You’re jumping into your Google Analytics account and viewing your organic traffic year over year. It’s down. DON’T. PANIC. A little digging can show that the decline is for totally logical, harmless reasons that don’t affect conversions or sales. OR it will confirm that yes, you should totally freak out and drill holes into your computer until the all the bad numbers are gone.

Before digging, segment your traffic so that you are only looking at organic. This helps simplify the numbers and graphs. Do this by changing your top segment from All Users to Organic.


First, segment your traffic from All Users to Organic


Then you’re ready to look at these 5 areas to figure out what is going on!


1. Go to the Cities

The first area to look at is how your organic traffic is performing by city. This will narrow down any specific area that could be causing the lower overall organic traffic, which could be due to a change in your regional traditional advertising or geographic offers that have expired. Also, if you are seeing that last year you had a significant amount of traffic from random cities outside your market, it’s a clear indication that you were getting bot traffic, which means you’re not experiencing a decline in real human beings visiting your site!


How to view Secondary Dimensions like “City” and the rest of the areas we’ll investigate!


2. Look at Devices

Is your organic down only because you now have paid ads above those results?

Next, look at how your organic traffic is performing on each device type. For example, if you see organic down for mobile you will want to ask yourself “has my paid search strategy changed?”

On mobile, your organic listing is pushed down below your paid listings, so if you’ve set up a new paid campaign, a significant amount of last year’s organic traffic could now be attributed to your paid channel, since users will click the first thing they see.

Since this drop in organic traffic is accounted for in another channel, you don’t have to panic 🙂


3. Check User Types

The third dimension to look at is user type. This breaks your organic traffic out by new and returning users. Seeing this breakdown can help show if internal traffic (your own team) may have inflated your overall metrics last year.


4. Investigate Landing Pages 

The fourth and probably most important area to check is where your organic traffic is landing. The landing page report can reveal that some awesome content that was driving organic traffic last year may not be relevant this year. For example, you could have a comparison page showing the difference between two 2015 models, which ranked number one in the SERPs until 2016 vehicles started appearing. When you look back YOY, it may look like a huge drop in organic traffic, but in reality it’s just one page that became irrelevant. That’s why it’s important to have ongoing SEO content, whether you hire a digital agency (like us!) or have someone on-staff that’s up to the task.


Segmenting by landing page will show you how your content is performing.


5. Search Your Search Console 

The fifth report to look at is the Search Console section of your analytics, which you can use to look at the performance of organic queries. This allows you to see what your audience is searching for and how you can gear your strategy to capture these users. Utilize this report to look at non-branded queries that may have high volume — such as “what is the difference between cvt and automatic” — and think about writing a piece to serve those searches.


Time to Panic? 

If you didn’t find anything in your data after checking these 5 things that either comforted you or gave you insight on what your next strategic steps should be, you still don’t have to panic because LDM is here for you! Just shoot me an email explaining your issue, and my analytics teammates and I will dig into your account to help you out, whether you’re a current client or not!

Meet Paige Martin

Paige is a Digital Analyst with Launch Digital Marketing. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and a minor is Actuarial Science. Paige enjoys traveling across the world, hanging out with farm kitties and dreams of owning her own elephant some day!