Google has posted information shedding light on why sites experience drops in their organic search results.
Google routinely updates their search algorithms, with the most recent being in June and July of 2021. Unfortunately, changes to Google’s algorithms often lead to some sites seeing major drops in traffic. For many, the causes and potential solutions are unclear, making it difficult for sites to regain the traffic they once enjoyed.
Google is now shedding light on the causes behind a drop in organic traffic: technical issues, security issues, manual actions, algorithmic changes and search interest disruptions.
Daniel Waisberg, Google Search Advocate, outlines how each of these can impact 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.
Waisberg’s post should be a valuable resource for all webmasters, both those whose sites have experienced a drop and those that want to avoid one.