape, you’ll find out a lot,

When you visit your search performance report, here are some things to try:

  • Changing the date range so it covers 16 months. This helps you to analyse the drop in traffic in context so you can see whether or not it is something that has occurred because of a seasonal trend or holiday.
  • Try comparing the period of the drop with another similar period so you can review what has changed precisely. Click all of the tabs to discover whether the change has occurred for only specific URLs, queries, devices, countries or search appearances. Also, ensure you are comparing the same amount of days, and, if possible, the same days each week.
  • Analyse different types of search separately to determine whether this drop has occurred in Google Images, web search, news or video tabs.

Investigating Overall Industry Trends

Google Trends help you to get an even better understanding of whether this drop represents a wider trend or whether it’s only happening for your website. These changes may be as a result of two primary factors:

  • A disruption in search interest or a brand-new product. If major changes have occurred in how and what people are searching for, people can begin looking for different search queries or using devices for other purposes. Also, if you’re selling a specific online brand you may find a competing product has been introduced to the market which is cannibalising your queries.
  • Seasonality has a major role to play for some industries. For example, the food industry is subject to seasonal fluctuations.

Analysing trends in a range of industries is possible if you use Google Trends. This gives you access to a mostly unfiltered sample of real-life search requests which have been made to the Google search engine. It is anonymised, aggregated and categorised so Google can display interest in specific topics worldwide or at a city level.

Google Trends also allows you to check other interesting and valuable insights which could aid you with understanding your Google Search traffic a little more easily.

You can check out the top search queries from your own region then compare them with the queries you receive traffic from which will be shown within your Performance report on the Search Console. If you find queries are missing from your search traffic, you must check whether or not you’ve provided content about that subject and, if you have, ensure that it is being crawled then indexed.

You should also check that you have covered queries that relate to key topics. This may involve surfacing rising related queries so you can prepare your website properly for them by adding relevant and related content.

The Importance Of Analysing Search Traffic Drops

It is important to understand why it’s so important to analyse the reasons behind your drops in search traffic, otherwise you won’t be able to rectify the problems that you’re facing.

If you follow the advice outlined above, you should be able to use the tools available to find out the reasons behind your search traffic drops and then take appropriate action to resolve them so that you can bring your search traffic numbers back up again and get your website back on track for success.

At Key Business Marketing, we offer a range of services, including content creation, SEO, PPC and social media management. Get in touch with us today to discuss your marketing needs and unlock your business' potential.

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