November 15, 2023

Why Has My Organic Traffic Dropped?

If you are reading this blog, your organic traffic has most likely dropped and you are trying to identify the reason why. The battle for an impactful online presence is becoming increasingly more competitive. When it comes to SEO, there are so many factors that can affect your organic traffic so, sometimes, it can be useful to enlist the help of industry experts. So, let’s look at why your organic traffic may have dropped. 

Some of the main reasons why your organic traffic may have dropped include: drops in keyword rankings, broken links, algorithm changes, page speed issues, changes in trends/search volume, navigational issues, no-index tags, google penalty, cannibalisation, weak AI content or outdated content.      

Keep reading to learn more about the top 12 reasons why your organic traffic may have dropped for your website from an award winning SEO agency. 

Jump to:

The Main Reasons Your Organic Traffic May Have Dropped

Organic traffic is the amount of visitors that land on your website from a search engine. They are usually only recorded when they have been on your website for 10 seconds or longer, or had 1 or more conversion. However, identifying why this metric may have dropped can be quite difficult. To make things easier for you, our team of SEO experts have put together an extensive blog on reasons why your organic traffic may have declined. 

Drop in Keyword Rankings

To help a website draw in organic traffic, content on keypages should be well-optimised for relevant keywords. It is quite common for keyword rankings to fluctuate over time due to a variety of reasons including increases in keyword difficulty, changes in keyword intent, or content not being informative or useful enough for the user. Losing a a high volume keyword ranking can contribute to a loss in organic traffic so it is important to monitor the performance of your keywords regularly and adjust your content accordingly. 

For more information on how to track your keyword rankings and monitoring these issues, take a read of our informative blog that gives helpful tips. 

Another reason why your organic traffic may have dropped is if you have lost backlinks that your website previously had. Backlinks are an important factor in SEO because they help to improve your website domain authority. They do this by proving to Google that your content is useful and informative enough that other sites are choosing to link to it. 

What’s more, backlinks also help to send referral traffic to your website. Therefore, if you begin to lose backlinks, this tells Google that your content is either not informative enough or other sites are just providing better content for the search terms. 

Auditing your backlink profile is a great way of understanding why your organic traffic has dropped. To learn more about the importance of backlinks including how to build them, click here. 

Broken Redirects 

If you have been making structural changes to your website, migrated to a new server or even launched a completely new one, it is possible that some of your redirects may have broken. Having broken redirects can be a contributing factor to your drop in organic traffic. It is important to remember when completing redirects that your XML sitemap is updated, as well as canonical tags and links are updated. 

By not fixing the broken redirects users will end up on 404 error pages which is not a good user experience. As a result, users will leave your website and search engines will not crawl the URL, hence the drop in organic traffic. 

Google Algorithm Changes

Google algorithm changes are also a reason why organic traffic can be impacted negatively. Throughout the year, Google completes many minor updates as well as a few core updates which refines the way that websites are assessed for SEO factors. It is very common for website’s to experience traffic volatility during these periods and even after they are complete.

We advise you to complete competitor reviews after the updates are complete to assess what competitors are doing differently to you in order to rank higher and gain more organic traffic. This could help you to identify how content is written better, how the architecture of the site flows better or even simply how they have more backlinks than your website. 

Page Speed Issues 

Issues with page speed can also impact the organic traffic reaching your website. This is because when a page takes too long to load, users simply click off your website and go elsewhere. This shows Google that your website is not providing a good user experience. This results in your being ranked lower, and receiving less organic traffic. Common issues that affect spite speed include large images sizes, excessive use of javascript and CSS compression issues. 

To learn more about how to improve your site speed, take a read through our recent blog on the topic by clicking here. 

A further reason why your organic traffic may have dropped could be due to navigational issues on your website. It is advised to have a simple navigational structure that helps users find what they need in as little clicks as possible. When content is buried too deep in your website’s navigation, not only will users struggle to find it but Google is also less likely to crawl it. Both of which result in less organic traffic; users don’t find what they need so they leave your site, and google doesn’t rank the page so people cannot find it anyway.  

As you are actively adding more content to your website, it is a good idea to review your website navigation regularly. It is important to consider factors such as:

Changes to Keyword Volume/ Intent:

You may notice a drop in traffic in relation to changes in volume or intent of keywords you have targeted on your website. It is quite normal for keywords to vary in volume at different periods of the year, especially when there are trends for certain services and products. If the trend drops for your niche, it is possible that keyword volume will drop too which means that less traffic will be drawn to your website. 

Similarly, you may also notice a drop in traffic if the intent of your keywords change. For example, the keyword you targeted on your page may have originally had a transactional intent, whereby users searching for it are looking to purchase a product. However, over time users may begin looking for information (informational intent) on how to use the product when they search the keyword. This will eventually result in you dropping in rankings for the keyword and losing traffic. 

For more information on how to track your keyword performance and identify any of these issues. Take a read of our informative blog by clicking here.

No-Index Tags: 

A no-index tag is a page directive that is added to the code of your website to tell search engines such as Google not to index it. Having a no-index tag stops Google from crawling your page or website therefore you would get no traffic. It is important to note that no-index tags don’t have to be applied across the whole site, they can just be applied to individual pages. This can still result in drops in traffic, especially if those pages are your high volume ones.

To learn more about the importance of crawling and indexing for SEO, take a read of our recent blog by clicking here. 

Keyword Cannibalisation: 

Keyword cannibalisation can occur on your website when more than one page is ranking for or targeting the same keyword. By doing so, this negatively affects each keyword rankings because they are competing against each other. It makes it difficult for the search engine to determine which page is most relevant, especially if they are very similar. 

However, it is possible to target one keyword on multiple pages if the keyword has multiple intentions. For example, the keyword ‘Local SEO Agency’ is both transactional and informational. This means it would be appropriate to target it on a homepage and an information service page. 

If you are interested in discovering more about best practices for keywords, be sure to take a look at our informative blog by clicking here. 

Outdated Content: 

Another reason you may notice drops in your organic traffic is due to your content being outdated. When writing content and attempting to rank for keywords, the aim is to provide the most useful and informative content for the intent of the keywords. You may have blogs from a year ago that are no longer ranking well because there have been developments in your industry. 

For example, a new technique may be introduced as part of your services, an alternative product that streamlines your job or even simply a change in regulation relating to your business. All of this can contribute to you losing rankings due to your content being outdated. This is why it is important to review content and optimise it over time as both the algorithm and your industry changes. 

Weak AI Generated Content: 

Weak AI generated content is also a more recent reason why your organic traffic may have dropped. Google details how AI generated content is fine for rankings as long as it meets E-E-A-T standards and has relevant external and internal links. If you have adopted AI generated content, but have been producing it in large quantities with attention to details on fact checking and linking sources then this could affect rankings. 

Whilst AI can help to speed up the content writing process, we still recommend the following:

If you are keen to find out more about AI generated content as well as how AI can help you with other aspects of SEO, read our informative blog by clicking here. 

Google Penalty:

A Google Penalty is a sanction that Google imposes on websites when SEO bad practice takes place. This is why it is important to have a good understanding of SEO before making any changes to your website. According to research, the most common reasons for Google Penalties include: 

Once you have received a Google Penalty it is inevitable that you will experience a drop in keyword rankings and organic traffic. To resolve this issue you would have to rectify the problems flagged by Google and then request a review which can be a long process. Therefore, we advise you to do some research into Google’s guidelines or invest in the expertise of an SEO agency. 

SEO Services at Wildcat Digital

Wildcat Digital has a team of SEO experts who actively review algorithm changes and manage successful SEO campaigns for many industries. If you have noticed that your organic traffic has dropped and are looking for some support with improving your online presence, don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

Post by

Molly Sturgeon

SEO Account Manager

More blogs.

View all