Jan 5, 2023

How to fix declining traffic

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No piece of content stays golden forever – at least, not without continued maintenance.

The sooner you can spot a page in decline, the more effectively you can revive it. And before you can fix the issue, you have to identify the cause.

So let’s look at how to do all of that.

(Note: we flag a page as “declining” if its traffic has decreased 15% or more in the past quarter.)

Why traffic starts to decline

It comes down to two general trends:

  • Decline in searches
  • Decline in click-through

A page in decline is probably dealing with one of those, at least.

Decline in searches

People are searching for the subject-matter of your post less and less. Alternately: they might still be interested in the subject, but are using new language to find it in search engines.

To gauge search trends for your page, run the target keyword through Google Trends.

google trends screenshot.png

Decline in click-through

Regardless of search volume, your page might be losing its appeal in the SERPs.

A drop in clicks often coincides with a drop in rank. A drop in click-through rate often coincides with outdated metadata.

To verify click and click-through trends, pull up that data for your page in Google Analytics.

Finding and fixing pages in decline

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Step one is to actively monitor traffic performance across your entire site so that you can spot worrisome trends as soon as they start.

You can do that with Google Analytics. You can also do it (with fewer clicks) in Ottimo. There’s a performance category dedicated to declining pages.

ottimo declining pages bucket.png

Once you have a list of declining pages, we recommend starting with the pages that have the most traffic.

Here’s how to understand and fix declining traffic for each page.

Identify the page’s top search queries.

Run those through Google Trends to spot any changes in search traffic.

Pull up click-through data from Google Analytics.

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A quick look at the month-over-month chart can give you a quick sense for how these metrics have changed.

Review top-ranking competitor pages.

How does their keyword usage differ from yours? How about their metadata? And the content itself?

Choose the target keyword for your revision.

It might be the same as before. That’s fine. But you might see an opportunity for an adjacent keyword instead.

Revise the page for content quality.

It never hurts to finish up with a general SEO touch-up as well.

Once you publish the revised page, keep an eye on it. If you don’t see any change after about a month, you might need to get in there and make changes again.

We’re *actually* here to help

We’re marketers who love spreadsheets, algorithms, code, and data. And we love helping other marketers with interesting challenges. Tackling the hard stuff together is what we like to do.

We don’t just show you the way—we’re in this with you too.

Background image of a red ball in a hole.