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When you start losing organic traffic, who do you blame? 

Organic traffic is natural traffic, generated by visitors who found your website using a search engine.  Organic traffic is important, it’s intentional, targeted, and necessary for getting “free” significant web visitors.  With good organic traffic, you reap the benefits of: 

  1. A higher position in the search engines. 
  2. Having visitors who are interested in your products, service, and content. 
  3. Outdoing your competition.  
  4. Credibility on the internet, being trustworthy and relevant. 
  5. Brand building. 

Because of the benefits of organic traffic, website owners want more, especially when it translates into action, i.e. increase sales.  Therefore, when a website begins to lose organic traffic there’s a concern, and we know there are always reasons for the organic decline.  Some are controllable, and some you just must work through, such as ones triggered by a simple search engine update.  However, in order to fix the situation, you have to realize it’s happening.  

google analyticsHow would you know if you’re losing organic traffic, besides perhaps a decrease in sales?  First, you should know where your website ranks in the search engines.  To do this you can use one of several online tools available.  Most of these tools require a google analytics account, some keywords, and other factors to configure the product you decide to use.   With those elements, you can find out the position or rank of your website.   

Unfortunately, even with a google analytics account and all the information you need to find your ranking, this avenue isn’t free.  you must get an account on a paid service such as SEMRUSH. There are free trials for most of these ranking services, but the free access will only last a few days.  And a free trial will not give you enough time or insight to see improvements in your organic search if you decide to take the advice of the tool you’re using.  

But more importantly these programs, including both paid and free trials, normally do not tell you when a search engine has changed its algorithm.  This is another element that requires scrutiny as changes to search engines are made when necessary.  

google search engine

Most search engines update just like most programs, with the majority of the updates being minor changes. However, when the updates are key to the search engine, those updates may adversely affect organic traffic.  Typically you wouldn’t know if a change in an algorithm has created an issue unless you follow the search engine changes and then notice that your website is suddenly experiencing a decline in traffic around the same time. 

But we can’t blame a decline in organic traffic on search engines all the time.  Other factors that contribute to this also include: 
 

  1. Modification you made to your website: Updates, changing meta tags, URLs, adding content to making a mistake. 
  2. Your website was hacked. 
  3. Website redesign or change of website host.  In the background, when the new website is published, if someone forgets to remove a file, i.e. noindex, or doesn’t update a file like the robot.txt on the new website it will remain invisible by the search engines.  Even with all files intact and working properly you may have lost ranking just because.  
  4. Technical issues on your website may prevent proper crawling. 
  5. Losing backlinks, which helps with your website authority.  
  6. A drop in the quality and relevance of your content. Does it still fit the original search query intent? Are you covering up-to-date topics? Or is there room for improvement? And most importantly, are you still using the most relevant keywords? 

seo structureAlso, you might try to think of ways your titles and meta descriptions could be improved, as these are the first parts of your content that users view in search engines.  Update your website content so visitors will always find it interesting, informative, or entertaining.  New content could lead to the creation of natural links that will be valuable for your organic traffic. 

You can also employ Schema markup to make more of your content visible in the search results.  This is another subject that requires its own blog.  

And lastly, there might be a new kid on the block with better keywords, content, and strategy.  They outrank you in the search engines with keywords and relevance.  To keep up, do a  competitive analysis every so often to make sure your website continues to attract organic traffic.