27 March 2024

SEO Crisis Management: Regain Your Lost Website Traffic

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SEO Crisis Management: Regain Your Lost Website Traffic
Aurélie BrunetWritten ByAurélie Brunet

As the Director of Performance, Aurélie specialises in creating new business for Propeller through outreach and finding areas in which the company can expand.

Organic search traffic is the lifeblood of many websites. It represents a steady stream of qualified leads, potential customers, and brand awareness. So, when website traffic takes a nosedive, it can be a cause for serious concern. This article will equip you with the knowledge and steps to effectively manage an SEO crisis and get your website traffic back on track.

Understanding the Causes of Sudden Traffic Loss

Here are some of the most common culprits that contribute to a sudden decline in organic traffic:

Search Engine Algorithm Updates 

Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms to improve user experience and search results. These updates can sometimes cause fluctuations in website rankings, leading to temporary or permanent drops in traffic.

Technical SEO Issues

Technical SEO refers to the website’s underlying structure and code that search engine crawlers rely on to understand and index your content. Issues like broken links, slow loading times, mobile-friendliness problems, and crawl errors can all hinder your website’s visibility in search results.

Content Quality and Relevance

Search engines prioritise high-quality, informative and relevant content that addresses user search queries. If your content is outdated, poorly written, or not optimised for relevant keywords, it may struggle to rank well.

Backlink Profile Issues

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to yours. They act as a vote of confidence in your content and website authority. However, a sudden drop in backlinks, a surge in low-quality backlinks, or a penalty from Google for unnatural link-building practices can negatively impact your rankings.

Manual Penalties from Search Engine

In rare cases, search engines may issue a manual penalty on your website for violating their webmaster guidelines. This could be due to tactics like keyword stuffing, cloaking, or excessive paid links.

Taking Action: A Response Plan for SEO Crisis Management

When you notice a significant drop in website traffic, staying calm and taking a methodical approach is crucial. Here’s a step-by-step response plan to diagnose the problem and implement solutions:

Identify the Timeline

Start by determining when the traffic drop occurred. Look for any recent website changes, algorithm updates, or external events that might have coincided with the decline. This timeframe can provide valuable clues about the potential cause.

Analyse Website Traffic Data 

Utilise website analytics tools like Google Search Console to delve deeper into the traffic data. Look for specific changes in organic search traffic, including:

  • Keyword Rankings: Have your rankings for key target keywords dropped significantly? Identifying these can help narrow down the affected areas.
  • Search Queries: See which search queries used to drive traffic but have now declined. This can reveal potential issues with keyword targeting or content relevance.
  • Landing Page Traffic: Analyse traffic data for individual landing pages. A drop in traffic for specific pages might indicate problems with on-page optimisation or content quality.

Technical SEO Audit

Conducting a comprehensive technical SEO audit will identify any potential issues hindering your website’s crawlability and indexation. Tools like Google Search Console’s mobile-friendliness test, page speed insights, and crawl error reports can reveal most technical problems.

Backlink Analysis

Use backlink analysis tools to assess the quality and quantity of your backlinks. Look for any sudden drops in backlinks or an increase in low-quality links from irrelevant websites. Disavowing low-quality backlinks can help mitigate potential penalties.

Content Audit and Refresh

Evaluate the quality and relevance of your website content. Is it outdated, poorly written, or lacking in-depth information? Assess your top-performing content and identify areas for improvement. Update existing content and consider creating new content that addresses user search queries effectively.

Monitor Search Engine Updates

Stay updated on the latest search engine algorithm updates. Resources like Google’s Search Central blog and industry publications can keep you informed about potential changes that might impact your website.

Recovery and Maintaining SEO Health

Following these steps will help you diagnose the cause of your SEO crisis and implement solutions. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process. Here’s how to maintain healthy SEO practices for long-term website success:

  • Regular Monitoring and Analysis: Regularly monitor your website traffic, keyword rankings, and backlinks to identify any potential issues early on.
  • Content Strategy and Development: Focus on creating valuable, informative, and engaging content that caters to your target audience’s needs. Regularly update existing content and publish new content that aligns with current search trends.
  • Technical SEO Maintenance: Ensure your website’s technical SEO is in good health by performing regular checks for broken links, mobile-friendliness issues, and crawl errors.
  • Link-Building Strategies: Develop a natural link-building strategy that focuses on acquiring high-quality backlinks from relevant websites. This can involve guest blogging on authoritative sites in your niche, creating link-worthy infographics or other visual content, and participating in online communities where you can share your expertise and link back to your website.
  • Brand Building and Public Relations: Building a strong brand reputation can attract natural backlinks. Engaging in public relations activities like press releases, media outreach, and industry events can help establish your brand as a thought leader and attract links from credible news outlets.
  • Stay Informed and Adapt: The SEO landscape is constantly evolving. Stay updated on the latest search engine guidelines and industry best practices. Be prepared to adapt your SEO strategy to remain competitive and maintain a healthy website presence.

In Summary…

Effective SEO crisis management and long-term SEO success often require a collaborative effort. Working with a digital marketing agency with expertise in SEO can be invaluable. They can provide the resources, tools, and strategic guidance needed to diagnose and address SEO issues, develop a data-driven SEO strategy, and implement ongoing monitoring to ensure your website continues to thrive in the ever-changing world of search.

Remember, a sudden drop in website traffic can be a stressful experience. However, by following a structured approach, identifying the root cause, and implementing the necessary solutions, you can recover from an SEO crisis and get your website back on track to achieve long-term success.


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