Why has my organic traffic suddenly dropped?

Have you been checking your Google Analytics, and noticed that your organic traffic has suddenly dropped? Or have you noticed that your business has dropped from the first page of Google to the third or fourth for particular keywords that are important to your business.

If you can't work out why your organic traffic has dropped here is five possible reasons:

1. You've re-designed website

Your website looked out of date and it needed a refresh. So you invested in a new look and feel. Great! However now it looks great but your traffic has dropped. Hang on a minute - wasn't it meant to have the opposite effect?

So first off don’t panic, it can take three months for your results to come back from a redesign. Make sure you haven’t forgotten to do these lists of things, as they can have an effect on your result.

- Did you create new pages? If you did check whether you have redirected your old URLs (pages) to the new URLs (pages). Google Search Console will outline what your broken pages are (404s). Then you will need to redirect these pages back to

To check what SEO elements  Starfish People (HR consultant)  have for their website - I used Moz bar which outlines everything in a clear way.

To check what SEO elements Starfish People (HR consultant) have for their website - I used Moz bar which outlines everything in a clear way.

- Did you create SEO elements for each page? SEO elements help explain to google what your page is about. Make sure that each page has a keywords inserted into these SEO elements: Page title, meta-description, image alt text. Many places you can check this. I use Moz Toolbar which outlines these in a clear way.

- Did you tell google that you have new pages? You can do this by adding a new Sitemap to your google search console

You can use google search console to check things aren’t going wrong. It can show you crawl errors, identifying what links are returning 404s (broken links) and much more.

2. You've been penaslised by google

If your site has experienced a significant drop in organic traffic, you may have been hit by a manual or algorithmic penalty.

Algorithmic penalties are difficult to spot. They happen as a result of changes in google algorithms.  You won't be notified of these. So if you’ve experienced a drop in organic traffic, try auditing your site for:

  1. harmful back links

  2. duplicate or poorly written content.

  3. slow page speeds

Manual penalites are easy to spot, as Google will send you a message in your google search console. You will receive one for not complying with Google’s quality guidelines, and your rankings will be penalised as a result.

Example of a mobile friendly site, a  waste clearance company Roupcycle

Example of a mobile friendly site, a waste clearance company Roupcycle

3. You’ve got a usability issue

What does that mean? Well this is technical SEO. It's a huge and complex topic, but here are some key points that you could initially look into:

  • Is your site mobile friendly?

  • Are your pages slow to load?

  • Is your website secure?

If you can highlight what’s wrong to your developers they should be able to help you fix these problems.

4. You've lost external or Internal links

Have you lost any of your links to your website? If you lose any (quality and relevant) back links to your site, it can reduce the site’s authority. This in turn may trigger a drop in your rankings.

One common reasons for a loss of links comes from not redirecting pages that no longer exist to another relevant page. You can check what these are by downloading a 404 errors report in google search console. You can then set up 301 redirects for any URL paths that have changed.  

5. Your customers aren't searching for the same things

Drops in organic search traffic and rankings can sometimes have nothing to do with your content or external links on your website. Sometimes, you'll see a drop because people just aren't searching for that term any more. 

Either the product or service isn't as fashionable as it once was, or it could be that people are searching for that topic but not in the same way as they once were. 

If key landing pages on your site have experienced a decline in traffic and rankings, it may be worth refreshing their keyword targets to make sure that your up to date with the sorts of things people are actually searching for.

Google trends is a good place to start, as it can help you to gauge whether your targeted key phrases have experienced either a gradual drop or a sharp decline.

Google Search Console’s Search Analytics data to get a recent snapshot of what users are currently searching for to find your products and services

Need more help? If you need help giving your site an SEO audit and a health check to figure out what’s going wrong. Then feel free to email me lynn.jeynes@thehoneybadger.org or fill out our contact form.