15 Reasons For Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic and Solutions

Reasons for Loss in Traffic and Immediate Responses to Get Back in Track
Image credit: Saga

Nothing is as unfortunate as losing the quality traffic of a website. A drop in direct traffic is synonymous with losing earnings, sales, and conversions. And if you depend on income from native ads such as Adsense, a blogger, or WordPress traffic drop is a killer.

However, it's worth knowing that when this happens, you're not the only one in the traffic loss ship. Very many had experienced the same and bounced back after taking urgent actions to revive their websites. I'd personally experienced this and with certain 'cheats', here I am today.

I'm about to share with your what had led to a serious drop rate of your organic traffic. These reasons are not only limited to blog traffic being down but also a sudden drop in Google Discover traffic and any conventional website. Along with that, you will see solutions to get back in shape.

Reasons for Loss in Traffic and Immediate Responses to Get Back on Track

In this collection of reasons you'd lost your traffic, I wouldn't go the usual lane of other SEOs and where necessary, add more clues. 

You might have read it could be due to crawling errors, de-indexing, and seasons, weekends, or holidays. Yes, those are possible reasons not to have traffic in the first place. 

But in your case, you'd earlier ranked as a result of being crawled and indexed. Hence, you'd enjoyed more traffic but suddenly noticed you're no more favored with organic traffic.

I equally want to believe you should know that traffic drops generally during the festive period such as Xmas and other holidays - depending on the niche. In fact, publishers experience a regular drop in traffic from Fridays to Sundays. Although, with experiences, we have been able to deduce means to push blog traffic during weekends and holidays.

The main focus of this post is to show you what had taken away your traffic after you'd already got them and solutions to get them back. 

1. Google Algorithms

In most cases, this is the major cause of a sudden dip in traffic be it for organic search or that of Google Discover. Algorithms have always been the number one police that Google uses to chase you and me. These regular updates are targeted at different results. You might be involved this time. 

In the past, we'd experienced some updates with distinctive names. And most recently Google had started adopting the month of the algorithms to name these updates.

Google's Danny Sullivan has confirmed that a core algorithm update is rolling out today – May 4, 2020. The update will officially be known as the “May 2020 Core Update

To solve the problem of traffic loss to algorithms, you must first check the industry news to know if others were hit too. Follow authority websites such as Search Engine Journals for what the most recent updates had aimed to correct or affect. You can as well hear from the horse's mouth as John Muller of Google is conversant with telling the SEO industry what they had used the recent algorithms to achieve.

After being sure of why you'd been hit, undo things. For example, if you'd been hit because of unhealthy link-building activities, try to correct your mistakes. You might have been hit because of E-A-T or YMYL. Be sure to work around things and leave nothing to chances.

Yes, Google had been notorious for telling the affected publishers to forget to do anything. They say, "you can't do anything about it". 

As for me, you can do some things. What you can do include correcting your obvious mistakes, updating your content with values, and keep the good work going.

I'd personally experienced algorithms hits several times just like many others out there. Some might claim they did nothing before they got back their traffic. They say, "just give it time, they'll be back".

That's not entirely true!

They're doing something whether they're aware of it or not. You can find a comprehensive guide to getting traffic back after being hit in the post, "Google Algorithm: What to Do If You're Hit? Can It Be Avoided?"

2. Competition

The most interesting thing about content marketing is "competition". New blogs are being launched every minute of the day. 

Those people are joining to bring their possible best. They cover the same topics you'd earlier covered. If they write better, you'd lost your traffic to the competition.

It's as simple as having a new grocery shop close to yours after five years in operation. You'll feel the hit!

To get back the traffic lost to competition, you need to work harder. It's time you wrote more quality and unique content. It's time to update your existing posts

Check for your keywords and see those that are ranking ahead of you. See if they'd done anything better. And in most cases, they had. Can you beat them? Can you add better details, graphs, charts, videos, images, data, reports, etc to your existing posts? 

If yes, you'd got to take back your traffic from them. If otherwise, I can't help you.

3. Post-Content-Assessment Effects

This may sound unfamiliar but you need to hear me out first. There's a phase for every newly ranked website. At this phase, usually between the 3 to 6 months of writing and publication, your posts will rank faster and higher for more people to read.

At this time, you should rejoice because Google had noticed and loved you and brought you to the world.

However, don't over-rejoice because that may not last long if users don't like your content. While Google was ranking you, you'd be seeing high traffic, of course. By this time, Google was collecting feedback from your visitors. Each visitor indirectly sent signals to the search engine by how long he stayed reading or the bounce rate, the printing of the posts, bookmarking, subscription, sharing, and commenting.

Don't forget, without great users' experience, your website may not benefit from any of these. And if it does, it may be too small to guarantee continual ranking.

The effects of poor users' feedback might be the reason Google dropped your content off the result pages - thereby losing your traffic to better websites.

What to do in order to bring back your traffic here seems so obvious and it is. Write more and better. See what your competitions are doing better. If your audience wants it longer, give them. If they want shorter, don't go longer. Be conscious of your audience while purring your mind because, sometimes, the long-form content can still hurt your ranking.

4. Technical SEO Errors

As you keep working on your website, you're likely to extend your efforts beyond writing. Some of us work around our blog themes, color, features, and structure. While doing these, you might have done a few things wrongly. This is called the technical SEO error.

Yes, earlier before taking to technical aspects of your blog like creating on-page links, updating keywords descriptions, creating menus and labels, etc, you might experience high traffic. But when trying to do it better, you stepped on technical toes.

For instance, if search engines got stuck while trying to crawl your website headings, labels, site descriptions, etc later, because you'd just changed the theme or template, you'd lost better ranking and subsequent traffic. 

Or while adding external codes for different purposes such as email subscriptions codes, push notification codes, native ads, ad banners, etc, a few bugs might have crawled in that could affect your ranking later.

To get your lost traffic back from technical problems, you may need to undo the done. This may take your time. Yet, it's worth it. 

You can consider reverting to default blogger or WordPress templates if you're a blogger. You may need to check every part of your website's technical SEO including the speed, images, mobile and device adaptiveness, links, menus, and labels structures.

5. Duplicate Content Fished Out

We're all victims of duplicate content, especially from the start. Google frowns at this and you can be penalized for it. If penalized, you lose the traffic you're proud of. If it's friendly about it, the search engine may just drop the ranking of all the duplicated posts.

Have you noticed a website's posts appearing twice (following each other) in the same search results? This shows that the publisher had written posts too similar for the same keywords. 

While Google was ranking you for the two posts of the same keywords, you're likely to get 90% of the search traffic because you appeared in positions 1 and 2 on the same search results. However, as soon as one is dropped, you lose clicks to that immediately.

You can't possibly do anything about this loss of traffic. Google may considerately show your dropped posts for different keywords. If you must empower that to rank well again, you'll need to rewrite things, update, and add value. If you can't do any better, delete them. They will only occupy spaces on your blog without any traffic if left undeleted. 

Post redundancy is negative for SEO and ranking!

6. Rise in Zero Clicks

Does that sound familiar? That's been the war every publisher is fighting for many months now. And Google is winning as always.

Google called this Featured Snippets. I call it a traffic killer except you know how to maneuver things such that people will still click.

Featured Snippets are short selections of text appearing at the top of Google's search results that are designed to answer a searcher's query. The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet is automatically pulled from web pages in Google's index.

While you're raking in more traffic, your posts were likely not yet promoted for featured snippets. If lately, Google has been featuring your posts in its position zero, you might experience up to 50% traffic loss. In fact, the internet Giant - Wikipedia was reported to have lost 21% of its traffic to Google snippets.

Publishers had been nagging about their traffic loss due to visitors being attended to by snippets before even clicking through to their pages. This was why I gave you how I set myself free from zero position ranking

Though there was a mix of reactions to opting out of the snippets. For some niches though, it could be perfect. But, for most, it's a traffic stealer.

To get back your lost traffic due to zero clicks (featured snippets), consider adopting my tricks in the above-linked post. You will have to collect all your posts and keywords ranking for featured snippets. Then, tailor them to encourage clicking notwithstanding or stop them from featuring altogether which doesn't stop them from ranking in the first position.

7. Content Deletion and Updates

Your drop in traffic may, of course, be temporary due to some recent activities on your blog. You might have lately deleted some linked posts, updated some posts, or reverted posts to draft before reposting. All these activities will directly or indirectly affect your traffic.

If you deleted a post that had been linked before, visitors to such posts would be greeted with error 404. Whereas, more of these errors is a bad signal for your ranking. If you'd just updated some posts, it might drop your ranking temporarily and grow again with time. 

You may not need to do much about this type of traffic loss. Things will be back to normal with time. Just like weeding, when some posts leave your website, you won't see any traffic for them any longer. But if the deletion was done well, it would give breathing space for the quality posts on your website. Hence, you'll soon see a higher ranking for those ones and more traffic consequently.

8. Change in Posting Pattern/Interval

Did you recently change the pattern of posting on your blog? Did you change from daily posting to weekly? Did you change from weekly to monthly?

A change in the pattern of posting will have direct effects on your ranking and subsequently your traffic. Google loves fresh content as do people. At the very worst, you need continual updating of your existing works.

To get back your lost traffic to an inconsistent posting pattern, consider doing it right again. If an everyday publication is ideal for your niche, stick with that. If it's better weekly, be consistent with that. 

The little secret is, you don't stop posting except you're into microblogging. And if an industry leader such as Neil Patel could post daily for years and now a post per week, who are you to think you should be different?

9. Bugs in Google Ranking

It's usual for Google to reports ranking, crawling, and indexing issues. The search engine usually faces certain bug issues leading to publishers losing their positions and rankings. If this happens, you're not the only victim. Very many others should be facing the same concern.

And if this is your case, this kind of traffic drop is usually temporarily - usually within two weeks. Within this period the search engine will announce their challenges and advise you to remain calm as they're working to resolve things.

As said earlier, there is nothing to do here other than to calm and wait for the good news. As soon as the issue is resolved, you should be back on track.

10. Manual Penalties

The direct opposite of the Google algorithm is manual penalities. Google, from time to time, checks websites to see if things are well. In other words, they want to be sure you're following their webmaster guidelines.

Where you prove stubborn, they respond with manual penalties - the effect of which may be a loss in the traffic.

To be back with your traffic, you need, as well, to manually correct your mistakes. 

Unfortunately, Google won't tell you what you'd done wrong or inform you prior to flogging you. But a sudden drop in traffic should call for manual checking of your website and see where issues might be.

11. Displeased Quality Rating

Google has been using the services of people employed as quality evaluators. These raters are independent people engaged with visiting websites across the globe and reporting back to Google with rating scores. Websites and content can score as high as possible or otherwise.

Where a rater is not satisfied, following the QR guidelines, he may be forced to flag your content as inferior. In this case, his report coupled with the next algorithms may weaken your ranking and consequently, your traffic goes dip.

If you'd been frowned at by your recent raters and lost traffic, you must undo the doing. Attend to your content again. While editing and rewriting posts, be mindful of the main and supplementary content and other aspects of your website including the ads and links. 

While my post on improving users' experience is a starting point to win your next rater, I'd dedicated a post to summarizing what matters most to the raters and how to take them into account in your subsequent posts.

12. Change in Results Feeds

Google is well-known for twisting results feeds. For a time, the search engine displays the titles of posts, followed by URLs and search descriptions. At another time, it displays the URLs before titles and descriptions.

Do you know, that affects traffic?

Publishers with ugly URLs or too-long URLs were affected by this change. Publishers with dates appearing in their URLs are likely to see a drop in clicks and traffic, while those with different URLs may witness spike in traffic.

Here, title first. Notice the description too.

Visitors respond well if they can read your descriptions immediately after your title. But where URL comes before the latter, you may feel the hit. 

Here, the URL first. See the change in description

Worst still, for some posts, Google doesn't show the author's search descriptions below the titles. Instead, it shows parts of the main content as the descriptions. This may also lead to more zero-clicks.

And recently, for the blogger platform, publishers are limited to writing 150 words as search descriptions unlike before when you could write more. This will limit you in marketing the content and for the publishers who had earlier used more than 150 words, before the change, the excess will be cut off. All this may result in traffic going down.

Similarly, there was a change to the SERP recently with Google rewriting the post titles. The search engine takes a part of the content of the sub-headings and uses that as the title to show in the search results for the potential visitotrs.

Your real titles could be click-winners or baiting thereby giving you more visits. But with the recent change or test by the search engine, the rewritten titles might not be click hungry enough thereby losing you visitotrs.

13. Lost Backlinks

You might have lost traffic to the loss in backlinks. Very many publishers build their traffic on backlinks from other websites. As good as this may be, they'll witness an unavoidable drop in their traffic if there is a problem from the other ends.

If people giving you links delete their posts, websites, or stop working on their content or withness a drop their traffic, you'll suffer a direct reaction. They lose, you lose. They win, you win.

In fact, if Google penalizes these generous givers for any reason, you'll be affected too.

If you'd lost traffic to this, there is little you can do. You only need to keep producing quality content. With time, more naturally backlinks will come and boost your ranking and traffic again.

14. Lost Subscribers

One of the reasons you'd been enjoying high traffic could be because your list was growing. If anything should happen to this list, you'll feel it too. If the number of your readers unsubscribing from your newsletters spike for any reason, you'll obviously lose out.

To get back your traffic, watch for what could have led to people leaving your list. Perhaps, you're recently writing less quality content or you're bombarding them with content, or you're not even feeding them recently and many other related reasons. Be sure you redo things rightly.

Stop sending them what you don't promise. Deliver timely and quality content. You may likely have them back and if otherwise, you won't send new and existing subscribers off sooner too. 

15. Servers Errors

You may experience a sudden dip in your traffic if you have some server issues. Problems with your hosting, bandwidth and registrars can affect people accessing your pages. For instance, until I found the solution, I'd been losing 30% of my traffic to the domain not opening on a certain ISP.

This might be your present challenge or similar ones.

Kindly check through to see that you're not facing issues regarding your website loading, responding, etc. If you're in the mess, you'll get back your traffic as soon as you correct things.


The easiest thing is to get back your lost traffic. This comes at the price of knowing why you'd lost them in the first place. If you know why and apply appropriate responses as detailed in this post, I guarantee your traffic will be back in time.

However, who wants to lose traffic first and start struggling to get things back in shape?

Prevention is still better than cure. If you can afford it, be mindful of why you may lose your traffic and be sure you're doing things right - forearmed.

Have you applied any of these solutions to your traffic loss without success? Do you have any further suggestions? Share your views in the comment section below.

Post a Comment