Even with a well-crafted strategy, there are some internal or external factors that can seriously damage your site traffic. Three SEO experts give their advice on how to deal with this eventuality.
Traffic is the sinews of war in SEO. Without traffic, no sales, and therefore a turnover at half mast. While it is relatively easy to adapt to a peak in traffic, the reverse scenario is often less envisaged and yet just as likely. How to react in the event of a sudden drop in traffic? What if your website’s analytics show worrying downward curves? The JDN questioned three SEO experts in order to review their methodology in this area. Here are their responses.
Find out where the problem is coming from
First and foremost, the essential first step is always the same: understanding what caused the traffic drop. These can be caused by:
- An update of the algorithm
- A badly configured robot.txt
- A change in the SERPs (appearance of a zero position, integration of the page in the “Other questions” box of Google for example)
- Redirects referring to 404s
- Ranking losses in favor of a competitor
- A manual penalty
- Cannibalization by another page of the same site
Each SEO will have its own method of detecting the origin of the problem. Fabien Raquidel, SEO consultant, advises “to see the before and after of the average positions. It is necessary to extract two visibility tables, to measure the evolution of traffic over two months”. In doing this, the idea is to determine if the site is subject to the seasonality of the market or the product.
The SEO expert takes the example of air conditioners: “Today, there is no more traffic at all on this kind of request, it is largely due to the temperatures of this summer. If the impressions drop and that the site keeps the same ranking, it means that Internet users no longer search for this request.
You have to know your customers well to anticipate this “. Cédric Rambaud, SEO expert at Smartkeyword, evokes several avenues to explore in the event of a sudden drop: “The most important thing is to make the data speak, in particular via the Search Console. By categorizing the keywords by search intent, it can be determined whether the drop is from transactional or informational search intent.
This categorization by typology of pages or keywords will make it possible to detect where the problem comes from. This first step is essential in order to be able to provide corrective solutions and restore traffic to a similar level as before the drop.
Benjamin Thiers, senior SEO consultant and search content marketing manager at Digimood recommends “to identify the type of page impacted by the change. If a certain type of page has jumped, that must be of concern. We must ask ourselves why this type of template has taken a shot.
In order to know if the problem is global and therefore to link the problem to a problem in particular such as netlinking or cannibalization. If the drop affects your entire site, it’s a global problem.
Do not rule out external causes
The Smartkeyword expert continues: “Once that is done, you have to take the keywords on which there is a drop and then go and check the SERP. This will allow you to get an idea of what is happening” . If the drop in traffic can be caused by the site itself, the external causes should not be neglected: “Obviously, finding out about the news is very important.
If the site loses traffic exactly the day Google announces a Core Update, there is a chance that this is correlated “specifies Benjamin Thiers. Cédric Rambaud adds: “you have to be able to identify that there is a correlation between update and drop in traffic. To get an idea, the Barracuda Penguin Tool is very effective”.
Algorithm updates aren’t the only potential external causes of a drop in traffic. “The” Other questions “box can significantly drop the traffic of a site. The search console indicates this box as an SEO keyword when it is not. It is very misleading” indicates Fabien Raquidel.
Just like the box, the many featured snippets can upset positions and CTR. Cédric Rambaud also develops this idea in his answers: “You have to study the SERP, because it moves and if a local pack or a zero position is placed, it is normal for the traffic to drop suddenly. Enter a prime site in SEO and fourth in absolute position against a first site in both, there is no photo, the traffic is not the same “. Unfortunately,
The implementation of corrective actions
Once the source of the problem has been found, corrective actions must be implemented. If the analysis is carried out well, the problem can be treated at the root and will make it possible to find a traffic similar to that of before the decline. It is still necessary to aim right.
Benjamin Thiers believes that “9 times out of 10, the assumptions are correct. Afterwards, you have to dissect and rework the pages concerned. Ideally, you would have to redo a complete audit at the technical level and at the content level”.
But if the analysis is important to know where to close the breach, Cédric Rambaud warns of two fairly common traps: “The first is to spend too much time there. By going further and further to find THE point of detail which means that we have lost traffic. The second trap to avoid is