Reasons Why Your Organic Traffic May Have Stalled
Most brands, blogs and businesses rely on organic traffic in order to survive. Search engines drive the vast majority of this traffic, through related search queries that feature your website and others in their listings. Through the use of search engine optimization and other technical tactics, brands and businesses can increase their visibility in search and generate more traffic. Even if you do everything right, there can still be instances where your organic traffic ceases to increase – or even worse, decreases. We’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why this is happening below, in order to reassure you and/or help you correct the problem.
Changes in Ad Placement
Google and other major search engines are known to constantly vary the number of ads shown to users in each set of search results. With a variety of positioning changes occurring over the past several years – and more presumably to come in the future – it could be that your organic traffic is being impacted by this. If Google suddenly starts pinging servers with 3 ads instead of 4 or changes the orientation of various ads, then this can mess with how many people see or click on your page. Before you freak out too much, take a few seconds to make sure that you haven’t fallen victim to one of these sudden changes.
Fewer People Are Searching
Another reason why your organic traffic may have dropped to some extent is that fewer people are searching for the keywords you’re targeting. Especially true in the case of seasonal SERPs, some search results are more trafficked during various months or seasons, meaning that a sudden drop can be solely due to there being less interest. For instance, people are not likely going to be searching for swimming clothing in December, or ski boots in July. This type of drop is predictable, however, and should be something you can observe occurring on a regular basis. Another reason for a reduction in organic traffic caused by fewer searches may be due to fading interest in the topic or industry at-large.
If your organic traffic has taken a sudden hit, then it may be caused by one or more penalties enacted by search engines. If you have suddenly changed a variety of elements on your website, built many new links or engaged in any other sudden shifts, then search engines may take issue with this. It is fairly easy to determine whether you have been penalized: Google and others offer webmaster tools that can alert you to any penalties, as well as why they were implemented. Even if you haven’t changed anything, the search engine algorithms may have changed, causing something that was previously no problem to suddenly be pinging servers as a red flag.
Shifts in organic traffic are to be expected, but sudden or pronounced changes may be indicative of a greater problem. Whether it is caused by a penalty, a change in search engine formats or a decrease in interest, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pinpoint the problem.