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SEO Fire Drill: The traffic is down! & # 39;

Organic search traffic often generates significant revenue for e-commerce sites. As a result, he is inclined to draw exercises around performance. Here's how to determine when there is a critical problem to solve.

The alarm sounds: "The traffic is down!"

Your first step will be to fight panic and seek a reasonable explanation. Quickly barring some obvious items could save you a lot of hours.

Confirm that natural search traffic and earnings have actually decreased enough to affect the bottom line, not just your leader's favorite search rank. In addition to the argument that rankings are not key performance indicators, each person's rankings are different, that is, personalized according to their search criteria, their location, and their location. good of other factors.

Is natural search the only chain affected? If the answer is yes, and you have confirmed that the decline is indeed significant, it is time to dig deeper into the scope and magnitude of the problem.

Is it a 5% dip compared to last week, a long downward trend or a sudden drop in order from 25 to 100%? Each trend suggests different areas to study, but sudden drops are most likely to cause the greatest alarm.

Sudden declines

It is easier to diagnose a sudden decline than a long downtrend because there is a definite date to link the beginning of the problem. Before looking at detailed reports to try to find a trend in performance between pages, templates, or sections of the site, check the following three things: IT, attribution, and algorithms.

First, was there a site failure? Call the IT department and check your Google Search Console error report ( Search Console> Explorer> Crawl Errors ) for an increase in "Server Connectivity" errors. If natural search is the only channel affected, it is probably not the cause. But it is better to ask in advance.

It is easier to diagnose a sudden decrease than a long downward trend because there is a definite date for linking the beginning of the problem to

The cause may also be related to projects that have been posted in a release, such as a platform change or an upgrade. Check the date of the performance decline in relation to the release schedule. If there is a correlation between the dates of the decrease and the publication, something in this version has probably caused the problem.

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Verify that the analytical labels are still in place and accurately measure performance. Even if the natural search is the only one to decrease, if the other channels have increased in a similar way, you could have your culprit. Changes made by your IT team on the site or changes made by the analysis teams to how the traffic is allocated can distort the data.

Has there been an update of the search engine algorithm? Check out news sources from the trusted search industry such as Search Engine Land and Moz, then head over to the forums. The news will first point in the forums first with complaints of similar traffic changes to yours. But news sites are quick to point out these trends.

What to do next

Most alarms "Traffic is down!" Come from one of the above sources. If you monitor the natural search performance of your site each morning, you will probably be the first to identify problems.

For these surprise alarms, five minutes of checking to make sure there is no problem can save hours looking for ghost problems. Many of them end up being false alarms.

However, if the computer, the attribution and the algorithms do not identify the problem, then it is time to dig into the data and find the real cause.

Start with the metrics of your web analytics package. Focus on reports that show natural search performance per entry page. Increase the performance of the analysis and keyword performance with data from Google Search Console.

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Unfortunately, it is not always possible to identify the cause of a change in natural search traffic. Even Google employees are reluctant to say why Google traffic has declined for individual sites, because they know that the answer could be something of a tweak in the value of search engines signals to a competitor suddenly increasing his game to a change in the site itself.

However, as natural search continues to be one of the leading e-commerce channels, marketers and SEO professionals must be equipped to interpret the data, determine if an alarm requires immediate action or if it is an educational opportunity.

To learn more, read an excellent and detailed article by Hamlet Batista, another contributor, on how to identify and quickly reverse a downward trend in traffic.