Whether you a simple business owner or a seasoned SEO; fluctuations in your organic traffic should be a reason enough to worry. This is because traffic is the lifeblood of online marketing and sales. Knowing the reason behind these fluctuations can give you a breakthrough and point your campaign or business back to its winning ways.
Just like paid search, organic search comes with a host of challenges in diagnosing declining in traffic and conversions. While there are obvious places you can possibly mine for insights, other factors may be a little bit harder to identify and quantify. Below are some of the internal and external factors you can start with as you piece together your SEO ranking puzzle.
Indexing of Your Pages
By conducting a simple and quick Google Search of your website, you can see the pages that are indexed. At this point, you should be keen enough to notice the critical pages which are not appearing in your search engine results if any. Also, check your robots.txt files to ensure no important directory or pages are blocked. Finally, check the individual pages to see whether there is a noindex tag.
Bots usually enter through your website’s homepage and cascade all the way throughout your website just like a real user. When your bot filters are off, chances of you experiencing high bounce rates, highly-trafficked pages, and low conversions are high.
While it is recommended that you create a custom dimension for filtering out bots, the best place to start is by applying a generic bot filter. Because these filters cannot be retroactively applied, turning on the bot filter feature would mean less traffic at first and later on it may pick up.
Recent Modifications and Site Updates
If your site has recently undergone an overhaul or on-page copy modifications, it is reasonable to experience a change in traffic. This is because Google must re-crawl and re-index your site pages after you rework you site content. However, the traffic should stabilize with time. If you change your URL structure, ensure you put in place a 301 redirect strategy so as to preserve link equity and minimize traffic loss.
As part of SEO, you must have a well-defined keyword map. This is because without it, you may have an instance where two or more of your pages are optimized for the very same keyword. In SEO terms, this may cause cannibalism as your pages compete against each other in search rankings.
Fortunately, if you have a keyword tracking tool, you should clearly see on a day-to-day basis the particular URLs Google chooses to rank for any keyword. This should help you remedy the situation.
Structured Data Markup
Many website administrators and SEO professionals implement structured data markups once and thereafter forget about it. This approach can land you in trouble with search engines. Your structured data markup ought to be monitored on a regular basis so as to ensure your rich snippets are pulling the right information. The markup may be altered from time to time as you change the content on your website.
Outranking by Affiliates and Resellers
If you have launched an affiliate program or you have a number of resellers under your belt, thy may begin outranking you for certain branded keywords. While this is somewhat uncontrollable and less likely to derail your revenue goals, it may explain why you are losing traffic.
New Google Ad Placement
Many brands globally are increasingly seeing their direct selling traffic being cannibalized thanks to paid search ads. Since Google is the mother of all search engines, it may have the right of way when it comes to killing off right-hand rail ads. The effect on traffic of this phenomenon is not major but with time, it may contribute to a significant diversion of your traffic.
Waning Brand Interest and Industry Trends
Apart from the classic arts and essential commodities such as crude oil, not many industries are recession proof. Looking at your competition, you should be able to see whether the problem you are experiencing is unique or is similar to theirs. Conduct trends research and look at industry reports to see whether there is a general decline in your particular industry or your brand is waning.
These are just some of the factors you may want to look at as you troubleshoot on your fluctuating traffic and ranking.