Drop in traffic? Identify the problem with Time Machine

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It may be a physiological situation, so to speak, linked for example to variations in the seasonality of searches that are inevitably reflected in visits, but it is often the telltale sign of a problem of some kind, whether technical or competitive. In any case, noticing a drop in organic traffic to pages on our site is never a pleasure, and regardless of the causes it is crucial to be able to identify exactly which keywords and related URLs have lost visibility in organic search, so that we can react with the right strategy. And in SEOZoom there is the ideal tool to accompany this activity, our Time Machine.

Study changes in SERPs with SEOZoom’s Time Machine

Evaluating changes in traffic and site ranking are two of the (many) parameters that we need to keep track of in order to better manage our online business. In practical terms, it can unfortunately happen frequently that a site sees its traffic and keyword values drop abruptly as a result of a jolt to the SERPs, as a consequence of a broad core update by Google, for example, putting in crisis the work done in the previous months: what to do in these cases?

In our support comes (as always, we might add with a touch of pride) one of SEOZoom‘s features, namely the Time Machine, one of the most interesting and easy-to-understand tools even for those who are at a basic level on these topics. Wanting to describe it in a few words, we can call it a real “time machine” through which to understand which pages and keywords were positioned before the drop in order to detect problems and implement solutions and countermeasures and, more specifically, to interpret the data and changes in Google SERPs and in particular the movements of the queries and pages that interest us.

A tool for improving online strategy

First of all, it is good to premise that the Time Machine feature is available to those who have a Professional plan or higher for our platform, it is located within the Reports section but, with the revamped SEOZoom 2.0 engines, it can also be activated by setting a time interval within the charts present in various areas.

As the name suggests, the tool allows you to perform a “time jump” to find out which keywords have been declining and which have been rewarded with improved rankings; the behaviors of Pages as a whole, highlighting those that are declining and those that are growing; and the backlinks received on Pages for the period under analysis.

There is a quick description of how the tool works in this video:

Compare the situation of the site before and after the drop

The potential of this tool is considerable: thinking for example of a standard Google update, we can find out how our site reacted to the policy update by going back in time to the days before the release, and so on. Given the frequency of these interventions (which are repeated for at least three or four times a year, in addition then to the other more specific changes), having the ability to monitor their effects on a site is certainly an extra weapon for our business, just as it is important to be able to check the response of search engines to any structural changes to the site, URL changes, incorrect redirects, or other such interventions.

More generally, then, SEOZoom’s Time Machine allows you to fix the precise moment when a project started to lose traffic or, on the contrary, shifted into higher gears and met the favor of Google and the search engines.

Dropping traffic to the site? How to use the Time Machine to go back in time

This means that by using the tool, it is possible to understand immediately and clearly what changes have occurred in that time frame, so that we have a basic framework for planning our strategies. In practical terms, to launch the analysis one must first enter a Web domain and, immediately after, select a time period of interest; let’s also add that a site does not need to be present within the project area to scan the Time Machine and that the minimum analysis is based on a 7-day time between date A and date B.

Once the parameters of interest have been set, the software analyzes the positioning of keywords and pages in the set time frame, quickly informing us of the changes that have occurred: the initial dashboard, in fact, immediately summarizes key data, with a focus between the different levels of estimated traffic and Keywords that have reached the top ten and the first page of Google, as well as summarizing on the new backlinks acquired in the analyzed period.

La Time Machine di SEOZoom per studiare i cali di traffico organico

The “classic” graph that appears on the right shows the site’s performance in an overview, and perhaps the “juiciest” section are the four tables that appear at the bottom, which report important and useful news for our strategy.

Finding out which pages and keywords are declining

In the Loser Keywords area is a complete list of the keywords that have declined in the selected period, with precise values for average monthly search volume, position previously occupied in SERPs, and current position (considering by current position the final date entered in the analysis), and then again previous and current estimated traffic and estimated traffic lost in that time period.

Similar is the information gathered in Loser Pages, which refers precisely to the pages that declined in the time frame entered: in the overview we can see for each row the positioned URL and the previous and current traffic values, the estimated share of lost traffic, the number of referring domains and links that eventually the page receives, as well as the possibility to analyze these backlinks in more detail and to find out, for each page, which are the dropping keywords that generated the loss and what kind of negative variation they had in the examined period (in practice, we can group the loser keywords by URL, for a more useful and effective evaluation).

Information on pages and keywords that improved

From the minus sign to the plus sign with the other two categories, mirroring those just described: the Winner Keywords and Winner Pages tables, respectively, report a list of the keywords and pages that improved their rankings and overall traffic during the selected period; also in these cases we find indications of the estimated traffic gained and analysis of the keywords that pushed the referring URLs into the other.

An ally for SEO projects

Ultimately, using SEOZoom’s virtual “time machine” means retracing the salient moments that may have affected a decline or growth in one’s online project, intercepting the timeframe in which there was a change in keyword ranking to try to understand what factors drove it. If, for example, interventions were made to the graphics and structural usability of the site that, however, penalized the search engine ranking, or if, on the contrary, the restyling brought benefits and better results, in order to fine-tune increasingly accurate strategies that can accompany the “climb” to the SERPs.

With the Time Machine you can analyze competitors

But the advantages of the Time Machine do not stop only (so to speak) at the analysis of our project and our site: in fact, by entering a competitor’s domain in the tool, it is possible to do a quick competitor analysis and obtain information on the performance of competitors, to delve particularly into the movements of sites that are encountering traffic improvements, study what happened to the SERP and understand how much and in what way the performance of our project has been affected by other players.

In practice, SEOZoom allows for useful and interesting information that needs to be interpreted in order to exploit it strategically, to understand when the competitor has gained traffic and identify what strategies and content have allowed it to take off, or, conversely, to find out which sites have suffered declines and especially when it happened, to possibly take advantage of competitor declines to boost our own site.

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