Marketing is a dynamic industry. To deftly navigate its twists and turns and get the most lucrative results from your marketing campaigns, you need to constantly stay up to speed with the latest innovations and changes.
Over the past 3 years, much has changed in all aspects of marketing, especially SEO. To ordinary web users, these changes (except for the interface) are almost invisible. But for specialists, changes in marketing pose new challenges and sometimes require experimental tactics.
Most often, changes in SEO are related to traffic and, consequently, to the sales of services or goods. Over the past several months, traffic decreases have become a common problem for businesses of all sizes. Many have no idea what to do about this problem, and more importantly, where to start searching for a solution.
Dmitry Kotlyarenko, a digital marketer at Clever-Solution, shares helpful tips on how to pinpoint the reasons for a decline in traffic, and what can be done to stop and prevent it.
Analyze the Latest Updates on Your Site
Start by reviewing any updates that have been implemented on your site in recent weeks. It is enough to analyze 2-4-weeks of activity to see if some functions are in conflict with others. Ask your programmers whether any technical changes were made and if any plugins were added or updated. Even the smallest changes on the server-side can cause traffic fluctuations on your site.
If you notice a drop in traffic immediately following the introduction of a new activity, try rolling it back to its initial state and fixing any errors. Most often, a drop in traffic occurs due to improper implementation of certain features.
Check Page Response Codes and Server Responses
Look for any problems with your server response codes. If some pages show 40X and 50X errors, Googlebots will find them, which may lower your site ranking in search results.
Leverage Netpeak Checker. This research tool for bulk SEO analysis will help you audit your URL by a wide range of parameters and verify the status of your pages.
Once you detect pages with bad response codes you should be able to quickly solve the problem.
- A 404 code indicates the absence of a corresponding page on the server. In this case, you can check all incoming links to determine how they appear on your site. If you do not need them, one solution is to configure a 301 redirect to the desired page.
- 5xx errors indicate server problems. If your site shows several 5xx errors, check your hosting settings and availability. Disruptions in connection and the operation of hosting will prevent customers from visiting your site.
- You should also check for pages with 301 and 302 redirects and delete some of them.
Perform a Technical Audit and Usability Analysis
Regularly conducting an in-depth technical audit is a must. You should periodically check the following technical issues on your site: page loading speed, errors with code validation, broken links, and duplicates. These issues can make indexing difficult. The search box will lower your site in the rankings, and you will attract less traffic.
- Use checking tools like Screaming Frog or Netpeak Spider, analytical services, and SEO crawlers to help you run a quick and comprehensive technical audit of your entire website. They scan every page, collect data on the total number of pages on your site, find broken links, analyze keywords, and much more.
- Optimize your site’s loading speed. Use PageSpeedInsights to check your speed and get recommendations. Page loading speed has always been a relevant indicator for Google, and Googlebots have recently been paying special attention to it. Also, optimizing your loading speed will improve your user experience. The average page load time should not exceed 3 seconds. Pay special attention to mobile loading speeds, since more and more web users are shifting from PCs to gadgets.
- Do not overlook the usability of your site. Analyze how convenient your site is for users, and optimize your pain points. Experiment by changing the color or location of the site’s buttons. Sometimes, little things can significantly affect the site’s overall usability and improve traffic.
Pay Special Attention to Nesting and Linking
Users should be able to find any page on your site in no more than 3-4 clicks (nesting level). A hard-to-find page will have low traffic.
Pay special attention to the linking and nesting of your site’s pages. But remember that, above all, linking must be relevant to the user.
Take Seasonal Fluctuations into Account
If your business is seasonal in nature, you can expect periods of reduced demand, and hence, reduced traffic. Fluctuations may take place for an entire month, several weeks, or just a weekend.
If this is the case, think about ways you can compensate for seasonal drops in traffic.
Monitor Niche and Keyword Changes
It is important for your business to keep up with trends in your niche. Take time to monitor the activities of your competitors and modify your approach to retain your share of traffic. If you fall behind and lose your audience, they will likely migrate to your competitors. Keep an eye on industry trends and be quick to adopt the most lucrative, so you can keep your existing traffic and attract new customers.
Use popular keywords, both old and new. You need to maintain high search results to continually attract traffic. Also, stay active on resources where your competitors are featured, and remember the importance of high-quality link juice.
Stay Tuned for the Latest Algorithm Updates
Every year, Google updates its functionality and toolkit. Over the past few years, many recommended tools have become mandatory, and some mandatory tools have simply disappeared.
From 2013 to the present, Google has been actively improving its algorithms. The company has released 4 major updates and several additions. As a rule, Google’s updates affect 30-40% of the market and provoke a massive reshuffling of websites.
It is important to track changes and improve your site to keep in step with the latest Google updates, or you may lose your ranking positions.
Improve Your On-page Optimization
On-page optimization remains the main criterion search engines use for assessing the quality of your site. Your online platform should have five-star content, along with meta tags and headings optimized for strong keywords.
- Use Screaming Frog or Netpeak Spider to get a report about your meta tags and headings. If your site’s page headings and meta tags are not optimized or are missing altogether, it may cause a drop in your site’s traffic.
- Use Google Analytics to learn more about page visits. Compare the number of sessions to the bounce rate, and analyze pages that have lost traffic.
- Search engines have never liked non-original content, and borrowing texts from other sites can result in penalties. Pay attention to the quality and uniqueness of your product descriptions and blog articles, but don’t go overboard. It is almost impossible to achieve 100% uniqueness, so shoot for 75-80%. It is much more important that your content delivers value and is written for people, not for machines. If the originality of your content drops below 75% on a particular page, check to see if the content has been duplicated elsewhere, and do a rewrite to and improve its quality.
Boost Your Backlink Profile
Today, search engines are trying to minimize the impact of a site’s backlink profile on its position in search. Despite this, your backlink profile and its quality still affect rankings. Google can easily detect sites trying to increase their backlink profile through shady practices.
Check your backlink profile using Ahrefs or Google Search Console. Scan your site to find spammy links, and get rid of them to avoid sanctions.
Wrapping It Up
Now you know what to do if you start losing traffic. All of the above tips are important, and none should be neglected.
As soon as you discover that your traffic has decreased, investigate the cause, solve the problem, and restore your previous position. Remember to take regular precautions to maintain high traffic and quality indicators. Always reach for the top, analyze your successful competitors, and never stop perfecting your website.