If you have paid any attention to insights and data analysis based on your website traffic (perhaps using official Google tools like Analytics), you will rarely find that your organic traffic is completely stable, or improving at a constant rate. In almost every single case you will see random jumps and drops at least every now and then, and it can be hard to figure out the context behind these sudden changes.
Fluctuations in organic traffic may be normal, but they are always caused by something, it’s just a case of determining whether that factor is within your control or not. If it is, you may need to act fast to rectify a problem and prevent further loss of potential traffic. Here are some examples of common issues that might explain sudden dips in traffic.
1) Indexing – To appear on Google’s search results pages, a webpage needs to be indexed. You can stop pages from being indexed, for various reasons, and sometimes this option may be enabled accidentally. A noindex tag or your robots.txt file may be to blame if your pages are missing from Google’s database.
2) Updates – If you have made major changes on your website, Google may detect this and take some time to go through the process of re-indexing the affected pages according to their new content. Expect some fluctuation in organic positions and traffic following a big overhaul of any page. It’s especially important when making updates to make sure you don’t break valuable links (setting up redirects can preserve these).
3) Google – The main search engine we’re usually all focused on is constantly making changes of its own. It ranks every website for every keywords based entirely on algorithms and calculations (with some rare exceptions), so when these algorithms are changed the rankings may be disrupted for a while. The engineers behind these changes tend to test new ideas quietly in the background, and at first the effects can sometimes be too extreme and require fine tuning. This could explain sudden changes in your organic traffic.
4) Competitors – You can’t control your competition within your market, however much you would love that power. Even if you are doing everything right in terms of SEO, someone else with a higher budget and a better website may spring up ahead of you out of nowhere. Unfortunately this may have a temporary (or permanent) effect on your own traffic, depending on how quickly you can react.