Questions to Consider when Diagnosing Traffic Drops in SEO


SEO Consultants are frequently questioned about why traffic levels drop. Consider these steps to find the reason for the change in numbers. Check that data isn’t simply missing for a day or that it is normal for a drop during the time of year based on past numbers. As an SEO consultant, compare and contrast the numbers before really digging into why traffic dropped.

Algorithm changes

Diagnosing Traffic Drops in SEOExamine whether the major search engines have updated their algorithms. This could impact how many people see your site, and you can determine if this is a cause for the traffic drop.

Segment specific drops

Split the data you’re examining into segments to determine where the differences are. Examine areas where traffic is lower than usual. An effective way to measure drops is to examine the type of device, such as a mobile vs desktop device, or the page type including blogs, homepages, or category pages.


This isn’t common, but it’s possible. Type your business or company name into Google and see if your site appears. If it doesn’t, you might be facing a penalty for certain site actions.

Major site change

Traffic changes can correlate with major design or website restructuring. This can impact where your traffic comes from and where you’re suffering from problems. It can occur if you change your coding or make something incompatible with a specific browser or operating system.

Lost rankings

Take a look at your keywords to see where drops have come from. Competitors can steal traffic away from you, especially new ones or those with fresh content with assistance from an established SEO company.

Search engine results

Changes to search engine results pages impacts traffic. You might not be as visible as you were before. Questions may be answered directly on the search page, eliminating the need for the user to click through.

Pages in the index

Spend some time looking in the Index status report to determine how many URLS are currently indexed. If a bunch of pages are missing, they might be excluded due to bad meta tags or headers.


Examine if your backlinks have changed or not. Some sites could have shut down or aren’t accessible. You might need to expand your reach and branch out to new referrals.

SEM vs. SEO traffic

Look at a graph and compare the two types against each other. You may want to stop a SEM campaign temporarily to focus on SEO. Some crossover can be beneficial, but results should be analyzed on an individual basis.

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