How to Diagnose Organic Search Traffic Drops

Jason Mun
Jason MunSEO Consultant at jasonmun.com
@jasonmun
Help! My Organic Search Traffic is Tanking
13th May 2019
@jasonmun
Overdose Digital // Digital Commerce Agency
Jason Mun
Director of Search & Insights
@jasonmun / jasonmun.com
https://overdose.digital
http://au.linkedin.com/in/jason-mun-8698a13
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
QUICK SHOW OF HANDS
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
OrganicTraffic
Timeline
Started
here
Grew traffic
by xx%
@jasonmun
@jasonmun
OrganicTraffic
Timeline
@jasonmun
OrganicTraffic
Timeline
@jasonmun
😟 😧 😡 🤬
@jasonmun
How to Diagnose SEO Traffic Drops
@jasonmun
1. Communicate & Ask Questions
❑ Do you know what happened on this date?
❑ Was there any major change to the website around this date period?
❑ Can you please check change logs for this date period?
@jasonmun
2. Check Google Analytics Tagging
https://get.google.com/tagassistant/
Install Google Tag
Assistant, click around
the website
@jasonmun
Use Screaming Frog to Verify GA Code
Configuration > Custom > Search
Searches the source
code for UA-XXXXX GA
code
@jasonmun
Use Screaming Frog to Verify GA Code
Click on
Custom tabThere shouldn’t
be pages with
missing code
@jasonmun
Google Analytics Change History
Admin > Account > Change History
Lookout for major
configuration changes –
particularly filters &
exclusions
@jasonmun
3. Check Robots.txt File
yourwebsite.com.au/robots.txt
User-agent: *
Disallow: /
• Check that the robots.txt file is still there
• Search engines CANNOT rank what they
cannot crawl or index
• Lookout for any other changes that may have
restricted or opened up the crawl of pages of
the website
@jasonmun
4. Check Meta Robots Tags
Click on
Directives tab
Check
NOINDEX
report
• Check that meta robots tags have been
implemented correctly
• Make sure that key pages on the website
are still INDEX, FOLLOW
• Check NOINDEX report for any
discrepancies
@jasonmun
5. Compare Technical SEO Checkpoints
• Run a fresh crawl of the website, compare it with the last crawl
• Lookout for any major changes to on-site, content, canonical tags, etc
@jasonmun
Setup Monitoring to Detect Changes
Use change detection tools and notification to catch any future issues
before they become a major issue
@jasonmun
6. Has the Website been Penalised?
Google Search Console > Manual Actions
• Check for any manual actions that may be
imposed on the website
• Unnatural links to your site, spammy
structured data, hacked website are some
common manual actions
@jasonmun
7. Check for Crappy Links
Ahrefs.com
• Lookout for irregular spikes in referring domains
and number of links
• Check anchor text usage and ratio
• Analyse the quality (Domain Rating) of the new
referring domains to the website
• If the referring domain looks spammy, not in the
same niche or feels out of place – flag them
• Upload and update the disavow file
(https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main)
@jasonmun
Pay Close Attention to Networks
Ahrefs.com
• The “Referring IPs” report in Ahrefs is great for
detecting networks
• Excessive number of referring domains and links
from the same IP ranges can be problematic
• Investigate if they are valid, relevant or spammy
• Flag them and add to the disavow file
@jasonmun
8. Was there an Algorithm Update?
• Check the news, blogs, tweets and forums for any algo related updates
• Use SERP trackers such as SEMrush sensor, Algoroo, Mozcast, etc to check volatility
@jasonmun
Overlay Google Analytics Data with Algo Updates
https://barracuda.digital/panguin-seo-tool/
• If you are doing historical analysis, use Panguin
Tool to overlay GA data with algorithm updates
• Check for correlation of updates to traffic declines
• Use the filters and options to slice and dice data
and views
• Find a hint and investigate further
@jasonmun
9. Check Your Rankings
Use your rankings tool of choice, look for macro (month-on-month) and
micro (day-by-by) trends in movements
@jasonmun
Check for SERP Feature Changes
SERP changes can often impact clicks, impressions and CTR
@jasonmun
10. Compare Against Competitors
If we are losing in rankings and traffic, someone else is winning. Find out
who and investigate why Google loves them more than you.
@jasonmun
Check the Movement of “Other” Competing Websites
Serpwoo.com
@jasonmun
11. Google Search Console Deep Dive
Google Search Console
• Analyse the performance data in GSC
• Compare data before the decline – choose daily,
weekly, monthly or yearly comparisons
• Check the query report as well as pages report
• Utilise filters to slice-n-dice the data available
• Lookout for any trends (negative or positive)
@jasonmun
Export ALL Data in to Google Sheets
https://searchanalyticsforsheets.com/
Bypass the 1,000 export limit of GSC interface
@jasonmun
Check Crawl Behaviour
Investigate irregular
crawl behaviour with
log file analysis. Make
sure crawl budget is
not wasted
@jasonmun
Check Indexation Levels
Check for irregular spikes
and declines
Don’t ignore these, they
provide a new level of
insight in to indexation
issues
@jasonmun
12. Google Analytics Deep Dive
Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords > Landing Page
• Compare data before the decline – choose daily,
weekly, monthly or yearly comparisons
• Compare organic channel vs paid search
channel – is there cannibilisation?
• Compare data for desktop vs. mobile
• Look out for trends based on page types
(category, sub-category, product, blog)
• Find a common trend and do a deeper dive
@jasonmun
Analysing Data via Google Interface Sucks
Export ALL your data and manipulate in Excel or Google Sheets
@jasonmun
Example of a Weekly Analysis
@jasonmun
13. Ask Your Peers & Consult Other Experts
• If all else fails, seek help from others
• Post a question in forums, tweet and
message others
• Participate in Google Webmaster Hangouts
• Get a second opinion from other experts
and consultants
@jasonmun
😧 Don’t Panic
Be methodical & run your checks📝
📉 Analyse data & let it guide your investigation
🛠 Work through issues, process of elimination
😃 Transparency + Communication = Happy Client!
@jasonmun
🙏 THANK YOU 🤟
@jasonmun
Overdose Digital // Digital Commerce Agency
Jason Mun
Director of Search & Insights
@jasonmun / jasonmun.com
https://overdose.digital
http://au.linkedin.com/in/jason-mun-8698a13
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How to Diagnose Organic Search Traffic Drops

  • 1. @jasonmun Help! My Organic Search Traffic is Tanking 13th May 2019
  • 2. @jasonmun Overdose Digital // Digital Commerce Agency Jason Mun Director of Search & Insights @jasonmun / jasonmun.com https://overdose.digital http://au.linkedin.com/in/jason-mun-8698a13
  • 14. @jasonmun How to Diagnose SEO Traffic Drops
  • 15. @jasonmun 1. Communicate & Ask Questions ❑ Do you know what happened on this date? ❑ Was there any major change to the website around this date period? ❑ Can you please check change logs for this date period?
  • 16. @jasonmun 2. Check Google Analytics Tagging https://get.google.com/tagassistant/ Install Google Tag Assistant, click around the website
  • 17. @jasonmun Use Screaming Frog to Verify GA Code Configuration > Custom > Search Searches the source code for UA-XXXXX GA code
  • 18. @jasonmun Use Screaming Frog to Verify GA Code Click on Custom tabThere shouldn’t be pages with missing code
  • 19. @jasonmun Google Analytics Change History Admin > Account > Change History Lookout for major configuration changes – particularly filters & exclusions
  • 20. @jasonmun 3. Check Robots.txt File yourwebsite.com.au/robots.txt User-agent: * Disallow: / • Check that the robots.txt file is still there • Search engines CANNOT rank what they cannot crawl or index • Lookout for any other changes that may have restricted or opened up the crawl of pages of the website
  • 21. @jasonmun 4. Check Meta Robots Tags Click on Directives tab Check NOINDEX report • Check that meta robots tags have been implemented correctly • Make sure that key pages on the website are still INDEX, FOLLOW • Check NOINDEX report for any discrepancies
  • 22. @jasonmun 5. Compare Technical SEO Checkpoints • Run a fresh crawl of the website, compare it with the last crawl • Lookout for any major changes to on-site, content, canonical tags, etc
  • 23. @jasonmun Setup Monitoring to Detect Changes Use change detection tools and notification to catch any future issues before they become a major issue
  • 24. @jasonmun 6. Has the Website been Penalised? Google Search Console > Manual Actions • Check for any manual actions that may be imposed on the website • Unnatural links to your site, spammy structured data, hacked website are some common manual actions
  • 25. @jasonmun 7. Check for Crappy Links Ahrefs.com • Lookout for irregular spikes in referring domains and number of links • Check anchor text usage and ratio • Analyse the quality (Domain Rating) of the new referring domains to the website • If the referring domain looks spammy, not in the same niche or feels out of place – flag them • Upload and update the disavow file (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main)
  • 26. @jasonmun Pay Close Attention to Networks Ahrefs.com • The “Referring IPs” report in Ahrefs is great for detecting networks • Excessive number of referring domains and links from the same IP ranges can be problematic • Investigate if they are valid, relevant or spammy • Flag them and add to the disavow file
  • 27. @jasonmun 8. Was there an Algorithm Update? • Check the news, blogs, tweets and forums for any algo related updates • Use SERP trackers such as SEMrush sensor, Algoroo, Mozcast, etc to check volatility
  • 28. @jasonmun Overlay Google Analytics Data with Algo Updates https://barracuda.digital/panguin-seo-tool/ • If you are doing historical analysis, use Panguin Tool to overlay GA data with algorithm updates • Check for correlation of updates to traffic declines • Use the filters and options to slice and dice data and views • Find a hint and investigate further
  • 29. @jasonmun 9. Check Your Rankings Use your rankings tool of choice, look for macro (month-on-month) and micro (day-by-by) trends in movements
  • 30. @jasonmun Check for SERP Feature Changes SERP changes can often impact clicks, impressions and CTR
  • 31. @jasonmun 10. Compare Against Competitors If we are losing in rankings and traffic, someone else is winning. Find out who and investigate why Google loves them more than you.
  • 32. @jasonmun Check the Movement of “Other” Competing Websites Serpwoo.com
  • 33. @jasonmun 11. Google Search Console Deep Dive Google Search Console • Analyse the performance data in GSC • Compare data before the decline – choose daily, weekly, monthly or yearly comparisons • Check the query report as well as pages report • Utilise filters to slice-n-dice the data available • Lookout for any trends (negative or positive)
  • 34. @jasonmun Export ALL Data in to Google Sheets https://searchanalyticsforsheets.com/ Bypass the 1,000 export limit of GSC interface
  • 35. @jasonmun Check Crawl Behaviour Investigate irregular crawl behaviour with log file analysis. Make sure crawl budget is not wasted
  • 36. @jasonmun Check Indexation Levels Check for irregular spikes and declines Don’t ignore these, they provide a new level of insight in to indexation issues
  • 37. @jasonmun 12. Google Analytics Deep Dive Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords > Landing Page • Compare data before the decline – choose daily, weekly, monthly or yearly comparisons • Compare organic channel vs paid search channel – is there cannibilisation? • Compare data for desktop vs. mobile • Look out for trends based on page types (category, sub-category, product, blog) • Find a common trend and do a deeper dive
  • 38. @jasonmun Analysing Data via Google Interface Sucks Export ALL your data and manipulate in Excel or Google Sheets
  • 39. @jasonmun Example of a Weekly Analysis
  • 40. @jasonmun 13. Ask Your Peers & Consult Other Experts • If all else fails, seek help from others • Post a question in forums, tweet and message others • Participate in Google Webmaster Hangouts • Get a second opinion from other experts and consultants
  • 41. @jasonmun 😧 Don’t Panic Be methodical & run your checks📝 📉 Analyse data & let it guide your investigation 🛠 Work through issues, process of elimination 😃 Transparency + Communication = Happy Client!
  • 43. @jasonmun Overdose Digital // Digital Commerce Agency Jason Mun Director of Search & Insights @jasonmun / jasonmun.com https://overdose.digital http://au.linkedin.com/in/jason-mun-8698a13