How to fix sudden drop in search traffic

What do you do if you notice a drastic drop in your blog’s rankings and traffic from Google? Below are steps you can take to diagnose the problem and this recover from the slump. Much of it is taken from this webmaster help video by Matt Cutts.


1. Do a site search

Enter “site:” in Google search box to list up all your indexed pages. Things to look for in the search listing:

  • Does your blog disappear completely in Google search results or just a part of it disappears?
  • Check if there is partial indexing i.e. title with no snippet. If you don’t see a snippet, that may be caused by robots.txt blocking crawlers.
  • Check if there is any "This site may harm your computer" malware warning message appearing below your post title in search results.

2. Verify that your blog ranks for your domain name

Do a Google search for your domain ( Check if your blog doesn't appear or if it ranks poorly in search results. If that is the case, it is a sign that Google may have taken a manual spam action against it for violations of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.


3. Go to Webmaster Tools console

  • Is there a malware notice?
  • Look for warning messages on violations of Google quality guidelines like hidden text, doorway pages etc.
  • Do a Fetch-as-GoogleBot or press Ctrl+U on your browser to view the page’s source code. Look for noindex tag or rel canonical link tag that points to a page unknown to you etc.

4. Other things to check

  • Do other sites affected too? If they do, then the problem is maybe due to Google’s algorithm change.
  • Do a site search on other search engines. If they too aren’t listing you, it strongly  indicates the problem is on your site. Maybe you ran some test on robots.text or noindex meta tag, and forgot to reset it.
  • Have you done a design revamp, change in hosting etc. recently?

How to fix it?

  1. Fix whatever problem you find in the previous steps that might’ve caused the problem. Then wait for the ranking to go up again.
  2. If it’s a malware, request a review after you’ve removed it from your blog. The “Request a review” link is located link beneath the malware notice in Webmaster Tools.
  3. If you suspect the drop in ranking is a result of Google penalizing you for violating Google quality guidelines (cloaking, keyword stuffing, hidden text etc.), then the first thing to do is to undo any violations. Once you've addressed them, submit a reconsideration request.  Google will tell you if it has taken a manual action on your site and should be able to advise you what further action to take.
  4. If no messages or issues detected, consider going to webmaster help forum and ask the experts in there.


15 comments to "How to fix sudden drop in search traffic"

Anonymous,  November 5, 2011 at 7:31 PM    

Great tip, but I hope I'll never be in a situation where I need this.

homebiss November 6, 2011 at 1:05 AM    

Lost PageRanks were pretty common for me because one time ago I made the mistake of getting involved with Paid-to-Blog sites such as PayPerPost.

Well, I have learned my lessons of course and I have stopped doing sponsored posts ever since 2009. No lost PageRanks ever since but I'm still stuck with PR3.

Oh well...

Bsetip November 6, 2011 at 3:20 AM    

Must say that you have jotted down each and every point in a great detail. One more thing which can be considered is the sandboxing of the articles by Google and thus one need to keep visiting the old articles and do keep linking them back so that you have a flow of traffic to those articles also else it may get sandboxed.

Muhd Firdaus November 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM    

thanks for this tips, hopefully i never get a google sandbox :)

Blog Help November 8, 2011 at 9:35 PM    

Good advices for a begginer webmaster!

Kate Belle Townsend November 14, 2011 at 3:13 PM    

Brilliant advice!

Greenlava November 15, 2011 at 7:27 PM    

Oh the PR will go back up, it's just a matter of time.

This is where internal/deep linking and related post widget come in handy. The dig up old posts :)
Thanks for sharing.

@Muhd Firdaus
You're welcome :)

Removal Companies November 17, 2011 at 8:13 PM    

This article seems to be very useful for me, because I face to many times sudden rise/fall of my traffic. Thanks

Syarih November 18, 2011 at 11:25 PM    

it's depend on the keyword that we used inside our blog post. if the trafic drop it may be people were search less than normal deu to season.

justdente November 26, 2011 at 3:24 PM    

OK, You rock dude :)

Essien January 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM    

Thanks for sharing this tips. it really help me because my site dropping drastically, reading this tips enable me to solve the problem in time. Thank you once again

Movie Music Mazaa April 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM    

Great tips and right observations. I will surely check my blog accordingly.

New-B May 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM    

you're good man ! i should got my blogging problems solved trying yours after this week my blog have consideration for duplicate meta descriptions cut my 70% visitor. It's killing me how to deal with. Some of Yours post got me some clues,,just say thanks!

moviefollow June 12, 2012 at 2:47 AM    

Thanks for this great post man..really helpful.. my site is getting better now i guess

Abhishesh Pal June 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM    

on my website there used to be about 200 visitors but now suddenly this figure is decreased to 15-25 .... really depressing thing

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