Google’s Daniel Waisberg did this excellent message and illustration, he calls drafts on how Google would categorize the types or causes of organic traffic drops. Categories include site-level technical issues, page-level technical issues, manual actions, algorithmic changes, seasonality, and simple bug reports.

Here are drafts showing manual actions and site-wide technical issues usually lead to a massive and rapid drop in traffic, while page-level technical problems and algorithmic changes lead to a slower pace. Here is the picture:

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Daniel wrote “There are five main reasons for search traffic drops” and listed these five:

  • Technical problems: Errors that may prevent Google from crawling or providing your pages to users, such as server availability, robots.txt retrieval, page not found, and more. Note that issues can be an entire site (e.g. your website is down) or an entire page (e.g. a misplaced noindex tag that depends on Google crawling the page, which means traffic is slowing down more slowly).
  • Security issues: If a security threat affects your site, Google may warn users with warnings or tabs before they arrive at your site, which can reduce search traffic.
  • Manual functions: If your site doesn’t follow Google’s guidelines, some or all of your site may be excluded from Google’s search results using a manual feature.
  • Algorithmic changes: Google is constantly improving its content rating and updating its algorithms accordingly. core updates and other minor updates can change the performance of some pages in Google search results. To follow upcoming updates, subscribe to the Google Search News YouTube series or follow us on Twitter.
  • Search Interference Interference: Sometimes changes in user behavior change the demand for certain queries as a result of either a new trend or seasonality throughout the year. This means that traffic can fall as a result of external influences alone.

The post explains how to do this analysis, so I recommend reading it.

It’s great that Google shared what these traffic drops usually look like for a reason.

Of course, we then had some fun answers:

Forum discussion Twitter.


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