No one prefers to see their organic traffic declining. Unfortunately, most website owners experience this issue every so often. 

SERP volatility is normal and you should expect this if you are owning a website.  It depends on the competition as more websites are created every day with tons of content are pushed daily for the target audience. 

But if you are hit by a sudden decline in traffic, it doesn’t look good from an SEO standpoint. There is no definitive and straightforward answer to why this has happened. 

In this blog, Let us, deep-dive, into some of the most common causes to check and validate to find what caused you the dip in traffic. 

Why Your Organic Traffic has Dropped?

There may be a number of factors why your organic traffic has abruptly and drastically declined. This could be as easy as your analytics code being unintentionally deleted after a website update, or it could be a more serious issue, such as your website being penalized by Google.

There are many things to look into to figure out why your Google traffic has decreased, so here’s a list to get you started.

1) Google Algorithm Updates

Throughout the year, Google releases multiple updates, some very major updates and others might be very minor. They might or might not announce the update before it is rolling out. 

However, an easy way to keep track of the algorithm updates is to follow the social media pages <Google Search Central>. Most of the time the algorithm changes will be officially confirmed and updated on this page. 

Also, you can use some third-party tools to track whether your site has impacted by the updates. One such tool is SEMrush Sensor from SEMrush. This feature from SEMRush gives a clear indication of the SERP Volatility overall specific to the industries and also you can get your score on your website. 

2) Website is Blocked from Indexing

Unfortunately, this is more common than we would like to see. There are a few ways you can unknowingly block your website.

This is one of the reasons that can cause a dip in your website traffic. 

There are few ways in which you can unknowingly block your website from crawling and indexing

  • Taking your website live from staging state.
  • When redesigning the website. 

During this process, the developer will put the “NO INDEX”  tag and block the website with the robots.txt command to stop the search engines from crawling and indexing the development site. 

Once the site is live, there is a chance that developers will forget to remove the “NO INDEX” tag or change the robots.txt command which will block the website from indexing. 

If that is the case, you should update the robots.txt command and resubmit your file through the Google Search Console. 

3) Toxic BackLinks

Google usually releases a big link-based algorithm update once a year to try to filter out useful links from spam links generated by a new link-building tactic that marketers started using.

When a website loses organic traffic, one of the most common problems is spammy links. The business owner either employed a bad SEO company or believed they could “outsmart” the Google algorithm by purchasing links or implementing techniques that generate a large number of low-quality links, such as directory submissions, article directories, press releases, and so on.

You can make use of the Google Search Console to identify the toxic and spammy links that are harming your website and start the disavowing process. Read more about disavowing links in our blog. 

4) Google Penalities

This is another reason why you might experience a decline in organic traffic. You will face manual action from Google if you fail to comply with the Google guidelines that include any black hat SEO strategies like buying low-quality spammy links, duplicated content. 

5) Page Speed 

Page speed and user experience are said to have an impact on your organic performance like never before. With Google rolling out the  “Core Web Vitals”  update early in May 2021 page speed will have a major impact on the ranking. So it is important that you provide the best browsing experience for the users who land on your website.  

Poor user experience not only affects your traffic, ranking but will also have a severe impact on the conversion rate. 

Read more to know about Core Web Vitals and how you can improve for the same in our Blog. 

6) Lost Backlinks

Losing Quality backlinks might be a warning issue that you see a serious decline in organic traffic. Especially if you have lost the link from a high authority site and content that has been performing very well in search engines. 

With the help of third-party tools like “MOZ link explorer” and “SEMrush Backlink Audit” you can keep track of your link building process. 

7) XML SiteMap Changes 

A change in your XML sitemap may be one explanation for the drop in traffic.

Crawl the sitemap URLs and make sure they all return a 200 OK response, as well as any new landing pages or posts. If your site has 200 URLs but the sitemap only has 50, you’ll need to regenerate and resubmit it via Search Console.

8) Poor Content

All marketing strategies revolve around content. Users won’t engage if you don’t have quality and relevant content, Google won’t rank you, and you’ll be more likely to be affected by a search engine update.

There are 2 important things that you need to take into account when it comes to content

A) The Authority of the Content

Before publishing the content make sure your content provides value to the target audience. It is important to have content that covers the topic comprehensively. Avoid duplication of the content. If your content is original, detailed and relevant, it is obvious that your content will perform well.

B) The Content Structure

Here are a few things to take note of while structuring your content

  • Avoid Lengthy sentences
  • Split the content into short paragraphs
  • Properly structure the content with H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 Tags
  • Avoid promotional writing
  • Be precise and informative

9) Keyword Cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalization occurs when you target the same seed keyword for multiple pages. When this happens it will confuse the crawlers to decide which page is more relevant and close to the search query. This causes the traffic to split across multiple pages, you could affect by losing valuable organic traffic. 

SEMrush has a great feature to find the pages affected by Keyword cannibalization. You can get a detailed report of the same which helps to fix the issues in an effective way. 

To Conclude

Losing traffic is always worrisome.  The good thing is that there will be some reason why this is happening. Most of the issues can be fixed.

Once you identified the reason, you can start the recovery process. SEO is always process-oriented, if you do it right putting the users in front,  Google will always reward you with the best results. 


Got questions? Reach out to us.