What Are Effective Methods to Combat a Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic?


    What Are Effective Methods to Combat a Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic?

    In the face of a sudden drop in organic traffic, we turned to the experts for their proven strategies. From an SEO specialist's advice to analyze content and structure to a digital marketing manager's recommendation to utilize Google Search Console data, we've compiled the top twelve methods. These insights come from seasoned professionals, including SEO Consultants and Content Strategists, who have navigated these choppy digital waters with success.

    • Analyze Content and Structure
    • Update Outdated Statistics
    • Diagnose and Address Issues
    • Conduct a Technical SEO Audit
    • Investigate Backlink Quality
    • Repurpose Content on Social Media
    • Adopt a Topic Cluster Model
    • Analyze Traffic with Deep Dive
    • Perform a Comprehensive Website Audit
    • Promote Business on Social Media
    • Refresh Old Content Regularly
    • Utilize Google Search Console Data

    Analyze Content and Structure

    Actually, there are a couple of ways you can address this matter. But first things first—you need to understand why the drop happened and which pages/URLs on your site were affected by it.

    Many times, due to the helpful content universe, it is related to the content itself and, in many cases, cannibalization issues. So one thing to focus on is to clean up your content and try to implement the pillar content/structure approach. This means building your site into different sections and keeping the topic in the right section of the site.

    If you have no idea what happened, wait, study the search console, and read updates from all the trustworthy sources out there. There is always a reason why things happen.

    Magnus Strandberg
    Magnus StrandbergSEO Specialist, SEO Specialist Magnus Strandberg

    Update Outdated Statistics

    Updating old statistics can have a big impact on an article's performance. If your article contains a bunch of stats from 2017, Google is probably going to bump you down a few spots because they know that searchers are looking for more up-to-date information.

    Chris Zacher
    Chris ZacherContent Strategist, Intergrowth

    Diagnose and Address Issues

    There are lots of reasons why someone might have a sudden drop in organic traffic, and each one requires a different approach to fix it. So the very first thing I do is diagnose the problem to the best of my ability, narrowing it down to one of a few common culprits: a core update, removal/addition/changing of content pieces, or changes to the CMS or hosting site.

    Once I diagnose the problem, then I can take the best course of action. If it has to do with a piece of content we've recently added, removed, or changed, then I can focus on undoing or updating those changes to recoup the losses. If it has to do with the technical side of the site, I'll run diagnostics in my SEO tools and on Search Console to find and amend the problem.

    If it has to do with a core update, there is more guesswork and experimentation involved. I read everything I can about core updates, so I can do my best to never run afoul of them. But when I do, I focus on updating old content, removing low-quality content, and writing fresh content that is tailored to perform well, based on what I know about the algorithm update.

    Liam Carnahan
    Liam CarnahanSEO and Content Strategist, Founder, Inkwell Content & SEO Services

    Conduct a Technical SEO Audit

    A sudden drop in organic traffic has multiple potential causes: algorithm changes, improvements to competitor SEO, changes to the website, etc. But just one method that has proved successful many times, and which I always recommend, is to complete a technical SEO audit. Then act upon the findings, particularly with respect to speed performance and Google's Core Web Vitals metrics. In fact, I would recommend all businesses improve their website speed performance to stay ahead of the competition, whether or not they have experienced a drop in organic traffic.

    Michelle Symonds
    Michelle SymondsSEO Consultant, Ditto Digital

    Investigate Backlink Quality

    Google doesn't publicize their algorithm changes, but if you're seeing a drop in organic traffic, that's a clue that something has shifted behind the scenes.

    My first step is to get on Reddit and visit various communities to ascertain if others are seeing the changes my site is experiencing. If so, we can work together to try and determine what the issue is. Sharing our experiences gives us a window into what Google wants.

    For instance, lately, Google and other search engines have become picky about backlink quality. Too many from the same media source or on the same topic might be pushing you down in SERP.

    Once I figured this out, I was able to go back and disavow certain links, and develop a policy of more variety moving forward.

    Rob Reeves
    Rob ReevesCEO and President, Redfish Technology

    Repurpose Content on Social Media

    This is a tricky question to ask since there can be many reasons for sudden traffic drops. My first thought is to investigate the cause of the drop. By identifying the source, you can quickly resolve the problem. Algorithm changes have been a pain for me for the past few months, so that is an easily identifiable reason that affects us all. The solution is to always be on top of algorithm changes so you can hopefully forecast these dips in traffic and implement some tactical solutions in the meantime.

    My first go-to as an effective method that I've used and recommend would be repurposing blogs on social media as short-form videos, with a combination of paid advertising in the form of thought-leader ads on the channels of the top employees' LinkedIn profiles.

    Paola MarinoDigital Marketing Manager, ViB

    Adopt a Topic Cluster Model

    Focusing on Topic Clusters Instead of Keywords: Moving away from traditional keyword-focused content strategies, we've adopted a topic cluster model. This involves creating content that covers a broad subject area (pillar content) and linking it to more detailed subtopics (cluster content), thereby establishing a comprehensive knowledge hub.

    This strategy not only improves site architecture and makes our content more navigable for users, but also signals to search engines the breadth and depth of our expertise in a subject area. It's a sophisticated approach that aligns with intent-based search, enhancing both our SEO performance and our audience's satisfaction.

    Marc Bishop
    Marc BishopDirector, Wytlabs

    Analyze Traffic with Deep Dive

    At RankWatch, where we specialize in navigating the intricate world of SEO, encountering a sudden drop in organic traffic is not uncommon. Our go-to method to combat this challenge involves a deep dive into analytics for anomaly detection. Specifically, we focus on identifying discrepancies in traffic patterns, such as sudden drops in visits to a particular page or set of keywords. This granular approach allows us to pinpoint the root cause, be it algorithm changes, technical issues, or content relevance.

    A memorable instance of this approach in action was when we noticed a significant drop in traffic to several key pages. By analyzing these pages' performance data, we discovered that a recent site update had inadvertently removed critical meta tags, signaling to search engines that these pages were no longer relevant. Restoring these tags not only recovered our lost traffic but also provided a valuable lesson in the importance of meticulous site maintenance. This method, centered around analytics and swift response, is a powerful tool in any SEO toolkit, ensuring that temporary setbacks can be quickly addressed and turned into opportunities for optimization and learning.

    Sahil Kakkar
    Sahil KakkarCEO & Founder, RankWatch

    Perform a Comprehensive Website Audit

    As TP-Link’s Marketing Head, I know how important it is to respond to a sudden drop in organic traffic quickly and efficiently. A comprehensive website audit is one of the most effective strategies we’ve implemented. We look at site speed, user experience, content relevance, and anything else that could hold us back from organic visibility.

    We noticed that our old content and technical problems affected our search rankings during the recent downswing.

    We quickly updated our content, optimized meta tags, and fixed technical issues. We also used social media and email marketing to bring traffic to our website while working on our long-term SEO plans.

    By monitoring analytics data regularly, we can identify traffic spikes early, allowing us to act quickly. By being agile and proactive, we can reduce the impact of sudden spikes and protect our position as the global leader in Wi-Fi solutions.

    Remember that flexibility is critical in today’s ever-changing digital marketing landscape. Be informed, be active, and don’t underestimate the value of a thorough website audit.

    Laviet Joaquin
    Laviet JoaquinMarketing Head, TP-Link

    Promote Business on Social Media

    If your organic traffic has dropped and you don't know if you can make any changes to get it back, you can start promoting your business on social media channels as well. Two channels that I've been using to promote my site are LinkedIn and X. Right now, there are many other SEOs and niche-site owners who have also launched new social media campaigns because of drops in organic traffic.

    Eric Novinson
    Eric NovinsonFounder, This Is Accounting Automation

    Refresh Old Content Regularly

    When fewer people started visiting our site, I decided to update our old posts, kind of like how a gardener waters plants when it's dry. It's a simple idea, but it really works. I went back to old articles, updated the information, added new keywords, and made them feel fresh again. This wasn't just about making things look nice; it was about making the content better on purpose.

    This plan really helped. Search engines saw the updates and often put our posts higher up in the search results. People liked getting the newer, better content too, which brought more visitors to our site.

    If you're noticing not as many people are coming to your site, try updating your old content. It's a smart, easy, and inexpensive way to get attention from both search engines and readers. It's like taking care of your online garden so it can grow again.

    Swena Kalra
    Swena KalraChief Marketing Officer, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.

    Utilize Google Search Console Data

    First, stop worrying so much! A brief decline is typical. Start by using Google Search Console to do some research. See any indexing problems by looking at the "Coverage" report. If so, correct them and submit the impacted pages again.

    Proceed to explore Google Analytics. Keep an eye out for variations in user queries or landing page efficiency. Has a rival risen in the rankings? Has your approach to content creation gone astray? Examine those patterns to determine whether they can be improved.

    Lastly, we should never underestimate the influence of excellent content. Concentrate on writing interesting, educational articles that use relevant keywords.

    Keep in mind that SEO is a journey, not a sprint. You can weather the storm and observe a recovery in your traffic by remaining composed, assessing the situation, and increasing the high-quality material you provide.

    Fahad Khan
    Fahad KhanDigital Marketing Manager, Ubuy India