Google Explained Main Causes Of Search Traffic Drops
Google illustrated what different types of traffic drops look like.
Google publish in a blog post and described what types of organic search traffic drops look like in the Search Console Performance Reports and how you can analyze those traffic drops. A drop in organic search traffic can happen for several reasons, and most of them can be reversed. But it may not be straightforward to understand what exactly happened to your site.
What are the main causes for drops in organic search traffic?
To help you understand about search traffic drops, Google posted sketches of “examples of drops and what they could potentially mean.” This shows you visually what a site-wide technical issue or a manual action looks like compared to normal seasonality in search traffic, compared to a technical issue on a page level or an algorithm change (like a core update) or simply a reporting glitch in Search Console. Here are those sketches:
There are five main causes for drops in Search traffic:
Technical Issues: Errors that can prevent Google from crawling, indexing, or serving your pages to users – for example server availability, robots.txt fetching, page not found, and others. Note that the issues can be site-wide (for example, your website is down) or page-wide (for example, a misplaced noindex tag, which would depend on Google crawling the page, meaning there would be a slower drop in traffic).
Security Issues: If your site is affected by a security threat, Google may alert users before they reach your site with warnings or interstitial pages, which may decrease Search traffic.
Manual Actions: If your site does not comply with Google’s guidelines, some of your pages or the entire site may be omitted from Google Search results through a Manual Action.
Algorithmic Changes: Google is always improving how it assesses content and updating its algorithm accordingly; core updates and other smaller updates may change how some pages perform in Google Search results. To keep track of future updates, subscribe to our Google Search News YouTube series or follow us on Twitter.
Search Interest Disruption: Sometimes changes in user behavior will change the demand for certain queries, either as a result of a new trend, or seasonality throughout the year. This means your traffic may drop simply as a result of external influences.
How To Analyze Drop in Organic Search Traffic?
The best way to understand what happened to your traffic is to look at your Search Console Performance Report main chart, since it summarizes a lot of information. Analyzing the shape of the line will tell you a lot already.