Is That Drop in Organic Traffic Normal?

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Every site owner loves to see their organic traffic climb upwards month over month. But very few websites see that growth month after month after month without fail. Sooner or later you are bound to have a slow month where organic traffic takes a slight drop, maybe 5-10% or so. Other months might even see a bigger drop in organic traffic, but that doesn’t automatically mean your SEO program is failing. Unless your drop in organic traffic happens the same day as a Google update like Panda or Penguin goes live, try not to panic right away. That drop in organic traffic could actually be normal!

Every industry and every website is bound to feel the impact seasonality throughout the year. For instance, a florist might get a steady stream of traffic all year but sees huge spikes around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day because more people are actively searching for local florists. A B2B software company might see an influx in traffic in Q1 because potential customers have approved budgets to work with and are looking to buy. That’s the positive impact of seasonality; there are more people searching for what you have to offer. But seasonality can also create a drop in organic traffic. For example, a B&B on Cape Cod isn’t doing much business after Labor Day weekend simply because people aren’t looking to travel to the beach in the winter. Traffic to their website is bound to take a noticeable hit during that time, but pick up again once warmer months are on the horizon. If that B&B owner looked at the Google Analytics account year-over-year chances are they would see similar drops in organic traffic during that same time period over and over again.

Take a look at the graph below. One of our B2B clients is way up in terms of organic traffic year-over-year, but you can see a clear drop towards the end of November. But what happens at the end of November? Thanksgiving of course! It’s a four-day weekend (if not longer) for most people and very few people are actively searching for B2B products and services.

Is That Drop in Organic Traffic Normal?

The story might be a little different if this was a B2C retailer, who would probably see a surge in organic traffic because of shoppers scoping out all the Black Friday deals. See how seasonality can have a positive or negative impact on your business depending on what it is you sell and who you are trying to reach? That drop (or surge) in organic traffic might actually be completely normal!

It’s very important you take time to understand the seasonality of your own business. If there are simply less people searching for your products and services at a certain time of year you are going to see less organic traffic. Certain industries have very clear and defined seasons. For instance, how many people are searching for “Christmas tree farm” in July? You can’t expect to drive organic traffic to your site when there is not organic traffic to be had. Other industries might be influenced by a variety of factors that create seasonal demand (or lack thereof). If you experience a drop in traffic make sure it’s not just business as usual before you start panicking.

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