You’ve recently noticed a significant decrease in your organic traffic but you haven’t made any recent major change on your site. Why is your organic traffic falling?

Here are a few potential scenarios.

1° YOU are the target (Google doesn’t like YOU anymore)

Google frequently updates its ranking algorithm, increasingly fine tuning how it evaluates the quality of a website. If you’ve been too agressive with technical SEO tactics (on-page over optimisation, systematic (paid) link building, etc.) without being a true expert in your field, you could identified as a non-authentic source and demoted. Bear in mind that it’s more and more difficult to fake authority in the eyes of Google.

2° Your market is falling (Google doesn’t like your type of site anymore)

In the first scenario, you might be an isolated victim while your competitors are doing just fine. But there’s also a possibility that Google suddenly decides to penalise a family of similar sites. Remember the Medic Update in August 2018. Google found a way to demote websites which weren’t providing enough genuine expertise.

Typical affiliate sites have been experiencing the same kind of category-wide fall in rankings in the latest Google updates, which targeted low quality reviews.

Check your competitors’ organic curves on ahrefs or semrush. See whether you’re an isolated casualty or part of a wider purge.

3° Your competitors are killing it (you’re left behind)

There are only 10 spots on Google page one. Actually even less when there are multiple ads as well as some Google instant results, a local map or featured snippets. It’s a constant fight at the top of the SERPs. Which means that if you enjoy a top position, it is always in danger of being captured by your organic competitors. If they’re killing in on the content front (or if they’re building a stronger backlink profile), you can lose your SERP mojo. You’ll then gradually slide to page 2, losing most of your organic traffic.

What could be perceived as a category-wide offensive (option 2) or your site falling out of love with Google (option 1) might just be something much more benign. There could be nothing wrong with your site, just a lazy status quo while your competitors are climbing all around you, stealing your rankings. It’s easy to find out, using your favourite SEO tool.