Heavy fluctuations in Google traffic (Nov 2013) And how to deal with it


Its been a  bumpy ride for many websites the last couple of weeks. Google traffic is reported fluctuating heavily in November, and many websites have seen heavy increase and decrease in traffic, but Google has no official announcements so far.

Here’s a sample screenshot showing the fluctuations for one of the websites.

google-search-traffic

Meanwhile, there’s no word from Google, regarding any possible update/refreshes.

It is quite possible that this is one of those minor updates that should be ignored and might not affect your site in long term. Just seasonal fluctuations attributed to minor changes. But it would have been nice if we got an official word on it, now that many websites are reporting it.

Neil Patel, recommends to give it a few weeks time before reacting, in one of his forum threads.

neil-patel

What to do when Google Organic traffic suddenly drops?

Here’s my set of recommendations.

  1. Stay calm. Sudden drops in organic traffic can occur due to reasons other than your site quality/SEO health.
  2. Check the tools that can predict or are reporting Google algorithm updates. (Mozcast.com, SERPs.com, Algooroo, SERP Metrics etc)
  3. If there is a general trend across the industry, and if many websites are reporting the same, give it some weeks before you take action.
  4. Stay away from changing anything on your site. If at all you do make a change, record it and make sure that its reversible.
  5. If you don’t see an industry wide report, check if you have any messages on manual penalty in Google Webmaster’s Tool. And take actions accordingly.
  6. Check for the following thigs
    – Has the number of pages indexed from your site dropped? If yes, you could be dealing with duplicate content issues.
    – Has there been any unnatural increase in the number of backlinks to your site, possibly due to some link building campaign. If yes, you could be dealing with a Penguin penalty for unnatural/spammy backlinking.
    – Check for duplicate meta tags/page titles on your website via Google Webmaster’s Tool. If there are a large number of duplicate title tags/meta reported, you might want to fix them asap.
    – Check for “Intelligence Events” reports in Google Analytics. There could be some hints there if you have any issues, for example any particular page disappearing from top results etc.
  7. And lastly, check if you have any technical glitches on the server, robots.txt or any accidental mistakes that could have happened recently while updating your website. Identify and fix it.

Many a times, organic traffic fluctuations are normal.

They could be either due to a minor algorithm update or a seasonal change in your target (ex; holidays etc), a technical error in your website or just that you lost to competition for an important keyword (which most of the times cannot be overnight but still worth checking).

Most of the time, waiting for a few weeks will fix the issue automatically when traffic is restored. But like how they say, if the problems persist, consult a doctor immediately. ;)

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Mani Karthik

I can talk about Marketing and SEO all day long. Passionate about blogging, SEO & Online marketing. Perpetual learner.

Comments 3

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  1. Organic traffic is really volatile. Sometimes it can soar up high
    depending on the people reading it. There are some who will never stop until
    they read all the articles that are of their interest. Do not worry. Just back
    it up with more interesting content and you are good to go.

  2. I have some reports on topserankings.com blog and moz.com 2013 was a big picture of ups and downs in SEO world. So what we are expecting further?