The First 2 Things to Consider if You’re Losing Organic Traffic

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What is the most important thing in SEO? It is organic traffic, right? It’s in the name. SEO is all about optimizing sites and pages so that they perform well on search engine result pages (SERPs). So it’s disconcerting to notice a significant loss of organic traffic. What do you do in such situations?

Before you contact your SEO agency in a panic, step back and breathe. Before you launch an SEO audit, consider the reality that a loss of organic traffic doesn’t signal the end of the world. It might not even be as big a deal as it seems.

We know such sentiments are almost sacrilege in our industry. But the truth is that organic traffic losses are normal. They are expected. The important thing is how a company or its SEO agency deals with them. That being the case, the first two things to consider are explained below.

1. How Quickly the Traffic Dropped Off

The first and most important consideration is how quickly the traffic in question dropped off. Whether it is traffic for an entire site or just that pertaining to a select few pages, you need to know if the drop was sudden or gradual. Why? Because this points you in the right direction as you search for solutions.

Imagine organic traffic represented as a typical line chart. Does the line drop off suddenly, like the proverbial cliffs of Dover, or is its decline more gradual in nature? It makes a difference.

A Steep Decline

A steep and immediate drop in traffic signifies that something is technically wrong with the site or page. Something could be broken. The drop in traffic could be due to an algorithm update you haven’t yet accounted for. Perhaps your team just migrated your site to a new server and made a minor mistake along the way.

A Gradual Decline

If your trend line shows a more gradual decline, you are probably not looking at a major dysfunction or something being broken. Rather, the decline is probably due to something less obvious. Typical examples would be not keeping up with a changing market or allowing thin content to accumulate over a significant amount of time.

The speed at which you have lost traffic is an early indication of the type of problem you should be looking for. A sudden loss means something is broken; a gradual loss means your site is not performing up the standard.

2. The Type of Traffic You’re Losing

The other thing to consider is the type of traffic you are losing. As any SEO agency can attest to, there are two types of organic traffic: traffic that might convert in the future and traffic that is ready to be converted at the moment. Just as with the speed you have been losing traffic, this metric matters in terms of defining what you do next.

Traffic that might convert in the future is related to things like blog posts and industry trends. Viewers are simply looking for information. Traffic ready to convert at the moment consists of people who are ready to take positive action and are just one or two clicks away from doing so.

The latter type of traffic is more important to deal with. If you are losing traffic that’s ready to convert, you’re likely losing customers. If most of your losses pertain to traffic that could convert in the future, the need for corrective action isn’t as urgent.

Organic traffic losses are normal. How you or your SEO agency deal with them ultimately determines the success of your SEO strategy.

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