When SEO Goes Wrong How to Fix Your Declining Search Traffic | Ep. #651

In episode #651, Eric and Neil discuss how you can fix your declining traffic. Tune in to hear how you can fix problems with your SEO.


  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: When SEO Goes Wrong How to Fix Your Declining Search Traffic
  • [00:54] When you haven’t changed anything and traffic declines, it could be the link algorithm, your content is outdated, or user experience isn’t that good.
  • [01:22] Read Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable to see if you’re up to date on algorithms and changes to sites.
  • [01:50] Use SEMRush and Moz to see indicators of change.
  • [02:25] Look for correlation across the board.
  • [02:38] Rusty Bricks looks for chatter on forums to see what problems arise for traffic.
  • [02:55] It’s important to have quantitative and qualitative data.
  • [03:00] Wicked Fire and Blackhatworld are good resources.
  • [03:30] When traffic dropped for Neil, they ran experiments and tracked everything.
  • [04:10] Make sure you are diversifying.
  • [04:30] Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • [04:47] Sometimes your rankings may drop due to a change you made on your own website.
  • [05:44] Always track your changes.
  • [05:55] Don’t panic and be willing to take risks.
  • [06;15] Look at it quarter over quarter.
  • [06:40] WP Engine is great because you can revert to previous versions of your site.
  • [07:04] That’s it for today!
  • [07:07] Go to Singlegrain.com/Giveway for a special marketing tool giveaway!

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The post When SEO Goes Wrong How to Fix Your Declining Search Traffic | Ep. #651 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Announcer: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity.
You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors, Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric: And today, we're going to talk about when SEO goes wrong, well, how do you fix your declining search traffic? So this is actually really recent because Google's come out with a couple algorithm updates, especially in March and another update hit about a week or two ago. So, Neil, what are your thoughts around this? This has happened to you a couple times. Happened to me a couple times.

Neil: Yeah, you gotta end up looking at what's causing the decline and it's gonna be different in many situations. For example, when you don't have anything that you made as a change and your traffic just starts declining, typically it's related to either, A, they changed something in the link algorithm so your links are spammy; B, your content isn't high in quality and you have a lot of outdated content; or C, your user experience isn't that good, from your load time to your bounce rate. So it's usually one of those three things.
To try to figure out which one of it is, you should make sure you're reading, like, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, there's ... What was it-

Eric: Search Engine Roundtable.

Neil: There you go. Search Engine Roundtable. So when you read these sites, a lot of them go over Google algorithm updates, what's happening, what people are seeing. You can also check out the forums, like Black Hat SEO forums and ... I don't know all the names of the forums or where are the forums, and that'll give you ideas of what's happening, who's seeing the traffic drops. Look at the type of sites and then, from there, what you can do is try to make the changes in the opposite direction.
SEMrush and [MAWS 00:01:55] also has indicators that just don't, like with SEMrush, if just doesn't show, hey, Google's doing an algorithm update. MAWS calls this their, like, weather forecast or SEO forecast. But with SEMrush, they also show which industries are getting hit the hardest and how much impact there is for certain categories.

Eric: Yeah, and building on what Neil has said, if you look at Search Engine Roundtable, so this is RustyBrick's - that's the guy that runs it. So what he does when an algorithm update hits is he has an update that shows the different tools that Neil's talking about, so you have the MAWS one, you have the SEMrush one, and then there's a host of other tools.
So what you're looking for there is you're looking for correlation across the board to see if something really big actually happened and what he does is he actually summarizes the chatter across different forums, so it could be across the Black Hat forums, the White Hat forums as well, where people are complaining, right. Some people are like, dammit, I just lost 50% of my traffic overnight, and you could get a sense of where people are really at.
So you have the kind of qualitative feedback and the quantitative feedback and what you're gonna do from there is ... Neil was talking about some of the Black Hat sites, I mean, Wicked Fire is one of the Black Hat forums of Black Hat - I think it's Black Hat World or something like that? It's something like that. There's too many of them.

Neil: Yeah, Black Hat World.

Eric: Check those out. I think, you know, Neil and I, we might look at those every once in a while just to see what people are doing and try to figure out how to flip those tactics into a White Hat way, because those work.
And the other thing I'll say is what's happened to me in the past when traffic has dropped is, well, I remember a couple years ago, I think traffic dropped from, like - I don't know - 40k to, you know, 25 or 20k or so, so I lost a lot of traffic. This is for one of the sites. And, from there, I mean, what we just kept doing is we continued to do the things we're talking about: we monitored, made changes, made sure the site load speed was good, the user experience was good, but we just kept producing more and more. We blunt-forced it with content and then we just kept building more links.
We did things the right way and eventually things picked up over time and we got our traffic back and it just kept scaling from there. Now, again, you have to be proactive. Look at these things and make sure you're doing things according to Google's guidelines, but then, you know, at the end of the day, you control what you can control. So what you can control is your content output, your link output. And then also what you can control is, well, in the long-term, you want to make sure that you're thinking ahead, you're diversifying, so if you look at what Neil's doing right now, he's not just doing content marketing for blog posts anymore. He is doing content marketing through audio, content marketing through video as well and we're trying to hit different channels. We're trying to hit different audio channels too.
Diversify, figure out how to nail one part of it first. Once you get it going, don't put all your eggs in one basket because if Google or Facebook or whoever decides to shut things down, algorithm update hits, you might lose half your business and that might mean lay-offs or that might mean things that are worse.

Neil: What you'll also find out is sometimes your rankings drop, not due to a Google algorithm update, but more so a change you made on your own website. For example, I recently acquired the Kissmetrics blog and I paid - because I don't have much time to do SEO these days for my own sites or even for clients' sites. Technically, I have a team that does it and my team's just jampacked right now. So, I outsourced this guy named Taller from Toronto and I'm like, hey, can you help out with the SEO on the Kissmetrics blog? It's been fluctuating a lot which usually means there's something that's off. Looked into it, made some changes, the changes he's made have caused the traffic to tank even more.
So, in this case, and I'm going through this right now, what I'll end up doing is I'll revert his changes and put it back to what they were before. It'll typically take me one to two months to recover back to what that was before I made his changes and then, from there, what I'll do is I'll go and I'll look at it myself and then try to figure out what went wrong and then run experiments.
Sometimes, though, even the changes I make will cause the traffic to drop and that's okay, but what I do is, again, revert them, go back to the drawing board, and keep experimenting. Don't panic when your traffic drops. More so, be willing to take risks and change things because things don't always go up and to the right.
Yes, over time, they'll continue to go up and to the right if you're doing the right things, but in between, things may go down, to the side, up, whatever it may be, but you have to look at it as quarter over a quarter, a year over a year versus hey, what's happening every week or every month with my search traffic.

Eric: Yeah, hundred percent. And just kind of really on a related note, I mean, today we just did a redesign. We went live on singlegrain.com and I'm very cognizant. Whenever we do a redesign or anything like that, we're constantly monitoring how's traffic doing, did we just lose a bunch of traffic, how are our conversion rates doing, did we tank?
Now, for me, I use WP Engine as host - it's really easy, they back up all the time, and you can always just reverse it. I had a friend that had his site hacked a couple weeks ago, you could just reverse it, right? So, make sure that you're going through a good host where you could kind of just revert the changes if something bad happened. Even if you're not technical, like for myself, I can just log in WP Engine and push it back and things will, well, they should go back to normal. Neil, anything else to add?

Neil: That's it from my end.

Eric: So that's it for today. Go to singlegrain.com/giveaway to get access to marketing tools to grow your business and we'll see you tomorrow.

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