Organic Traffic Recovery: Strategies to Regain Lost Visitors

Alex Tchouangwa
August 21, 2023
 min to read

Organic traffic recovery is a crucial aspect of maintaining and improving your website's search visibility. In today's ever-changing digital landscape, it is not uncommon for websites to experience sudden drops or gradual declines in organic traffic. This article will examine the numerous elements causing these changes and give practicable guidance on how to tackle them efficiently.

We will explore different types of organic traffic loss, from algorithmic changes causing sudden drops, to more gradual declines due to neglecting content creation and marketing efforts. We'll also discuss technical roadblocks such as domain migration errors and website redesign mishaps that can impact your site's search performance.

Furthermore, we'll cover the process of checking for Google penalties, understanding their types (manual vs algorithmic), confirming if your site has been penalized, and steps for recovering from a penalty. Lastly, we'll analyze the effects of algorithm updates on your site by evaluating seasonality patterns over time, monitoring user behavior through device usage reports, and identifying regional trends impacting web visits.

Identifying the Type of Organic Traffic Loss

Experiencing a decline in organic traffic? Don't panic. First, determine the nature of the loss to diagnose and fix the issue effectively. Here are three common types of organic traffic losses and how they may be impacting your site:

Sudden Drop in Organic Traffic Due to Algorithmic Changes

A sudden drop in organic traffic can often be attributed to algorithmic changes made by search engines like Google. These updates are designed to improve search results for users but can sometimes have unintended consequences for websites that don't meet their criteria. To identify if an algorithm update is responsible for your site's sudden decrease in traffic, monitor Google Algorithm Update announcements, industry news sources like Search Engine Land, or SEO forums where other webmasters share their experiences with recent updates.

Gradual Decline Caused by Neglecting Content Creation and Marketing Efforts

Slow and steady may win the race, but not when it comes to organic traffic. A gradual decline could indicate that you're neglecting crucial aspects of content creation and marketing efforts. This might include failing to produce new content regularly or not optimizing existing content for relevant keywords and user intent. A lackluster approach towards link building activities could also contribute significantly toward reduced visibility on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). To reverse this trend:

  • Create high-quality content consistently based on keyword research.
  • Optimize existing articles using up-to-date SEO best practices.
  • Promote your material across various social media and other pertinent channels.
  • Develop a robust link-building strategy to improve your site's authority.

Traffic Dropping to Zero Indicating a Tracking Issue

If your organic traffic has suddenly dropped to zero, it could indicate an issue with your website's tracking setup. This might be due to incorrect implementation of tracking codes or issues with Google Analytics itself. To diagnose this problem:

  1. Verify that the Google Analytics code is correctly installed on all pages of your site.
  2. Check for any recent changes in the tracking code or configuration settings within Google Analytics that may have caused data discrepancies.
  3. Ensure you're not filtering out legitimate traffic by mistake (e.g., excluding internal IP addresses).
  4. Use Real-Time reports in Google Analytics to verify if the tool is currently capturing data from live visitors on your site.

Understanding the type of organic traffic loss is crucial to pinpointing the root cause and implementing appropriate solutions. Keep track of algorithm updates and industry news sources while consistently producing high-quality content optimized for search engines. Additionally, ensure proper tracking setup and monitoring so that you don't miss valuable insights into how users are interacting with your website online.

Key Lesson:

Experiencing a decline in organic traffic? Don't panic. Identify the type of loss to diagnose and fix it effectively. A sudden drop could be due to algorithmic changes, neglecting content creation and marketing efforts could cause a gradual decline, while zero traffic may indicate tracking issues that need attention.

Technical Roadblocks Impacting Your Site

Investigating potential technical issues is crucial when trying to understand the cause of a decrease in organic traffic. By using Google Search Console's Performance on Search Results report, you can identify drops in keyword-specific rankings or page performance, which may indicate an underlying problem with your site.

Domain Migration Errors Affecting Search Visibility

A domain migration involves transferring your website from one domain to another. This process requires careful planning and execution to ensure that search engines continue indexing your content correctly after the move. However, errors during this process can lead to significant declines in organic traffic due to lost visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • 301 Redirects: Ensure that all old URLs are redirected properly using 301 redirects, which signal a permanent change of address for each URL.
  • Sitemap Updates: Update your sitemaps with new URLs and submit them through Google Search Console so that crawlers know where to find your content.
  • Rapid Domain Switches: Avoid making multiple changes within short periods as it might confuse search engines and result in temporary ranking fluctuations.

Websites Redesign Mishaps Leading To Lost Rankings

A website redesign aims at improving user experience, aesthetics, or functionality while maintaining existing SEO value. However, certain mistakes made during this process can negatively impact organic traffic by causing loss of rankings for important keywords.

  1. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions: Preserve well-optimized title tags and meta descriptions from previous designs instead of starting anew without considering their SEO value.
  2. URL Structure: Maintain the existing URL structure as much as possible, and use 301 redirects for any necessary changes.
  3. Internal Linking: Ensure that internal links are updated to reflect new URLs or page structures, maintaining a strong site architecture.

Misused Directives Causing Indexing Problems

Inaccurate implementation of directives like noindex, robots.txt disallow rules, canonical tags, and hreflang attributes can lead to indexing issues with search engines. This may result in lost rankings and decreased organic traffic. To avoid these problems:

  • Noindex Tags: Double-check your pages' source code to ensure you're not accidentally blocking important content from being indexed by using the noindex tag on crucial pages.
  • Robots.txt Rules: Review your robots.txt file for any incorrect disallow rules that might be preventing crawlers from accessing essential parts of your website. Use Google Search Console's robots.txt Tester tool.
  • Canonical Tags & Hreflang Attributes: Make sure you've correctly implemented canonical tags (to indicate preferred versions of duplicate content) and hreflang attributes (for multilingual websites).

Tackling technical roadblocks is essential to recover lost organic traffic. Addressing domain migration errors, avoiding website redesign mishaps, and fixing misused directives causing indexing problems will set you up for success in regaining visibility on SERPs.

Key Lesson:

To recover lost organic traffic, it is crucial to address technical roadblocks such as domain migration errors, website redesign mishaps, and misused directives causing indexing problems. This can be achieved by ensuring proper 301 redirects for old URLs, updating sitemaps with new URLs, preserving well-optimized title tags and meta descriptions during website redesigns, reviewing robots.txt files for incorrect disallow rules that may prevent crawlers from accessing essential parts of the site and correctly implementing canonical tags and hreflang attributes.

Checking for Google Penalties

If you've noticed a sudden drop in your organic traffic, it's essential to determine whether your website has been hit with a Google penalty. These penalties can significantly impact your site's performance overnight and lead to considerable losses in organic traffic. In this section, we'll discuss the types of Google penalties, how to confirm if your site received one, and steps for recovering from them.

Types of Google Penalties (manual vs algorithmic)

Google penalties come in two forms: manual actions and algorithmic updates. Manual actions are taken by human reviewers at Google when they find that a website violates their Webmaster Guidelines. Some common reasons for manual actions include unnatural links pointing to or from your site, thin content with little value, keyword stuffing, or cloaking.

Algorithmic updates occur when changes are made to the search engine algorithms that affect ranking factors. These updates aim to improve search results' quality by penalizing sites engaging in manipulative practices or providing low-quality content. Examples of significant algorithm updates include Panda (targeting low-quality content), Penguin (focusing on spammy link-building tactics), and Core Updates (broad adjustments affecting various aspects).

How to Confirm If Your Site Received a Penalty

To check if you've received a manual action penalty from Google:

  1. Login into Google Search Console.
  2. Select the property associated with the affected domain.
  3. In the left-hand menu under "Security & Manual Actions," click on "Manual Actions."
  4. From the left-hand menu, select "Manual Actions" to view any issue and instructions on how to fix it.

For algorithmic penalties, there is no direct notification from Google. However, you can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to monitor your site's organic traffic and keyword rankings for sudden drops that coincide with known algorithm updates. Additionally, follow industry news sources like Search Engine Land or Moz Blog, which often report on significant updates and their potential impacts.

Steps for Recovering from a Penalty

If your website has been hit by a manual action penalty:

  1. Analyze the issues reported in Google Search Console and take corrective measures accordingly (e.g., remove unnatural links or improve content quality).
  2. Once the necessary changes have been made, submit a reconsideration request through Google Search Console. This process may take several weeks before receiving feedback from Google.
  3. If successful in lifting the penalty, continue monitoring your site's performance and ensure compliance with Webmaster Guidelines moving forward.

In case of an algorithmic penalty:

  1. Determine which update affected your site by comparing its timeline with known algorithm changes. Focus on addressing any specific issues associated with that update (e.g., improving content quality if impacted by Panda).
  2. Audit your website thoroughly using SEO tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify areas requiring improvement - including technical aspects (site speed), user experience factors (mobile-friendliness), backlink profile, and content quality.
  3. Implement changes based on your audit findings and monitor the site's performance over time. Algorithmic penalties can take longer to recover from as they depend on Google reevaluating your website during subsequent updates or crawls.

Recovering from a Google penalty may be challenging, but with diligence in addressing the underlying issues and maintaining compliance with best practices, you can regain lost organic traffic and improve your site's overall performance.

Key Lesson:

If your website experiences a sudden drop in organic traffic, it may have been hit with a Google penalty. These penalties come in two forms: manual actions and algorithmic updates. To recover from these penalties, analyze the issues reported by Google Search Console, take corrective measures accordingly, submit reconsideration requests if necessary and monitor your site's performance over time to ensure compliance with Webmaster Guidelines moving forward.

Analyzing Algorithm Updates' Effects on Your Site

As search engines like Google continuously update their algorithms to provide better user experiences, it's crucial for marketers and SEO specialists to stay informed about these changes. By understanding how recent algorithm updates may have impacted your website's performance, you can take necessary actions to recover organic traffic and maintain a strong online presence. In this section, we'll discuss various ways of evaluating the effects of algorithm updates on factors such as keyword ranking positions.

Evaluating Seasonality Patterns Over Time

Seasonal trends can significantly impact your site's organic traffic. To determine whether an algorithm update or seasonality is responsible for fluctuations in your website's performance, analyze historical data from tools like Google Analytics. Look for patterns that coincide with specific times of the year when certain products or services are more popular among users. If you notice consistent drops in traffic during particular months each year, it might be due to seasonal factors rather than an algorithm change.

Monitoring User Behavior Through Device Usage Reports

User behavior varies across different devices (desktops, tablets, smartphones), which could affect how well your content performs in search results after an algorithm update. For instance, if Google releases a mobile-first indexing update and most of your visitors use desktop computers to access your site, you might see a drop in rankings due to poor mobile optimization.

To identify any potential issues related to device usage trends impacting web visits after an algorithm change:

  1. Analyze device-specific reports available within Google Analytics under Audience > Mobile > Overview;
  2. Determine if there has been a significant shift in user preferences toward one type of device over another;
  3. If needed, optimize your website for better performance on the most popular devices among your audience.

Identifying Regional Trends Impacting Web Visits

In some cases, algorithm updates may have a more significant impact on specific regions or countries. To analyze regional trends affecting your site's organic traffic:

  1. Review Google Analytics data under Audience > Geo > Location to identify any sudden changes in traffic from particular areas;
  2. If you notice a drop in visits from specific locations, research recent algorithm updates that could be targeting those regions (e.g., local search ranking factors);
  3. Adjust your SEO strategy accordingly by focusing on improving local visibility and catering to users' preferences within affected areas.

Besides using these methods to evaluate the effects of algorithm updates on your site's performance, it's essential to stay informed about industry news and developments. Follow reputable sources like Google's official blog (Google Search Central Blog) and other trusted SEO blogs such as Search Engine Land, Moz Blog, and Ahrefs Blog, which often provide insights into recent changes in search algorithms. By staying up-to-date with this information, you can proactively adjust your marketing strategies and ensure that any potential negative impacts are minimized or avoided altogether.

Monitor your website's performance, analyze the data, and stay aware of any recent algorithm changes to maintain or enhance visibility in search results and drive more organic traffic. By staying informed and analyzing data, you can effectively optimize your website's visibility in search results to drive organic traffic.

Key Lesson:

To recover organic traffic after an algorithm update, marketers and SEO specialists must analyze historical data to identify seasonal trends or regional changes that may have impacted website performance. Monitoring user behavior through device usage reports is also crucial for optimizing content in search results. Staying informed about industry news and developments can help adjust marketing strategies proactively and minimize negative impacts on visibility in search results.

FAQs in Relation to Organic Traffic Recovery

Boost Your Organic Traffic with These Tips

Create high-quality content targeting relevant keywords, optimize your site for SEO, build authoritative backlinks, and improve user experience to increase organic traffic. Don't forget to update existing content and promote it through social media and email marketing. Check out Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO for more tips.

Why Organic Traffic is Worth the Effort

Organic traffic generates long-term results with higher ROI compared to paid advertising, as organic visitors are more likely to convert and indicate strong brand authority and trustworthiness.

The Most Effective Approach to Drive Organic Traffic

Combine keyword research, on-page optimization, technical SEO, quality content creation, and link-building strategies like guest posting or outreach campaigns. Use Ahrefs' comprehensive SEO checklist for guidance.

The Benefits of Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is cost-effective, has higher conversion rates, increases credibility, improves visibility in search engine rankings, and is more adaptable against algorithm changes.


Revive Your Organic Traffic with These Tips

To recover lost organic traffic, analyze the type of loss, fix technical roadblocks, check for Google penalties, and adapt to algorithm updates.

Optimize your content based on new guidelines to recover from sudden traffic drops caused by algorithmic changes.

Revamp your content strategy to reverse gradual traffic decline due to neglecting content creation and marketing efforts.

If you suspect a Google penalty, identify its type to determine the appropriate recovery steps.

Track seasonal patterns, monitor user behavior, and identify regional trends to analyze algorithm updates' effects on your site's traffic performance.

Fix the root cause of technical issues such as domain migration errors or website redesign mishaps before implementing recovery measures.

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