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In this detailed guide, we will try to find the reasons for website search traffic loss and important tips to recover from it.
If you are experiencing a massive loss of traffic, it is entirely possible that you are hit by a Google Quality algorithm update.
Google rolls out quality updates every month and several times during a year.
Your new or old website may have been doing great but suddenly has lost traffic from Google search.
This can happen to anyone in any niche, not only to smaller blogs on WordPress, Blogger or any other platform but at times to medium to large websites.
But the quality update killing your website traffic is more common on the smaller blogs and websites.
If you have ever visited the Google Webmaster product forum, it is full of complaints and cries of people whose businesses are wiped overnight by some search engine update.
It takes months and years of hard work to create a blog but a small Google update and can remove all your posts from Google search to oblivion.
Initially, most of the blogs and websites start getting traffic and grows as you work on them and create new content.
At some point, the Google crawler scrutinizes the website for Quality related issues and applies a penalty which is mostly related to Quality.
But at times the webmaster feels that their content is good, and they don’t deserve the penalty from Google.
However, it may sound odd, but sometimes Google penalizes sites that lack E-A-T despite having good content.
In my assessment, most of these sites are smaller/medium-sized blogs.
E – Expertise
T – Trustworthiness
If your website is lacking in the E-A-T factors (despite having good content), it may get severely penalized and may lose up to 50% or more traffic from the search engine.
Most bigger websites and brand names have the E-A-T, and smaller blogs usually find it difficult to showcase that they have the required E-A-T to search quality raters. (You can read more about E-A-T and search quality rater guidelines here).
There are several guides on the internet written by so-called SEO experts that promise to help you to crawl out of Google Penalties like Panda, Penguin, Fred or Hummingbird.
But to be frank, it is very difficult to get out of these penalties. You may need to change everything on your website for Google to re-evaluate and rank it.
Sometimes it can take years to get back to higher traffic ranking and at times Google may not like it as much as it used to.
E-A-T is not the only factor absence of which can cause a major decline, there are several other things.
Usually, a high E-A-T website with tons of backlinks and traffic is not penalized for smaller issues which may cause a major traffic dip for smaller websites.
A huge number of smaller blogs are unable to keep up with the large rival publications in terms of quality, quantity, technology, authoritativeness, and trust.
Add to that lack of backlinks, slow-loading sites, no-amp implementation, higher ads and more affiliate links.
All of this makes smaller blogs less attractive to Google, Google wants to send searchers to the best possible results and may not think the smaller blog offers the experience the user is looking for.
Back in the days, a 300-word post was enough to share the information. Now the deadly trend is to write 3000 words to convey the same thing as Google thinks that is a higher quality article. (How long should be your article by Yoast)
Small blogs and websites are finding it difficult to compete for competitive keywords and the rise of videos is another factor making life difficult for bloggers.
Repurposing content and writing thin content will not cut it.
If your website is losing traffic and your keyword ranking is also declining, it is a serious concern. But fixable.
The traffic drop can be due to many reasons like un-natural links penalty, poor quality content, plagiarism, poor user experience, competition activity.
Dive into Google Analytics to find out which articles are getting less traffic. Is the traffic drop across the board or specific to some top-ranking articles?
There is no sure-shot way to understand the cause but you will have to create an action plan to improve both your content and user experience to rank higher again.
I have tried these on several sites and have failed miserably. The issues of thin content or improving content quality doesn’t always end with the lifting of a Google penalty.
I met with Mr. Gary Illleyes from Google Search and had a very long discussion on penalties, and he said that creating a stronger brand and E-A-T is sometimes the only option, improving content may not help.
Deleting or no-indexing your posts may also not help in case the Panda update has hit you.
Google is unforgiving if it finds out you are doing un-natural inbound or outbound linking. Don’t do it, Google will catch you and penalize you.
Most people will tell you to think about users, but I think you need to think about Google and understand what Google considers quality content and experience.
Afterall Google is also your customer who sends you tons of traffic to make a living. Learn about SEO and how to create original quality content.
You are not running Economic Times or Times of India, who can show only ads and still Google will love you. Use fewer ads, pop-ups and affiliate links.
Optimize your ads and link to products that sell and offer a good margin. Be mindful when linking.
Google loves fast loading websites, use caching, faster hosting, lightweight themes, CDN and AMP to make sure that your website loads in less than 3 seconds on mobile and desktop.
The content was king a couple of years back. Now the unique content is King. You can re-write and re-word the articles published on 10 other websites and call it unique.
Most people think that unique content means what they have typed and not copied from anywhere. No, that is re-worded content.
Write about an original idea and share your thoughts about it or be the first to write about a topic or add a spin to what is already said by others. That is unique content.
You bet it is. It is super hard to run a successful blog in 2020, your day job with your mean boss sounds like a better option.
But if you want to run a successful blog, you will have to burn the midnight oil and produce content that is hard for others to match.
Keep Blogging! Keep Pushing! Long Live Blogging!