If you keep an eye on your website’s analytic data, you’ll have probably noticed your organic traffic fluctuates from time to time.
While delving into Google Analytics and Search Console will often provide immediate explanations for a decline in traffic and bookings, other times sudden changes can be difficult to quantify.
From sometimes overlooked technical issues to market changes largely beyond your control, here’s a list of 5 things to check for first next time you notice a major shift in your organic traffic or rankings.
1. Your website pages haven’t been indexed
Are you sure your website pages are actually indexed? Run a quick check by typing “site:insertyourwebsitename” into Google. If important pages fail to show up in the search results pages, you may have found the source of your problems. Take a look at your robots.txt file to see if you’ve accidently blocked critical pages. If everything seems ok, check through your site on a page by page basis looking for noindex tags.
2. Recent site updates
Any changes you make to your website can result in a temporary traffic decline as Google re-crawls and re-indexes your pages. This includes any changes to your site’s copy, design or navigational structure, as well as anytime you decide to remove a page. It’s pretty common to see unstable rankings for a week or two after any of these adjustments. Don’t forget that if your site overhaul has involved a change to your URL or removing pages, you need to make sure you have set up a 301 redirect system to forward traffic and protect your hotel’s rankings and traffic.
3. Changes to Ad Placement in Google SERPs
In the past 6 months, Google has begun removing ads displayed on the right hand side of desktop search results. The change is still being rolled out, but as a result many businesses may already notice that more of their traffic is being cannibalized by paid search ads. Although only time will tell how this change will impact organic search strategies long-term, it helps to keep it in mind when looking at your traffic fluctuations.
4. Duplicate URLs
Does your hotel have a clearly defined content system in place, or do you publish on a more casual, ad hoc basis? Not having a focused keyword strategy can cause problems, particularly if there’s more than one page optimised for the same keyword. That’s because these pages will be forced to compete against each other in the SERPs, which could damage their rankings.
Using a keyword tracking tool will show you exactly which URL Google ranks for the keyword in question.
5. Shift in Industry Trends
If you notice a significant dip in your organic traffic which cannot be explained by technical issues, it’s worth taking a look to see if your competitors are facing the same problem. Although you should view Google Trends data with a healthy amount of scepticism, it can offer the bigger picture on consumer trends that may be impacting the travel industry. Are consumer preferences currently shifting around “city breaks”? If that’s one of your hotel’s main offerings, you can expect your traffic to shift too.
Do you monitor your website’s organic traffic rates? Let us know in the comments below!
RELATED PAGES AND BLOG POSTS:
- Want to Reduce Your Bounce Rate? Try These 5 Powerful Steps
- 2 Ways to Use Google Analytics Insights to Boost Your Hotel’s Marketing Plan
- How to Use Google Analytics To Create Your Most Targeted Marketing Campaigns Yet