What are the Factors Affecting Your Organic Traffic?
For anyone who runs a business online, be it a seasoned SEO or a newbie, it’s basic knowledge that there are fluctuations in the organic traffic, but what’s difficult to know even for the expert, is its root cause.
Unlike its paid counterpart, organic search comes with its own set of difficulties and challenges, especially when it comes to diagnosing the decline in traffic and conversions. Some tools can be used to look for some clue as to why there are fluctuations such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. However, there are still other factors that may be a bit harder to quantify than the rest.
The factors affecting organic traffic can range from basic to advanced and those that can go out of control. In this article, we’ve gathered a list of the known factors that you can check when you’re going to diagnose major fluctuations in your organic traffic or search engine rankings. By monitoring both the internal and external factors, it may shed some light as to the reasons behind the fluctuations.
Know more about: SEO and It’s Best Practices
Are your pages indexed?
To check this, you can conduct a quick Google search by using “site:yourwebsite.com.” By doing so, you can see if your pages have been indexed. If you can’t see any of your critical pages appearing in the SERPs, then it is most likely that this is the cause. To correct this, you can check your robots.txt file and see if you haven’t blocked important directories or pages. If it looks alright, the next thing you can check is the individual pages for a no index tag.
Are you using Bot filters?
If you’re currently not excluding all known spiders and bots in Google Analytics, you may be experiencing inflated traffic metrics without even knowing it. What usually happens is that bots enter through the homepage and cascade throughout the site navigation. In this way, it mimics real user behavior. One way you can tell that it is bot traffic is that a page with high traffic but has low conversions and low average time on page.
A custom dimension for filtering out bots may be the best way to go about it, but you can also start by applying a generic bot filter. However, what you should remember is that filters cannot be implemented retroactively. If you have turned this feature off, you’ll be receiving less traffic. In addition to that, you can double check if you are filtering out your traffic and IP address.
Are there any recent site updates?
Any recent site overhaul such as removing pages, reordering the navigation, or any modification on your site, it is entirely reasonable that you’ll be expecting a decline in traffic. After you are done reworking your site content, Google has to re-crawl and then re-index these pages all over again. It is not rare to experience such unstable rankings in the following weeks after your site overhaul.
In case you are changing your URL structure or you’ll be removing pages from your site, it’s essential to have a 301-redirect strategy in place so as to preserve the link equity. Doing so will also avoid a loss of rankings or traffic.
Is there any URL confusion?
In this part, you have to review if you already have a content strategy in place. If you do not have a clearly defined keyword map, that could bring in a lot of trouble for you. For example, if there are two or more pages that are optimized for the same keyword, the pages will compete against each other when it comes to the SERPs. The consequence is that it will reduce the rankings of those pages.
However, if you have access to a tool for keyword tracking, you’ll be able to see a day-to-day breakdown of the URLs that Google chooses when it comes to ranking for a particular keyword. A little patience and some tweak here and there would allow you to remedy this issue.
Structured data markup
When you implement a structured data markup, you may think it is simply a one-time project, and you can forget about it once it is set. But this is not the case. What’s ideal would be that you regularly monitor the appearance of your rich snippets to make sure that they are getting the correct information. Whenever you change the content of your website, there is a possibility that this can alter the markup even without any warning.
Are you outranked by resellers and affiliates?
You may have taken the steps to make sure that you’ll have the maximum exposure. An example of this would be launching an affiliate program or having several resellers. There is usually no problem with this, unless of course when your distributors are beginning to outrank you for the branded keywords. It may not necessarily derail your revenue goals, only that you’ll surely be losing some traffic because of these sites.
Is there a new Google ad placement?
Since Google has been killing off right-hand rail ads, brands have been seeing more direct traffic being eaten up by paid search ads. It might take a while before we can quantify the full effect of this but nonetheless, this should keep us mindful.
Are you keeping your clients interested?
There are four Ps to consider in business: price, product, promotion, and place. But there is one P that should not be forgotten. It is People. All these Ps make up for a well-planned strategy. If you are assessing your site at the moment because of fluctuations in traffic, you can look if you are visible at all in the SERPs. If not, maybe you can consider if you have shifted your product focus. Think of the factors that may contribute to your consumers being less interested in your company or products. You can check with Google Search Console data and pull positions and clicks by page. If you can see the position is somewhat stagnant, then it means that your brand may be losing its visibility in the SERPs. Try to think of the recent changes in your site or your company’s focus that may be affecting the interest of your clients.
What are the recent trends in the industry?
These days, only a few industries are actually “recession-proof” and continue to enjoy a steady product demand. If you study how your competitors are faring, look at how they’re experiencing their problems and if you have the same challenges as they do.
A reminder would be to take Google Trends with some grain of salt and look at the big picture instead in seeking some clarity. You can take this step a bit further and conduct a trends research and take the time to read industry reports.
Many brands can benefit from SEO. Most hold a wealth of customer information that can apply to SEO. There can be a remedy for some of these factors that are affecting the organic traffic. However, there are also issues that are out of our hands since they are external factors.
The best thing to do is to check the problems that we can solve and slowly work on the more advanced problems. The best way to provide remedies to the issues that are out of our control is to continue improving the website as well as the products and services. Make it as enticing as possible for the visitors, attracting new leads.
Article is contributed by Nicolas Finet is the co-founder of Sortlist.