I daily browse tens of webmaster forums and one recent tendency I couldn’t help noticing is the astonishing number of threads talking about sudden decrease in Google search traffic. So here is a quick list of possible reasons this might have happened with some notes of how to handle the situation and how to tell if that’s what actually happened:
1. You’ve been penalized (most obvious one considering Google’s latest aggressive punishing policy). Most often this will also trigger the following:
- you have lost all your rankings for all your keywords;
- your site has been dropped out of index.
Solution: think what you have done wrong, clean up your site (and tactics) and ask for reinclusion (better: “reconsideration”). If you are sure that you are good enough for a human review, you stand a good chance to be forgiven.
2. Your site has been hacked. Today that’s also a common scenario today. I have listed a few signs of the condition in my previous post.
3. Google is tweaking its algorithm. That’s a highly probable situation considering last year Google “launched more than 450 new improvements, about 9 per week on the average”. Some most recent rumors include:
- Google’s “special” attitude to .info domains;
- Google deranking most directories; etc
4. Overall (seasonal) change in searches. Yep, sometimes your traffic drop has nothing to do with either you or Google. People won’t search for snow in summer and that’s life. Sometimes that can be due to fashion trends, political and economical changes, etc. You may try to explore Google trends to find such patterns.
5. Your competitors increased their promotional efforts. Like I said previously SEO is about constant competition. You can’t achieve the top and rest assured you are going to be there for life. You are being watched by those who want to be in your place. So do what your competitors are doing:
- Evaluate and track your competitors;
- Steal your competitors’ link building and social media promotion techniques;
- Improve your on-site SEO.
Remember what once brought you on top might be not enough to let you stay there.