If you’ve owned a website for long enough, you’ve probably experienced a random increase or decrease in traffic at least once or twice. These fluctuations often feel unexplainable, but in reality, they are usually related to the various Google algorithm updates that are taken live throughout the year. The past couple of months, in particular, have been quite a rollercoaster.
Google’s Diversity Update
Back in June, Google rolled out a “diversity” update aimed at limiting the number of times a website can appear in a single SERP (search engine result page) and thus giving smaller websites a better chance to rank for competitive keywords. We’ve noticed the effects for several accounts we manage.
In some cases, we’ve seeing positive traffic growth for smaller sites. In others, we’ve seen clients that once ranked 5-6 unique pages for one niche keyword drop to only one or two results for the same keyword.
Despite some of these keywords being relatively low volume (10-200 searches per month), the result is a dramatic shift in traffic. As you can imagine, a site that ranks for almost all of the page 1 results winds up driving almost every searcher to their website.
The Unofficial “Maverick” Update
In addition to the Diversity update, SEOs felt another strong fluctuation in the middle of July.
Updates like these, that are not announced by Google, often cause heated debates by SEOs. Similar to what many people have reported, Duckpin also noticed a spike for some of our clients in the middle of July.
August 1st Core Update
This one was the trifecta. On August 1st Google launched another confirmed broad core algorithm update. On a large scale, this update mostly affected what are known as YMYL (Your Money Your Life) websites, but smaller niche sites also saw a drop-off in traffic. For our clients specifically, we saw an even distribution of clients experiencing a boost or a drop-off in organic traffic.
So Now What?
All of the above might feel concerning to business owners, but believe it or not, Google launches thousands of updates through the year. These updates vary in impact and often do not have a direct action to take to recover from if your website experiences a strong drop in traffic.
If your business relies heavily on organic traffic from Google, the best thing you can do is look for additional opportunities to provide value to your customers by creating valuable content or improving your overall website experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about daily traffic fluctuations, you should check out Rank Ranger, which provides a report of Google SERP fluctuations.