Where do Istart lookingfirst if myOrganic SearchTraffic fallsdramatically?
First thing, keep calm!It can happen to you,it can happen to me,it can happen to all of us,Im trying to seeIts a little too late,Ive made a little mistake,it can happen to anyone,so dont be afraidVolker Hinkel (Fools Garden) wasn’t thinking about a Google Penalizationwhen he first wrote this wonderful song, but lets pretend he did. SEO – SEM– Social
Before startingWhen you have an organic search traffic drop, you should use this 5-question checklist to identify the underlying cause of the loss oftraffic.Before starting, make sure that the problem is actually an organicsearch issue.To do this go into Google Analytics and check your last 6 month trendof the organic search traffic in:Traffic Sources->Sources->Search->Organic .Sure it’s a search engine traffic loss? Let’s start with the 5-questionschecklist then! SEO – SEM– Social
1. Has the website been changed significantly?A redesign could utterly wipe out rankings, especially if there isn’t a validredirect strategy.Removal of content, changes in the taxonomy (site architecture) and other bigalterations could also affect rankings, negatively or positively.Last but not least, check if your Google Analytics (or whatever analyticssoftware you are using) is still in place. Seems a stupid thing to suggest, but myexperience tells me otherwise.Check when those changes occurred and see if it matches with the decrease oftraffic. SEO – SEM– Social
2. Has the website been hacked? This is one of the most difficult questions to answer if you don’t have some good SEO experience.Ingenious hacking methods perfectly adopted on my client’s website took meaway hours of sleep lately, so I know what I’m talking about.Modern and sophisticated spammy attacks don’t necessarily affect the “good”pages.New directories of content are created, making it very difficult to find. SEO – SEM– Social
In other cases, the spammy content is added to the“good” pages but with a cloaking strategy (only searchengines see the spammy content, normal users willcontinue to see the good content).When a search engine discovers this hacked content, twothings could happen:1. Your site gets listed as hacked and you get a warning in webmaster tools,2. Your site gets de-weighted and the entire website looses rankings, with no warnings. SEO – SEM– Social
Use the Google and Bing Webmaster Toolsto diagnose hacking problems.Another way to diagnose a hack is by doing acrawling report with the Google user agent(Screaming Frog is a perfect tool to use).You will have to look for spammy externallinks from your content.Rescue a hacked website could be anightmare, but if you are lucky enough itwould involve loading a clean backup (youhave a backup, right?) and changing all ftp,user, and database passwords. SEO – SEM– Social
3. Have you been hit by negative SEO?If you have many enemies you are powerful. At least this is what I’ve beentold.Negative SEO occurs when a competitor automates a large series of spammylinks at your website, which can result in site-wide rankings drops.How to spot negative SEO? You have to perform a complete link audit. Youcan use Webmaster tools and external tools like Open Site Explorer, MajesticSEO and Link Assistant.Google and Bing Webmaster Tools have a Disavow Links Tool which can beused to tell search engines what links should be disavowed, because spammy.I’ve done this once for a client and it worked perfectly. The client regained allits rankings in less than 3 weeks. SEO – SEM– Social
4. Have you been hit by a Ranking Penalty?The first thing you should do to see if you have been hit by a major penalty isto perform a site:www.yourdomain.com query. If your site doesn’t show up,you have probably been banned.Use Google or Bing Webmaster tools to check for warning messages. In mostcases, if you have been hit by a penalty you would receive a message.Many penalties typically revolve around a sudden influx of bad links orspammy content.Conduct an SEO audit to ensure you are following best SEO practices and usethe reconsideration request tool (in Webmaster Tools) when you have fixedthe problem. SEO – SEM– Social
5. Has there been an Algorithm update?If you didn’t spot any problems yet, there is a good chance that your site hasbeen affected by a normal seasonal algorithm update.Search through the major Blogs and Forums (Search Engine Lang and SEORoundtable are the most updated for Algo changes).Additionally, have a look at “official” sources like the Google Webmaster Blog. SEO – SEM– Social
Simone Luciani in a nutshell I’m a Digital Marketing Consultant specialised in SEO & Search Marketing in English and Italian Markets. Based in the UK, London. I have a degree in Internet Marketing and a Master in Digital Marketing (The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing – London). I’m a Google Qualified Individual certified for Adwords and Google Analytics.I have worked for 4 years as SEO Manager in eBay. I founded Studio Web Lucianiin 2009, working for companies like HomeAway, Expedia, RAI, Amadori,Groupon, Fila, Piaggio, CESVI, REPLAY and more.I’m the Author of Rankfirst – SEM Blog, and an occasional collaborator of SearchMarketing Standard (USA) and Search Engine People (Canada). I’m also ateacher for the Bewe Academy (Social Marketing Master).