Organic traffic, the type of traffic your website gets from appearing in search engine results, is one of the most valuable types of traffic a website can get, and it depends on the whims of search engines. Sure, some might say that paid traffic is more important for conversion rates, but if you’re running your website like you run a marathon, organic traffic is what will get you to that finish line. And if your efforts to draw more organic traffic are failing, and you’re either not seeing it increase or seeing it go down, you need to be quick and determine the causes. Here are five you could start with.
1. Google Changed The Algorithm
If you have a reason to be monitoring your website’s organic traffic, you also have a reason to monitor the Internet for news of Google algorithm changes. Your website’s search engine rankings, and consequently its ability to get organic traffic, are heavily influenced by Google’s algorithm. But just as no one knows exactly what Google’s algorithm likes to see in a website, they also don’t know when the algorithm gets updated. Not always, that is.
Google can and does release algorithm updates without official announcements. This usually prompts an alert among the SEO community, as pages start seeing random boosts and declines in rankings. So, if you notice something weird happening with your organic traffic, it might be worth your while to check online whether the community suspects an algorithm update.
2. You’re Having Issues With Authority
[pullquote]Links matter, both inbound and outbound. So much so that people, in their need to succeed at the search engine game, did a lot of unethical things like crowding pages with useless links.[/pullquote] They also started developing various schemes, also unethical, eventually leading Google to take a good, long look at how they evaluate link building.
One of the ways the importance of link building is described is by domain and page authority. Domain authority is a metric that describes the total authority of links on a domain. The page authority does the same for specific pages. Authority links are the links that lead to and from authority websites — high-quality websites that provide extremely valuable content. Both domain authority and page authority affect the search engine rankings of your website, which means they are important for organic traffic, and low authority might be one of the reasons behind low organic traffic volumes.
3. Your Content Is Not that Good
Let’s face it, it’s not that hard to churn out dozens of articles a month, and use them to populate your website’s blog. You can follow every commonly advised step for creating great content, but that might not be enough to give your content the edge it needs.
The content you create has to be valuable to the person reading it. Ideally, it will solve a problem or provide expert insight into a topic. Creating content that’s written well, presented well, and that’s also relevant is also a great way to get high-quality websites to link to your content. They don’t say that content is king for nothing — it’s your main organic traffic magnet.
4. The Competition Got Tougher
Every website has competitors. Every piece of content you produce is fighting against the content your competitors put out. Every time someone does a search using the keywords you targeted, your website competes against hundreds, maybe even thousands of websites who target the same keywords.
And as the competition gets tougher, the less organic traffic you’ll see. The fact of the matter is that you always have to have a strategy for the future and that you always have to be working on ways to improve your website, your marketing, and your content. If your organic traffic starts declining, it could be a sign that you’re falling behind the competition.
5. You Are In The Penalty Box
[pullquote]Google doesn’t rely solely on algorithms to check the quality of your website.[/pullquote] It also has human reviewers, capable of dishing out manual penalties. According to Eric Sachs, an SEO in Los Angeles, these penalties are rare, but they could still happen to you. Even the greats like BBC and Mozilla can get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar that are undesirable activities.
Having a manual penalty enacted on your website is hard to miss — you’ll see a sharp drop in traffic and a notification in the Google Search Console. If you’re into black hat SEO, you’ll probably have a good idea what was the reason for the penalty. If you like to do your SEO by the books, then you should check whether your website has been hacked, or whether it contains spam in user comments. Either way, when you fix the issue, you can appeal to Google and get the penalty removed. Or you can wait until they notice on their own if you’re not in a hurry.
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