What do different types of website organic traffic declines look like? Daniel Waisberg, search advocate at Google, categorizes them in a post, describing the reasons why a drop can occur. It's not the first time he delved into this topic. The concept comes from a detailed YouTube video he posted in 2020.
There are several reasons why traffic drops, from technical issues including site-level manual actions, to seasonality, page-level algorithmic changes, and reporting glitches.
The examples of how the traffic drops provide a visual representation. Waisberg also defines each category.
There are five main causes for drops in Search traffic:
Looking at the Search Console Performance report main chart and analyzing the shape of the line will provide answers and help to summarize why the change is bring made.
Waisberg also suggests using Google Trends to help understand whether the drop is a wider trend or whether it is occurring just for a specific site. These changes can be caused by a search interest disruption of a new product.
If there are major changes, of course, in the types of products or keywords people search for organic search may drop. There also might be a new competing product cannibalizing search queries.
Seasonality could be another reason. “For example, the rhythm of food website shows that food-related queries are very seasonal: people search for diets in January, turkey in November, and champagne in December,” Waisberg writes. “Different industries have different levels of seasonality.”
Interestingly, this problem has likely been around for years. Waisberg’s video was created and posted on YouTube in 2020, but Google posted the blog on Tuesday.