SEO: Why Your Organic Performance Could Be Declining

Your organic revenue is showing a decrease, yet you’ve spent hours optimising your site, building good quality links and creating a user-friendly website. It can be disheartening, but it isn’t all bad news. We take a look into why this may be happening and why it might not be such a bad thing.

Checking your monthly reports, only to find a minus in that organic revenue column can be a bit of a slap in the face. Especially when you have put so much time and effort into creating a site worthy of that number 1 spot on Google. But sometimes, it can be a sign that the work you are doing is actually paying off.

Brand Awareness
A lot of the work we do in SEO is making people more aware of brands through digital PR, outreach and link building. Even optimising a page on your site to rank for a specific keyword is brand building, by extending your company name to a broader audience and making more people more aware of your brand. This leads to more users searching for your brand next time they are in the market for the products you sell. For example, how many times have you gone straight to ASOS for a pair of black ankle boots rather than searching google for ‘black ankle boots’. That’s because you are so aware of ASOS and associate them with clothing and footwear that you go straight to the site. This is just one example of successful brand building, but this kind of traffic doesn’t exactly lend itself to organic. In analytics, this is going to be classed as direct. So, if you are noticing an increase in direct traffic and carrying out a lot of brand awareness for your site, then your efforts are paying off. It’s obviously a bit unfortunate that organic doesn’t get the credit, but it’s still good news for your site as a whole.

Building Links
Another supposed SEO best practice is link building. We are often told that creating backlinks from authoritative sites will have a positive impact on appearance in search. But if you are building links from external sites and users click those links, this will be classed as referral traffic and not organic. Once again, SEO has done the work, but another channel is going to take all the credit. So if you are building backlinks from quality sites for organic purposes, but your referral traffic has improved recently, then you can probably take this as a win too.

Rich Snippets
We are told continuously that quality content is the key to improving organic performance. The new goal is to get a Rich Snippet or into one of those coveted Google answer boxes. But think about the last time you typed a question into Google. Did you read the answer box? Most probably. Did you click the link within the answer box too? Possibly not. Once you have your answer, that’s it. You got what you wanted. Why else do you need to click the link to find out more? Most of us don’t have time to read lengthy articles, we just want a quick and straightforward answer to our questions. So if you have noticed your site appearing in a lot of answer boxes recently and your organic traffic has seen a decrease, this may explain why.

That being said, you shouldn’t stop creating content. If anything, keep up the good work. The more answer boxes you are in, the more likely you are to be seen as an authoritative name within your industry, providing a better brand perception amongst your audience.

Google Is Changing
Us SEO-ers are often chasing that number 1 spot on Google. But you may have noticed that the top spot isn’t as high as it once was. To get to the first organic result, you have to scroll through a minefield of paid ads, videos, images, answer boxes, rich snippets and Discover feeds. Gone are the days when you would see an organic search result at the top of the page. Google is now providing its users with more content is varying forms in a bid to keep its audience interested, but of course, this is having a knock-on effect on SERPs.

But this doesn’t mean you should quit the chase. Instead, steer into the skid. See what’s showing above those organic results. Is it images? Then optimise your images. Is it question and answer boxes? Then create some content that answers those questions. There are ways to get around the ever-changing landscape of Google, you’ve just got to find a path that’s right for your search terms.

Audiences Are Changing
Today’s younger generation grew up on a hearty diet of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So, you can bet that they are using these social channels in place of Google too. Why bother leaving Facebook to go to Google to search for a brand when you can just search for the brand and find out all about them via their Facebook page? These users basically live between Facebook and Instagram, taking the occasional trips to Twitter and Snapchat, sometimes, Google isn’t even on their radar. Plus, with the ability to shop via these social platforms now becoming even easier, you can see why people are no longer bothering with Google to search for the things they want. With this in mind, it may be worth assessing your social traffic. If it’s on the rise and your organic as took a dive, it could be that your customers are taking the social route to your site.

With all this being said, it doesn’t mean you should stop building links or creating content. By all means, keep up the good work, it all adds up to your overall performance. But it may be time to assess your reporting techniques to fit the work you are carrying out. Keep an eye on your referral traffic and where it’s coming from. Assess your social performance and your presence on social platforms. Content and links are still highly relevant to SEO, but it could be that your work is also contributing to the success of other channels too.