What was your response the last time you saw a dropoff or upwards increase in organic traffic to your site?
A typical action among online marketers is to rapidly leap to the conclusion that Google’s algorithm is at fault.
By leaping to this conclusion too quickly, you’ll end up not being able to duplicate successes or even worse, you’ll wind up duplicating your mistakes.
A systematic framework for determining SEO concerns will help you determine which of the 4 forces of SEO are affecting your natural performance and assist you more quickly recognize and fix essential issues.
The 4 Forces of SEO
These forces represent the main pressures that impact SEO traffic.
For each SEO force below, we’ll discuss the meaning, triggers, tools for detecting, and methods for solving core issues.
Definition: Modifications in search algorithms are impacting my organic efficiency.
Examples consist of:
- Big or small-scale updates to Google algorithms.
- Increases in highlighted snippets that affect the types of outcomes that appear on an online search engine results page (SERP).
- Increases in the portion of ads on a SERP for given subjects.
Diagnosing an Algorithmic Issue
1. Identify the date of the increase or reduce in traffic. Does the timeline align with an algorithmic upgrade?
2. If no positioning, check out manual action in Google Browse Console.
3. If no manual action, does the shift in traffic occur at the same time with modifications in SERP features?
Fixing an Algorithmic Issue
1. Establish the timeline of abrupt ranking or organic traffic drops/gains.
2. Associate the date with algorithm modifications. If a connection exists, identify the scale, specifics, and seriousness of the issue.
Gather paperwork from Google Web designer YouTube channel, market publications, or your friendly neighborhood SEO to recognize the very best option.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet for attending to algorithmic updates. Your best beginning point is to comprehend if the upgrade is going to weigh off-page or on-page factors more or less.
3. If no connection exists, examine Google Search Console for manual action penalties or the MozCast for SERP function motions
Definition: Modifications on my website are impacting my organic efficiency.
Examples consist of:
- You added a brand-new area of material.
- You merged 2 sites into one domain.
- You moved from non-secure to secure hosting.
Detecting a Technical Problem
Establish a timeline for technical (front-end or back-end) changes to the website. Annotations in Google Analytics or changelogs within your CMS can help you evaluate this.
At a minimum, you should frequently track:
- Domain combinations
- Large-scale material additions or removals
- CMS transitions
- Hosting transitions
- Large marketing campaigns
What correlations can you draw from the time when big scale modifications were implemented to when you saw an abrupt modification in performance?
Resolving a Technical concern
Technical problems spawn from a broad range of outputs. A technical SEO audit is your best option in identifying the specific cause.
To get started, run a complete crawl of your site with Screaming Frog or your preferred crawling tool.
Keep in mind, not all SEO tools can run a total crawl of your website. Some tools will put in a cap in place around the quantity or types of URLs they will crawl.
After exporting your crawl, follow this list as you go through each URL on your website:
- Audit for damaged links (404 s). 404 errors occur naturally gradually, but if big areas of your site are “broken.” then make the effort to deal with these.
- Identify temporary 302- reroutes or lengthy redirect chains.
- Identify masses of your site that are low quality or thin. Reroute or combine these pages on your website if they aren’t supplying any rankings, traffic, or conversions.
- Identify duplicate content and update with rel=canonical or no=index so that each page is distinct. This prevails for services with several locations that utilize similar or duplicate content across each store front page.
- Guarantee you aren’t obstructing crawlers from visiting important pages on your website through your robots.txt file.
- Audit the pages that have a higher crawl depth. Crawl depth is the estimation of how many clicks away a specific page is from the homepage. Pages that are more than 4-5 clicks away from your homepage aren’t likely crawled as often. If these pages are important for your business, then your information architecture might need to be upgraded.
Once again this is just a beginning point for a technical SEO audit, which is going to be more extensive. For 70-80%of technical SEO problems, you can find glaring issues with a full website crawl.
Definition: Modifications in time are affecting my natural efficiency.
Examples consist of:
- Start of the fiscal year
- Literal season modifications
- Financial cycles (which can cover for months or years)
Identifying a Seasonal Problem
Google Trends will be your buddy in recognizing seasonal search trends for your targeted subjects. Pull the last 5 years worth of search trends (in your targeted location) for your core products or services.
Then recognize connections between industry search demand and your organic traffic motion.
This example shows us yearly search patterns for keywords connected to “patio furnishings.”
Fixing a Seasonal Problem
Map out topical seasonality with your internal marketing calendar and vacations.
If you struggle with significant, predictable swings in traffic throughout the year, recognize topics that your purchaser personas are searching for that are tangentially related to your organisation during the slow months.
In this example, a patio furnishings store that produces most business in the warm months should be establishing content aligned with topics for every single season.
The timing in which your client purchases your item may be cyclical however you can still find angles to connect with your purchaser.
For example, people don’t stop barbecuing and mingling outdoors throughout the cooler months.
Align your topical locations with your buyer’s seasonal interests year-round.
Meaning: Competitive pressures are impacting my organic efficiency.
Examples consist of:
- A brand-new competitor getting in the marketplace, a merger, or an acquisition.
- Non-competing sites contending for your keywords.
- Boosts in paid media cannibalizing a larger share of clicks for target keywords.
Identifying a Competitive Problem
The essential to comprehending if you have a competitive SEO issue is gaining a greater knowledge of macro patterns impacting your service, complementary and substitute items, and your buyer persona’s getting behavior.
Two common indications that a competitive concern is affecting your natural search growth are:
- Multi-month/year Google Trends data.
- Your own analytics.
This example reveals the development in popularity of “meal kits” over the last five years. Consistent development overtime for a subject is indicative that more gamers are entering the area.
In Addition, if Google Trends data aligns with your general natural search traffic information, this can validate this hypothesis.
Last but not least, paid search efforts by you and your rivals can play a role in cannibalizing organic search traffic. Determine if the competitive concern you are facing is due to increases in paid media financial investment in your industry or just more rivals investing in SEO.
Resolving a Competitive Issue
1. Conduct a competitive topical analysis.
By examining rivals’ topical strengths and weak points, you can then drill into private on-page factors.
The most significant reason your rivals will outrank you, from an on-page viewpoint, is because they have more and/or much better, efficient content on their site.
This is an example of how to perform this topical analysis. By very first classifying all of your rankings keywords and after that putting them into a pivot table, you can see these topical strengths and weak points.
This example reveals an export of our firm’s ‘purchasers journey’ associated keywords vs. other Martech solutions.
When you have all of your keywords tagged or classified, then you can pivot these lists to get a concept of quantity of keywords you rank for on the 1st page, 2nd-3rd page or buried much further down within the SERPs.
This example report shows topical strengths for ‘blogging’ associated keywords which we can collect from a simple pivot table of the information above.
Beyond content quality, details architecture is an important factor in outranking your competition.
Shrieking Frog’s Force Directed Crawl Diagram Report can help you envision the information architecture of your site to ensure your content is arranged by topic and user intent and is easily available on your site.
2. Conduct a competitive backlink analysis.
After taking a look at content and information architecture elements, you need to compare your backlink profile with your rivals.
This will permit you to understand the quantity and quality of connecting root domains you require to get in order to better complete in the SERPs.
Algorithmic, technical, seasonal, and competitive aspects are the driving forces behind organic traffic motion.
By utilizing this systematic technique to diagnosing SEO concerns, you’ll be able to faster assist your company identify SEO problems and prioritize your marketing efforts.
- A 5-Step Guide to Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues
- 5 of one of the most Complex SEO Problems & How to Repair Them
- 5 SEO Realities SEO Professionals Struggle with Most
Included Image: Produced by author, March 2020
In-Post Image # 1: Developed by author, March 2020
In-Post Image # 2: Moz
In-Post Image # 3: SEMrush
All other screenshots taken by author, March 2020