To some degree, we are all guilty of occasionally checking to see where our website ranks for certain keywords and phrases, especially if you have an online marketing strategy in place in an effort to boost website sales. Well what happens when your website traffic suddenly drops and you are left scratching you head trying to figure out what’s just happened?
Don’t worry, your local Cheshire web agency will provide you with 6 reasons why your website may have suddenly dropped in traffic which vary from fixing a broken link to being totally out of your control…
Manual or Algorithmic Penalties
If you suddenly experience a significant drop in rankings for a number of keywords, the most likely scenario you will find yourself in is the consequences of your website being hit by either a manual or algorithmic penalty.
Although a penalty may sound like a daunting phrase, there is certainly a big difference between the two! An Algorithmic penalty is a natural, automatic update which may occur several times throughout the year where Google have made changes to their algorithm updates. Don’t panic though; Google will always notify you of these changes which you can find in your Google Search Console settings. If you do not have access to your Console settings, ask your local Cheshire web agency to add you as an admin so you can always monitor your account settings.
On the other hand, a Manual Penalty is something you really don’t want. A Manual Penalty will occur if your website has been reported for not complying with Google’s latest algorithm updates or applying black hat SEO techniques. Once reported, your website is reviewed by Google where an employee will then enforce the penalty subject to their investigations.
* Example of where you can find any Manual Penalties in 'Search Console'.
Google Algorithm Trends
Sometimes, a drop in search traffic can occur for reasons unknown that are totally beyond our control and sadly this is where Google Algorithm Trends applies. Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing and evolving on daily basis to keep with current trends to better understand users and search enquires with some updates having much more impact than others.
Sadly with these changes, some websites come away a little more scathed than others but with these changes come a great opportunity to explore current Google Trends. If key landing pages are starting to experience a decline in traffic or rankings, don’t be afraid to be bold and freshen up your keywords. Explore data within your analytics and search console and get a feel of what users are searching to find your website then use this data to freshen up your keywords on key landing pages.
Page Loading Speed
Not only are users likely to abandon your website if it takes too long to load, Google have openly discussed the high priority of page loading speed and how it will affect search engine rankings. There are many free tools out there that will calculate your page loading speed but don’t worry; clients of ours always receive a free page loading speed report as part of our WPG ongoing activity.
Although you probably don’t need your local Cheshire web agency telling you something you already know, sometimes the simplest reason can be because of competition for target keywords.
The fact is local businesses will compete for target keywords, especially if you have previously benefited from converting a sale from a simple search engine enquiry. Following the introduction of Google Adwords and its dominance on the first page, organic competition is becoming more and more competitive to remain on the first page. If you don’t have any content strategies in place, you will very likely start to fall behind quickly so you should constantly monitor and analyze your competitor’s sites and social profiles to better understand what are they doing.
Broken External & Internal Links
If you have recently made some major changes to your website such as removing or relocating pages, sadly there’s a large chance that you may have just lost both internal and external links if they haven’t been done correctly. Simply check Google Search Console and download a full 404 error report and see if you can pick apart where you would like any errors pages pointing to. From here, you can set up your 301 redirects which will inform Google that you would like to point an old URL to a new one where they can now find you. Don’t worry, if this sounds a little overcomplicated, just give us a shout and we would be more than happy to run through things with you.
Losing any quality and relevant external links can have an equal impact on search rankings. Sadly, although external links are out of your control, there are free and professional tools out there which will help you identify any links that may have been lost then it could always be worth a call to enquire why they no longer have a link pointing to your website.
Technical Website Elements
Honestly, if you have a local web agency who look after your website then they will already take good care of the points I’m about to make. If you have built your own website, it’s always worth taking a step back from the marketing side of things and just simply reviewing the technical elements of your website. Here’s a list of a few technical things that may be worth checking;
- Not having a fully responsive website
- Robot.txt file blocking pages from not being indexed
- Pages which have marked with a ‘noindex’ tag
- Repetitive or Cloned pages containing duplicate content
What happens next?
If you suddenly experience a significant drop in traffic or in rankings for a number of keywords and you can’t figure out what’s happened, don’t panic! Free tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console offer a great insight in exploring your website offering some great reporting tools.
If you would like to discuss your website, or would like a full website diagnoses to investigate why you are experience a sudden drop in traffic or rankings, why not get in touch with your local Cheshire web agency? Give us a call on 01565 653616