How to Investigate a Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic

A significant drop in website traffic is often alarming as it typically results in less visitor engagement and lost revenue. While this can be stressful at first, with just a few simple steps you can quickly investigate potential causes and identify solutions.

The step-by-step guided videos below show you where to start and what the likely culprits may be.

Learn how to investigate declining traffic in 6 steps:

  1. Verify organic traffic loss
  2. Compare to competitors
  3. Correlate with algorithm updates
  4. Explore winner and loser keywords
  5. Examine individual directories
  6. Conduct a site crawl


Verify Organic Traffic Loss

A loss in website traffic almost always leads to a drop in key metrics like sign-ups, purchases, and other requests. Investigate this using your web analytics provider or an SEO software such as Searchmetrics to determine if the loss is coming from organic traffic (SEO) or from other channels like social media, paid, etc.


Compare to Competitors

Taking a look at competitors or similar websites in your industry will help deduce whether your traffic drop could be an industry trend or isolated to your site alone.


Correlate with Algorithm Updates

Google search algorithm updates can have dramatic impact on the organic traffic a site receives for relevant keywords. Outside of technical issues with your site, algorithm updates are frequently the cause of significant traffic changes.


Explore Winner & Loser Keywords

Knowing which keywords are losing (and gaining) the most traffic for your site helps determine which parts of your site and its content warrant further investigation.


Examine Individual Directories

Similar to winning and losing keywords, looking into the traffic changes of individual directories and subdirectories can shed light on potential areas of the site that need addressing, as well as types of content that might need optimization.


Conduct a Site Crawl

Traffic loss can also be due to technical issues on your website like 404 errors, slow page load times, poor linking practices, and more. A website crawl analysis is the quickest way to uncover (and resolve!) such issues.

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Our Experts

Adam Arnold
Adam Arnold
Adam's experience supporting Digital Marketing and SEO teams spans across multiple industries. His role at Searchmetrics is to help enterprise companies leverage organic search data to achieve their business objectives. Adam has over 6 years of experience working with growth, marketing and sales organizations.

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