Decline in SEO traffic on your website: What to do?

SEO consultant, explains the causes of a drop in SEO traffic and gives us his best practices to protect against it. Faced with a sharp drop in SEO traffic, a complete audit of your website is essential.

Olivier Duffez will present a conference at SEO CAMP’us Paris 2022 entitled “What to do in the event of an SEO drop? ». On this occasion, we wanted to ask him a few questions to better understand the declines in SEO traffic. How to Clean and Speed Up Your Laptop

What are the main causes of a sharp drop in SEO traffic?

We generally think of a Google update, especially a core update, because sometimes the impact can be really strong. But in my experience, most SEO drops are linked to an action on the site (or outside if you consider backlinks). When the decline is really strong, it’s often a failed site redesign. It can also be a simple update of the CMS or plugins or an optimization that turned out to be bad…

I also see drops on sites where lots of pages have been deleted, supposedly because they are “zombies” (in reference to my Zombie Pages method). If so, the pages should never have been deleted. Besides, my method consists in identifying them and understanding why they are bad, in order to improve them (and not eliminate them). I will show during my conference at SEO CAMP’us Paris 2022 how to recognize certain types of curves showing a drop in traffic.

Do you have concrete examples of clients who have lost a high percentage of SEO traffic? What were their issues?

Here are some examples :

  • Site redesign by breaking all URLs without providing redirections: -70% traffic, 1 year to go back to the same level. It was a well-known website for weather forecasts…
  • Site redesign by changing URLs, with redirects: -25% traffic. The internal mesh had also been “damaged”.
  • Update of the site with a bug that caused the blocks of similar products to disappear on the product sheets: the client realized this after a week thanks to the RM Tech planner (he hadn’t seen anything). The decline had already begun, targeted on product sheets.
  • Fall with 2 Core Updates in a row: in my opinion, due to insufficiently up-to-date content and poor targeting in relation to the intention of the Internet user.

What are the first things to check when you see a sharp drop in SEO traffic?

First, check that the problem really concerns natural referencing (it may be an overall drop) and that it is not linked to seasonality. If confirmed, it is imperative to launch an audit of the entire site as my My Ranking Metrics platform can do. Then, you have to make the data speak! I recommend extracting lots of data from Search Console, using the API otherwise the data is far too limited… 6 tips for your product packaging to sell

What actions should be taken to resolve an SEO drop?

You have to make sure that technically everything is absolutely top-notch. Even if it is not the direct cause, the technical optimizations bring a bonus that will be well appreciated in terms of traffic. Then you have to take a step back from the content and ask yourself if it is really of very high quality, superior to that of the competitors on page 1 of Google. TOP 15 Marketing Tips on Google

The first contents to study are those that have fallen the most. It is necessary to calculate the differences between before and after the fall, for multiple metrics:

  • Number of clicks generated by the page
  • Number of distinct requests driving traffic with the page
  • Number of impressions in the SERPs
  • Average position
  • CTR
  • List of all queries driving traffic with the page

I will also give more details on this subject during my lecture. If the decrease is linked to a core update, in addition to all that, the site must be studied from the angle of overall quality, including UX and the notions of EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust). There are still plenty of other things to check, just if that’s not enough… What is Local SEO? Why local SEO is important?

What to do upstream on your website to reduce the risk of a drop in SEO traffic?

Experiencing a drop in SEO traffic is stressful and difficult to live with. Better to take precautions to avoid it. Apart from scrupulously following Google’s guidelines (and advice for core updates), I strongly recommend setting up SEO monitoring for the entire site (not just monitoring a few pages).

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