Why Is My Google Organic Traffic Dropping and How to Improve it?

In the vast landscape of online visibility, organic traffic stands as a beacon of credibility and genuine user interest. Witnessing a decline in organic traffic can be both alarming and perplexing. Drops in visitors can mean a potential loss in revenue, engagement, or brand visibility.

But why does this happen? And more importantly, how can it be addressed and reversed? In this article, we’ll delve deep into the myriad reasons behind dwindling Google traffic numbers and offer actionable strategies to reclaim your site’s position and vitality in search results.

Google search

Understanding Potential Causes for the Decline

The world of search engines, particularly Google, is dynamic. To ensure you’re on top of your game, it’s crucial to be aware of the various factors that could be behind the drop in your organic traffic. Let’s explore some of the common culprits.

Algorithm Updates

Google is notorious for its frequent and sometimes mysterious algorithm updates. Just to give you a clue of how often the search engine updates its algorithm, here’s a breakdown of changes Google has implemented in the past decade: :

  • Daily Minor Updates: Google has said they make changes to their algorithm every day, which can amount to over 1,000 minor updates per year.
  • Major Updates: These are the ones SEO professionals and site owners often discuss because they can result in noticeable changes in search rankings. In the past decade, there have been numerous major updates, including but not limited to:
  • Panda (2011): Targeted thin content and content farms.
  • Penguin (2012): Aimed at reducing spam and penalizing over-optimized backlink profiles.
  • Hummingbird (2013): Enhanced Google’s understanding of search queries.
  • Pigeon (2014): Improved local search results.
  • Mobile (2015): Focused on mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
  • RankBrain (2015): Introduced machine learning into the ranking process.
  • Medic (2018): Seemingly targeted health and wellness sites, though its broader focus was on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages.
  • BERT (2019): Improved Google’s understanding of the context for words in search queries.
  • Core Updates: Google started rolling out broad core updates every few months starting around 2018. These updates aren’t necessarily tied to specific named changes but represent significant tweaks to the primary algorithm. The latest core update took place on September 14, 2023.

While these updates aim to improve the search experience for users, they can sometimes cause fluctuations in rankings for websites. Sites that once enjoyed top positions might find themselves lower in search results if they don’t align with the updated algorithm’s criteria.

Technical Issues

Even minor technical glitches can significantly impact how Google views your site. Whether it’s server downtime, issues with robots.txt, or improper redirections, these can prevent Google from effectively crawling or indexing your content, leading to a drop in visibility.

Mobile Usability

Google started transitioning sites to mobile-first indexing based on the readiness of the sites back in 2018. By March 2021, Google announced that they’ve been using mobile-first indexing for over 99% of the web pages in their search results. A site that isn’t optimized for mobile can experience diminished rankings, especially in mobile search results.

mobile useability

Manual Actions & Violations

Google maintains a set of Webmaster Guidelines to ensure a fair and useful search experience for users. If your site is deemed to be in violation of these guidelines, you might face manual penalties that can severely affect your organic traffic.

Rising Competition

The digital world is expansive, and with more businesses and websites sprouting every day, the competitive landscape is ever-evolving. This heightened competition has several implications:

  1. Emergence of New Players: New competitors can swiftly enter the market, potentially armed with fresh content, advanced SEO strategies, or innovative user experiences. Such entrants can challenge existing websites, especially those that haven’t updated their strategies or content in a while.
  2. Revamped Strategies of Existing Players: It’s not just the newcomers. Existing competitors might revamp their online strategies, invest in better content marketing, or undergo a complete site overhaul to improve their SEO. Such moves can lead to significant rank and visibility shifts in search results.
  3. Unethical Tactics: Competition isn’t always fair. Some competitors might resort to black-hat SEO techniques or other unethical practices. This can include negative SEO attacks, where competitors try to harm your site’s reputation or rankings through tactics like spammy backlinks, content scraping, or even hacking. While Google’s algorithms have gotten better at detecting and mitigating the impacts of such actions, no system is infallible.
  4. Competitive PPC Campaigns: Some competitors might invest heavily in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, targeting keywords that you rank organically for. This can push your organic listings further down the page, especially if search results include multiple ad placements above the fold.

Maintaining a competitive edge in this dynamic environment requires vigilance, innovation, and adaptability.

Shifts to Alternate Platforms

The way people search and consume information is constantly evolving. A growing number of users might be shifting to voice search, using smart speakers, or even turning to vertical-specific search engines (like Pinterest for visuals or GitHub for code). This shift can mean that traditional search traffic could see declines as other platforms rise.

Featured Snippets & SERP Layout Changes

Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is not what it used to be. Featured snippets, “People also ask” boxes, video carousels, and direct answer modules can dominate the page. If your content isn’t in these boxes or positioned as a direct answer, users might get the information they need without ever clicking through to your site.

Local SEO Dynamics

Changes in the local landscape, like a new competitor entering the scene or alterations in Google My Business listing criteria, can affect your local search visibility. Furthermore, fluctuations in reviews, both in quantity and quality, can impact rankings in local search results.

Google’s Own Properties & Ad Changes

There’s been a growing trend of Google pushing organic results further down the page, with more emphasis on ads, Google My Business listings, and other Google-owned properties. This change can lead to reduced visibility for traditional organic listings.

Misaligned SEO Strategy

Perhaps your SEO strategy isn’t aligned with current best practices, or it’s too focused on short-term gains without considering long-term stability. Regularly revisiting and tweaking your strategy based on performance data and industry shifts is essential.


5 Powerful Strategies to Address and Improve Declining Traffic

Not all is lost when you see a dip in your organic traffic. The digital space offers numerous avenues to identify issues and rectify them. Here are actionable strategies to guide your way back to the top of search results.

1. Monitoring SEO Updates & News

Stay connected with prominent SEO news sources and forums. Understanding recent algorithm shifts and industry discussions can offer insights into what might be impacting your site and how to address it.

2. Leveraging Google Search Console

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal, Google Search Console can highlight potential penalties, indexing issues, or changes in user queries that lead to your site. Regularly monitor its reports to gain a pulse on your website’s health.

3. Regular Site Audits

Site audits act as a periodic health assessment for your digital presence. Think of them as a routine medical check-up but for your website.

Much like a routine health check-up can detect issues before they become serious problems, regular site audits serve a similar purpose for your website. These audits give you a comprehensive snapshot of your site’s overall health, revealing both strengths and areas that need improvement.

Running a detailed audit usually requires specialized knowledge and experience. If you’re not well-versed in SEO, you might need to consider bringing in professionals. With their SEO audit service, an agency like SeoProfy can not only do a thorough and nuanced audit but also offer a fresh perspective, spotting issues or opportunities you may have overlooked.

4. Refreshing & Updating Content

Outdated content can lose relevance. Periodically review and update your content to reflect current trends, data, and user intent. This not only boosts your credibility but also signals to search engines that your content is fresh and relevant.

5. Building Quality Backlinks

Engage in white-hat link-building strategies. Whether through guest posting, influencer outreach, or producing share-worthy content, backlinks continue to be a strong signal of your website’s authority.

Navigating the Ever-Changing Landscape of Organic Traffic

The world of organic search is dynamic and multifaceted. From evolving algorithms to shifting user behaviors, from rising competition to technological advancements, many factors can impact your website’s visibility and traffic. While these challenges might seem daunting, understanding their nuances is half the battle.

Instead of viewing traffic declines as setbacks, consider them opportunities. Each dip in traffic is a chance to re-evaluate, learn, and grow. Start off with a full technical audit of a website.to navigate these challenges and ensure that your website remains a relevant, valuable destination in the vast digital landscape.

Remember, SEO isn’t just about algorithms and rankings. It’s about connecting with your audience, meeting their needs, and delivering value. Prioritize your users, stay updated with the industry’s pulse, and continuously adapt. In this ever-evolving game, resilience, adaptability, and a keen focus on quality are your keys to sustained success.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.