What to Do If Your Web Marketing Numbers Fall - dummies

What to Do If Your Web Marketing Numbers Fall

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

In web marketing, you will experience flux and, at times, your numbers may fall. Relax! Okay, that may be impossible. But, if you see your organic search traffic and rankings start to plunge, consider these possible causes:

  • The search engines might be updating their algorithms. If you’re playing above board, your old rankings will likely return.

  • You might be seeing a temporary dance as the search engines update their indexes.

  • Your developer or designer might have made a change that removed a page from your website or confused the search engines.

If your problem is one of the first two issues, you can’t do much but keep doing what you’re doing and grit your teeth.

Still, it pays to check whether some change you didn’t know about — or perhaps a change you made — had unintended consequences. Do the following:

  • Check with your developer and designer. Ask them whether they made any changes to the website.

  • Check your webmaster account on each major search engine. The search engines might alert you if they detected many errors or something suspicious.

  • Look for “thin” pages. If you’ve added user profiles or some form of automatically generated content, you may have generated a lot of “thin” pages and torpedoed your site’s rankings.

  • Check your links. Did you suddenly lose some?

  • Check for seasonal changes. If you’ve been recording SEO data for over a year, you can see whether seasonal trends moved you up or down in the rankings.

What you should not do is suddenly change your strategy. If you’re sticking to organic SEO — not buying links or engaging in attempts to trick the search engines — you’re not doing anything intentional that’s hurting your rankings.